Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta ‘Reunion Part 2’ Recap: Respect Is Earned

Everyone was amazing last night. I’m not a violent person, but mayyyyybe if they started beating each other up during the regular season it would be more exciting? Andy Cohen, consider bringing back Celebrity Death Match but just for Housewives, because the aftermath of the Porsha Rip Down was actually entertaining.

The cast was as sober as a grip of judges on their way back to the studio, and Andy was sure to tell viewers that they don’t condone violence. Well, he sort of needs to amend that — they don’t condone physical violence, but they will let any old heifer wave a wand in your face and shout at you through a damn megaphone until you are ready to tear your hair out at the root. While Kenya was stumping for the You Withdraw, That’s the Law™ campaign on how to deal with violence, NeNe was quick to point out that scepter waving and megaphone screaming is also a violation, and it’s the first time I’ve agreed with NeNe all year. Even Kandi had to remind Andy that she is the captain of the SS Drag-a-Bitch, and things could pop off at any moment.

Cynthia, blinded into distraction by her own shiny legs, said she didn’t feel like Porsha was under attack, but she is both wrong and effectively useless. If she’s proven anything this season, it’s that she will avoid confrontation like a dog licking all the peanut butter off of a pill you’re trying to sneak him. Someone actually called her husband a bitch multiple times, and she stood there like scarecrow (albeit a scarecrow with impeccable cheekbones). Can you use Kickstarter for bail money? Because if anyone ever called my husband a bitch, I would be sitting in jail with a smile on my face for snatching every last hair off of her head with my bare hands.

I was really with NeNe for the first half of this episode, particularly when she informed Kenya that she was “smart and sane” as a reason to not engage with her further. Kenya reacts to those words the way vampires react to sunlight. She kept the “poor me” train rolling by talking about how much fighting she’s had to do in her life, and I fell off my couch when Kandi said, “What is this, The Color Purple?” and started mocking Kenya. All I’ve wanted all season was for people to openly mock Kenya!

Did you know that the greatest mystery of our time is not who shot J.R. or why jeans manufacturers can’t just band together and figure out a universal size already, but whether or not NeNe and Phaedra knew each other in Athens? They spent an insulting amount of time on this last night, but we did get to hear Phaedra say “slut-bucket” and refute the rumor that being smart precluded her from being the “head doctor,” so it’s not a total loss. For some reason, Kenya jumped into the conversation; Phaedra told her to shut up, and that she can’t be a housewife because she can’t get a husband. Kenya of course made a comment about Apollo straying in retaliation, and I swear Phaedra wanted to say, “Let him stray! I’m waiting for him to stray all the way back to prison so I can get on with my damn life.” This was not the insult Kenya thought it would be.

Mama Joyce, whom I simultaneously despise and want to see committed, made an appearance to show off her 40-lb. stress weight loss and allow us to revel in the flashbacks of her acting like five maniacs fighting six maniacs inside a human-shaped sack. This is a woman with no remorse, who trades between giggles and outrage like a bath salts addict, who still does not firmly know that her daughter is getting married in one week, not two. Apparently Todd’s mom called Mama Joyce a bitch? Even though Kandi said they had to hold her down at the time, when recounting it, Mama Joyce sounds like a child reciting a Christmas wish list and really doesn’t seem to know how to emotionally respond. Mama Joyce is deranged, and since Kandi operates in a cloak of denial, it’s unlikely the woman will ever get any help. The cast all laughed along and placated her, even when she was threatening to choke them out, and she’s totally delusional about her role in her daughter’s misery.

And Kandi is a huge part of the problem. Mama Joyce wants ALL the credit for Kandi’s success, pointing out how much she sacrificed for her children as a way to justify her continued emotional abuse. She even claimed credit for the house that we watched Kandi buy her last season. Kandi doesn’t feel that her mother needs to justify anything when it comes to how much her allowance is or how she earns her living (by living off of her daughter), but she also points out that her mother has opened credit cards in her name (“One time!”) and squandered her money on gambling and the Home Shopping Network. You can’t have it both ways, Kandi! You either give the woman money she clearly feels she deserves and you don’t get a say in how she spends it, or you hire a long-overdue caretaker to oversee her daily actions and strap her onto one of those Hannibal Lecter boards like she deserves.

Finally, in a move that shocked everyone, Cynthia actually stood up for herself when Andy was ready to address her friendship status with NeNe. She knows that “people think she lives up NeNe’s ass” because she keeps trying to be a good friend, but also recognizes how little NeNe respects her, and actually names it. It was a revelation to watch her point out NeNe’s double standards and, through tears, explain that there is sisterhood and love, but no respect, from NeNe, who sat and literally pouted the entire time Cynthia was talking. When she finally did talk, she was clipped and rude, and everyone pointed out that her callousness was indicative of exactly what Cynthia was spelling out, the only difference being that NeNe seemed unfazed. NeNe’s default status was “Cynthia and I can talk about this later,” but Cynthia thankfully wasn’t falling for it. Phaedra was whispering “Help her, Jesus” and “Fix it, Jesus” from the other side of the room, but Jesus couldn’t help them — Cynthia isn’t sure if her friendship with NeNe is salvageable, and NeNe only wants to talk about it in situations where she can be in complete control. I almost jumped out of my seat when Cynthia said “I want the same respect from you that you expect from your friends.” It’s too bad NeNe isn’t prepared to give it.

What do you think — was NeNe right to want to keep her Friendship Summit with Cynthia private? Or was she acting like a stuck-up ol’ hag about it?

Next week, the sun implodes as a result of Cynthia finding her backbone. Just kidding! It’s the final reunion, and the husbands are coming. There will be much yelling as Kenya calls Apollo a criminal, Peter eats a peach, NeNe tells Kenya she’s the lowest-paid person on the show, and Phaedra yells at someone about a “funkbox.” It’s the last show of the season — see you then!

Photo: Bravo