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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner

What time is it? Oh, is midnight too late for dinner in your neck of the woods? How gauche. 

Lord JESUS, does no one in this group own a watch? This week, the ladies take being late to the extreme and manage to kick off a vacation with the jetlaggiest behavior I’ve ever witnessed. Nothing turns this group of southern belles into a pack of roving hyenas quicker than travel of any sort, so of course Bravo put them on a plane and sent them to Los Angeles. 

NeNe, newly ensconced in the Hollywood Hills and not likely to let you forget it, is excited to get her house set up for a visit from the girls. She has set out her finest one-gallon gold-rimmed goblets, covered every inch of the dining room in white fabric, and is even planning nonalcoholic drinks for the teetotalers in the group. Grandpa Gregg shuffles around the kitchen eating crackers, sullen and clearly sad to be left out of this “100 percent girls trip.” Cynthia calls to tell NeNe that she is packing, and I get the feeling Cynthia is one of those types of people who sits in an airport calling everyone she knows while waiting to board her flight simply because she cannot stand her own company. This will be important to remember later, when she does NOT use her phone at an opportune moment, but you realize she WILL use it to describe the experience of paint drying.

Everyone makes it to L.A., eventually, except Phaedra, who missed her flight and is planning to show up later. The driver of their stretch Hummer (also my new favorite person on the show) tells these fools to get out and walk up the hill since she can’t make the turning radius in her boatmobile. Cynthia panics at the thought of carrying her own luggage and calls NeNe, who drives down to get them and takes them to their very Los Angeles vacation home. It is full of infinity pools, fire pits, white couches, and the greasy ghosts of David LaChapelle’s krumping, coked up castoffs vomiting dust into a yucca plant.

The five-hour flight to Los Angeles turned most of these delicate flowers into drowsy, slurring zombies. Proving that they cannot leave the confines of Atlanta without causing a ruckus and damaging at least one long-term friendship, shit kicks off immediately when they show up three hours late to dinner at NeNe’s house. Phaedra has finally shown up, even though they are basically propping her up like the dead guy in Weekend at Bernie’s, and at 11 p.m. Cynthia decides to call NeNe to tell them they won’t be there at 9 p.m. as planned. Two hours later! NeNe says, “Don’t come, keep moving, good-night,” like any rational host would, but Kenya decides that is her cue to show up and “make NeNe feel better.” I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to peek into Kenya’s psyche, but could this persistent needling coupled with a delusional lack of awareness be part of the reason she is Forever Alone?

When they get to NeNe’s house, she is in the driveway with Gregg, ready to light them on fire with her eyeballs like Cyclops from X-Men. Her “please carry yourselves away from my goddamn house” mantra falls on deaf ears, as Kenya jumps up to look in the windows and Kandi begs for a plate. I am 100 percent on NeNe’s side — she spent money on caterers, took time to plan, and was genuinely excited to see them, only to have them show up almost three hours late and show no remorse. Anyone could have called her WELL before they even got in the car to say they were late. Kandi was especially annoying — if hunger makes you act like a duplicitous street urchin from Oliver Twist, it’s time to start throwing a granola bar in your bag when you leave the damn house. Gregg brought out a plate for them, which they ate in the car while they bitched about NeNe. Someone suggested they go to Pinky’s or Fatburger, which they should have done in the first place, and Kandi sarcastically thanks NeNe for showing them a “glamorous night in L.A.” Kandi, I politely encourage you to sit your ass down in this ENTIRE ROW of seats.

