(December 6, 2011) – We like the pacing of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. After last week’s truly bizarre episode with Phaedra Parks and the stripper she brought in to help celebrate Kandi Burruss’s 35th birthday, we needed a moment to catch our breath after all of the over-the-top drama.
After all there are only so many times you can watch as NeNe Leakes and Mama Joyce sprint to their cars in horror before you wonder why you are watching this show. Thankfully, the producers changed gears this week long enough to remember these girls are not all about raunchy spectacles.
Another week, another apology
As the episode began, we watched as Phaedra Parks stops by Kandi’s boutique, Tags to apologize with a layer cake. Last week her amends came in the form of a blue and white gingham gift basket. This week it was a fluffy white cake with fluffy white icing. This girl really knows how to say “I’m sorry.”
As much as she knows that Mama Joyce is still not happy about her Redickulous birthday present at Kandi’s party, Phaedra does make it clear that she still appreciates the stripper’s skills, “There are tricks that he can do that just don’t seem quite normal,” she offers with a wink. “He is so talented.”
After Kandi makes it clear that she is not angry about the innovative gift, Phaedra uses her superhuman wit to take a few jabs toward NeNe and Peter. We really wish she hadn’t made fun of NeNe’s discomfort in seeing the stripper by mentioning that NeNe herself had been a dancer earlier in her life. We can definitely understand that while NeNe may have gone this route before she married Gregg, she is uncomfortable being around male dancers at this stage of her life. There is no reason whatsoever that Phaedra should have mocked NeNe by saying, “You showed your cervix for a quarter, child.” That just seems unnecessary mean and it isn’t that funny either.
She also said, “Peter can make a dollar out of 15 cents. He’s a pimp…Despite our differences I love a man with some hustle.” We are sure there are some people who will tell us that this is actually a compliment but we don’t believe it. We think it is nothing short of backhanded and we pray Phaedra doesn’t become one of the mean girls because we just love her.
As we mentioned in a previous post, Cynthia is facing a make or break season. She entered the scene last season with Phaedra. At this point Phaedra and her wildly entertaining personality have stolen the spotlight from the entire cast, including NeNe and Kim who have been part of the Real Housewives of Atlanta from day one. But Cynthia is not fairing as well because she does not have control over her on-camera image. Instead of owning who she is, she’s the subject of a turf war between her husband Peter, her sister Mallorie and her ex-fiance Leon, all of whom have already staked a claim to her business. Cynthia simply must define herself soon or else she’ll lose the viewer’s interest forever.
That’s why it was fun to watch Cynthia as she served as the emcee at an Atlanta fashion show. Sure she is a nervous public speaker. We would have been, too. Speaking in front of 700 people is not a comfortable prospect for most people. We felt for her when she mispronounced words and misidentified designers. We would have been mortified if that were us, but we have to say that we do not judge her even slightly for making mistakes. Cynthia made the excuse that they were some of the “craziest words” she’s ever seen, but we doubt that was the problem.
We think she was just understandably scared. She is far more used to be the mute model than the effortless speaker. The only thing we wonder is why she didn’t practice in advance. Either she didn’t think to do that or the fashion show’s producers were too disorganized to create the cards far enough in advance to prep Cynthia and she is simply too nervous to ad lib gracefully. And that’s okay. We doubt we could have done a better job at keeping the crowd engaged as the models strutted what looked like the world’s longest runway.
It’s too bad Phaedra felt the need to say, “Everybody knows you want to look at models, not really hear them.” Sure Phaedra is funny most of the time, but we didn’t chuckle even slightly when she said this. It just sounded like a snide comment to us.
We felt uneasy listening to Cynthia discuss the opening of her modeling agency and Peter’s newest restaurant, Bar One. We know from personal experience that opening your own business is an exhausting and all-encompassing experience. We cannot imagine how a couple could survive when both partners are trying to create two separate businesses out of thin air. The very last thing either one of them needs is a meddling relative like Mallorie. Believe us, we get why Mallorie is concerned. That makes perfect sense. Truth be told, we’re concerned, too.
But Mallorie has to back off and let her sister make her own mistakes, and repeatedly make her own mistakes, if that what she chooses to do. And yet Mallorie simply cannot seem to do that. When she hears that one of Peter’s investors bounced a $40,000 check, Mal starts tearing up. As much as Cynthia’s mother lets us know that she too is worried that Cynthia will lend Peter money to make up for the bad check, she’s sane enough to scold Mallorie, “Don’t go crying girl.”
