This week there was a sizable shift in the tone of the show. On the way to Savannah, there were tears of joy as they realized they were more powerful together than they were apart, and that their divisiveness was built on the false premise of misogyny that insists women should be fighting each other for space. Everyone held hands, reminded themselves of their humanity and how, at the core, they were all loving people fighting their own delicate struggles.
Just kidding — it was the Screaming, Yelling, Hollering Bus Tour of 2013 that we all knew it would be, with the added bonus of a granddaughter of the civil-rights movement thinking the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad with trains.
With everyone finally loaded onto the murdered-out bus, NeNe found a chance to speak up. She agreed with Kenya that everyone’s extreme lateness almost made her pop a vein, but Kandi apologized so she’s okay. Cynthia reprises her role as travel cinematographer, which mostly meant she jammed a video camera in everyone’s face and asked them stupid questions while Phaedra pumped “organic chocolate milk,” setting a precedent for the trip for everyone to talk about her boobs whenever possible and confounding Porsha, who didn’t understand why she had to “pop out her motherly teat” when her baby wasn’t there. Porsha also doesn’t understand why the sky is blue when you look up from Earth but it’s all black when you look down like the pictures from space, or how baby chicks break out of their eggs without a mallet. Her stupidity reaches far into the stratosphere this week, so hold on to your encyclopedias.
The conversation rolled into how often people had sex with their husbands. The final count?
Monique: STRONGLY every other day for thirteen years and proud, dammit! Proud!
NeNe: Once a week if she’s not working … or even if she is.
Porsha: Whenever he feels like it because that’s what God put in the Bible and she’s never seen The Burning Bed or read about the sexual revolution.
Kenya broke through her crazy haze and made sense, telling Porsha that she should not take responsibility for her husband’s desire to cheat no matter how much or little she’s having sex with him. Mynique was like, Yeah, my husband and I are a team, he’s not my dad, so it’s not about being submissive, and Porsha started to cry because everyone high-fived and understood Mynique’s situation but didn’t understand hers. Well, her situation was that she was married to an overly controlling thumb who’d hoped he married someone dumb enough to be Stepford quality without all the messy robotic parts, and Mynique just seems to be in a regular relationship where she and her husband communicate and respect each other. Kenya was again annoyingly accurate when she said that Kordell probably treated Porsha like a little girl because she acts like a little girl, which is totally unfair to little girls — I saw one on the bus last week cracking the spine of The Hunger Games, and Porsha hasn’t cracked more than a knuckle since she left school.
Conversation moved on as slowly as the bus ride did, but they finally made it to the Wedding Cake Mansion to be greeted by their host TAMMY JO! and a house decorated eerily with the busts of baby Liberaces. TAMMY JO! was very excited to welcome them to her anthropomorphized home, which she referred to as “she,” and made sure they knew all of her ghosts were friendly ghosts. The house was decked out exactly as it was in 1869, and TAMMY JO! backed out of the room while simultaneously telling them that if they need anything, TAMMY JO! was their girl.
Drama the First: Choosing Rooms.
The ladies had the run of the entire place, but Kandi ran upstairs first and claimed the gigantic master suite because it was on the first floor. Is it okay if I hate Kandi this season? I HATE KANDI THIS SEASON. It feels like since she can’t control her home life or her mom, she passive-aggressively takes her stank out on everyone else. This is not a scavenger hunt, bitch! It’s common for the person who organized the trip to get the biggest room. I’m waiting for one season of Housewives to finally come to their senses and say, “HOLD UP, I checked this place out online and I’ve already assigned rooms to everyone. Not so fast, you sneaky bastards.” Kenya claimed her room and then played tricks on everyone — I genuinely laughed when she slammed the door in Phaedra’s face — and Porsha, too scared to sleep in her own room, decided to share with Mynique.
NeNe seemed cool to let the room drama pass, but Kenya stirred her up, so she went downstairs to set some ground rules while the rest of the crew was talking about suicide ghosts, the more perverse sister site to Suicide Girls. Phaedra was out pumping and Mynique tried to throw some shade her way when she returned, saying that she needed to hear the ground rules more than anyone because the first one was “don’t be late.” Ooooh, Mynique — did NeNe not warn you about this pack of hyenas you’re traveling with? Have you never watched the show? I waited for someone to hand her a shovel but she choose to dig her own grave with her bare hands. Phaedra gently reminds Mynique that she does not know her, and she is officially offended.
Drama the Second: Phaedra Is Offended
Kandi and Phaedra sneak off outside to talk about how no one is ever courteous of their time, but their bitch session is cut short by a ghost tour rolling by in a hearse, which they of course flag down. A man called Old Peg Leg Ron runs the tour and I hereby declare that he should be the next housewife when Kenya is kicked off the show.
