By Sandy M. Tyler

I know we’ve all had a lot on our minds lately. The whole country has been anticipating a major event that seems to have taken too long to get here, especially since we’ve been hearing so much about it for months now . . . The return of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, y’all!! Welcome back fellow viewers! We’re mixing things up a bit for season five with Atlanta INtown editor, Collin Kelly, sharing recap duties with me, and Brigette Flood joining us as an occasional, funny guest judge. Six months of Housewife drama can wear a blogger out, so we thought we’d divide and conquer; all the better to keep our claws sharp.

This season Bravo has been promising fans a series “reboot” by adding new cast members Kenya Moore, a former Miss USA, and Porsha Stewart, the granddaughter of Civil Rights leader Rev. Hosea Williams and wife of NFL player Kordell Stewart. The Atlanta series even got a fabulous new open with Nene grinning like the Cheshire Cat front and center in the group shot. Bet her prominent placement went over with her other cast-mates like Payless pumps.

Hopefully, the newbies in the cast will inject the show with some fresh drama, because last night’s premier episode certainly had a lot of the same old story lines: Nene is flirting with Gregg and taking cheap-shots at Kim, Kim is pregnant and moving house because of the drama that seems to follow her wherever she goes, and Phaedra is burying the dead for fun and profit.

Things start with Nene – in a wig we hope we don’t see again – being all flirty-flirty with ex-husband (?) Gregg. They’re still sorting through some of the issues that broke them up but seem to want to rekindle things. Nene is starting her new Hollywood life soon, so perhaps she needs a strong anchor to her past? I find the whole thing so season four, but if it means we don’t have to see any more awkward dinners between Nene and fake-boyfriend John Kolaj, I’m all in.

At least things are different in Kandi’s world now that she lives with her producer boyfriend, Todd. She met him when he worked on the RHOA series last season, and “locked him down pretty quick.” The two seem happy and cute. They’ve even talked about getting married and having children. They’d like to have a son named Cash. And by the way, that’s what they used to buy their new two-house love-nest, which we get to see Kim insult later in the episode. Was the whole thing about packing up their dinner date leftovers together since they were going to the same place too cutesy for anyone else out there? Is this blogger just bitter? Or maybe just hungry?

We find Kim pregnant and soon to be homeless, and she’s brought SSSWWWWEEEEETIEEEEEE!!! back to help out at the Barbie Fun House. Kim’s conflict with her decorator/landlord Kendra continues over supposed non-payment of some of her decorating fees. Kendra wants the Biermann’s out of her house in two weeks, and movers want $100,000 to move the family and store their stuff. I know Kim can spend some money, but whom exactly is she calling to move her? Do they plan to pack her things in gold Dior boxes? The stress of the situation makes Kim want to take a nap. This is perhaps the one and only thing Kim and I have ever agreed on. If someone told me it would cost $100,000 to move, I’d need to lie down, too.

My neighborhood, Ormewood Park, gets a little shout-out when Phaedra goes to visit Dr. Price at Ormewood Animal Hospital to talk about expanding her mortuary services to cover pet funerals. Even though her family threw their dead pets in the creek. (Fellow viewers, I’m going to let that dog just lie there.) Phaedra seems fascinated that so many people consider their pets to be their children, and she might as well make a profit from it. Anyone else think the mortuary storyline can sustain itself through another season? It is always delicious to see the awkward reaction people in the “real world’ have when Phaedra talks funerals, but let’s move this along already.  At least we got to see that cute nugget Ayden later in the show. He is way better at riding bikes than my dogs.

Cynthia & Peter & Leon & Noelle gather at Cynthia’s house for dinner while Leon is in town for his monthly visit with his daughter. Noelle has been homeschooled because going to a regular school made her “sad,” but Leon wants her to learn to spend time with other kids before high school. This seems like a reasonable request and Noelle wants to go. So, why was this scene in the show?

We meet Kenya Moore for the first time when she joins Miss Lawrence for some lunch. Kenya has moved to Atlanta to (be on the show) spend time with her boyfriend, Walter, and the aunt who raised her. Here’s what Kenya wants you to know about her: she’s a former Miss USA, an actor, producer, author and director, has been proposed to six times, has a 7,000 square foot house and wants some caviar. Oh yeah, she’ll also “beat a bitch down,” but more on that later in the show.

Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee and Nene’s new comedy series The New Normal, made an appearance on last night’s show to take advantage of the NBCUniversal cross-promotional opportunity, uh, I mean, to take Nene out to dine on pink champagne and escargot. He “discovered” Nene on Celebrity Apprentice, and they talk about storylines for Nene’s return to prime time. The two didn’t manage to get Tyler Perry on the phone when they tried to call him during dinner, but they did manage to get in a plug for Obama just before Election Day. Looks like Romney doesn’t get the Housewife vote.

The show ends with the set-up for this season’s first big conflict when Cynthia invites Kenya to help judge a casting call for Jet Magazine at The Bailey Agency. Kenya wants to set the record straight for the viewers right away. She plans to be this season’s resident “mean girl,” giving Cynthia plenty of attitude, trashing many of the ladies at the casting while they were still on the runway, picking fights with Cynthia’s staff and calling in her own bodyguard to protect her from the smack upside-the-head she seems to deserve.

Normally, new housewives try to keep their crazy at a “quirky” level two or three at the beginning of the season, but since Kenya’s the one who is going to move the story along to next week, she goes straight to a Cray Cray Level 9. Obviously, Kenya has been taking notes, or maybe she didn’t get enough love as a child. Whatever the reason, Kenya and Cynthia are clearly not going to be filling out a Friendship Contract anytime soon.

We didn’t meet Porsha Stewart this week, but I’m sure she’ll be along shortly. Well, what did you think? Seems that Kenya is going to live up to her, “I won Miss USA not Miss Congeniality” title, right? Think we’ll have a fun reboot this season or the same old thing? Let us know, and join Collin next week for his fresh take. Thanks for joining Atlanta INtown for season five!

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.

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