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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season-Five Finale Recap: Malice Content

Kenya’s party was a disaster for more than one reason, chief among them being the rather rude manner in which her prefrontal cortex divorced itself from the rest of her brain mid-party, leaving her emotions to bubble over at once like a cast-iron cauldron filled with abhorrent behavior, self-aggrandizement, and regret. For all of the utterly deranged antics this season, we end with an episode thick with hyperbolic displays and, as Porsha so wisely points out, “malice content.”

The catalyst for this Hollywood Icon party was the fact that Porsha called Kenya “old” during the fight they had in Anguilla, which makes absolutely no sense. Let’s face it — Kenya needed to manufacture a way to embarrass and humiliate Porsha after a season of long-simmering hatred, and a giant party under the guise of her “Atlanta coming out” where she asked Porsha to dress as Halle Berry from B*A*P*S was just the ticket. During a meeting with party planner Nicole, Kenya apologizes for “busting out a bit today” when a tray of croissant got stuck in her cleavage before impressively name-dropping herself to Martin actor Tommy Ford in a meeting she arranged. I have been taking notes on shameless self-promotion from Kenya all season, but that was a move so seasoned with experience only that a promotional black belt should try it. Kenya explains that the party should pay tribute to iconic black women in film, complete with reenactments of certain movies as the party is happening. When Tommy Ford said, “This is not a party, it’s a production,” he was not kidding.

Elsewhere in the city, Kandi and Phaedra put on their brightest Old Navy skinnies to meet some trainers at a gym for a Divas in Defense course. Phaedra, having already grown bored with her career in exercise after the release of one DVD, is looking to move into the stun gun game, which is both a logical and natural progression. She is seriously taking up the mantle for Ron Popeil, and should be commended for her innovativeness while simultaneously being laughed at for her insincerity. Phaedra wants to develop a less bulky, more feminine line of stun guns, since we all know the importance of remaining dainty while trying to fend off potential attackers. She threatens to call her line Phaedra Sparks, prompting me to think she missed her calling in roller derby. Kandi is there for support since she already released a line of “electronic toys for adults,” noting that “hers is the gift of pleasure while Phaedra’s is the gift of pain,” and then “accidentally” zaps a man in the nuts after saying earlier how much she wanted to zap someone in the nuts. 

Porsha and Kordell find their way back to the therapist she visited last week. Though she agreed to be a “stay at home wife” when they got married, she now wants a career as well as a baby, and needs to ensure that Kordell is onboard. He is not onboard, not at all, reasoning that since his mother stayed home to help him grow into the walking thumb we all know and loathe today, Porsha should be able to do the very same. I really did not like him in this scene. Regardless of their choices to work or stay home, have a baby or not, it is clear that he is a bully who wants only to see his wishes fulfilled, giving absolutely zero shits about the emotional well-being of his partner. It was made perfectly clear when the he said, “It’s not about winning, but if it was about winning you are going to lose every time.” Porsha rightly points out that he is a control freak, and sadly realizes that she never did or could talk to him about her feelings about the miscarriage. He tries to show that he can get onboard with the idea of Porsha having a career, but she points out that if he makes it so that she cannot have both a family and career through his obstinance, he may as well be saying no right off the bat. Kordell filed for divorce last week, and even though I’m pretty sure Porsha doesn’t know how to tie her shoes or use the microwave, I cannot help but feel she will be better off without him.

At the setup for Kenya’s party, everyone is already visibly exhausted by Kenya’s frenzied vibe as she runs around directing people to do jobs they are already in the process of completing. Party designer Raynelle (part middle-aged mom at the beach, part Danny “Too Old for This Shit” Glover) and party planner Nicole (part ostrich, part charlatan) blankly follow orders while Kenya and her friend Brandon go to get dressed. Brandon, whom I neither care about nor enjoy, made a dig about Porsha looking like Arsenio Hall while Kenya cackled along. This is what I cannot understand about Kenya — if you are claiming the high road as you so frequently do, you have to leave the personal digs behind and truly move on. Porsha, on the other hand, is having a blast at her hair salon, trying on outfits and popping in a gold tooth to emulate her assigned role until one of the stylists leans down to say, “That bitch is trying to play you.” A light bulb goes off and Porsha shows up at the party as Dorothy Dandridge, which is not the Halle Berry role she was assigned. Meanwhile Cynthia, striving for Diana Ross in Mahogany, tries on outfits for a low-budget Prince and a cartoonish Ike Turner, and ends up looking nothing like Diana Ross and everything like Cynthia Bailey Going Out to a Party. She also said she would dance the vogue, confirming she has no idea what is happening. Also, can we talk about how many Ike Turners showed up to a party whose theme was Black icons? I thought we had worked out his non-icon status long ago, after he raped, beat and tortured Tina Turner for the duration of their time together. And yet not one Don Cornelius in the bunch!

