RHOA: “I doubt very seriously that Emily Post has a chapter in her book about aggravated assault.”

January 30th, 2012

As the Fug Girls so eloquently put it on Twitter last night, all of the crazy that was missing from the SAG Awards ceremony fortunately found it to the new episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. For as much as this season has been boring so far, last night really brought the drama. Marlo didn’t cut anyone, but I think she was pretty close.

The episode consisted mainly of our ladies’ first day in South Africa, although other than a few minutes on the deck of a yacht, they spent the entire time inside cars, boats, hotel suits and the Cape Town airport, fussing at each other about god knows what. One day down, nine more days of international vacation to go. Hopefully this will be the only argument they have through the side of a staircase.

The show opened on the plane to South Africa with Cynthia manning the camera in First Class, filming mostly herself and the inside of her own nose and a little bit of the other cast members during the 16-hour flight. The most interesting part of the entire opening sequence was the comparison between Nene’s eyebrows because she forgot to “take one off.” I know she meant taking off the brow pencil, but I couldn’t get the image of Nene peeling a fake eyebrow off her face out of my mind.

Once the plane landed, hilarity ensued as Marlo and Nene demonstrated their complete inability to move their dozen pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage (apiece) around the airport. It took about a hundred times longer than it should have to get to the group out to the van to go to the hotel, and once inside the van, Marlo took it upon herself to literally quiz the other housewives on random, completely made up rules of etiquette. She didn’t shut up for the entire drive, and any hopes that we had that she might shut up once they arrived at the hotel were quickly dashed.

The accommodations in Cape Town consisted of two utterly beautiful hotel suits with amazing views of the city below, which momentarily rendered everyone unable to complain about things. Marlo snapped back to her normal self pretty quickly though, requesting that the concierge provide her with the names of all the maids that would service her hotel room and that she be called immediately if one of them were to leave work early, go home sick, or otherwise break their schedule. Marlo, with the lengthy criminal record (for fraud, among other things), is afraid that a blue collar hotel worker is going to steal her (probably) fake Birkin. How quickly some people forget their own pasts after a rich dude buys them some handbags and rents them a cheap townhouse.

The next morning, the entire group got together for breakfast before a day in Cape Town, at which point Phaedra distributed a small gift for the ladies on the trip – an engraved compact mirror to commemorate the jaunt to Africa. Marlo groused about not getting one for a moment, apparently forgetting that Nene spontaneously invited her and didn’t warn anyone until she showed up at the airport, at which point it was too late to engrave another mirror. The TSA won’t let you bring that type of stuff on the plane, after all. Once Marlo got up to go get dressed, it appeared as though the tag was still attached to her robe, which tells you all that you need to know about Marlo all by itself. She returned that shit to Neiman Marcus when she got home and you know it. Cynthia may have thrown some shade on Phaedra’s robe, but at least it was hers free and clear.

While everyone was still at the table, Sheree announced a dinner party at her friend Kevin’s house for later in the trip. In typically petty Sheree fashion, she only invited the other Smalls, even though she announced it to the entire group and only inviting half the people to dinner on a group vacation is an objectively immature and rude thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, Sheree is not an entirely innocent party in the fight that will erupt over this topic later. At breakfast, though, the Talls generally took the information in stride and Cynthia promised to book dinner for their half of the group at Nobu that evening. Nobu, of course. That great bastion of South African authenticity. Can’t get it anywhere else in the world! Oh, wait…

Back in the states, Kim’s parents came over to see the baby and make a big family lunch since Kroy was away at training camp. While fixing meatballs, Kim’s Awkward Dad made a speech about how he thinks that Kroy is The One, forever cementing his spot as the most dad-like dad to ever appear on reality television. Despite that (or maybe because of it), I can’t help but find him kind of lovable. Kim’s an imperfect human being, but she clearly has a strong relationship with her family and she definitely spends more time with her kids than perhaps any other cast member on any of the Real Housewives shows. I’m going to gloss over the part where Kim encouraged her mother to take her top off, mostly because I prefer to believe it didn’t actually happen.

In South Africa, the next thing on the list was a yacht trip, which involved a few awkward minutes above deck wherein Marlo schooled everyone else on the proper and acceptable ways to get up while wearing a skirt and riding on a boat. Marlo’s Etiquette School seemed like it would be in session for the rest of the trip, so let me just go ahead and say this now: It’s fascinating to watch someone who’s been cuffed and thrown in the back of a police cruiser at least SEVEN DISTINCT TIMES tell everyone else how to act. Marlo is in possession of what can only be described as a downright impressive amount of selective memory.

