The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Master of Puppets

Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Episode Title
Puerto Read-Co
Editor’s Rating

With a simple swish of her acid-laced tongue, Claudia rocketed to the top of my favorite-housewife list. She ripped NeNe a well-deserved new one last night, even while she was busy hiding her hammertoes in the sand. Her skills and talents are endless!

How did they all end up in Puerto Rico, yelling at each other around a family-style table while frantic servers tried to keep up with NeNe’s micromanaging their drink orders? Demetria, the non-housewife who shoes up like a bad habit week after week, invited them to see her perform. The thirst is so real in this one — when your janky video fails to play, you could easily get over the embarrassment by posting it to YouTube instead of taking half of the VIP section to another country. When she met with Kandi to go over the details (and try to convince Kandi to work with her, which she deflected like a Jedi waving away a Sith lord), I was struck by how excited she was to bring together this group of haters, knowing nothing about their personal dynamic and everything about how they ice each other out all the time. Someone always thinks she can swoop in and Krazy Glue these friendships back together only to end up crying, bleeding from a head wound, and actively looking to relocate to Alpharetta. Kandi apologized for unleashing Goji Berry on her at the party last week before offering her a pair of remote-controlled panties as penance. The only remote control I want in my drawers is the ability for them to carry themselves right into the washing machine. Am I crazy, or is there something decidedly unsexy about a man sitting across a room and making your chonies buzz at his whim? My vagina is not a tiny Bigfoot, sir!

Kenya’s anemic search for a new assistant at the Bailey Agency School of Fashion House of Doughnuts gave her a chance to mind-meld with Cynthia about how mean NeNe is now, just to get a baseline before they all go on vacation together. Cynthia, of course, had her assistant put together a search for Kenya’s assistant, and now we’re all stuck in the Matrix waiting for Laurence Fishburne to set us free. I know these women run successful companies while I regularly face choices like do I get to have health insurance this year or eat, but watching them try to be in charge always feels like an elementary-school play about what it means to be the boss. Kenya didn’t like that NeNe looked at her “like she had the Ebola virus,” so they snickered about it instead of confronting NeNe with their thoughts right before the ground opened up and swallowed Cynthia into the depths of hell. Just kidding — Beelzebub only had room for Kenya this time.

NeNe and Phaedra are also preparing for the trip by meeting Demetria at her recording studio and reading her for filth. Were they independently raised by jackals? There is absolutely no reason for Phaedra to come at Demetria the way she did, and even less of a reason for NeNe to sit by and laugh about it instead of trying to intervene. I don’t like the way Bravo is pushing Demetria on us like so many Kim Gs, either, but they came at her in a way that was certifiably insane. It was mostly Phaedra asking weird questions, like “Did you ever try crack?” after Demetria reminded her that she played a crackhead on House of Payne (how did I sleep on this show? They had crackheads!) and telling her she’s too old to be a pop star while NeNe handed out unsolicited advice about making Roger Bobb chase her a little more. Phaedra’s stuff bothered me more; it was so uncharacteristic of her, and it felt like she was lashing out at this innocent girl simply because she was new enough to take her shit. She was aggressive and arrogant, and it made her look sad.

I have to hand it to Demetria for grouping them off perfectly in order to fly them in to Puerto Rico for a trip she and Roger Bobb were arranging and financing: Porsha, Kandi, and Demetria flew in first, then the Three Amigos Claudia, Kenya, and Cynthia arrived, with sour-ass NeNe and Phaedra taking over the dinner shift. But if she knew enough to separate them on the plane, why on earth would she try to bring them on this vacation to begin with? Roger Bobb isn’t coming because he is apparently the busiest motherfucker in all of Atlanta, and Porsha flips a coin with Kandi to get one of the two rooms with a terrace. At least they didn’t kick Demetria out of a master suite they way they did at the haunted mansion in Savannah last year. I love that Porsha and Kandi sat on the rooftop bar listening to the Three Amigos’s laughter; it reminded me that they are actual, factual haters who need to get a grip, and made it so much easier for me to side with the other three. Maybe Kenya’s idea to dunk them all in the sea until they decided to be nice wasn’t such a bad idea. Demetria asks every single person there about why Phaedra is such a bee-yotch, and they all say the same thing — she’ll treat you like crap, but if you call her on it, she’ll back off. I cannot in my adult life imagine making excuses like this for another adult with a straight face. Phaedra proves her jerkiness by insulting Demetria’s stylist by calling him “this” upon arrival and saying that her current outfit was her best one yet, and I loved the look on his face when he wheeled around and said, “This?!” He casually called her out, and she did indeed back right down! She must have a daily limit, because it backfires horribly when someone else tries to call her out later in the evening.

I can barely handle the way NeNe swanned around her room and told Demetria she could “make do with a small space.” There is no point in this entire ordeal where either NeNe or Phaedra remember that they’re invited guests, so please keep that in mind when they lose their damn minds momentarily.

It’s weird how the fight actually starts, because it’s so clear that Phaedra and NeNe are acting like absolute assholes to Demetria right from the jump.  Phaedra was complaining about everything from mosquitoes to clouds before her butt even touched the chair, and a fed-up Demetria called her on it like she was instructed to by the rest of the group. I think Demetria had some salient points — why did you ask me if I was a crackhead, how dare you say that I was too old to follow my musical dreams — which Phaedra, a lawyer, rebutted by screaming nonsense at her. Why did she even come on this trip if she has such a bug up her butt about Demetria? Demetria hit her with the one-two punch by saying the only thing they had in common was the number 8, which is both the length of Apollo’s sentence and the length of time she and Roger Bobb have been a couple. Don’t say Tiny Temper can’t stand up for herself!

Cynthia butts in to get in Phaedra’s face, giving NeNe a chance to yell at her for interfering since she wasn’t even in the recording studio when Phaedra made her stank-ass comments. After Phaedra gives Demetria a weak apology and says, “Don’t invite me anywhere else, child,” Claudia takes up the mantle to point out that NeNe and Phaedra are the rudest of rude assholes.

You have to hand it to Claudia — she absolutely did not back down in the face of NeNe’s volcano of rage, and she knew she was right not to. NeNe really trotted out everything she could think of to bring Claudia down a notch, like calling her a puppet and saying she didn’t have a mind of her own, but Claudia gave it right back to her by mentioning NeNe’s multiple arrests and stripper past. I howled when Kandi said Claudia was reading her like Hooked on Phonics! Demetria looked sad while they traded barbs, and right after Claudia said NeNe’s hair looked like a package of ramen noodles, NeNe left the building and her shitty alter-ego, NayNay, arrived. NayNay is just the unhinged version of NeNe, so it’s no wonder everyone’s heads snapped to attention when she said Claudia was a whore and a “half-breed” whose clit has left her body. Those are the kinds of insults that are paired best with pea soup spewing out of the face of a deranged, possessed child. While it’s probably not entirely fair for Claudia to bring up NeNe’s sex-working past, all bets are off when you say someone is a worn-out, oversexed nobody. I’m glad NeNe finally has an adversary! Everyone else is too weak-willed to let her know she’s a monster, so I welcome Claudia with open arms.

The fight continues next week: Cynthia crowns Claudia the new queen of reading, Demetria apologizes to Phaedra for some reason, and then they all play a game of Pass the Dildo on the beach. I hope Claudia is welcomed back to Atlanta with a parade and visit to Dr. “I’m Not Scared” Morris to get those corns and bunions lanced or shaved or whatever. See you then!