What happens next is a bunch of screaming and overlapping conversations in the guise of a party. Kandi shows up first as a What’s Love Got to Do With It–era Tina Turner, says, “I feel stupid,” while getting her picture taken, and drags a costumeless Todd into the crowd. Cynthia shows up as Carmen Sandiego, and Peter shows up with a white beach towel around his neck and a bad attitude for no discernible reason. Kenya makes her debut dressed as Foxy Brown, and says “jive turkey” on repeat while at least three women dressed as Marilyn Monroe walk by (Marilyn Monroe’s greatest acting feat was apparently convincing the world she was a white lady named Norma Jean). Kenya is very put out by the fact that Todd doesn’t have a costume, but completely loses her mind when Porsha shows up in a glittery gold gown as Dorothy Dandridge, not her pre-assigned Halle Berry from B*A*P*S. Porsha said that she wanted to look like an icon, and Kenya reprimanded her for not following simple instructions. An epic tailspin follows as Kenya cancels programming allegedly centered on the assigned costumes, yells at Porsha for being disrespectful, and ultimately kicks her out of the party altogether. Porsha, who has never been funnier than she was this episode, says, “Do the cameras see me? Before I go?” as Kordell comes to escort her out instead of the two gigantic bodyguards Kenya hired. Cynthia catches wind that Porsha is being tossed out, and everyone decides to leave with her. Kenya follows Porsha to make sure she is leaving; she says that dressing out of character was “not what the party was about,” and Cynthia quickly tells her that the party should be about fun. Peter curses Kenya out as everyone congregates on the sidewalk and Cynthia calls NeNe. Porsha points out Kenya’s “malice content” as Kenya walks up behind the group to keep the argument going. When Kordell points out that Kenya has always been disrespectful to Porsha, Kenya pulls my favorite reality show gimmick — she gives a blanket apology to everyone instead of a direct apology to the person she offended. Kenya does eventually say, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” as Porsha wonders aloud, “Is there an apology in this thing?”

Cynthia tries to get Porsha to stay, and Porsha agrees but wants Brandon to get Kenya to apologize. As Brandon is outside fighting with Kordell, who stepped in to defend Porsha, Kenya is watching a community theater reenactment of The Color Purple and one dancer imitating the royal wedding from Coming to America, which is as boring and low-rent as you would imagine. The real party is outside, where Kandi threatens to take Todd and her wig out to dinner, but NeNe and Phaedra show up as the Hot Topic versions of Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt to lighten the mood. Cynthia explains why they are all standing around outside, prompting Phaedra to jokingly threaten to stun Kenya, who is on at that moment stage saying, “Without our past, we wouldn’t have our present” in some sort of idiotic nod to her own greatness. Kenya eventually comes back outside when NeNe requests to speak with her, and NeNe rips Kenya a new one, explaining that she is sick of hearing about her bad behavior and the one thing she should know is to never burn bridges. I guess Kim, Sheree, and a host of other people she no longer speaks to do not count as burned bridges, just failed friendships. NeNe assures Kenya that Grace Jones was “way crazier than Pam [Grier],” and Kenya agrees to apologize to Porsha out of respect for NeNe. Porsha doesn’t really buy it, but is happy to stay at the party to watch Kenya “go into debt trying to pull it off.”

The party wraps up with Kenya thanking the ladies as we simultaneously learn about their lives post RHOA. Porsha is getting divorced; Phaedra is pregnant with her second boy and has a pregnancy workout video on the horizon; Kandi is still queen of the dildoes; Cynthia is planning on fleecing people out of their money with Miss Renaissance 2013; NeNe and Gregg are engaged, and Kenya is dating an African oil tycoon, which, frankly, sounds like a plot on Scooby Doo. As they all look to Kenya on the stage, the eye-rolling alone caused a tremendous earthquake that swallowed half the room. R.I.P. Marilyn Monroes.

The season is over, but the reunions are yet to come! See you next week for the beginning of the end.

Photo: Bravo TV