Once the group went below board (for reasons that weren’t exactly clear), things got slightly contentious. Marlo claimed that she had seen Kandi at the mall (Lenox or Phipps? She didn’t say.) and Kandi had been a bit brusque with her, although I’m not sure what level of cordialness is required when some famewhoring Professional Girlfriend with a criminal record that just got cast to play a villain on your reality show comes running at you in the mall with her hand in the air. Kandi doesn’t do a great job hiding it when she’s irritated, so even if she was a little short with Marlo (I don’t entirely believe that she was, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt), I’m not sure anything additional was required.

Nene then took the opportunity to grill Phaedra about whether or not they had existing beef that needed to be cleared, which Phaedra denied. At this point in the episode, I realized that other than Nene and Kim, I can no longer remember why any of the cast members dislike each other. I know that no one likes Nene except Cynthia and Marlo, but none of the reasoning has stuck with me at all. Kandi let it slip recently that a lot of the cast is going to be changed before next season films, and I think that’s exactly what needs to happen. These women have fought and been friends in all possible combinations by now, and we’ve reached the point at which it’s impossible to care about it anymore. I’m at the same level of disinterest with Real Housewives of Orange County.

After the boat docked, the entire group headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening’s separate gatherings. The Smalls were all getting ready together when Cynthia, the lone tolerable Tall, came knocking at the door to inquire about the plans for the evening and officially extend the invite for everyone to come to Nobu. The Smalls declined, but Sheree decided to spontaneously invite Cynthia to join the dinner party that evening, a decision she would live to regret. As soon as the offer had escaped her lips, Cynthia went sprinting back to the other suite to tattle to Nene and Marlo that it was just THEM who hadn’t been invited, because this is middle school and those kind of things need to be immediately repeated to every remotely interested party. If Cynthia ever needs any proof about why people say she sucks up to Nene, Bravo need only replay that thirty seconds of film for her. Nene, to her credit, seemed to genuinely not care about the invitation or lack thereof, probably because she’s used to these kinds of petty non-invitations at this point in her tenure as a Real Housewife. This is child’s play to someone who’s been party to a wig-tugging.

Marlo, on the other hand, was not having it. Not having it one bit. Naturally, the mature thing to do was stomp over to the other suite and pick a fight with Sheree, which is exactly what Marlo did. When pressed, Shenee extended the invite to Marlo as well, but Marlo didn’t seem satisfied with that. Sheree eventually admitted that she didn’t want Nene or Marlo to come and merely hadn’t invited Cynthia because she’s kisses Nene’s ass constantly, which is a reality that should be obvious to anyone in the cast with an ounce of self-awareness, even if Sheree was a tad petty about it. (And again, to Nene’s credit, she seemed to get it and not be particularly offended.)

Marlo’s enormously fragile ego couldn’t take the stress, though, so she blew a verbal gasket and starting hollering about blow-up mattresses and Sheree’s sad, lonely Rolex and the six-letter F word, which she actually said out loud for reasons that were not at all clear. Tsk tsk, Marlo. Your low breeding is showing, and no number of sugar daddy Aston Martins can cover that up for very long. Speaking of which, you’ll notice that when Marlo was yelling about Sheree’s repossessed car, she was bragging that her car was paid for in cash, not that SHE paid for the car in cash. Even when pressed on who ponied up the money, Marlo simply stuck with that sentence – it was paid for. It takes new and interesting levels of delusion to have a straight face while bragging about your ability to accept gifts.

Marlo also didn’t deny that the money came from an elderly rich dude who may or may not have been white, and the only thing she insisted we all know is that he was a billionaire, not a millionaire. If there’s anything dumber than bragging about the bank account of an old man you used to bang for gifts but who didn’t want you around enough to put a ring on it and put you in the will, then I certainly can’t think of what it is. Now Marlo’s with a football player who’s sloppy seconds from one of the OTHER Real Housewives, so I’m not sure why she’s ragging on Sheree, who was married to a football player for quite a while. Oh, right, because Sheree hangs out with too many “f****ts” to find a new man, as if the ultimate test of womanhood is how hard you’re out there hoing. For someone who’s reticent to reveal the details of her own financial situation when asked, Marlo sure is interested in counting everyone else’s money.

Let’s all hope that Marlo gets fed to a lion before everyone boards the plane back home. A woman who can make Miss Nene Leakes step in to a conflict and try to make peace while cameras are rolling is an extraordinary woman indeed, but not in a way that’s at all admirable or even vaguely positive. When you’re making Nene look sane and reasonable, you need to stop what you’re doing and immediately reevaluate every life decision you made up to that point. Marlo should probably start with this mugshot hair styles.

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