The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Around-the-Way Girls

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Episode Title
Make-Ups and Breakdowns
Editor’s Rating

I know that she recently passed away, but I wish Todd’s mom Sharon had become a full-time part of the cast before she left this mortal coil. She could have taken over for both Kenya and Claudia, who are so inconsequential, they only showed up this week in a two-minute cooking-class segment. Do you think we forgot that Kenya once dumped store-bought noodles into a pan in an effort to impress then-boyfriend Walter? No one wants to see her O-face over caramelized onions, but I would watch Sharon threaten Mama Joyce all day long.

Before we get to the glory that is Sharon yelling, “I will punch her in her mouth!” we have to wrap up last week’s argument in Atlanta. NeNe is mad that Cynthia threw their friendship away, Cynthia is upset that NeNe called her husband a bitch, and they both do their best to cry around their fake eyelashes. Phaedra encourages everyone else to just leave, which is unprecedented — no one walks away from a fight! Especially if you’re not in it! I think they’re still suffering PTSD after last season’s pajama party. After some back and forth about respect, apologies, and what it means to be called out, Cynthia and NeNe hug, say things like, “You know I still love you,” an slow dance for, like, three solid minutes. Why do people who obviously hate each other say things like, “You know I still love you,” when it’s obviously untrue? NeNe has been all over Watch What Happens Live recently saying that they’ll never be friends again. Those words don’t mean what you think they mean!

Of course both had to decompress with their husbands, Tweedle Dick (Peter) and Tweedle Debilitated (Gregg), neither of which is very enthusiastic about this rekindled friendship. Tweedle Dick has been in “extreme paradise” with no desire to go back to competing with NeNe for his wife’s attention, and Tweedle Debilitated just wants someone to make him tea in his toilet mug and take a nap on the couch. Is it normal for people to run to their spouses and confess all of this weird friendship stuff to them? It feels immature to me, and I can’t imagine these guys actually care based on the fact that their faces lock into a look of permanent, intense brain-damage whenever Cynthia and NeNe start talking about each other.

Someone accused him of hair burglary with a straight face, so Derek J wedged his hams into wee Manolo Blahnik pumps and marched over to Phaedra’s office. This plot point eventually ended with Phaedra going to his salon to confirm he didn’t have any secret rooms, admitting that she won Biggest Flirt, Most Likely to Succeed, and Most Eccentric in high school, and failing to figure out how to turn the camera around on her phone. Annalise Keating, you should be quaking in your boots! Derek has his favorite awful lawyer on the case. What kind of high school calls its students “eccentric?” It’s called Most Unique, and we all won it and complained for weeks about the fact that the phrasing is redundant!

Right after Kandi put on every article of clothing she could find with words on it, she agreed to meet Todd in New York to see if she could smooth things over with his mom after her mom called Sharon a prostitute. She mostly agrees because Cynthia will be there too, for Fashion Week, which is her way of avoiding conflict and deflecting while she travels. When in doubt, just bring another stressed-out friend with you! Cynthia is stressed out about modeling in her friends’ show, which did not interest me in the least. Cynthia! You are ambulatory every single day of your life and you’ve been modeling for decades, so this crisis you’re having about the designer asking you to walk faster is unnecessary. I did think it was mean when he called her “Grandma Cindy,” but this is otherwise a non-story. The REAL story was the fact that her ex (Leon) and her current (Peter) were sitting side by side at the show, taking video of her and saying stuff like “I’m not mad at it” to each other. I know they act like the Waltons, but that was awkward to watch. I also want to know what’s going on with Uncle Jimmy, the tireless seamstress tucked into the back corner of designer Kithe Brewster’s showroom. Is anyone bringing you sandwiches, Uncle Jimmy? Have your legs withered away from disuse? Who cares if Cynthia can walk — can Uncle Jimmy walk unaided anymore, or has he been kept away from light and society for so long that he curses at the idea? In the end, Cynthia walked 50 feet in two boring dresses, and her Nobel Prize should have been mailed out by now.

Todd wanted to show Kandi his neighborhood in the Bronx, which meant making her step around subway piss, showing her his old jaillike school and the stairwell where he lost his virginity, getting a slice of pizza, and making her buy a pair of Timberlands. Throw in a few singular drops of liquid leaking on your head all year round and a subway car empty but for one masturbating homeless man in the corner, and you pretty much have New York in a nutshell, which Kandi could not give two shits about. She just walked around looking sour, obviously trying to humor Todd but secretly wishing she were back at the hotel. For all the shit he puts up with in Atlanta, including but not limited to her moving her crazy, disrespectful mother into their neighborhood, you’d think she could give Todd a day or two of kindness toward his home, but that would require a maturity level that Kandi doesn’t seem to possess.

There was already some residual tension from the dinner Kandi and Todd had with Cynthia and Peter, where Kandi made up excuses for her mom’s behavior and Todd refused to accept that “she’s just old” was a reasonable explanation for Mama Joyce being a total asshole, so by the time they met with Sharon, things were already at a fever pitch. Sharon gets a little tipsy on two huge margaritas, but something tells me she would have unleashed the Kraken all over Kandi even without alcohol. Mama Joyce called Sharon a prostitute, and then Kandi lied to Todd on camera about her having said it, so Sharon was heated on many fronts. She also uttered my favorite line to come out of this franchise in ages: “She called me a prostitute? Check my résumé.” I’m just tickled over the idea that she would put “prostitute” on her résumé if she had ever been one.

But she hasn’t, and that’s the point — Kandi is fine with her mother making up lies about other people, but she can’t handle anyone talking to her about it. From her lame defense of something so indefensible (“My mom says shit about everything all the damn time”) to her weak-willed apology (“Okay, I lied, whatever”), Kandi just comes out of this looking like a complete asshole. She defends how much she loves her mother like someone suffering from Stockholm syndrome, and it’s weird that she can’t admit how much this is hurting her husband and his family. I don’t know if Kandi is selfish, oblivious, or both, but Sharon doesn’t have time to find out — she flat-out says that she’s going to punch Mama Joyce in her mouth if Kandi can’t get her to apologize. She’s not scared or “scurred,” and she even threatened legal action! I sincerely love that Sharon said, “She started it, but I will end it.” Sharon for president of my life, please. This is a woman who earnestly says, “I lost my appetite,” as she is shoveling food directly into her face. If this were the 1980s, Sharon would be a folk hero, and you know it.

Next week, NeNe gets another gig, Phaedra cries, Kenya gets cock-blocked, and Apollo holds Phaedra uncomfortably while saying, “You’re still my wife.” Ew! See you then.