Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Our Civil Rights Legacy Is Hot Dogs and Donkey Booty

Should we just jump to the fact that Kenya has a friend named Kanya and it is literally all I can think about, or do we have to go through these other events first? We do? Fine, let’s start from the beginning.

Oh, Nene and Gregg — tell me you end up together? They have a grandma and grandpa vibe that I love so much. They’re just COMFORTABLE. This week they got pedicures together; Nene wore her finest floor-length black maxi dress, and Gregg busted out his dopest, on-the-spot homespun poetry:

“I want a key to your door / Like I never had before … / … that’s it.”

and

“This time I want to do it right / Because again I’m gonna make you my wife. / Runteldat.”

Most people only invoke the classic work of the great poet Runteldat when they mean serious business, and this man begged Nene for a key like he was a broken record — he wanted a key to her house, a key to her heart, a key to her front door, a key to her back door, a key from Brentt, and a key to her home in Los Angeles that she hasn’t even purchased at this point. Nene called him on his embarrassing courting skills and said she was going to “get you a key to a hotel room down that’s down the street” when he suggested visiting her in L.A., but didn’t it look like she was sort of falling in love with him again? Even if they don’t end up together, they seem to be in a good place. Nene said Gregg needs to go to therapy for his lack of patience, and that therapy is the only thing that will get him a key to anything she owns. Lawrence showed up to tell Gregg to chill the fuck OUT with this poetry and begging, and Gregg thought about that for exactly ten seconds before he threatened to write another poem as a response.

In Phaedra’s kitchen, we learn that her husband, Apollo, just received his certification to be a nutritionist and fitness trainer. Phaedra likes to keep everything close to home — remember last year when she tried to get him involved in the funeral parlor? — so they immediately start talking about how to get Apollo in the “donkey booty” business. She kindly explains that a “donkey booty” (Origin: Latin, -noun, pronounced DAWN-keh boo-TEE) is a “nice, firm, round behind,” and for years she has been talking about producing a series of workout videos for the sole purpose of “butt plumping properties.” Above all, she reveals that this light workout must not produce any sweat whatsoever, as black women’s hair will be likely to go into different stages of  “Sfro-ism” when exposed to sweat. You are ridiculous but honest, Phaedra, and I cannot hold it against you. Apollo tries to give us a civics lesson about black people being “imported” to Brazil as a way of explaining their superior asses, and then Phaedra thanks the Lord Jesus for her ass. “Baby, I was born certified; when he said ‘booty’ I said ‘two scoops!’” If she is not the next Suzanne Somers, I don’t know who is.

As per usual, there is nothing happening with Kim, but we’re still subjected to a boring conversation between Kim, Kroy, and Sweetie as they all sit around her boring couch and talk about her boring move. Her lease is coming to an end, causing Kim to complain about having to move back to her townhouse with four kids, two dogs, and 564 cubic feet of wigs. I’m sure the people whose homes were demolished by Hurricane Sandy would sympathize with her if only they weren’t eating Enfamil for every meal, living in a shipping container, and completely without the electricity necessary to watch TV. She’s a monster, let’s move on.

WE FINALLY GET TO MEET THE LAST NEW HOUSEWIFE, Porsha, and ooooooh! She is a piece of work. Kenya shows up to meet her for lunch dressed like a sherbet sundae, and they both order salads without the best part (candied walnuts) and with some weird additions (shrimp on a Greek salad). It’s really difficult to follow Porsha, as she can neither complete a full sentence nor keep her eyes focused in one spot for more than seven seconds, but I was able to eke out that her grandfather was the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand man back in the day, and that she now runs a charity organization he created. Were he still alive, I’m sure her grandfather would surely use that right hand to gently quiet her mouth, because this woman is an embarrassment of drivel. She awkwardly talks to Kenya about marriage and babies; as a newlywed, she looks forward to using the Chinese calendar to produce exactly one boy and one girl, saying “don’t even let me try to explain the Chinese calendar!” Porsha, I wouldn’t ask you to explain the menu.

Kenya puts up with this for long enough to be invited to Porsha’s charity event for “powerful women.” I get the feeling that Atlanta is teeming with spandex-clad superheroes — every event is for powerful women! What about the rest of us? There are some digs at other housewives and their involvement (or lack thereof) in her prestigious charity, and then we get introduced to Porsha for real. She’s married to an ex-NFL player like everyone else in Atlanta, has never had to work, plays golf in cutoff jean shorts, refers to beauty queen bunting as a “satchel” instead of a “sash,” and bounces a basketball with both of her hands while jumping up and down on both feet at the same time. At one point in her confessional, she rolls her head from side to side and says, “What are we in? A recession? Yeah” before the camera cuts to her showing off new clothes and shoes to her friends. I know that we’re already supposed to hate her, but I think she is hilarious, like a southern Paris Hilton having some fun before she gently fades into obscurity.

When we see Nene again she’s in New York City doing promotional work for The New Normal. The good news is that we get to see her gray harem pant workout pajamas again, but the bad news is that she is meeting up with Cynthia, who is in town for a modeling job. Cynthia rolls into Nene’s room wearing the Debbie Gibson, Electric Youth–style black-and-white panama hat I wore to my eighth grade graduation dance in 1989, coupled with the kind of loud eyeglasses you only wear if you are perimenopausal or desperately in need of attention. They talk about how they only want to surround themselves with people who are genuinely happy for their success for a bit while Nene has her makeup and hair done; when Nene reveals she has never ridden the subway, Cynthia latches onto the concept like a dog with a bone, refusing to let Nene leave the city without having a “real New York experience.” As someone who is from New York, I have to side with Nene; if you can afford to roll around the city in a town car, you should crawl the fuck in it and thank your lucky stars. You don’t have to get in a subway to experience the “real” New York, and the “real” New York is a rat-infested, anxiety-inducing mess of a time — it’s all around you, dripping on your head from a rusty air conditioner twenty stories up and jerking off on your coat as you wait in line for coffee (true story). Nene tells Cynthia that she once ate a hot dog from a cart and it “made her want to kill herself,” so we’ll see how that subway ride goes.

