Whether it’s tonight’s round of shady teatime, season six’s pillow talk, or Cynthia’s infamous barbecues, playing games with the cast of RHOA more often than not ends in orchestrated chaos. And what’s a better place to initiate this exercise in shadow-producing than at a kid’s birthday party?
Kenya, and the adorable party planner Monet, throw baby Brooklyn the tea party of my 27-year-old dreams. From the pink decorations to the supply of Veuve Champagne, I’m taking notes for my own party next year. Always on the clock, the former Miss USA double-tasks as a doting mother and messy castmate, instructing the guests to write on a piece of paper tea they know about another person at the party.
As Larsa from RHOM would say, “Let’s get a pulse.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love all the shady moments that games have provided on Housewives. RHOC has bunco, RHOBH has more than I can count, and Potomac’s reasonably shady game deserves an Emmy. But this shady teatime feels a little too forced in terms of laying out the framework for drama. Like, why would Kandi pick the card that was directed toward her? Call me a skeptic, but it seems a little too convenient.
However, this moment reminded me of a bone I have to pick with both the show and fans. Even though sexuality has been an element of the show since the beginning, Atlanta is particularly vicious when it comes to slut-shaming. While the cast loves a sexual innuendo, overt sexuality is usually one of the first things they turn to when it’s time to attack. The tea that Kandi reads about herself is a claim that she has sucked dick in a locker room. Again, kind of weird that she herself would pull that card, but let’s roll with it.
Season after season, Kandi’s sexuality has been a hot topic, but season nine was especially dark. Now one of the most memorable story lines for the show, Porsha repeating a rumor that Kandi and Todd had plans to drug and rape her permanently changed the dynamics within the cast. Phaedra was ultimately fired after it was revealed that she was the one who told Porsha that (false) information. This moment between Kandi, Porsha, and Phaedra remains a polarizing discussion onscreen and off. Some fans vehemently voice their desires for Phaedra to return. Shereé recently spoke with former producer Carlos King on his podcast and admitted that she advocated for Phaedra to film for the show this season. But Kandi has remained adamant that she will not be on the same cast with someone who would put an allegation like that on the show. Personally, I’m still not over people commenting “Pill Cosby” under Kandi’s Instagram posts.
I will not claim that I did not eagerly eat up the situation like any other fan (the amount of reaction videos that are on my phone from that reunion is embarrassing), but at some point, we have to acknowledge that it was a highly inappropriate moment and an all-time low for the series. With Phaedra on the cast of Real Housewives Girls Trip’s second season, I’ve been seeing more and more people say that she deserves to regain a peach. I wholeheartedly disagree.
What some people, including Shereé, believe is that it’s not fair for one cast member to dictate who is and who isn’t on the show and that when you sign up to be a Housewife, everything is fair game. Tonight, Shereé even compared Kandi not telling her about Drew’s assistant spreading rumors to what Kandi went through during season nine, stating Kandi should know how hurtful it is to have her name maligned. That is just ridiculous.
We need to draw the line somewhere. We cannot continue to act like accusing people of rape should be held to the same standard as petty rumors about who does and does not have money. It’s unfortunate that it even has to be said. I’ll still be tuning in to watch the shenanigans in the Bezerkshires, but I’ll always stand by Kandi’s right to refuse to work with someone who would accuse her of sexual assault. It’s sad that even after that situation, Kandi’s sexuality is still weaponized against her, with her cast members repeatedly trying to paint her as a sexual deviant.
Anyway, the game, of course, continues to accelerate the drama between Shereé and Drew regarding their assistant. Drew writes on her card that “someone at the table” doesn’t pay their employees. Perhaps I’m overly suspicious of Drew after that forced-ass story line about the prophet last year, but it never feels organic whenever she tries to start drama. She’s always very invested in the most random things when she clearly needs to focus on her marriage. This smells like assistant Anthony is thirsty for screen time, and Drew wants to provoke Shereé.
Drew’s tea backfires with Shereé’s friend Fatum saying that assistant Anthony has been saying that Ralph is gay? Sigh. Let the games begin. Tensions between Shereé and Drew reach a boiling point by the end of the episode, with Drew waving her hands in Shereé’s face; if Drew needs to find out where “talking with her hands” can get her, she should talk to Candiace.
Despite the drama, Kenya proclaims that Brooklyn’s party was a success, and I second that motion. Though things felt somewhat overly produced, at least everything is on the table, setting the stage for the first cast trip this season where the ladies will go see Kandi’s play in New York.
Peach Tea To-Go
• Before playing the shady tea game, Kenya has the ladies play a game proving how well they know Brooklyn. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not a mom myself, and most of my friends are childless, but how the hell are people supposed to know what age Brooklyn started walking or what her first word was? I can’t even answer those questions about my own nephews. Sorry, guys, I still love you!
• Kandi stating that one of her career goals is to get an EGOT is admirable. I guess we should always shoot for the moon. I’m curious to see what acting roles she thinks will put her in the ranks with Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg. She better hurry up before Marlo beats her to an Oscar, seeing as she’s now getting into the acting game herself (and hopefully learning the correct way to say IMDb).
• I can’t decide which is more embarrassing: Drew wearing a dress to Brooklyn’s birthday that’s almost identical to the one Kenya herself wore last year, or our new friend Monyetta wearing jeans to the event. Either way, Monyetta, who used to be married to Ne-Yo, should be an interesting cast addition. Some may be familiar with Monyetta from her time on the short-lived show on VH1’s Atlanta Exes or from her claims that Ne-Yo forced her to get her tubes tied. Yikes.
• Does anyone else recognize Shereé’s trainer Clifford? If you recall, he tried to set Shereé up with one of his friends in season two when Shereé went to his bodybuilding show. If you want a good laugh, I definitely recommend going back to season two, episode eight, to see classic Shereé side-eye a narcissistic gym rat and Cliff onstage in a Speedo and combat boots. I would love to see footage of Cliff training Marlo.
• Shout out to Kenya’s white friend, who started the party excited to drink the Champagne and ended it with a drunken outburst. We’ve all been there.