Mallorie simply must knock it off and pull herself together. Cynthia may have promised her sister and her mother that she’d “never go back to being broke,” but during this scene we learned that Cynthia believes this is what wives risk doing to support their husbands.
Shereé and the Child Support Man
Practically from the moment we met her, we’ve been listening to Shereé make references to her ex-husband and the child support payments he is not making. We never knew what to make of this.
We’ve known people who claim they do not receive their monthly checks, only to find out that their child’s father never misses a payment. We’ve known people who claim their ex is right on time with support, only to discover later that he has never contributed so much as a dollar to the care of their children. We’ve also known women who accept that their child’s father cannot pay even a dime but never mention it to anyone for fear their children will discover their father is a loser or a deadbeat. For those reasons, we never knew what to make of Shereé’s suggestion that her ex-husband, Bob Whitfield was not providing financial support for his son Kairo and his daughter Kaleigh.
We got a glimpse into this subject in two parts during the last episode. The first was when Shereé was in the park with her daughter and Bob stopped by to talk to her. The second was when Shereé met with Phaedra to discuss filing a motion against her ex-husband. We cannot imagine why Bob Whitfield would appear on camera to discuss child support if he hasn’t paid in 4 years. Our first impulse is to say he must be dumb to face an army of female viewers who are only one google search away from knowing that he enjoyed a 15 year professional football career. If after that kind of fame, glory and financial success he still cannot pony up even one dollar to keep his own children fed and clothed he’s irresponsible.
But we know he cannot be dumb. He went to Standford for three years. Regardless of what classes he took, he must have a brain or he would have failed out of that top notch college. There simply must be more to the story than his telling Shereé that he doesn’t feel he has to foot her bills because she’s an able-bodied woman who can work if she wants more than her divorce settlement provided.
The thought of their settlement leads us to the Shereé’s meeting with Phaedra in her law office. There we learn that Shereé doesn’t want the kids to know that Bob hasn’t paid child support. Phaedra says she can file a motion and she will get a hearing in five days. She encourages Shereé to make the move because, in Phaedra’s words, “Fair is fair and Right is right.” This scene makes Shereé cry and mention “I don’t like to make rash decisions” because at the end of the day he’s the father of her kids.
There was something very fishy about this scene. We suspect that Bob has made good on his every legal obligation to his children and his ex-wife. We suspect that Shereé got this payout in a lump sum or that the money was transferred into a trust that is dispensing the money in installments.
We say that because Bob looked so confident when he practically dared Shereé to take him to court. What’s more – with the legal degree we earned by watching Judge Judy – we think there is something telling about Bob mentioning that both he and Shereé maintain separate households to raise their children. If their split of the physical custody of the children is 50/50, we believe the court would agree that Bob does not owe Shereé extra cash to fund her lifestyle in Chateau Shereé.
Still regardless of all of that – and boy do we wish we had a copy of their divorce settlement – Shereé has no idea whatsoever how to inspire Bob to pony up more money. Rather than to say “Bob you are such a great father because you are always there to help out with unexpected expenses,” she instead says that she was wrong in thinking the man had values. In that park scene she literally set him up to disappoint her, his children and himself. And if it turns out that he has met all of his obligations and that she lured him on television to look bad in front of an international audience of women, her children are going to hate her for it when they realized how she humiliated their father. It’s a very sad situation over there in Chateau Shereé.
Kim, Brielle and Baby Jitters
Maybe it is because Brielle is Kim, Jr. Maybe it is because she’s hilarious on You Tube. Maybe it is because we feel for a teenager who has to grow up on camera because her mother loves attention. We’re not sure why it is, but we are naturally inclined to feel for Kim Zolciak’s eldest daughter, Brielle. The only thing we know for sure is that it cannot be easy the first child of Bravo TV’s blonde bombshell housewife from Atlanta.
That’s why it interested us to hear that Brielle is worried Kim’s new baby with her now husband Kroy will, and we quote, “tear the family apart.” We have never before heard anyone talk about a baby like this. And it is not like Brielle was being mean or making one of those flippant comments that teenagers make from time to time. No, Brielle was genuinely worried. And that could have something to do with, as Kim mentioned, that when Ariana was born Kim’s last marriage fell apart. And it could have something to do with the truly horrifying charges for which Kim’s ex-husband is currently incarcerated. We have no idea, but we hope that Kim and Kroy make a strong effort to inspire security in Brielle.
