Real Housewives of Atlanta: Face, teeth, crowns and clowns

By Brigette Flood and Sandy M. Tyler

In the beginning of the Housewives phenomenon, the cast reunions seemed like a good chance for the ladies to clear the air and clarify what the audience saw on camera. Now, a typical cast reunion, though still a recap of the season, is more of a fight-a-thon with flashbacks. And it’s all kind of like Seinfeld – no hugging, no learning. We’ve always wondered why the ladies would put themselves through such a thing, but then we read up on the bonuses they collect for taping the reunion show. We’ve decided we’re willing to mud wrestle, sit through a lunch with John Kolaj and take a class at The Cynthia Bailey School of Fashion (all without a change of clothes or hair and make-up services) for the same amount.

Andy “the Cheshire Cat” Cohen picked up his golden pot-stirrer and got the ladies directly into the fray this week. And though nothing of real significance happened, there were some initial scuffles that merit recapping, all of which really only have to do with money.

ROUND ONE: A ding-a-ling by any other name ain’t my thing!

NeNe vs. Kandi

Decibels – A surprisingly high 70

We’re surprised by NeNe’s reaction to Bedroom Kandi in general and not just because she insists that she’s “over the other housewives” and “dildos ain’t my thing.” NeNe has never shied away from talking about sex in the past, and as mentioned on last night’s show, she once did make her living as a stripper. We don’t believe for a minute that NeNe’s eye rolling while Kandi discussed the success of her line of sex toys had to do with NeNe being offended by the concept as much as jealous that Kandi has found great business success yet again. Kim’s observation later in the show is true, Kandi is the richest person in that room, and she earned it. Despite a stint with “The Donald” NeNe hasn’t seemed to make much of the merch this season, other than selling catch-phrase t-shirts, and Kandi is regularly selling out her pricey gadgets to satisfied customers everywhere. Luckily, Phaedra has Kandi’s back, providing both an excellent product review and a new giggle-worthy boyfriend – RHOA production manager Todd – for our girl Kandi.

ROUND TWO: Who’s your Big Poppa now?

Kim vs. Andy Cohen

Decibels – A surprising low 10

Maybe it all goes back to Kim refusing to announce her first pregnancy with Kroy on Watch What Happens Live last year and selling the story to a tabloid instead. Because whenever Andy gets the chance to take a dig at Kim, he does it. After showing an edited flashback sequence of Kim’s new “fairytale” life and congratulating her on her latest pregnancy, Andy comments that Kim did things out of order by getting pregnant before she got married, says he’s worried about Kim spending through her money and even brings Big Poppa into the discussion and won’t let up. While it’s true that Kim did create much of her original storyline from all of that gold digging with a married man, we’re impressed that Kim didn’t give Andy a big poppa on the nose for rehashing it. She made more money than Kroy last year because of Bravo, and Kim has never been a gal to bite the hand that feeds her . . . on those Versace plates she has on display.

ROUND THREE: A trail of crocodile tears.

Shereé vs. Phaedra

Decibels: A still surprisingly low 20

Shereé’s legal battles with her ex-husband and her quest for child-support were a major part of her storyline this season and when Andy brought it up, Shereé turned on the water works like the actress she aspires to be. Rather than take real action, Shereé loves the drama of playing the victim, this time blaming Phaedra for her lack of success with Bob saying that Phaedra failed to act on her behalf unless the Bravo cameras were around and that Phaedra brought on additional council because she didn’t know what she was doing. Phaedra, again showing why she’s become the series’ break-out star, refused to be baited by Shereé’s antics. Reminding Shereé that despite changing lawyers, her case was still unresolved and providing the night’s best zinger all without raising her voice.

ROUND FOUR: Girl don’t try to front. I know just (just) what you are.

NeNe vs. Shereé

Decibels: 80

Andy got some good digs in with Shereé last night, beginning the evening asking Shereé if she was wearing She by Shereé (no, but it’s coming) and then inquiring about Chateau Shereé. And then like the pro he is, he stepped back and let Shereé and NeNe do the real work. Shereé tried out a ridiculous story about misappropriated funds causing delays on her building site – a story she should have rehearsed a little more before the reunion taping – and then got NeNe to (happily) admit she had (gasp!) tweeted that Chateau Shereé was just a front, a “Neverland” because it never existed. All of this caused Shereé to make a face like she had just smelled poo and then after a “NeNe is VERY rich” edited retrospective, led to:

NeNe: “I’m RICH!”

Shereé: “Well, that’s what you say.”

NeNe: “Guess what time it is?”

Shereé: “What time IS it?”

Shereé: “TEETH!”

NeNe: “BIG CALVES!”

Shereé: “DOG TEETH!!”

NeNe – “BIG CALVES!”

Shereé – “Fix that face.“

NeNe – “Fix that body.“

Shereé – “BRYSON SHOPLIFTED FROM WAL-MART, SO MAYBE YOU’RE NOT SO RICH!!!!”

Um . . . uh . . . this must be why Shereé and NeNe don’t sit on the same couch and why alcohol isn’t served until the END of a reunion. So no one gets hurt when the hitting below the belt gets started, and in this case we mean bringing the kids into things. Despite Shereé saying that Bryson’s actions reflect directly on NeNe’s parenting, NeNe left Shereé’s weave on her head while shutting her trash-talk down. Though the decibel level went up several notches, and the other housewives probably suffered from a lack of oxygen in the room, NeNe handled herself well, and Shereé looked more ridiculous, and kind of pitiful, than ever.

ROUND FIVE: Oh, NO you Twitn’t!

NeNe vs. Most of The Smalls

Decibels: 70 and 80

Despite what NeNe might have said about The Twitter People in the season finale, she does have quite a following, and likes to Tweet whenever she feels the need to settle a score. (And whenever the Housewives are on the air for that matter.) It’s all so much more sophisticated and modern than pulling someone’s weave in the street. And among NeNe’s “top hits” with the housewives were comments about Kim’s house being rented (best decision ever) and Kim’s kids all having different fathers. Whew! The last thing a reunion needs is Kim and NeNe in the same room and not fighting. Twitter also gives NeNe a chance to bring up all things Glee and keep the world informed on the public details of her fabulous and rich lifestyle. This all leads to the Cheshire Cat asking the housewives if NeNe, in light of her break-out success over the last year, has “changed” for the worse or for the better. And although everyone, housewives and viewers alike, have their own opinion about the answer, we have two more reunion shows to discuss.

We can’t wait until Marlo comes out and seemingly sets the whole thing on fire. Let us know what you thought of last night’s reunion and whom you’re rooting for. Part two is up this Thursday, April 19.

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