RHOA Recap: Where’s the Beat?

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Beauties and the Beat
Season 8 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

Hi, people! I’m Rae, and I’ll be covering Real Housewives of Atlanta until superhero Phoebe Robinson returns from her trip. I love these women, so let’s get started!

We open in the very pregnant Kandi’s house, where she talks with Todd about decorating their child’s nursery. Is anyone else worried for Kandi and this baby? Not only does Todd not want any adorable decorations on the nursery walls, but he doesn’t seem to commit any real time to actually raising the baby either. Kandi, gloriously slumped over her belly in her confessional shots, tells us that she thinks a baby is a “joint venture.” Does her husband know that? Because with all the negotiating of babysitting shifts, it sounds like he’d prefer to be a silent partner.

Todd. You are not busy. Brushing wave gel into your hair and tying your do-rag super tight is not a day job. Raise your child! Ugh. I feel like they should’ve negotiated terms before they tossed out the condoms. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.

Next we see Kim Fields welcoming her stylist/friend Victoria, to her home. (Given both their presentations, I’d bet Victoria is more a friend than a stylist.) Kim enlists Victoria to help her plan a “Beatless Brunch,” wherein the women arrive more dressed-down than usual and write poems to “remind” themselves how beautiful they actually are. I mean, I guess? I understand wanting to encourage women not to feel pressured to present a certain way all the time. But it’s presumptuous and condescending to assume that a woman whose face is beat when she’s around you (and on camera) is out of touch with her natural beauty.

Next we see Phaedra, who is helping Ayden, the coolest kid in the world, make a birthday card for his father. Not only is Ayden super adorable, but he spells better than I do, and I’m trying not to let that mess with my self esteem.

Kim calls each of the women to invite them to the Beatless Brunch, leaving a voice mail that’s wonderfully patronizing. “My goal with this is to celebrate how beautiful you all are without all of the extra makeup that comes like we’re always going on the red carpet,” she says. “I think that we have to remember that makeup is to enhance, not to cover up what we naturally have.” Girl, please. What’s wrong with being red-carpet ready all the time when you’re on a TV show?! Why assume glamour is a cover-up? I dunno, I think Kim is overwhelmed by these women, which is fine. They’re certainly a unique bunch. I just wish she’d find a different way to try to relate to them.

Kandi and Carmon are talking, but I’m too distracted by Kandi’s colored contacts to listen. I’m guessing Carmon said something about the baby, because Todd comes in to discuss hiring nannies. Todd doesn’t want the nanny to be a man “because I said so,” and rattles off something about being the man of the house. Todd’s chauvinism would be annoying if he weren’t pint-size, and so I just laugh at his insecurity. I hope their baby doesn’t inherit his Little Man Syndrome. Todd and Kandi have arranged a session with a baby coach, but Todd thinks he’s already prepared. He’s been “Googling stuff,” you know? According to Todd, this is his first baby “from scratch,” and now I’m worried he thinks children are cornbread recipes. Todd proves himself capable of at least changing a diaper and swaddling a baby, though, so I’ll let up for now.

Cynthia and her gaggle of assistants meet with a representative from Uptown magazine to discuss her eyewear launch party. One of Cynthia’s assistants is wearing shades INDOORS from an eyewear line that’s not her own, which is both hilarious and awful. He’s instructed to switch to Cynthia’s shades, which corrects the issue of wearing the wrong brand but not of wearing sunglasses indoors. Then Cynthia Bailey, pot-stirrer extraordinaire, announces to the Uptown rep that she wants both Kim and Kenya to produce and direct a commercial for her eyewear. Why? Just pick Kim and move forward. Kim is an experienced director with a reputation for good work, and Kenya isn’t. This is a no-brainer.

Phaedra meets with her divorce attorney. They discuss, among other things, a parenting plan for when she divorces Apollo. The thought of Phaedra taking a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old to a prison to visit their father is a bummer to me. Phaedra says that she’s deferring to a therapist in assessing the kids’ readiness to see Apollo, and I think that’s the smart way to do this. Randy Kessler, divorce attorney to every cast member who has been on this show, joins them to advise Phaedra on her divorce plans. It’s selfish to say, but I hope this is resolved as quickly as possible. I want to see single Phaedra out on dates again, especially if that means she’ll go back to the well where she found ReDICKulous.

After a brief scene detailing Porsha’s lack of knowledge about how tech clouds work, we finally get to the day of Kim’s Beatless Brunch. Kim is in her kitchen, working out the details with her caterers, and I notice that she’s wearing some eye shadow, mascara, and gloss. That’s not a full “beat,” but it’s certainly not her “natural” self. That’s okay, though; none of the other women arrive without makeup to the makeup-free brunch either. It’s opposite day in Atlanta.

Brunch goes … well enough! Kenya talks about her trip to Detroit, and Cynthia invites the women to Jamaica, where she intends to film her commercial. But then Kim gives each woman a hideously bedazzled compact, pen, and book with which to admire their natural beauty and write a poem. Ugh. Instead, all the women express why they like to wear makeup, and Kenya has the biggest gripe about Kim’s intentions. Kim explains that she doesn’t mean to be judgmental, which is probably true. It just comes off that way sometimes.

Later, Cynthia and Kim meet to discuss her commercial. Kenya is also supposed to attend the meeting, but gives a flimsy excuse for not showing up when she’s really hanging with her boy toy, Matt. It’s no matter. Kim is a professional. She presents Cynthia with a plan, replete with a fully realized concept and storyboards. Cynthia still insists on having Kim and Kenya work together, which seems stupid, but I like drama, so I’m looking forward to the fallout in Jamaica.

What’d you guys think of this episode? Was Kenya overreacting to the Beatless Brunch? Should Kim and Kenya work together on Cynthia’s commercial? Sound off in the comments!

RHOA Recap: Where’s the Beat?