The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Booked, Busy, and Boring

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Season 15 Episode 14
Editor’s Rating 2 stars

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Season 15 Episode 14
Editor’s Rating 2 stars
Photo: Bravo

A few weeks ago, I noted how, like the world around us, the recent seasons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta are devoid of color. Tonight, my point was proven tenfold by Drew’s healing event that featured zero colors and zero fun with an all-white-and-cream dress code and a hodgepodge of awkward footage. They keep reminding us of how booked and busy they are, but it’s all overwhelmingly boring. The real entertainment remains off-camera — NeNe’s interview is rippling through the Bravosphere, and some of her old castmates are beginning to respond to the bold claims the OG made about the show.

Kandi provided a typical Kandi response during a 92Q radio interview where she was promoting The Wiz. She flexed her accolades and status as the longest-running Housewife before arguing that her entire life, family, and business add to her star power on the show. She notes how it’s interesting how “some” people want to shine by themselves and that it’s a “problem” when they think they’re outshining everyone else until they leave their show and aren’t shining as bright. Okay, Kandi!

As for Cynthia, who was a guest on the last episode of Kandi’s Speak on It, the response was just as shady. It was swift but sharp, as she gave NeNe her flowers, acknowledging that she definitely was a star, then followed it up with: “If she did, in fact, build The Housewives of Atlanta, she can build another house, on another network. If you can build one house, you can build two!” She and Kandi go on to address NeNe’s allegation that Cynthia actively tried to get her off the show, and Cynthia said that she has no idea what NeNe is talking about. Imagine if we saw all of this on-camera for Bravo with shady confessionals and cast commentary. Cynthia’s statement, on the heels of NeNe publicly speculating about being blackballed from the industry, is the type of biting Cynthia shade we need, not her randomly doing Drop It With Drew like in tonight’s episode.

In the way that RHOC has chipped away at its fourth wall, openly talking about Tamra and Vicki’s firings, I think RHOA could benefit from a “cut the cameras” type of moment. Throwing out the stale formula that’s not connecting with fans in favor of conversations about how the history of the show, onscreen and off, has impacted these women’s very real friendships would require dismantling the fourth wall a bit, but it could pay off. It’s working well for OC, and it’s what made this last season of Vanderpump Rules so mystifying. In a perfect world, I want to see authentic sit-downs between the ladies who built this house together, with everything being laid on the table for us as viewers to consume.

During the Speak on It episode, Cynthia echoes Kandi’s sentiments about RHOA being an ensemble show, saying that whether she and NeNe were besties or enemies, her presence as a strong player only brought her and the rest of the cast a bigger bag. She uses this logic to prove that she had no desire to get NeNe fired. She and Kandi are right; Housewives has been and always will be about the ensemble, and no single person can carry a cast. But NeNe is also correct as, at the risk of running this analogy into the ground, every Destiny’s Child needs a Beyoncé just as much as they need a Kelly and Michelle (and, of course, LeToya, LaTavia, and Farrah are invaluable to the group’s history). If there aren’t multiple voices, creating extraordinarily beautiful melodies is impossible, but without a standout voice, it’s even harder.

The shenanigans currently happening on RHOA are not creating a great melody or bringing anyone a bigger bag. Shereé bathing Gatti, Kenya acting like she’s going to have a second child with Marc, and watching a table read for Todd’s movie could have stayed on the cutting-room floor (minus the AOL moment). Drew’s story lines are certainly the most chaotic, but it’s barely enough to retain the fans the show already has, let alone bring in new ones. Her relationship with Ralph is hanging on by a single strand of hair from one of her wigs, and we witness their marriage sink closer to divorce after a particularly strenuous bowling date night. It’s uncomfortable from beginning to end; Ralph cringily urges Drew to call him “daddy” if he gets a strike, and they flirt awkwardly before they sit down to discuss deeper issues in their marriage.

Ralph clumsily strings together a series of words about why he stopped attending marriage counseling, bumbling through an explanation about needing to focus on the “actual work,” and, somehow, therapy gets in the way of that by addressing multiple topics. He argues that he’s had fewer blowups in the last year — Drew’s face doesn’t at all agree — even though he stopped counseling. When Drew asks what work he’s putting in, he says his progress needs to be “measured on the frequencies of making sure it can reduce the occurrences that [the blowups] actually happen.” Yes, this is a direct quote.

