The most memorable thing about last night’s episode was the bottle of champagne we popped to celebrate it. Bravo figured out a way to make this three-part reunion drag out with the same amount of nothingness as the season itself. The worst/best thing about reunions is that they entertain us by recapping the moments that make us flinch the most. Rather than recap all the specific fights, we’re bestowing RHOA Reunion Superlatives on each housewife.
Marlo – I’m Here to Stir the Pot & Fling the Poo Award
She might seem like just a simple-minded, escort-rude-girl-slash-felon, but Marlo also seems to have a Ph.D. in knowing how to push everyone’s WTF buttons. We’ll give it to her. She studied and rehearsed for her reunion appearance. We would too because, Marlo, we’re cut from the same cloth. Wait, no we take that back. You’re a fame whore: a.k.a. a mean girl who slings poo to try to stay on the show, espousing etiquette and class while also saying “you need to check my charges” to people who disagree with you. You can put Gucci on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
Gorgeous as ever, Cynthia shows up wearing a surprisingly ugly chip on her shoulder. Does she come out swinging, trying to prove she’s not NeNe’s puppet? Maybe so. Sure, she has a mind of her own. But come on, Cynthia, you usually get along with everyone by staying out of the petty fighting (she’s got Mallorie and Peter for that). Watching the final segment of the finale, we could only think, “Too bad it’s come to this. Even classy Cynthia has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator of the screaming match.” What a shame.
Kandi – I’m the Real Rich B*tch Award
We’re happy for Kandi. Bedroom Kandi has taken off, and she’s in love. Hooray! But she’s also not about to let any of the ridiculous arguments Marlo slings her way go unchecked. Kandi admits she went into the reunion taping trying to be nice, but Marlo quickly gets her all bent out of shape when she accuses Kandi of being a Sugar Mama. Let us say, if Kandi’s a Sugar Mama, then we’d like to be her sugar babies. Against Marlo, Kandi stood her ground, spoke her mind and admitted that she’s got the most money of anyone on the show. We suspect more than everyone combined. Yet she’s typically the most down to earth. Way to keep it classy, Kandi. We know how hard it must be.
Kim remained unbelievably calm throughout all the reunion episodes, only occasionally raising her voice and refusing to be baited by even the likes of mean-girl Marlo. In general, we see a much calmer, more-centered Kim in Season Four, and it seems that ending her “relationship” with Big Poppa and moving on to a more permanent commitment with Kroy made her, perhaps, a better woman. We’ve even let her off the hook for the whole Big Poppa escapade even if the other Housewives, Andy Cohen being one of them, can’t let it go yet. But never fear loyal Atlanta Housewives viewers, even with her calmer lease on life, Kim still has plenty of side-boob, giant wigs and eccentric assistants to make for an interesting reality show star.
Phaedra – The Silence is Golden Award
“Everybody knows” that sometimes it’s best to sit back and stay out of the fray, and it’s certainly more dignified than having a shouting match with your cast mates. We heard hardly a word from Phaedra last night, which might make her the smartest Atlanta Housewife of them all. While we missed her usually hilarious quips, we give her credit for sitting back and just taking it all in. It’s not like she would have been able to get a word in edgewise anyway.
Over the years, we’ve seen Shereé as an actress, mother, dancer, wig-puller, clothes designer, home-builder (uh, maybe not so much), and Bob Whitfield court battler. But this season she’s been a fighter of nonsensical proportions. We assume Shereé’s been trying to amp up her presence because she doesn’t have much going on. No Chateau and no other legit business ventures leave her as the housewife who fights too much. She may not remember all of them, but we do. And we’d just as soon forget them too. Of course, Shereé didn’t know she was leaving the show when the reunion episodes were taped. Too bad she went out with more of a whimper than a bang.
NeNe – The Fake It Till You Make It Award
What we, and you the audience, have always loved about NeNe is that she never hesitates to tell it like it is. But this season we missed NeNe’s usually candid realness. Whether name-checking “The Donald”, faking a relationship with business partner John Kolaj or insisting that she was an actress long before she was a reality show star (something that NEVER came up before the end of season four), NeNe has tried reinventing herself a lot this season. True, before Phaedra, she was the Atlanta Housewives breakout star – one of those great personalities that the camera loves. And she’s definitely found success on Glee, but we wonder if NeNe has strayed too far from what made the audience love her in the first place.
Andy is always meant to be the voice of the dedicated Housewife viewer, and in the past, he’s played this part well. However, we do feel like most of the questions that came up on this season’s reunion shows were edited for maximum drama, and whenever Andy had a chance to beat a dead horse, he sure did beat it to death – bringing up the issues of the “Tardy for the Party” song royalties, Shereé and Kim’s wig-pulling escapades from two seasons ago, and keeping Big Poppa front and center whenever possible. Maybe Bravo’s desire to get 20 episodes out of each Housewife season from now means they have to mine all that they can from even the most tired material, or perhaps Andy focused on Kim-centric past drama to promote her new show? And although we do love the anything-goes-train-wreck energy of Andy’s Watch What Happens Live, it’s clear his reunion persona is less that of an interested, nosy viewer than that of a VP of Programming trying to squeeze every last drop of drama from every frame of video.
But have no fear of withdrawal, dedicated viewer. Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding starts this Thursday on Bravo, and we have it on good authority that the cameras are already rolling on season five of Bravo’s most popular Housewives.