RHOA: “You’ll just be in the middle of nowhere, eating.”

February 20th, 2012

RHOA: Youll just be in the middle of nowhere, eating. Real Housewives of Atlanta 280x194Apologies for my absence last week – Fashion Week ate my Real Housewives of Atlanta recap alive, and then it ate any opportunity I might have had to so much as put up a discussion post the next day. Now that Fashion Week has mercifully come to a close, I’m back to my normal duties. Just in time to catch the end of the Africa trip, too.

Last night’s episode wasn’t as epically entertaining as you’d normally expect of The Real Housewives Abroad, but it did provide a baby elephant, so I’m not complaining. If only more Bravo shows would entertain me with wildlife, I might gripe less. Sadly, though, it looks like our fervent wishes that Kandi would feed Marlo to a lion while in Africa were dashed. We can’t win ‘em all.

If I am to understand correctly, last week’s episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta was something of a positive one, but truthfully, I don’t know. I intended to watch it last night before the new episode, but I fell into a Downton Abbey hole so deep and dark that I barely managed to climb out in time for the what I had to recap for today. And let me tell you, going from a marathon of a British period drama to Real Housewives of Atlanta is a great reminder of why the rest of the world thinks Americans are…coarse. (We are, sometimes. Particularly when you put us on television.)

We caught up with the Housewives at dinner following their visit to a South African orphanage, and in case you thought everyone might have been influenced for the better by the experience, Marlo had some serious problems with her shrimp. They were undercooked! Shrimp get overcooked if you look at them for too long, so forgive me if I assume that Marlo merely feels as though finding fault is something that high class people do in order to demonstrate to the world how discerning they are. She’s be wrong, of course. Marlo wouldn’t know class if it slapped her across the face, which it must so often be tempted to do. Yeah, that’s right, Marlo’s annoying enough to make inanimate concepts feel inclined toward physical violence.

The cast’s next stop was a tribal museum where they learned about local wedding customs, which included picking out women like you pick out a dog at the pound. They were then taken outside to an herbalist/bone-thrower who scared the hell out of Phaedra until he dumped out his bag of bones and they were…sea shells. As with any psychic (except Kim’s, Kim’s is magic), the “herbalist” had some hits and misses. He told Kandi she would get married to whoever lives with her now, but oops, she doesn’t live with anyone. He quickly revised that to mean that her dead fiance will always be with her, which is not exactly the same thing.

He told Sheree that she’d be single forever because she’s old, which doesn’t seem like all that big of a leap considering Sheree’s many and various personality issues, and he then told Nene that her husband was a good man. I guess that means Gregg, since they’re not technically divorced, but he never struck me as a particularly impressive specimen. He finished up the group by telling Cynthia that she’d be getting married, and hopefully that means getting married AGAIN. After she gets divorced from Peter. We can only hope.

Back at the hotel, all the girls gathered in Marlo’s room, wherein she had displayed her life’s work, her shoes and (fake?) Birkins and Louis Vuitton luggage, on all of the furniture to be admired. Phaedra counted 29 pairs of stilettos, which is, of course, totally appropriate for a vacation that included trips to visit impoverished villages and performing orphans. You wouldn’t want to encounter the desperately poor while wearing flats or shoes that cost less than $1000 per pair, that’d be tacky.

After counting the shoes, the wives gathered around the coffee table to talk about sex and handbags, and as should be no surprise, none of them know about either subject except Kandi. (Even if Kandi doesn’t always dress well, at least I believe her handbags are real, unlike the wonky Birkins of Marlo and Sheree.) There was some awkward sex talk about teabagging and whether or not a man moving his booty a certain way makes him gay, and mostly I just tried to lay back and think of England until it was all over. Thankfully, the subject was changed to clothes pretty quickly.

Kandi got things off to a tense start by asking Marlo why she feels the need to tell everyone who made everything that she wears, to which Marlo responded by saying that she BLEEDS fashion, baby. Marlo is one of those women who doesn’t know the difference between loving fashion and loving expensive crap, and I think it’s clear to anyone who’s been watching this season that Marlo’s love is clearly for the latter, with no regard at all for what might actually constitute real personal style. Marlo has none. That didn’t stop Nene from jumping in and saying that Marlo has never seemed superficial to her, though, and in fact she’s much less concerned with material things than Kim. For someone who pretends not to be concerned with Kim or what she does, Nene sure does like to bring her up in conversation when it’s not even relevant. (Or true. Marlo and Kim seem to be approximately the same amount of superficial, but Kim has a sense of humor about herself that makes it tolerable. Marlo does not.)

Lucky for us (and about half of the cast), Marlo was feeling under the weather the next morning, so she was left in bed to snuggle with her latest Bag Borrow or Steal order while the rest of the Housewives went on a mini safari to look for a bunch of wildlife that wasn’t actually there. Nene also took a pass on the safari to tend to Marlo, so it was just Cynthia and the Smalls, which made for a reasonably pleasant group. They took a moment to throw some very mild shade at Marlo before my cable froze for a minute and I’m not sure what else was said. Maybe something about Kim? I don’t know.

By the time the group arrived to their lunch, about which they were very enthusiastic, Nene arrived in her own vehicle to order people around and make sure that the flies were fanned away from the food at all times. While they were eating, Kandi asked Nene some vague questions about Marlo, at which point Cynthia made sure to jump in and defend the very same things about which she was complaining when Nene wasn’t present. Did she think that we all forgot? Is she so afraid of Nene’s wrath that she didn’t mind looking like a complete sycophant in front of not only the other cast members, but everyone at home? Can Cynthia define the word “sycophant?”

And then, for something completely different, Nene was terrified into near-silence by an adorable baby elephant. Somewhere back in Atlanta, Kim was trying to steal a baby elephant from the zoo for strategic use when Nene returned home.

Back in the hotel, the Smalls gathered around a cell phone to talk to Kim back home and regale her with tales of Marlo’s spontaneous joining of the group, at which point we were conveniently reminded that Nene and Kim’s epic meltdown last season was because Nene had brought her assistant along on a “girls trip.” For some reason I had completely forgotten that entire episode, but seeing the clip made Nene’s invitation to Marlo to spontaneously join their international vacation seem like even more of an asshole move than it already did.

All of a sudden, Sheree decided to tell Kim that Kandi said she wouldn’t have held a black baby if she had gone to Africa, which must have been what I missed when my cable froze. On the replay, it was clear that Cynthia had actually said that, as Kandi had claimed. Once Kim was off the phone, though, Kandi admitted that she agreed with the sentiment. While I agree that Kim probably wouldn’t be down for a trip that includes any kind of “roughing it,” I think it’s unfair to claim that she wouldn’t hold an orphan simply because the orphan was black. She probably wouldn’t have held an orphan because the orphans were a little dusty; that much seems like a reasonable accusation based on what we know of Kim.

At dinner, wherein everyone had drawings on their faces that I cannot explain, Kandi tried to get things straight and Cynthia admitted to saying those particular things about Kim without any hesitation; after all, she had actually said them. Nene had to butt into the conversation and call Kim their boss, which was naturally an attempt to make the conversation about her. A successful attempt! Nene took the opportunity to have Marlo and Cynthia confirm for the group that they’re not, in fact, on Nene’s emotional payroll, which does seem to be true of Marlo. In fact, Nene spends a not-insignificant amount of time kissing Marlo’s ass, so it seems like she could be the new leader of the Talls if she plays her cards right. Cynthia, on the other hand, is obviously terrified of Nene for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Does Nene know something about her that we don’t? Does she know something about Peter? Cynthia is so spineless when Nene is involved that I’m starting to legitimately wonder.

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