Back at TAMMY JO’S! mansion, NeNe is having cocktails with the rest of the girls in her room, and everyone is reviewing how badly Mynique got read, but Mynique “doesn’t feel read!” causing the room to fall out laughing. The next morning Cynthia tries to teach Mynique how to read, which is the most awkward ambushing ever captured on film. Mynique was so stiff (“I’m biracial, so I say side-eye, and you say tea and shade!”) and Cynthia was so eager to teach someone something (“You should just try to look good no matter what”).
Mynique and Phaedra squash their beef the next morning when Mynique brings along Phaedra’s forgotten breast pump so her “titties wouldn’t explode.” How many friendships have been borne of keeping titties from blowing up? Jared Jewelers has a special-edition best-friend breast pendant, for the special woman in your life who’s titties didn’t burst.
The youngest old man in the world picks them up for the Freedom Trail Tour, and they head off to the oldest African-American church in Georgia? The nation? I was halfway into a bottle of red at this point — tis the season! — and didn’t catch it. But off they go, dressed like Peaches n’ Cream Barbies and pretending to like each other. Phaedra was really feeling this trip, saying it inspires you to think about where you came from, and Mynique did her Valley-girl best to ruin that moment by declaring “she’s never had race issues, you guys!” because she was raised by, and as, a white person. Mynique is the Justine Sacco of this group.
Once at the church, Porsha declares how connected she felt to her grandfather’s memory, as Old Young Man describes features of the church, including the diamond-shaped holes in the ground that were used as ventilation by people passing through on the Underground Railroad. Porsha laments that, owing to slavery, she can’t really ever find out where she came from, but that hey, there had to be an opening for the Underground Railroad somewhere because someone was driving the train.
Someone. Was driving. The train.
PORSHA THINKS THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD WAS AN ACTUAL RAILROAD! The granddaughter of civil-rights pioneer Hosea Williams feels very connected to a history she knows nothing about!
Phaedra calmly tells Porsha that it was “a euphemism,” and Kandi repeatedly says, “It was not an actual train! It was not an actual train!” while Porsha gazes at them open-mouthed, the cogs in her brain visibly grinding to a halt and the smoke whispering out of her ears. Porsha tries to redeem herself by saying hey, she “knows one person made it.” Of course, the one person who made the Underground Railroad! Everyone knows that guy. And it wasn’t Harriet Tubman, who Porsha knows was an actual tub.
Kenya, speaking for us all, says it is “hurtful to watch Porsha be so dumb,” and everyone hops on a trolley and goes directly into a bar to get as far away from this conversation as possible. The bones of Hosea Williams did so many revolutions in their grave they broke free, rolled hard enough to carve a NEW Underground Railroad that led directly to the Atlantic Ocean, and provided safe passage for any of Porsha’s ancestors who want to get the fuck away from her legacy of stupidity.
Drama the Third: Everyone Has Boned Myniques’s Husband
Everyone gets cocktails while Phaedra pumps again, and Mynique awkwardly brings up the fact that Kandi dated her husband, Chuck. If Kandi is being classy enough to keep her mouth shut, why would Mynique bring this up? And her husband clearly didn’t tell her anything about this relationship, so she was blindsided when she found out that what she had been told was a two-week relationship was actually something that carried over several years, with him paying her credit cards and buying her mom a Louis Vuitton purse. Kenya, like a dog with a bone, wants to know if it feels weird for Mynique to know that her potential new friend knows “how her husband likes his spinach” and what his junk looks like, so she almost passes out when Kandi, who just wants to get back to playing Bejeweled on her phone, says, “I’m not the only one at this table who dated him,” and outs Phaedra, who returns just in time to be ambushed with questions.
She brushes it off by saying they dated when they were in eighth grade and again in “college time.” This is old business, and she would never want Mynique to be uncomfortable or disrespect her by bringing it up, so she sort of clams up after that. Mynique has been sitting there, eyes ever widening, shouting things like, “Tacky!” and “Cray cray!” and sort of looking like she’s about to bust a spring, which she does when Porsha turns to her and says “You need to ask some questions because your husband didn’t tell you everything you need to know.”
Mynique let loose with all the rage of a woman whose name is spelled totally wrong and invoked the spirit of Sheree (R.I.P.) by calling Porsha “boo” and telling her “don’t check me, don’t act like my husband doesn’t tell me shit, that’s YOUR husband, and oh yeah, you don’t even have a husband anymore!” Damn, Mynique! You don’t go for the jug of the one person at the table who is trying to stick up for you! As Cynthia says, “You have to make sure your read is for people who need to get read.” Porsha apologized and NeNe, positively drained of energy, lightens the mood by joking about how Kenya and Cynthia dated Chuck, too. For a trip meant to encourage bonding, this is very exhausting so far.
Next week Cynthia cries, they go to a drag show, and freak out over a bug or a suicide ghost. Happy holidays!