The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Let’s rate our ladies opening taglines, shall we? We’ll start with our center peach holder, Miss Porsha Luther King: I may be social distancing, but I’m here for social justice. Relevant, punny, and respectful of both the public health crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement? That’s going to get an 8/10 from me. Porsha stays true to her tagline from the very top of the episode, retuning to Louisville to continue protesting for Breonna Taylor. While in Kentucky, Porsha gets arrested again (badass), this time for disorderly conduct/obstructing a highway, and she says that this time was more difficult than the first time. In the serious confessional with the all-black background, Porsha says that the cops “wanted to prove a point” by making her one of the last people to leave the jail, which is so petty and shitty and exactly what I believe the cops would do in that situation. We salute you, Porsha Luther King.
Next, we’ve got new housewife Drew and her runaway groom, Ralph. Drew’s tagline: I was in “The Game,” but now I’m calling all the plays. Okay, cute, but this is categorically false. Your husband who takes surveillance footage of you and disappears to Tampa — the undisputed stripper capital of the contiguous United States — seems to be calling, if not all, then at least the vast majority of the plays. Drew gets a 2/10 for dishonesty. But Drew doesn’t care that her tagline is a lie. Drew is making pancakes with her adorable kids! Drew is rocking a sweatshirt that says “Christian with a Dior” which may be sacrilegious but is very cute! Drew is a Cool Mom who loves her Cute Kids and The Lord and her Shady Husband, even though they are not in a good place right now!
And you know what always helps a major marital issue? Rehearsing for a church service run by your mother-in-law, that’s what! Maybe I’m dumb and/or hard of hearing, but I didn’t understand what Pastor Jeanette’s sermon was called. Bridal Your Tongue? Bridle Your Tongs? Rydell (High) Your Thongs? In any case, I knew it was rude AF to Ralph and that’s all that matters in the end. Pastor Jeanette is pissed that Ralph ran away for three days and made her daughter cry, and she wants him to know that. Personally, I feel that we’ve hit the height of mother-in-law drama with Todd and Mama Joyce, and I don’t think there’s much more room for us to discover something new here, but maybe I’m wrong. “You know I tell it like it T-I-S is, so you know that I’m embedded in my sermon,” says Pastor Jeanette. Please, tell it like it tis, Pastor Jeanette. What tis very clear to me is that Ralph, Pastor Jeanette, and Drew need to make their way to the Red Table because there’s some healing that needs to happen here.
Now it’s Kenya’s turn, and as per usual her tagline does not disappoint: If you don’t like my shade than step out of my shadow. Yes, that’s how a housewives tagline should be done, folks. It’s punchy. It’s self-aggrandizing. It’s an order. STEP out of Kenya’s shadow if you don’t like it there. 10s across the board. Also receiving a 10/10 for me: the budding friendship between Latoya and Kenya. Maybe Kenya … should just date Latoya? I’m being 100 percent serious. Latoya brings out a fun, devilish, girlish side of Kenya that we haven’t seen in a minute. They genuinely seem to enjoy each other’s company and even Kenya said they have “chemistry.” Also, LaKenya (the couple name I created for them) already enjoy wearing matching outfits, which is huge queer couple energy. Anyway, after trading compliments about how hot they look (“You are giving me executive sexy hot mama teas in here”), Kenya tells Latoya that she told Cynthia about Latoya’s “pet” comment re: Drew’s wig. Rather than back down or try to retract the rude statement, Latoya doubles down and further eviscerates Drew’s wig calling it “Dreweesha” to Kenya’s complete and utter delight. Yes, they are absolutely being mean, but also they are absolutely living for each other. Kenya and Latoya are the Unfriendly Black Hotties from Mean Girls and no you CAN’T sit with them.
Next up, we’ve got Kandi: A little Kandi always helps sweeten the tea. Meh. 4/10. So far, we’ve only gotten a little Kandi this season, as she hasn’t really had many scenes with the other women. However, that changes this episode, and we got a fit fam Black girl magic bootcamp with Kandi, Cynthia, and Kenya, who describes herself as having fallen into a “vat of fat” having gained 30 pounds. Personally, I think Kenya has never looked better, but what I think is not correlated with how Kenya feels about her body, so I support Kenya and all the women on their fitness journey. After the workout, Cynthia tells the girls about her imminent wedding, and her plan to invite 250 people to risk their lives to watch her get married for the third time amid a global pandemic. The conversation quickly turns to prenups, with both Kandi and Kenya (smartly) encouraging Cynthia to get one. Of course Kandi has a prenup, because she’s never seen a dollar she didn’t love with all her heart, but somewhat surprisingly Kenya didn’t get a prenup, and definitely seems to regret that decision. But Kenya doesn’t seem too concerned about it, prat-falling while walking down Kandi’s steep driveway and threatening to sue her for her injuries. Porsha Lucille Ball better watch out because Kenya might be coming for her comedy trophy this season.
