The first week of the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion does what most two-part shows specialize in: teasing viewers enough to make them plan on tuning into the second installation. On last night’s show, there were some disagreements and the requisite unpleasantries between NeNe and Kim, but overall, it was a tame affair. We guess the gloves come off next week … at least that’s what the teaser clips show. Is it terrible that the fighting is the part we find most interesting? Salacious as it seems, we toast the high drama, the “who’s gonna check me boo” and the wig pulling moments the most. And usually the Housewives deliver all of that and more, but maybe these hellcats are becoming more domesticated after all?
For the reunion, the six Housewives and Bravo’s Andy Cohen convened at the Georgia Aquarium, with Atlanta’s prized beluga whales gliding happily in the background, seemingly unaware of the gathering of sharks right in front of them doing what they do best: preying on each other’s weaknesses and chumming the water with everything from plastic surgery to marriage to babies to race relations. Andy made sure the housewives baited each other, but a full-on feeding frenzy never developed.
Since it’s award season, we want to take this opportunity to nominate the women in categories that showcase their unique personalities and the general absurdity of the season.
Most Likely to Obsess about her Physical Assets
It’s no surprise that we’d have to nominate all of the ladies for this category even though it is surprising to learn that both newly-coiffed Kandi and newly-married Cynthia had liposuction and that Phaedra’s lips are 100 percent real. Regardless, we’ll stick with the obvious nominees for this one: NeNe for getting her nose done, her tummy tucked, and her boobs lifted (even though she incredulously tries to deny the nose job), Shereé for being obsessive about her workouts and Kim for getting a “boob modification,” trading in saline for silicon. Although it may be a surprise given NeNe’s nose and Kim’s unbelievable Barbie-doll rack, the winner here is Shereé, who goes about taking care of her body the natural way and looks better for it.
Best Ensemble Cast of Dating Partners
The only nominee here is Kim, whose casting couch was, shall we say, quite full this season. She started out with DJ Tracy Young, moved back to real estate mogul “Big Poppa” and finished strong with Falcons player Kroy Biermann, inking a long-term contract with him by putting a bun in her oven. While we wonder if she can ever love anyone more than she loves herself, we think that Spark St. Jude could add a family portrait to the walls of “me” in Kim’s office soon. Kim seems to have won her happiness this season and even the teeniest bit of our respect in her dealings with the ever-erratic NeNe.
Best Overall Performance of a Southern Belle
The only two nominees in this category of Phaedra’s making are the goddess herself and her favorite accessory, Dwight Eubanks. While Dwight gives Phaedra a run for her money, many times in get-ups and with flower arrangements he designed, Phaedra wins over her number one gay by a nose, due to her pedigree, her ability to insult others with a smile, and her bible school mannerisms. Hallelujah, y’all!
Best Acting Performance
Of course we nominate the show’s newest thespian Shereé for this category. While there wasn’t a lot happening with Shereé personally this season, she did manage to endure a lot to keep Bravo’s cameras aimed in her direction. This included everything from a storyline that had her dating one of the most bizarre guys imaginable, putting it all out there at a local dance competition and fundraiser, and even keeping a smile on her face during a recent mean-girl casting session with the team behind If These Hips Could Talk. It was a nice surprise to see a kinder, gentler Shereé this season even though we have to wonder if a lack of her own storylines will get her invited back.
Best Sound Engineering
Of course, Kandi and her team of talented and über patient producers are all nominated for making Kim sound not only tolerable but toe-tapping on both Tardy for the Party and The Ring Don’t Mean a Thing. Kim’s talents are of the self-promoting variety rather than musical, but Kandi saw a diamond in the rough and worked overtime to Auto-Tune Kim’s warbly off-tones into a lip-synching performance they could take on tour. Kandi wins again, but not as much as she should have, as it seems that she and Kim never came to an agreement on ownership and royalties for The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing. All of this makes the audience the real losers, having to endure the simply awful Google Me, which thankfully never caught on.
For some reason, it’s never fails to surprise us that so many women in the Housewives series are taken aback at having to financially support their own households. Nominees in this category include NeNe, Phaedra and Cynthia, but deliberations are quick, as Cynthia proved the “winner” by supporting and sticking with husband Peter through thick and thin (wallets) with the closing of The Uptown Supper Club just as their wedding bills were coming due. Their wedding went off without too many hitches, though a hell of a backstage show, and they are still “happily ever now,” as proved on last night’s Late Night with Andy Cohen.
Best Ability to see in Technicolor
Much was made of how Kim treats Sweetie the last few episodes, which ended up causing racial undertones, overtones and a discussion on race relations. Sure, Kim is an overbearing, overly-needy, commanding boss who seemingly doesn’t want to do anything for herself but smoke, drink and perform. However, Sweetie is Kim’s assistant by choice, so the ball is in her court to change her situation, if she wants. Too bad NeNe had to break out the “s” word, which upped the racial charge exponentially. While we’re not fans of Kim’s management style, we do appreciate her ability “not to see color” and value the big, multi-colored, multi-dimensional world we live in. Like Kim, we believe the world is a better place when people aren’t defined by the color of their skin. Yes, it’s the south and there are still racial inequities, as Phaedra mentions. But that’s a larger discussion, and not one we think Kim and Sweetie’s relationship embodies. They’re friends, colleagues and all that exists in-between. It’s better if we leave this issue between Sweetie and Kim, where it belongs.
Nominees for this category include Sweetie, Derek J., Lawrence and NeNe. While the first three nominees certainly merit a lot of praise for their patience, creativity and talent (in that order), this IS reality TV. We have to award NeNe the best non-traditional performance for the season, and even that seems like an understatement. She’s been up, down and sideways, providing unexpected fodder and folly. First she was winning our hearts and sympathies during her marital struggles with Gregg, her parental struggles with Bryson and her ongoing, hilarious insights, one-liners and observations. BUT (and it’s a donkey-sized but) then NeNe went so far afield in her dealings with just about anyone who was dumb enough to stand in her path, we don’t even know what game she’s playing now. (Or what mood enhancers she wasn’t taking.) Perhaps this was all preparation for Celebrity Apprentice? Either way, it’s getting too confusing for us to care.
Congratulations to all our nominees and winners from the first reunion show. Join us next week for more commentary, categories, clashes and catastrophes. And here’s hoping we have a Best Fight category to weigh in on.