Back in Atlanta, Kandi is packing the remaining items at her old house, which she is ready to lease now that she and Todd have purchased TWO HOUSES (still cannot get over that). Her family is helping her pack her Grammy and her platinum album plaques. Please note that Kandi is such hot shit she can buy TWO HOUSES and still leave her Grammy behind like so much trash. Her uncle Robert comes in to insist he can lift a refrigerator by himself with a “hump strap,” to which Kandi rightfully balks. When she asks how one of her Bedroom Kandi boxes from her line of sex toys, Uncle Robert jokes that he doesn’t know, he has no need for it, and if he did he would just go and get some “bow hog root” from the “earth store.” This man is delightful, but I cannot understand how Cynthia qualifies for subtitles but Uncle Robert does not.

Phaedra and Kenya meet for drinks and ice cream; Kenya is at least one full drink ahead of Phaedra and yelling “barkeep!” at the bartender, and this is the first time I feel like Kenya and I could hang out. They talk about Kenya’s sad childhood story (her mentally ill mother wanted to give her up for adoption, has always denied her, she was raised by her grandmother and aunt, it is basically torture for her), and for the first time I feel like we see some humanity in her. She quickly squashes that by inserting herself in Phaedra’s donkey booty workout video production, but it was a nice two minutes. Both women toast to “friendship, sisterhood, and happiness,” which should be awesome later in the season when, based on the promos, it looks like Kenya has fallen in love with Apollo.

Next, Kim is spraying a fire extinguisher all over her yard ... and that’s it. Please get her off of this show; she has alienated the rest of the cast and the continuing adventures of Kroy and Sweetie are not enough to keep me interested.

Nene’s subway adventure is just as funny as you would think. She shows up carrying an umbrella, wearing six-inch Louboutins and says, “I’m FABULOUS, honey” to Cynthia’s cries of protest. Cynthia acts like the worst kind of grandma — forcing Nene to do something she is diametrically opposed to and filming it the entire time — but they ride the N train for two stops and Nene gets to meet some kids from the Fame school who loved her work on Glee. When they exit, Country Mouse orders a “New York hot dog” from the first cart they see, and City Mouse drinks a Coke and wishes she were there with literally anyone else.

Back in Atlanta, guests start arriving at Porsha’s powerful woman event. KENYA SHOWS UP WITH A FRIEND NAMED KANYA, and everyone carries on like this is totally normal. Kenya tells us that her legacy as Miss USA makes her “part of history,” and she is frequently asked to lend her name to charity events. Porsha’s husband shows up to gift her with a Chanel purse and a check while a way too enthusiastic server looks on. Porsha gives her first dig of the night by welcoming “powerful wives, powerful mothers … and Kenya Moore.” Okay, that was just outright MEAN, right?  Kenya is affected, but hides her rage for one minute later, when Porsha introduces her as Miss America instead of Miss USA. Kenya corrects her on the spot, and Porsha ends her speech by throwing her arms in the air and yelling, “I love everybody!” not unlike my 5-year old nephew when he finally got the Captain America light-up shield toy last summer.

Kenya decides this event is officially bullshit, and she and Kanya leave because the room is too cold. They go outside to wait for Lawrence, who is on his way to join them, and Porsha runs out to find out if they’re okay after throwing major shade when they left. Lawrence shows up, confirms Porsha’s major faux pas in announcing Kenya as Miss America, prompting Kenya to say, “I didn’t win Miss Congeniality, I won Miss USA.” Porsha runs out AGAIN to tell them the food has arrived and, oh yeah, Kenya is being disrespectful, to which Kenya replies that PORSHA is actually the one being disrespectful by inviting her to this event without knowing how to properly introduce her. At times like this I wish a little cartoon Dwight would pop up in the corner of the screen, say “How dreadful,” and disappear. Miss you, Dwight!

Instead, we get Porsha trying to kick Kenya out while she is in the process of leaving of her own accord. Kenya points out the ridiculousness of this move, and Porsha, in her confessional, says that Kenya has disrespected her LEGACY, y’all. I’m sure she accomplished that feat all on her own the day she learned how to talk, but you go ahead and blame it on Kenya, girl. What follows is a series of insults, like, “Five people in a room is not an event!” and “Google me, honey!” But my all-time favorite insult was:

“This event is WACK.”
“Wack? It’s for CHILDREN!”

I’m begging you to carve that into my headstone.

Kenya goes on to make the very lucid argument that Porsha’s identity is tied up in the identity of everyone around her — she’s the wife of, the daughter of — but that Kenya has earned her own name. I cannot even believe that I’m about to say this, but way to go, Kenya! I’m sure next week you’ll be back to Exorcist-level admonitions, but good job keeping your shit together this week and coming out of it the least despicable.

What do you think? Next week it looks like Phaedra’s donkey booty butt-dials someone and disses Cynthia and Nene; is her ass literally that magical? I can’t wait to find out.

Photo: Bravo