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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Strip It Bare

Pack a suitcase full of glitter heels and the tiniest vial of patience you have left — this week we’re heading to Las Vegas! This is the third trip of the season. Why are they traveling so much? Maybe the cast is a bit too dull without the constant, matriarchal presence of Nene, off on her Hollywood adventure? Maybe they are finally admitting no one in this group would ever hang out together without a large check egging each of them on? We did get to see Cynthia’s hair in its natural state this week, so it wasn’t all for naught.

The season is slowly dying down — looking back to the first month, there are fewer threats on each other’s lives — but this cast still has a flare for dra-MAH, so they kick off the trip by sending everyone from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a party bus. That’s right: If you hate someone’s guts, the very best place to be is stuck in traffic on I-15 for eight grueling hours, right next to them. As they pack, Kenya revisits last week’s hasty exit from the Beverly restaurant, asking Cynthia why everyone kept talking about Walter when it was clear Kenya did not want to even hear his name. There are few things I loathe more than defending Kenya, but damn if she wasn’t completely correct — everyone at that table kept the conversation about Walter going when it was clear she was uncomfortable, and then backed her into a corner like a coven of shrieking witches until she literally fled the scene while they smirked in her direction. If homegirl is trying to decrease stress to prevent cancer, she is going to have to quit this show, as no one is interested in giving her even a small break.

Like a true legend in her own mind, Nene arranged the bus while she planned to fly to Las Vegas first class; she used work as an excuse, but would you want to spend eight hours in a car with Porsha? Upon departure, Kenya nominates herself captain of the team again (flashbacks to Anguilla, anyone?), trying to get everyone to play games like imitating each other and taking turns crafting a stand-up routine. The longest trip I’ve ever made was a two-month drive from New York City to Alaska in a time before mp3 players and a car that was manufactured before I was born through the most desolate parts of this nation, and this drive to Las Vegas STILL felt like a goddamn eternity. They bitched, moaned, tried to explain the Crazy Horse to Porsha, and threatened to revive the old-timey medicinal practice of pissing on and killing a rabbit as a method to prove pregnancy for so long that even the bus driver left them stranded at the gas station for a little while.

When they get to Las Vegas at last, Cynthia brays out an annoying “wooooop! VEGAAAAAAS!” just like you knew she would, puts on her largest Afro wig, and drags everyone else to meet up with Nene. Nene loves Las Vegas because “you don’t have to wear underwear”; Porsha did not get the memo and gets her panties in a bunch about going into a building that Kordell has not yet proclaimed as safe. You see, what Porsha calls “being a loyal wife” Nene calls “bitches are being controlled,” so there is a lot of back and forth about what Kordell “allows” Porsha to do, and whether or not she has any agency. Porsha finally declares that she does not want to go into the strip club because she “has a ministry in her to help women not sell their bodies,” and strip joints give her a case of the sads. At this point she is talking to herself as everyone has Roadrunnered out of the car in a cloud of dust — Kenya is making it rain over women with their legs pulled so far apart they resembled trays full of dissected frogs, Phaedra is face-down in a vagina and talking about how “nice she is shaved up,” and heavy-lidded Nene is sipping on a cocktail, telling anyone within earshot that she met Gregg at a strip club because she used to dance, too. They do talk about poor, forsaken Porsha once or twice, but only to mention how sad it is that they all worked for their money while she married into her wealth, while women dropped from the ceiling like spread-eagle firefighters and exquisite Lucite heels clicked in the background.

The next morning, Porsha calls Kordell to tell him about skipping the stripping while a surely underpaid makeup artist tries to bob and weave around her cell phone, and he could give less than a shit about it since he is at the mall. Do not bother a man when he is shopping, Porsha! He says she should “do whatever she wants” while in Las Vegas, so now she only has her ministry to blame for being a wet blanket on this girls’ weekend. Cynthia shows up wearing last night’s everything, followed by Phaedra, who declares herself to be the embodiment of an eighties perfume; Nene files in with Kandi while Porsha embarks on her twelth hour of getting ready, and declares that today they will have a long girl talk about, for, and with Porsha. The talk amounts to all of them sitting in a car telling Porsha both she and Kordell are old-fashioned, and she better be careful to assert herself before he has too much control over her. The biggest teeth-sucking shocker was Porsha saying Kordell “let her” come on this trip, which, for a car full of successful women — one of whom divorced her husband just to prove that she could — was tantamount to lighting a pair of Louboutins on fire in the driveway. They somehow make it to the Jubilee Theater without having Porsha roasted on a spit, and try on feather headdresses while professional dancers kick each other in the face in unison. Kandi reveals that Todd has been asking her what kind of rings she likes, so they stop at a jewelry store to ogle a $75,000 ring. The store owner is visibly perturbed by having a group of black women crawling all over his merchandise, but he doesn’t know that Kandi will dig into her Vault That Dildos Built, buy the entire store with cash, and put him out of a job if he so much as raises an eyebrow.  

Cynthia crawled on a mechanical bull without underwear; since the last thing I want to do is envision her rocking on Peter’s sad old bones, I’m just going to pretend we didn’t see that part.

Back at the hotel, Kandi has invited the ladies to a pajama party so that she can try out her latest Bedroom Kandi initiative: selling the toys at intimate parties. She both shows and tries to explain Kegel balls while Porsha mouth-breathes over a cock ring, and Nene declares that she is “not going to walk around with balls inside of her.” Kandi put a pregnancy test in Porsha’s goody bag as a joke, since she hasn’t been drinking this trip and has been purposely eating ice cream with pickles in an immature effort to get someone to ask if she is finally carrying the Yam Baby of her dreams. The coven kicks into high gear and they try to get her to take the test in the bathroom; she (understandably) says that is something she wants to do with Kordell. The group takes a hint and gets back into the spirit of the evening by giving fake blow jobs to chocolate-covered strawberries. Phaedra, of course, went over the top with it, and Kenya couldn’t fight her natural urge to compete; when it was Kenya’s turn, Phaedra said, “Someone might like that but it doesn’t look like Walter did,” taking the quickest exit off the high road and crashing directly into a guard rail. Kandi has them write down sex and relationship questions as a “fun” game, and Kenya gets her chance to retaliate by asking a question about what to do when someone who you thought was a friend hurts your feelings and pretends it never happened. I asked the same thing at a slumber party once after someone stole my Electric Youth perfume, but we were derailed by actually getting air during “Light As a Feather, Stiff As a Board.” Kenya gets her answer, though: Phaedra was hurt, too! Kenya was hurt more, saying that Phaedra “cut her down to the white meat” by insinuating she was mentally ill.

IT’S A MOTHER.

FUCKING.

HURT.

OFF.

Since neither will apologize and both are tender, they decide to call a truce at the corner of Dagger Eyes Road and You’re Dead to Me Lane.

Next week, our long national nightmare begins when Porsha loses her makeup bag, Peter invites Walter to a party that Kenya is also attending, Kandi turns one of the rooms in her house into the Milk Bar, and Kordell refuses to hire a nanny for his nonexistent children. I love these weirdos!

Photo: Bravo