But, actually I take that back, because we get to see the fun side of Porsha come back this episode! It’s not that I don’t love Porsha Luther King, I just also love Porsha Lucille Ball as well, and I want to see all of the parts of her. Look, the woman contains multitudes and that must be celebrated. We get to celebrate that at a pool party with Porsha, her stunning sister Lauren, and Canadian Tanya, whom I did not miss and am not particularly excited to see but ultimately doesn’t bother me. On the way to a pool party hosted by “a family friend of Porsha’s,” the women catch up in the car with Canadian Tanya describing the BLM protests as “social-rights stuff” to Miss Porsha Luther King herself. [Palm to face.] But we don’t have time to educate Canadian Tanya because Porsha has to give a Dennis update, and
unfortunately she is no longer the Hot Dog Queen Consort (thank you for the new terminology, The Crown), as she and Dennis have broken up. Quarantine for them started off like a honeymoon, “fucking everywhere, cooking everything” before turning into “divorce within five months,” Porsha says with a laugh. Hot Dog empire or not, our girl’s gonna be okay.
Porsha, Lauren, and Canadian Tanya arrive at the mystery woman’s pool party, and the vibe is very eighth-grade end-of-school-year-pool-party energy. We meet Porsha’s family friend/mystery woman whose name is Falynn Guobadia and immediately I have no fewer than one million questions about her and her husband Simon. Huh? How? Why? And most importantly What? I’m trying to make sense of it all but nothing seems to explain Falynn, whom the internet is telling me is “a socialite.” Is she 38 or 22? How did she and Simon meet? What is her favorite book? Needless to say, I’m very confused but very intrigued and am looking forward to getting to know Falynn, who seems fun, but in a low-key crazy way. Evidence of this, Falynn decides to break out her hookah, which is probably the single worst activity you can engage in amid a global pandemic that is primarily spread via droplets. Porsha, who looks amazing wearing a headscarf and big sunglasses in the hot tub, shares her second arrest story with the group and reiterates that “we are not helpless.” I sincerely hope that the viewers watching at home — particularly white viewers — aren’t tuning out during these important moments. In any case, it’s really nice to see Porsha let her hair down and have a little fun after spending so much of the season away fighting for social justice. Everyone deserves a break as well as a goody basket from the most interesting woman in the world, Falynn Goubadia.
While Ralph and Drew try and buy a new house and agree to go to marriage counseling with someone whose name sounded like Love Simon to me, Cynthia is starting to go nuts about her own upcoming nuptials. While I would never use the word “bridezilla” because that would be reductive and anti-feminist, Cynthia’s obsession with her own wedding is … raising some bridezilla-colored flags. Cynthia and Mike throw on face shields to go out to check Cynthia’s dream wedding venue, Governors Towne Club, on a rainy day. (Alexa, please play Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic.”) In confessional, Cynthia reveals that unlike Mike she doesn’t want to just “get married” because she believes that weddings “set the tone” for the marriage. Cynthia is speaking like a woman who has been divorced twice and on top of that had a nightmare of a second wedding that aired on national television, all of which is true. So, while I disagree with more or less every decision she is making re: trying to safely hold a 250-person wedding during a pandemic, I do have compassion for her and maybe even feel a little bit bad for her?
Cynthia’s sister Mal, who deserved a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in Cynthia’s second wedding, shows up to go on the tour of the venue. Naively, Cynthia thinks Mal is going to be on her side and help her convince Mike that they can make this wedding work, but Mal never does exactly what Cynthia wants her to do, now does she? The venue looks nice enough but also like it was probably a plantation back in the day. Not gonna lie, there were some Get Out vibes. Cynthia’s wedding planner, Courtney, suggests having an aerialist hanging from the ceiling as guests arrive which begs the question why so many housewives (Karen Huger, Sheree Whitfield) love to have young, lithe women dangling precariously at their events. While Mike and Mal are skeptical about whether or not they can pull off Cynthia’s COVID Plantation Wedding, with Courtney assuring them that there’s “lots of indoor/outdoor space” and that all the guests will be wearing face shields, so it’s COVID safe, even though for large parts of the tour Mike is wearing his face shield incorrectly. Dude, the shield goes over your nose and mouth, even when you’re talking. Mal, a consistent voice of reason in this crazy world, suggests that C.H.I.L.L. scrap their plans and have a small wedding at their lovely home like so many millions of Americans did this year, but Cynthia doesn’t want to hear it. She wants her dream wedding and she wants it on 10/10/20, and she’s even wearing custom made 10/10/20 earrings to prove it. Once you get earrings with your dream wedding date on them, you know the sensible ship has sailed.
Cynthia is a very interesting and compelling character study this season of a woman of a certain age who wants it all and will literally risk hundreds of people’s lives to get it. While it’s all very cringe, I’d be lying if I said her obsession with having a perfect wedding wasn’t precisely why I tune into the housewives week after week and will do so until the day I die, probably after contracting COVID from somebody who attended Cynthia’s wedding. That reminds me: Cynthia’s tagline: I’ve been through the peaks and the valleys, and now I’m head over Hills. Her tagline truly says it all. She’s been put through the wringer emotionally and now she’s absolutely lost her marbles again for Mike “Hill.” With all the nature analogies, it’s sad that Cynthia can’t see the forest for the trees. She gets a negative 10/10/20 for that one.