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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Stanky Leg, Stanky Heart

There have never been more forced interactions than there are this season, and it’s starting to break everyone down.

Kenya went to Lawrence’s salon to meet her new best friend, Mugshot Marlo, and inform everyone about her upcoming masquerade ball. They haven’t hung out since the vineyard, but seem to be pretty close now, especially since both are on the outs with NeNe. You know the old saying — the enemy of my enemy will watch me drag a hot comb through my weave. Both agree that they’ve only tolerated NeNe all these years because she’s older than they are, which is gold-plated bullshit. Marlo firmly inserted herself in NeNe’s life — remember all of the “we’re Louboutin bitches” stuff from last season? — and Kenya is enough of an opportunist to always hang with the alpha dog, which she proves by throwing a charity function in an attempt to win back NeNe’s affection. The theme of the party is Eyes Wide Shut, which makes sense considering most of the cast is loosely enacting their own special Kubrickian visual nightmare on us from week to week.

A Mother’s Love is still trampling forward, and Kandi is holding auditions with actually talented people this time around. She’s already hired someone from Danity Kane, someone from 112, and well-known singer Shirley Murdock. Well, well known if you grew up with my grandmother in the '80s, who listened to Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass, and Shirley Murdock’s band Zapp on a goddamn loop. It’s Porsha’s turn and she’s trying out for the little sister role of Jada in her best flesh-colored pantsuit, which I found deeply disturbing and highly unflattering. Don Juan was 100 percent on the “this motherfucker cannot sing” train, but Porsha actually blew them away singing a gospel tune well within her range. The problem is that Porsha can’t act, and that’s because Porsha can’t read. Let’s not mince words — Porsha is illiterate, as evidenced by her saying “I know I’m going to be convicted” instead of “I know I’m going to have conviction,” and literally everything else she’s said over her past two seasons on the show. She went off script, unable to even memorize a line about hot dogs, and the stress and excitement of auditioning caused her to “black out” and “go to the spiritual zone.” Let’s hope someone on the other side pulled up a Sweet Pickles truck and taught her the ABCs.

Cynthia gathered her staff at the Bailey Agency School of Fashion House of Doughnuts to do something for Kenya, even though she has no idea what it is she’s doing. It turns out she’s helping Kenya audition men to be auctioned off as part of her charity event, which is basically male objectification in the guise of helping people. Cynthia is okay to ogle, reminding people that her husband is 52 years old. Let her look, people! She hitched herself to a geriatric star! Kenya, always skating on coochie crack thin ice around Cynthia, invited Marlo to help judge, but first they had to spit on each other’s hair and paw each other like cats. Am I doing friendship wrong? I would pop someone in their MOUF if they put their spit on my hair, HOW DARE YOU? Six men came through, including a personal trainer, a Hawaiian shirt aficionado, Eddie Murphy from 1986, and a former football player named Damien, who asked if they “wanted him to get nekkid” five seconds after he started talking. Goddamit, Damien! Put it away, Damien, and act like you were taught some sense. There weren’t nearly enough men to audition, considering Kenya wanted to auction off ten guys, and Cynthia thinks she should have handled the promotion. Not so fast, Doughnuts — you have your own history of shitty castings to contend with.

It’s Porsha’s turn to organize the field trip this week, and she decides everyone should try roller derby, so we got to watch everyone throw themselves around concrete on wheels. Kenya got competitive right away (“I’m from Detroit and it’s a requirement that you know how to skate”) and Phaedra showed up with her eyes closed on her way home from court. She and Kandi, dubbed “the Never Do Nothing Twins” by Kenya, sat on the sidelines and napped, mostly showing up for the paycheck, and Phaedra called Porsha “Ol’ Stanky Leg” when she fell repeatedly and even hurt her shoulder a little bit.

Everyone was pleased that Kenya finally said she was sorry for any involvement she may have had in the fight, and they all sort of made up. Everyone except for NeNe, who wasn’t there. Porsha was thrilled to learn that she got the part in Kandi’s play, and then immediately called her character Jade instead of Jada. Porsha needs an ESL class for native English speakers who are just idiots. An EFL class, if you will.

Kandi casually worked out to Apollo and Phaedra’s DVD in what is probably the exercise room of one of her houses, content to sort of lift her leg and sort of punch the air until Carmon came in with some bad news. It turns out a guy named Benny and his girlfriend Crystal were the culprits Mama Joyce kept talking about, the people telling her things about Todd. But the only problem is that Mama Joyce offered to pay Benny to set Todd up and make it look like he was out with a bunch of girls, hoping to get a picture of him in the action of simply being around other women as some sort of proof that he’s a dirtbag. Carmon called Crystal and cussed her out, causing Mama Joyce to call Carmon and shout expletives at her, threatening to drag her up the street like a rag and calling her a lowdown heifer. The apple doesn’t fall far from the drag-a-bitch tree! All of the Burrusses will drag all of us into every bitch. Their family crest is a woman being pulled by her hair directly into a bitch.