The next morning, Kenya decides to wake up early and cook all of the food in the house in an effort to keep everyone on schedule, and serves an extra side of some stuck-up bullshit by referring to herself as “the help.” In the beginning of the season, she was dumping prepared food into pans to make it look like she cooked a feast for Walter, and now she’s rocking out eight-course breakfasts like she’s the Swedish Chef. Everyone saunters in, and Cynthia claims she “laid her clothes out like it was the first day of school” in an effort to be on time while Porsha stands in a corner confusing individual creamers for coffee pods. In the meantime, NeNe and Gregg are poolside at their house, skimming the pool (him) and running lines in an electric blue caftan (her). Gregg urges her to get over her anger from last night and enjoy the trip — “They came, they got locked out, we move on, a new day.” He mostly reminds me of my nana when she got Alzheimer’s (she started putting vodka in her orange juice container and serving it to us without telling anyone), but I think Gregg is mostly a good-natured California dude at heart.  

The visiting Atlantians heads to the Groundlings for some improv, because that makes complete sense for a group of people who eat DRAMA for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Their coach for the day is the long-suffering Jeremy, who looks like he would rather chew tin foil than spend an hour with this borderline bachelorette party. After they run through their acting credits (Deliver Us From Eva, Girlfriends, The Cosby Show), Kenya reveals that she has worked with Will Smith, Gabrielle Union, and Billy Zane. BILLY ZANE, people! There is a SERIOUS actress on the STAGE in this THE-AY-TAH! Jeremy asks them to shout compliments at each other, just so they know what it feels like to have kind words come out of their faces for once; shouts of “You’re a millionaire!” “Your belly button is invisible!” “Your voice is so bold!” and “Your forehead is AWESOME!” fill the building just as NeNe saunters in, late, having missed the entire drill as well an explanation of what it means to be the embodiment of the textbook definition of IRONY.

After their supervised shouting match, NeNe takes the group to the Paramount lot to show off her hot-pink thong, freak out about touching the earth with her bare feet, and commit vehicular manslaughter with a golf cart before her friends sexually accost a stranger that they cajole into taking a group photo. Just another sunny day in Los Angeles!

Later that night, they head to dinner at the Beverly, where NeNe tries to set Kenya up with Walid, the owner/server/guy in charge of getting their salt-and-pepper calamari, which I personally will never eat again after listening to this episode of "This American Life," but when in Rome, I guess you eat what Walid brings you. Porsha won’t drink because she’s trying to get pregnant, prompting Phaedra to ask if her “uterus is full.” Sometimes Phaedra’s euphemisms and southern slang makes her sound less grandma-on-a-porch-swing and more Jigsaw-from-the-movie-Saw, and this is definitely one of those Jigsaw moments. She makes pregnancy sound like an untreated disease, and then hints that she, too, is trying to get pregnant. The only thing that interests me about another Phaedra pregnancy is that we might have another chance to see another Coming to America–style baby shower. Everyone takes turns asking Phaedra and Kenya about their workout videos while they give each other professional side-eye. Porsha makes a comment about men being the kings of their castles; Nene and Cynthia agreed that they couldn’t wait to be housewives, and, while people make this valid and legitimate choice everyday, I wonder how hard they are being prodded behind-the-scenes by Andy Cohen to trump up housewifery or at least mention the word “housewife” as much as possible in an attempt to groom the next generation of franchise stars. 

Kenya reveals that she broke up with Walter, which Porsha and Kandi use as an opportunity to just be straight-up catty assholes. Kandi says that Walter came to Porsha’s party, the one that Kenya was not invited to, and Porsha said that he had SUCH a good time. Listen — there are very few people on this show with any redeemable qualities, but this was painful to watch with its outright immaturity and mean-spiritedness. Porsha and Kandi smiled as Kenya left the table; when NeNe found her, Kenya said she would not talk about her relationships with people who are not actual friends, and I do not blame her. She makes the exceedingly fair point that everyone backs her into a corner and then calls her crazy when she reacts. Back at the table, Cynthia claims to have seen the writing on the wall in Anguilla, and Phaedra says Walter is “quite the ladies man” around Atlanta while they cackle about what they’ve heard about his dick size.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what sets the stage for next week in Las Vegas, where Cynthia is suffocated by an Afro weave and Phaedra and Kenya POP OFF. Did I miss anything? See you next week!

Photo: Bravo