I think Ralph lives in the reality that Ken thought he experienced when initially arriving in the real world after leaving Barbieland. Ralph believes that he can say anything, and not only is he always correct, but he’s also the authority on the topic. He dismisses Drew when she laughs at his nonsense, saying what he’s discussing is very “intellectual.” But Drew is done being put on tumble dry, and, now equipped with the tools to recognize gaslighting, she is slowly emancipating herself from this toxic relationship. She lets it be known that she’s done trying to change him, and she’s “damn sure” not going to mother him, so all she can do is keep her side of the street clean.

Being asked by a producer last season if she knew what gaslighting meant may have changed the trajectory of Drew’s life. Reading the definition, on top of watching back the footage and seeing the world’s reaction to her husband’s behavior, probably forced Drew to reevaluate her relationship. She’s stayed in therapy with Dr. Ken without her husband and is now trying to further educate herself on healthy psychological behaviors as she’s integrating Allison back into her world. To support her sister’s mental-health journey, Drew organizes a mental-health retreat, inviting all of the women and their husbands, along with other close friends and family, for a day of relaxation and mindfulness.

The retreat goes from rocky to boring and back to rocky again. When Ralph arrives late, Drew seemingly doesn’t notice him at first and goes in for a hug with Ross (honestly, if Ross were in my presence, I wouldn’t see anyone else either). Ralph then greets everyone in the room before acknowledging his wife, but Drew says this is a typical reaction for Ralph, who often gives the cold shoulder when upset. Drew, who is well versed in the art of maneuvering around her spouse’s emotions, doesn’t skip a beat and continues on with a Drop It With Drew workout before a meditation session.

After meditation, the women share a meal together, and the topic of Shereé’s birthday party comes up. The cameras weren’t there, but most of the cast was invited, with the exception of Kandi, Drew, and Kenya. Word got back to Kenya that Martell didn’t pick up the check … and asked the other dinner guests for a Cash App contribution. Now, why couldn’t this have been on camera instead of watching Gatti take a bath? Kandi took her lack of an invitation personally, but Shereé says she didn’t think Kandi, who is always booked and busy, would show up. This prompts Cynthia to ask if there’s a division within the group, and Monyetta’s accusations of a collusion/alliance resurface. Now, an additional detail is added: According to Monyetta, Courtney referred to Drew as a bitch. Truthfully, I’m with Marlo; it seemed like the use of “bitch” was as a filler word, not a direct insult, but Courtney sure is flip-flopping regardless.

However, Drew is going through too much with Ralph to be worried about Courtney’s alliances with her castmates. After their bowling date, Ralph has moved out of the bedroom, and things have gotten increasingly worse. As we already know, Drew and Ralph’s marriage is missing the basic tenets of any healthy relationship: truth, transparency, and respect. During a session with Dr. Ken, she elaborates on how isolated she feels in the partnership, especially now that she’s stuck with therapy for over a year, but he doesn’t seem to be making progress in terms of emotional awareness. Which, as we wrap up this season, begs the question Dr. Ken asks her: When do you know enough is enough?

Peach Tea To-Go

• Congratulations to Sanya again! The T-shirt pregnancy announcements were a very cute idea, and I’m happy for her whole family. And it was hilarious how long it took everyone to notice what her shirt said.

• At the end of their date night, Ralph has yet another Freudian slip, telling Drew he imagines them to be like “Barack and Obama.” It’s not as disturbing as his Ike and Tina reference, but it speaks volumes.

• Shereé’s AOL email, combined with that dreadful ringtone, ages her by ten years. Trying to run She by Shereé with an AOL email sounds about right, though.

• It’s cute that Shamea is using the same surrogate that Kandi had for Blaze, and it was fun to see her again. Shadina is making bank with Dr. Jackie! Speaking of, for the Married to Medicine fans, I heard Heavenly said the premiere is in early November. I can’t wait!

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap