The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: NeNe Returns!

By
Nene Leakes. Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Episode Title
Ms. Parks Goes to Washington
Season
8
Episode
11
Editor’s Rating
4/5

Friends! I hope you're all doing well with this "New Year, New Me" thing because I am not. I just baked a whole tray of Toll House cookies and ate all of them in five minutes because I'm still on that "New Year, Same Old Emotional Eating." Hooray!

Anyway, another episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta is in the can. In "Ms. Parks Goes to Washington," Phaedra goes to D.C. for her Save Our Boys organization, Kenya and Aunt Lori get into a fight over Kenya's birth mom, and — OH WHO CARES?! Miss NeNe Leakes is baaack! I know some of you are over her shenanigans, but she's so funny and her teeth are so white. When she smiles, I'm like, "Is that my ex-boyfriend on TV?" (My ex is a very pale Italian dude.) Moving on. I'm happy that NeNe is guest starring this year. It'll liven things up a bit, and this season has definitely lacked enough awesome, shady one-liners.

We start with Phaedra and her sons packing for their trip to D.C. The city is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. It's cute and oh-so important for her sons to attend, considering the state of America. She's also meeting with some politicians to talk up her Save Our Sons organization, and we see that Sheree and Kim will be joining this trip. (This makes sense, they have sons too.) And so is … Porsha? Not to be stank, but I've had my fill of Porsha this season. I think she needs to be featured less, but I digress.

Kandi and Todd head to another doctor's appointment for their baby. Todd's main issue is that if they have a boy, he doesn't want his son wearing open-toe OR closed-toe sandals. Todd:

You can't go one day without getting caught up in unnecessary drama, so how about we chill on the arbitrary concerns? Thanks! He does say that if they end up having a daughter, he doesn't want to introduce her to weaves and perms at a young age — which I am fully on board with — and then in confessional, Kandi says that guys think they don't like weaves and makeup and perms, but they never want to date women who don't have all that stuff, so BLOOP! Point Kandi AND Todd. Let kids be natural when they're kids, but don't complain about a woman's appearance when you end up with women who look that way. Have a big plate of shut up and sit down. Thanks again!

Apparently, this restaurant thing is still happening. Todd wants the restaurant to be nothing but recipes from the OLG, a.k.a. the old lady gang, a.k.a. Kandi's moms and aunts. The only issue? He hasn't asked for their permission yet. Of course, he doesn't think that'll be a problem. And, of course, that means it'll be a problem. Across town, construction on Kenya's house is still happening. She invites Cynthia over, and updates her on the family reunion, the stuff with her mom, and that thing with Aunt Lori. I really do hope we learn why Lori was so mad at Kenya. Poor Kenya doesn't deserve this. Speaking of sad, Apollo calls Ayden from prison. Ooof. I'm about to make another tray of cookies, y'all.

Phaedra and her sons are in D.C. along with the nanny, the personal assistant, the stylist, and the hair-and-makeup person. Meanwhile, Kim has no team helping her with her two sons. I'll say this: As much as I gripe about Kim being boring, I like that she's more down-to-Earth. A lot of women in the Real Housewives world are always over-the-top and living lives they can't afford. Anyway, Phaedra is getting ready to meet with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson from Florida, who started a program that's sent about 20,000 black men to college. AMAZING!!

And then Porsha shows up and says she's ready to get her Olivia Pope on. #SIDEEYE.

Kim is running late, so Phaedra leaves a car for her while the rest of the crew visit Congresswoman Wilson, who is rocking a bedazzled version of the red cowboy hat in Brokeback Mountain because why not? Congresswoman Wilson is living her best life, which means saving black men's lives and rocking some bling-bling from Jo-Ann Fabrics. In short, she's everything I hope to be when I get older. But most importantly, she's down to team up with Phaedra. Yay! And then she gets real. Congresswoman Wilson starts talking about jail and about how society doesn't like black boys. Kim is pretty much like:

Then she takes her sons out of the room. LOL. Awkward, but Kim has the right to decide what her sons aren't mature enough to hear.

Aunt Lori and Che, Kenya's cousin, come by to see Kenya for the first time since Detroit and it is … really uncomfortable. Lori explains that she never wants to be in the middle of a fight, and that she loves her as much as she loves Kenya's mom, Patricia. Lori says that Patricia had every right to give up Kenya, and Kenya hasn't taken the time to see things from Patricia's perspective. HUH? Kenya just wants some closure. Is that too much to ask? Why is Lori acting like Kenya is wrong here? And how exactly is this not choosing a side? She tells Kenya to stop wanting a relationship with her birth mother. Oy.

I'll say this: Kenya should not have showed up with a camera crew to confront her mom. However, for Lori and Che to be like, "This is a sensitive situation and we should never talk about it" is unfair to Kenya. Patricia is her birth mom. If she listens to them — if she just pretends that Patricia doesn't exist — that seems like it could cause psychological damage in the long run. Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems pretty messed up. Hopefully, Kenya will find closure in her own way.

Back in D.C., Phaedra is putting together a luncheon and Kim's sons couldn't be more over this. LOL. Then her youngest child, Quincy, wants to take a nap, so they leave before the luncheon begins. Oh well, what can you do? When a child is fussy, a child is fussy. Sheree goes to the van to check on Kim, then tries to lay a guilt trip on her for missing the luncheon. Boo! Do we really need one mother judging another mother on how she's handling her two-year-old? I like Sheree, but she's totally trying to start drama, which is why I'm glad Kim shuts it down immediately.

We return to Atlanta. At family dinner, Kandi and Todd bring up the restaurant. It turns out they want to open the restaurant ONE MONTH after the birth of the baby. WHAT? Todd is like, "We're going to call it the Old Lady Gang" and Aunt Berta is unconvinced. Good luck, y'all! Meanwhile in D.C., it's the day of the Million Man March. Porsha is dressed like she's going on a Tinder date. She's drooling over Sheree's 19-year-old son, Kairo, who is insanely hot. Someone pass me a church fan so I can cool thy loins. Anyway, Kim and her fam have to leave before the march because she has a job back in the ATL. The march goes really well, and is really moving: Moms share heartbreaking stories of their sons being murdered by police.

Peter and Cynthia are preparing some snacks and drinks for NeNe and Greg, who are coming over. (It seems like the two ladies will repair their friendship. Yay!) NeNe wears a slouch button-down, which looks like something Diane Lane would wear in a rom-com as if to say, "This why this heaux ain't got a man." Thankfully, both women seem to be in a much better place … until Cynthia says that Kenya is her girl. I had to pause like a Pandora music station with bad WiFi. Cynthia, please do not let Kenya be your girl. She's a mess that even a Swiffer WetJet can't clean up. Anyway, Cynthia corrects herself and says that Kenya is a friend. And I like this slightly nicer side of NeNe. Let's see how long it lasts.

Alrighty, what did you think of NeNe's return? Did you heart also break listening to Ayden talk with Apollo?

Also: I'll be on the West Coast for two weeks, and I'm staying with people who don't have cable — yes, it's ungodly — so I'll miss the next couple of episodes of RHOA. I'll return on February 7 with more snarkitude. Love you. Miss you.