By Brigette Flood and Sandy M. Tyler

Well, the show rolls on and as is the usual this season, nothing much is happening. There’s just a whole lot of rehashing of old drama, complete with RHOA appropriate catch phrases. The episode opens at Kim’s rented McMansion, where she, Sweetie and her dad Joe are busy de-cluttering the new house and getting things in order. Well, at least Kim and Joe are busy . . . well, at least Joe is busy. What’s staying: old pink nighties and new pink Uggs. What’s going: workout equipment. Cleaning is obviously the last thing Sweetie wants to do, and Kim also seems to be the last person Sweetie wants to spend time with. An episode of Keystone Kops with Bravo cameras ensues. Kim chases Sweetie round and round the house, trying to catch her slacking off, while Sweetie eludes capture and threatens to call Clark Howard to report on her bad working conditions. (Uh. Has anyone in that household ever watched or listened to Clark Howard?)

Later Kim’s hairdresser comes by to style her wig, and they unravel what is possibly the problem with Sweetie’s new, bad attitude. Gone are the days when Sweetie and Kim hung out and chugged beer while taking their “power-walks.” As Kim’s life has changed, so have her expectations for her relationship with Sweetie, and both are miserable with the results. It’s hard for Kim to be a total lady of leisure when her assistant refuses to pick up the slack. Time for some more changes, despite Sweetie’s loyalty. Brielle, it seems, isn’t the only one in the house having issues with their life changes.

Phaedra returns to Willie Watkin’s funeral home to begin training for her mortician certification. We learn incredibly disturbing things about the embalming process, how to “set the features” of a corpse even after rigor mortis sets in and where to cut the corpse in order to drain the blood, so the veins can be filled with formaldehyde for preservation. This is followed by hair and make-up. Glamour! We have to hand it to Phaedra, while she’s right that death is as much a part of life as birth, even writing those last few sentences makes us feel a little queasy. We admire how Phaedra jumps into the process with both gloved hands.

In NeNe’s household, things are fairly harmonious between NeNe and Gregg. Though not together, the two continue to co-parent both of their kids with Gregg bringing Bryson home from jail and returning in the morning to check on things. Because he was on probation, Bryson’s petty Wal-Mart theft has major consequences. Bryson has no explanation for why he messed up his life again over something so trivial and avoidable. All of us did really stupid things in our late teens and early twenties, and we didn’t have to be on camera when our parents lectured us about it. But we’re hoping that the intense scrutiny will inspire Bryson to start moving toward some (any) of his goals. He certainly has something so many others don’t: genuine parental support.

Things start off on the wrong foot between Cynthia and her sister Malorie from the get-go this week, when Mal stops by for a visit. Cynthia asks Mal if she would like a glass of wine, and when Mal says yes, Cynthia’s response is, “I was hoping you’d get me a glass.” Huh? When you offer someone a drink, it’s customary that you pour them one. Hopefully, this is not a hospitality tip Cynthia picked up at BarOne.

Then Cynthia and Mal have awkward sisterly conversation about the fact that Peter and Mal don’t like each other. Cynthia takes Peter’s side, and while that’s certainly a smart tactic for any wife, Cynthia overlooking Peter’s aggressive, nonchalant, rude attitude toward Malorie is a bit off-putting. Even worse, Cynthia tops it off with some passive-aggressiveness of her own, but perhaps that’s what Malorie gets for “going there” with the couple’s finances yet again when asking about their upcoming first anniversary party.

The night of the party arrives. After all the hub and bub about a Bentley ride, the limo doesn’t show up and Cynthia and Peter are forced to drive their own car. Cynthia keeps insisting that she needs Peter and Mal to put their differences aside for this one night. Yet, she does nothing to help them move forward. It’s one thing to stay out of it, but taking your husband’s side every time isn’t necessarily the best strategy either. We suggest helping extend the olive branch from at least one side – in this case, from both sides would be a good start. Big branches. Huge olives. (And then the party guests would have something to eat.)

