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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Sweet Revenge

Oh, thank goodness — these past two weeks of boring booty talk were just prepping us for the return of the off-the-wall craziness this group of women does so well!   

Right off the bat, we’re given a nice juxtaposition of Kenya actually working out versus Phaedra’s talk of working out as they both start preparing for their competing butt-related workout videos. Since she literally cannot help but tell everyone in her line of vision about Phaedra’s unwillingness to pay her, Kenya informs her trainer, Mumbles McGee, that she is making a workout video. He agrees that no one wants to see a “chunky doody on a doggone video tape” — they want inspiration! They want Kenya!

Meanwhile, Phaedra is strapped into a peapod-green spandex halter getting her picture taken in a celebrity photographer’s dungeon with Apollo. She thinks that the packaging is more important than the actual workout she keeps threatening to unleash, so they engage in a number of classy poses like his ACTUALLY BENDING OVER AND MOUNTING PHAEDRA, and Phaedra licking Apollo’s shirtless body. So far, the only workout I will get with these two are the 2,000 calories I burn each week by laughing at their misguided attempts to be relevant. In the meantime, Kenya tosses around a medicine ball while doing crunches and discussing production values. There is no doubt that Kenya stole this idea, but I am intrigued by how much better equipped she is to actually see it through to completion. I have no horse in the stallion-versus-donkey race, but I’m probably not going to get much of a workout with the couple masking foreplay as a pathway to getting rid of my bingo wings.

Taking a cue from all of the other stretched-entirely-too-thin Housewives, Cynthia has now decided to get into pageants, as most of the people who come to her agency won’t have a snowball's chance in hell of actually becoming professional models. Rodney, the director of the Bailey Agency School of Fashion House of Pancakes, looks on as Cynthia meets with Cy, a delightful pageant imp brought in to tell Cynthia how to squeeze between $75 to $1,200 out of hopeful, desperate Georgians. Cynthia’s pen burst into flames as she quickly scrawled notes on what to charge for pictures, talent, makeup artists, and hairstylists; her eyes turned into dollar signs and strained against her skull, not unlike a cartoon wolf in a zoot suit salivating when a woman walks by. I’m actually really disappointed by this; I know that her agency needs to make money, but this pay- to-play pageant business just seems purposefully exploitative.

For some reason, Porsha agrees to meet Kenya for lunch even though they hate each other, and the inevitable shit show ensues. Porsha comments on the weirdness of the meeting, but Kenya insists she’s just looking out for Porsha since Phaedra is clearly taking advantage of her friendship. Porsha (surprisingly! accurately!) tells Kenya that she’s not a pawn, and she does not want to be part of this he said/she said malarkey. Naturally, Kenya cannot take being shut down, so she raises her voice; they both make a scene, grab their bags, and take it to the street, where Porsha insults Kenya’s ashy feet and sashays away on her hideous wedge sneakers, proving that there is no real winner in this fight.

NeNe and Gregg trampled around a furniture shop filled with alpaca goat footstools and bronzed monkey paws giving the middle finger looking for “ass-essories” while they simultaneously broke glass globes and thoroughly bored a doughy, humorless sales clerk, so their life in Los Angeles is still a train on the track to stardom.

Speaking of stars, Cy the Pageant Whisperer — bedecked in a casual faux-hawk, professionally ripped jeans, and a button-down Ed Hardy–esque shirt that is straining against his tan, slicked-up, distended belly — takes Cynthia to look at a potential venue for her Miss Moneybags 2012 show. For some reason ($$$), Cynthia has decided to invite Porsha along for help, since she technically runs the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless and the Star-Bellied Sneetches charity that Cynthia is giving a portion of her proceeds to. Both women salivate as Cy shows them crowns and sashes, since “that’s what makes the girls pay an entry fee,” and Porsha traipses around like a unicorn princess; she forcefully declares that she will be singing at the event, but frowns when Cynthia actually gives her a to-do list to help get this pageant in order. You see, all Cynthia has done is picked out a name and set up an offshore account, so she’s leaving the venue, entertainment, prizes, and contestant duties to Porsha, who, if nothing else, has absolutely demonstrated her unique ability to pay attention for five solid seconds and count as high as 40, so she’s perfect for this highly controlled and stressful job.

