The Real Housewives of Atlanta
If you believe in movie-based curses like I do, there’s a poltergeist walking around Manila looking for a new group of friends to haunt. After a prolonged bout of fighting and hearing the word whore shouted more times than a year’s worth of Sundays at a Baptist church, Kenya and Phaedra finally made up. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but Phaedra might have apologized by saying, “I haven’t called you a whore this year. Not even once. I called you Satan, but I didn’t call you a whore,” and I might have slid off my couch and rolled all the way out the door and onto the street in excitement.
But a lot of stuff happened before that! Claudia wore a leggings-and-wrap-dress outfit in olive green that confused my eyeballs more than watching Mariah Carey kiss Brett Ratner, Cynthia admitted that she only recognized the lychee fruit from martinis after she blamed the previous night’s drunken behavior on the vegan diet at the Zen farm, and Kenya’s butt fell all the way out of a swimsuit that could never contain it all in the first five minutes. Then they all got on donkeys and rode to a volcano.
“Get on a donkey and ride to a volcano” is my new euphemism for “this relationship is fucked through no fault of your own,” and the perfect way to describe every friendship on every Housewives franchise. If you meet a friend for drinks and they tell you the guy they’ve been seeing blew off a date to play disc golf with his friends, I would say, “Girl, get on a donkey and ride to a volcano,” and you would know you have to stop dating puerile baby-men. Nothing bad even happened on this ride, unless you count the poor attendants who had to walk beside the people riding donkeys all the way up a mountain, and I do; I’m just wondering how this group came to be so disjointed that only the most random of vacation activities could bring them together.
Things got dicey when Porsha insisted on a “twerk-off” with Demetria on the bus; Kandi declared that Demetria can dance better, but Porsha has the bigger ass, so the only winner was no one. No one at all won, not even the gentle viewer. But without the twerk-off, we wouldn’t have heard Phaedra say one of the most confusing sentences of all time, in or out of context: “I want to go see the little people at the hobbit house! I’m so attracted to little people.” Are we just going to pretend that she’s not having a grand mal seizure on air? Is Phaedra routinely possessed by a fidgety ghost? How can she be so normal one moment, and then batshit insanity flies out of her face the next? I’m worried for her. Kandi, the annoying cruise director of the trip, feels like she has to point out every single second they’re all getting along, which, ironically, threatens to make everyone so angry that they just start fighting again. Don’t poke the sleeping giant, Kandi!
The Taal volcano in Batangas looks like a beautiful, foggy wonderland overlooking a crater-made lake, and Porsha immediately ruined the pastoral effect by posing like a Coachella attendee, and then everyone hit golf balls into the lake. All I kept thinking was, Some poor soul probably has to go diving for those goddamn golf balls, which sort of took the fun out of the moment. Phaedra was very upset to learn that her donkey guide had five children and a dead husband, so she took it upon herself to make that tragic moment all about herself by telling the translator that she knows what it’s like to lose love and hopes this woman won’t be afraid to love again. Going to jail for fraud isn’t even close to dying and leaving your wife to raise your five children on her own, but Phaedra has never exactly been good at keeping things in perspective. She slipped the woman what looked like a $20 and made a big production out of it, just like the Lord would want. What good is charity if no one sees it? Isn’t that the first chapter in Dianetics?
The whole time this is happening, NeNe is in New York, trying on her costumes for Cinderella and making costume designer William Ivey Long wildly uncomfortable. When he put her in a gown that looked like a mauve curtain with an inflatable tube underneath and asked her to twirl, she impolitely asked him to say “spin,” even though he had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Seconds later, he was grasping his pearls as Gregg slid over to mime slapping NeNe on the ass, and this is why we can’t have nice things. All she did was try on dresses throughout the episode, and if she’s still on this show next year, I will rip my television from the wall and throw it into traffic.
After the crew showered, they went to the local market to puke out some durian and make sexual innuendos about all of the vegetables on the stands, just like your 10-year-old cousin. Kenya accosted a cross-dresser with her twirling, and then they went back to the hotel for a slumber party. Only Demetria wore pajamas — Cynthia, doing her best Bob Dylan impersonation, shuffled in, cloaked in a blanket and wearing a dusty sombrero, Porsha looked like she was ready to do a demo on Kandi-Koated Nights, and everyone else looked like they were ready to fall asleep on some yoga mats again. After they tortured Dante, the private butler who accompanied their presidential hotel suite, by making him give them all shoulder massages, they ordered 95 desserts while Claudia informed them that Kenya and Phaedra were having their big talk at that very moment.
The meeting was pretty good for something years in the making. Kenya set the right tone by telling Phaedra to just listen first, because we all know Phaedra will leave a room without a word if she feels like she’s not being heard. There was a lot of talk and a lot of feelings — Kenya is mad at Phaedra for calling her “every whore in the world” and generally trying to destroy her — but Phaedra apologized sincerely and is ready for them to move forward. It was weird at first when she said she still wasn’t sure about the Apollo stuff, but I think she meant that it was hard for her to take her own path since she was married to him. She sort of had to stick by him even when he was being a dick. I don’t agree with that, of course, but at least Phaedra sees how that sort of loyalty has backfired all over her life.
After all of the apologizing, Kenya and Phaedra cried all over each other and prayed together. They prayed for forgiving hearts and healing, and Kenya cried the whole time. Then they hugged, and the great tire fire that is their friendship was fixed. They did it! They made up. After the peace treaty, they went back to the room and played the drinking game Never Have I Ever, Cynthia admitted that another model touched her boobs many years ago, and, in the words of Kandi and Dr. Seuss, nobody got dragged that day. During their last dinner the following night, everyone is getting along, so when Porsha mentions that NeNe would have “fallen in line” with the spirit of forgiveness had she been on the trip, everyone laughed right in her face. NeNe’s absence is the only thing that even made this possible, since she sucks air out of every room faster than an industrial vacuum hose.
Next week looks like it’s going to be a shitshow of epic proportions when NeNe shows up for a charity event and refuses to speak to anyone. See you then!