Malorie and Mom Barbara get to the party fashionably late. While waiting to head downstairs to the festivities, Cynthia’s mother tells her, “I didn’t think you’d make it,” and asks if Peter is bipolar. Mal adds, “we’re shocked” the marriage has lasted this long. So yep, it was so stressful when Peter and Cynthia got married, they should have given out stress balls as party favors. Though it does seem like things have improved for Peter and Cynthia, even from where they were earlier in the season, let’s hope they’re not just trying to prove how happy they are.

Later, Peter continues to play the part of instigator in the ongoing battle with Cynthia’s family. After a whistle screech announcing that his wife is coming down the stairs – Seriously, who does that? Even NeNe gave him a WTF look – a new battle is afoot. Peter shows his “class” by toasting, “friends, family … and Malorie,” successfully pushing Mal’s buttons. She breaks down. Now, crying and pointing her finger in Cynthia’s face is over the top, but give the girl a break. She just got dissed in front of a houseful of family and friends (not to mention a large TV audience) and her sister doesn’t seem to care. They should give out stress balls at this party too, or offer everyone some Kithe Brewster advice. He seems to be the only one making any sense of it all. He tells Mal to once and for all, let it go and let Cynthia make her own mistakes. We agree.

Other dramas are playing out at the party as well. Marlo must have heard about Charles Grant’s check writing / felony fiasco because she shows up sporting a new date, who is so NOT Charles Grant, we got whiplash doing a double take. The new man, Dave, proves Marlo does have a small penchant for older white men with big bank accounts. Cynthia seemingly doesn’t mind the plus one, as Marlo’s new beau hands her an anniversary gift the same instant he’s shaking her hand hello. But are we really to believe Marlo and Dave as a couple? Their body language is even more awkward than any of the scenes played out by NeNe and her “man” John Kolaj.

Marlo’s not off the hook yet, because true to her nature lately, Shereé decides to stir things up, telling Lawrence about Marlo’s use of the big, bad F-bomb while in South Africa. At the party, Lawrence wastes no time before pulling Marlo aside to clear the air, Shereé following quickly on their heels. Though she can’t keep a straight face, Marlo lies about using the F-word so readily, it calls into question just about everything she’s ever said. And now that the show has aired and Marlo has had to make a gay apology tour of Atlanta’s gay nightclubs (read more about that at Project Q Atlanta), it seems that all of Marlo’s smoke screens aren’t holding up very well after the fact. But then again, Marlo’s not the only one blowing smoke this season.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Real Housewives of Atlanta: Blowing Smoke”

  1. I absolutely agree with both writers, Brigette Flood and Sandy M. Tyler, with just about every point they made. I have to say that is so easy for us to look from the outside and know what needs to be done on the inside. So, in regards to Cynthia, I think she is very, very confused. I also think Mal needs to be the one to do a little more reaching out to Peter because COME ON, this is her sister’s husband and after a year, she needs to realize that this tension is only going to get worse. I don’t feel like Peter isn’t open to a conversation but yes, Cynthia should facilitate it. And Mal should have just held her nose, so to speak, and cheered in the celebration. Instead, she had a breakdown. Her concern is obviously very real and I am sure with some just cause. But as I said in my own site, I wonder if there is something that we are missing in the audience that has not been shown on camera for such a meltdown by her. http://www.addictedtorealitytv.com/real-housewives-of-atlanta-episode-recaps/

  2. I hated to see Kim bash Sweetie to anyone that would listen. I feel like Kim should let Sweetie know her behavior is unprofessional.I think Kim’s simply “setting-the-scene” so that it will appear that Kim fired Sweetie for her lack of professionalism instead of the real reason, which is Kroy’s dislike for Sweetie. I noticed Kroy’s lack of interest while at Kim’s babyshower. Phaedra, Kandi,and Sheree were asking him several questions about his life and where he’s from and Kroy vaguely answered, while scurrying away.

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