In true Kandi fashion, she only said, “That’s crazy” repeatedly and did nothing to stand up for her friend or her fiancé. She’s stuck on a vision of a happy family at her wedding, but I agree with Carmon — it’s time to get a new vision.

NeNe showed up to Cynthia’s office to make fun of the time zone clocks she has on the wall, talk about her new weave, and insist that she is not going to Kenya’s ball because she didn’t receive a personal invitation. You got an Evite, NeNe! And Kenya can even see that you opened it! But we know from past experience that NeNe needs a gold-plated dove to learn Italian and serenade her in a Puccini-style opera before she’ll even consider leaving her house. Kenya probably should have called to tell her that she was the guest of honor, but that small annoyance isn’t enough to refuse the party outright. Cynthia put on her “I’m listening” Frasier face and continued to walk the line between caring friend and “I’m going to pretend I’m not involved but I’m really, really involved.”

Kandi had to tell Todd about the phone call Carmon got from her mom. He got really excited when he heard that Carmon called to cuss Crystal out (“That’s what I’m talking about!”) because he keeps hoping Kandi will do the same to her mom. Instead, Carmon came out to the courtyard — which they had to call her on her phone to give her directions to because KANDI’S HOUSE IS SO BIG — and Kandi went nuts when Todd admitted he doesn’t have any respect for her mom. How can she seriously expect him to sit back and take it after all this time?! Carmon insisted there is no logic behind Mama Joyce’s attacks, and Todd flat-out told Kandi he would eventually leave her because her mom has her so mind-fucked. Kandi was hurt and started to cry, but said she was still torn because her mother would always stand by her. Um, your mom is making it so that she’ll be the only person left, which is not the same as being the only person to stand by you, Kandi. Both Carmon and Todd talked Kandi into going to therapy, saying she should work on herself so she can eventually work on whatever is going on with her and her mom.

This masquerade ball is happening! And it’s happening at a place called Chateau de L’imaginaire. Kenya is dressed like a goth peacock and still not sure if NeNe is coming, even though Cynthia has been thwarting NeNe with texts and phone calls all day. Kenya thinks NeNe would look like a monster if she didn’t show up, but I think her outfit already filled that niche.

Miss Lawrence showed up dressed for a funeral with an orbiting black lampshade around his face, and someone else showed up in a bedazzled Cthulu mask. Kenya told Lexis she looked gorgeous while she scanned the crowd and didn’t even make eye contact with her, and the only white male model being auctioned off was forced to dress like the Phantom of the Opera. But NeNe finally shows up with a shit-smelling expression on her face, attitude oozing off of her like sorcery flowing off of Storm from X-Men. Gregg looks nervous, and I imagine he got an earful in the car on the way over and knows what the rest of the crowd doesn’t, which is that NeNe is there to raise absolute hell. First she ignores Kenya instead of saying hello, and then, when Kenya was introducing her as her very good girlfriend and explaining why she chose the Saving Our Daughters charity as a nod to NeNe, NeNe snatched the mike and said:

“It’s amazing how many good friends I have that I don’t know about. Saving Our Daughters is one of the many charities I work with.”

THAT’S IT! That’s it. Mike snatch, two sentences, mike drop. Cynthia tried to gently tell NeNe that speech was garbage, but NeNe immediately went on the defensive, saying she didn’t know why she was there, this event wasn’t honoring her, and nothing about the night was for her. This was so ugly to watch — why didn’t NeNe stay home? She had no desire to be there, and couldn’t even be gracious in the face of a charity event. Everything about this season is showing how much NeNe has changed, particularly how she feels she should be treated now that she’s acted in a couple of TV shows. Her attitude sucks. The only thing that brightened this whole interaction was the auctioneer in the background yelling, “This man is 35 and has no kids — you can’t even find that on eBay!”

Peter walked away, but came back to tell Cynthia he wanted to leave. Everyone decides to leave (Porsha, Phaedra, Marlo, and Kandi weren’t there), and Peter and NeNe duke it out in the driveway. Apparently he (accurately) thought NeNe was being rude, and that it made him and others uncomfortable to witness such a tense scene at a nice event. NeNe doesn’t think it’s a man’s place to be in women’s business, but that clearly doesn’t apply to Gregg, who is right there putting his whisper-voice in the equation! Peter asks NeNe why she bothered to come if she couldn’t be graceful, and I swear to God the ground cracked beneath him and steam rose up as NeNe cursed him with her eyes. But she didn’t have an answer, because the real answer is that she was acting like a supreme asshole, so instead she said, “None of these bitches here are on my level!” like the narcissistic monster she’s become. No one felt like contending with her, so they just walked to their white cars and drove home.

Next time, NeNe cries bully, Peter “gives bitch assedness,” Cynthia hosts something called the Bailey Bowl, and Marlo gets into a yelling match with NeNe, causing her to throw and smash things to the ground! Holy shit. See you then!