Elsewhere in Atlanta, Kandi rolls up to the Imperial Fez, a club that features belly dancers and food, to meet the rest of the crew. Porsha brought along her friend Shamwow! and no one sent Kandi the memo to wear a jeweled headband. There is a woman dancing around them with a lit candle on her head, but all eyes and ears are turned toward the center of the circle as they doggedly engage in a gossipy conversation about Kenya and Phaedra’s fallout from last week. Phaedra says her video is moving along, and not to worry about her, America! She knows everyone “from the vice-president on down and even Tyler Perry a little bit,” so she is sure to be successful in this and all of her dreams. As Porsha rehashes the lunch she had with Kenya earlier in the week, Kandi "Voice of Reason" Burress jams some grape leaves in her maw and quietly asks why the fuck she would agree to do that when they clearly hate each other. Porsha changes the subject to her crucial role as pageant songstress, giving everyone an opportunity to put her on the spot and ask her to belt out a tune. Kandi points out that everyone in Atlanta thinks they can sing, and I have to agree that it must be annoying for someone like her (who has actual vocal talent) to live in a city where everyone thinks they’re the next Whitney Houston. Shamwow! encourages Porsha, who managed to compare her sound to “Mary J. Blige, Beyoncè, and Rihanna” with a straight face, and after hearing her warble out exactly TWO NOTES before she was saved by the belly-dancing bell, I hope each of those singers hires a Wiccan high priestess to cast a spell forbidding their names from ever coming out of Porsha’s mouth again for the duration of her life, even in casual conversation.

Over in Los Angeles, NeNe tries to meet with her acting coach, Lee, and is momentarily thwarted once she sees Lee’s dogs in the yard. After the dogs are sequestered, Lee talks to NeNe about whether or not she should see race in her characters, and encourages NeNe not to see color, only to see character. NeNe is worried her “super blackness” is getting in the way of her finding the “white woman in her.” I was hoping Cornel West would pop out of the bushes and trounce them both with a copy of Race Matters, but instead Lee gives a raspy laugh and thinks out loud about how funny it would be to have a Freaky Friday–style switch allowing NeNe to access the whitest of all white women, Gwyneth Paltrow. If we have to deal with NeNe in L.A., I hope Lee is in every episode, particularly after hearing her throaty “These lips are made for kissing, bitch!” directive. God bless you, Lee! I hope your Marlboro points buy you the turquoise necklace of your dreams.

Back in Atlanta, Cynthia meets Kenya on the golf course to tell her alllll about the conversation the crew had at Imperial Fez the night before. This is why I cannot stand Cynthia; for all of her talk of loyalty, she is the shadiest motherfucker on the playground. Who is she actually friends with, and why does she feel it is her role to fill everyone in on every conversation? Do you remember last season in Africa when she practically broke her ankles running back into the room to tell NeNe and Marlo what Sheree said about them? Take a knee, Cynthia.

Later, Kenya meets Miss Lawrence at HerpDerp’s, where they have to compliment each other’s hair and outfits for two hours before they can get down to the business of drinking and gossiping. They immediately move the conversation to Phaedra and how she is going around town telling people that Kenya has a drinking problem, needs medication, and is chemically imbalanced. Lawrence points out that Phaedra never reveals anything about her past, making her a bad friend, and that he personally dislikes her because she apparently doesn’t like men who wear high heels. My favorite diss was Lawrence saying that Phaedra “is not up to par with what she should look like as a woman of 2012,” as if she should be floating around in a motorized bubble à la Judy Jetson.

Finally, Kenya and Porsha face off at NeNe’s charity event for Shoedazzle. Cynthia rolls in with her biggest Diane Ross–circa–Every Day Is a New Day weave; Derek, with his hot-dog pack of a neck, asks NeNe why she was not wearing her own shoe. As they’re driving in, Kenya and Lawrence exchange a bunch of “mmm hmmms” and “yes ma’ams” while discussing how Kenya’s outfit was going to shut Phaedra right up. When the outfit (if you can call it that) is fully revealed, we can see that Kenya went to comical lengths to prove her ability to laugh off her haters by wearing a giant wedding-cake hat, a deep-V bathing suit with a fishnet cover-up, and visible booty pads stuck to her ass. She looked like a cross between Sindel from Mortal Kombat and an extra from J.Lo’s “On the Floor” video. It was brutal. At first, NeNe was pissed — this was a charity event! — but she eventually fell out laughing. Kenya put her stanky, exposed butt crack directly down on a plush chair that any decent venue would burn immediately after she left, and started yelling at Phaedra about the slanderous claims she has been making all over town. Kenya finally insults Phaedra by saying she shouldn’t even be doing a workout video because “her body isn’t there,” even if she claimed in her confessional that she would never tell Phaedra her body “looked like shit.” Um, you just did.

What else happened? What about next week — why is Walter back on the scene? Why is Kandi “Queen of the Dildos” Burress singing gospel now? Why are Cynthia and Porsha fighting? Why is Bravo putting me on an emotional seesaw by showing Kenya getting a biopsy? There is a lot to discuss — see you next week!

Photo: Bravo