Mama Joyce confront Kandi about the stripper
Kandi’s mother Joyce may have had her hair done since the big surprise, but this week we learned she’s not done with her anger at Redickulous, the stripper who upset her and NeNe at Kandi’s birthday party. Mama Joyce says it was disrespectful. Kandi obviously feels badly about this. She calls her mother “my homegirl” and she tears up as she worries that her mother is very angry with her.
Mama Joyce corrects Kandi about the homegirl comment, and says “I’m your mother first.” We suspect that Joyce is comparing herself to Phaedra’s mother in this scene. We suspect that Joyce wonders if Phaedra would hire an anatomically extraordinary dancer to approach her own mother, a conservative minister, in the way Redickulous gyrated his way toward Kandi and her mother, who were sharing a chair during last week’s birthday episode.
The reason we wonder about Joyce’s reaction is that Kandi’s mother has always been portrayed as open-minded sexually. We’ve been lead to believe Joyce has an impressive freak number and we’ve learned that strippers are not strangers at celebrations of the Burruss family’s milestones. We would love to know exactly why Joyce was upset.
Bar One’s Sneak Peek
Watching Shereé and Lawrence drive up to the pre-opening friends & family sneak peek at Peter’s Bar One made us want to root for him and pray that his latest restaurant is a big success. It doesn’t matter to us, even slightly, that Peter’s lounge and tapas bar is in what Shereé or Phaedra may call an undesirable neighborhood.
Maybe that is the New Yorker in us speaking because in Manhattan, no one would ever speak that way about a restaurant. In fact an edgy neighborhood is often the secret ingredient to a hot spot’s success for two reasons. One, it makes getting there an adventure and two, it makes dorks feel hip because they are there.
Of course we’re not even slightly amused to hear Peter boast that, “I’m a man’s man” and that he’ll work out Bar One’s financial problems without Cynthia’s help because he doesn’t want Mallorie and Cynthia’s mother involved. What he doesn’t seem to get is that they are involved. Period. And Cynthia did lose money on his last place. Still we have great hope for Bar One and not because Phaedra said that, “Hood folks gotta drink, too.”
We say this from a wealth of knowledge about restaurants. Bar One is MUCH smaller than Uptown and the menu is far limited. We think that old man may have a hit on his hands and we believe Cynthia will get her original investment back, over time. We know what we are talking about. We watched very carefully as Peter scrambled to get the place ready for a casual first look from the loving eyes of his friends. He was working. He’s not a candy ass. He was sweating metaphorical bullets trying to deal with the faulty air conditioner, like any food and beverage pro who is worth his weight would.
Those girls (and Lawrence who called it “Bar None”) who were mocking his dream because it is “in the hood” obviously couldn’t make a hot chocolate stand in Alaska successful because they have no idea what it takes to launch a successful restaurant.
Peter’s big reveal of the night was the huge photograph of Cynthia that he commissioned to grace the wall of Bar One. Our television is so tiny we couldn’t understand why anyone there was mentioning Cynthia’s afro, but after we went online to see Bravo’s photos, we now get that Cynthia’s hair was different from how she normally wears it. Still we don’t get what the fuss is. Cynthia, as always, looked fantastic.
Bravo’s big reveal of the night was the introduction of Marlo Hampton (who was rumored to be the newest housewife but now seems to be a fringe character) and Charles Grant, an NFL player who was rumored to have had a fling with NeNe. Their presence allegedly kept NeNe from arriving on time for her co-hosting duties. We learned that NeNe was “way too late” due to a “wardrobe malfunction,” but Shereé explained that she thought NeNe was late because Charles and Marlo are there.
When NeNe finally arrives she doesn’t want to talk with Peter about the “very serious situation” that delayed her. Shereé says that she would have been angry with NeNe and suggested that Cynthia should have said something then and there. We beg to differ, knowing that a little grace and understanding can go a long way in human interactions at a party, as well as in keeping viewers tuned into a Reality TV show.
Thank the heavens above the producers of the Real Housewives of Atlanta also understand that a little pacing is much appreciated after last week’s redickulous drama.
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.