Real Housewives of Atlanta: Etiquette Lessons
This week’s episode starts with the Housewives on their flight from Atlanta to Cape Town, South Africa. Bravo provided the ladies with video cameras to catch the 16 hours of magic on the flight. The riveting footage shows what anyone does on a long commute – drink, eat, sleep, pin up our hair like Princess Leia, wash face, rinse, repeat.
The ladies are organically grouping into the two opposing camps that NeNe so eloquently named “the Talls and the Smalls.” If you’re not sure who fits where, then you probably don’t watch the show. But let us paraphrase NeNe to illuminate you: the Talls are girls over 5’9” and the Smalls are almost midgets. Well okay, there you have it.
Both Talls and Smalls love to bring the fashion, but the Talls seem to have brought all the Atlanta fashion available to South Africa in Louis Vuitton luggage. We chuckled at the amount and expense of the clothing and bags these ladies thought necessary to bring for what is probably a relatively short vacation. Seriously, did they bring canned goods?
Figuring out how to get all 45 bags plus owners up one flight of stairs at the Cape Town airport proved to be too much for the Atlanta crew. Maybe it was jet-lag, maybe it was just plain incompetence from not doing anything for yourself. You be the judge. No, we will. It was a little of both. But seriously, what’s the etiquette for getting your luggage up the elevator? We thought it was to go with it, but Marlo must have skipped that chapter. Surprisingly, the queen of paranoia left it to ride up with a stranger while she rode up with Kandi, NeNe and Cynthia.
So yeah, Marlo. Let’s talk about her for a minute. She’s an interloper on this trip and either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. You be the judge. No, we will. She doesn’t care. In fact, she likes it. And talks incessantly to remind everyone, including us viewers, how hard she’s trying to get a permanent role on the show. Just like the wheels on the bus going round and round, round and round. Marlo’s talking is the only sound and sound, sound and sound anyone can hear. Since she’s reading a book on etiquette, Marlo feels it imperative to provide everyone with etiquette lessons. Such as to pass the salt and pepper together and other life saving tips like that. Everyone seems to agree, it would be helpful if Marlo would listen more and speak less. (Not to mention polite.)
So the ladies arrive at the luxury hotel Phaedra booked for them in Cape Town. It’s awesome. Why was everyone so worried about its luxe factor before arriving? Clearly they haven’t talked to Phaedra about her plans for making people comfortable in the afterlife. Girlfriend likes the glamour. While picking rooms, Shereé makes a joke about NeNe sharing hotel space with Phaedra and herself, which causes everyone to share a hearty laugh – after one delightfully awkward pause.
As the concierge is helping the ladies settle in, Marlo wants to know who has keys to their castle, who the housekeepers are, when they are working, their names, maybe even their kids names. WTF? If Marlo is so concerned and paranoid about her stuff, she should have packed her security system in all that luggage. Marlo’s concern for her things is quite touching. If only she could show that kind of concern for people too. We agree with Phaedra, maybe next time, Marlo should plan her own trip so she can have exactly what she wants. Everybody knows awkward situations happen when you casually plus 1 on an international vacation.
On their first morning in South Africa, the Tall and the Small competition begins at breakfast. The Talls take the lead early, wearing designer caftans while the Smalls wear PJ’s “from Marshall’s.” Despite Marlo’s attempt to educate the group with additional etiquette lessons, Phaedra plays her best hand – full of kings no less – by giving each of the ladies she originally invited on the trip a thoughtful gift and promising Marlo one on their return. Then, even though it showed a distinct lack of manners, Shereé wins the match by inviting only the Smalls to a special dinner at a friend’s house that night. A masterful bit of shade for a sunny South African morning.
Back in the ATL, Kim is adjusting to life without Kroy. Ugh. If we had known that the end of the NFL lock-out would mean more on-camera time for Kim’s dad, we would have tried to stall the negotiations personally. At least he makes the valid point that Kroy has completely changed Kim for the better, stabilizing her life and making her happy and secure.
Kim is having a hard time keeping things going at home without Kroy to help and complains that Sweetie doesn’t provide the kind of (constant) support she requires. Granted, no new mother wants to take care of an infant without the father’s help, but since Kim had the time to get dressed up, put on a push-up bra, style her wig and get her make-up done, complete with a smoky eye, we’re guessing that life isn’t as taxing as she’d like the audience to believe.
The one person getting things done in this household is Ariana, probably our favorite person on the show. She let Kroy know that it all doesn’t mean a thing without THE RING, and assures her Mom that the ice is on its way. Get that girl some chicken and real dog.
Back in South Africa, the rest of the cast decide to spend their only day in Cape Town touring the cape on a yacht. They’ll have plenty of time to go native later on, we guess. Right now, they’d rather go fabulous. We realize the show is edited, but the sun seemed to set pretty early on the trip. What did the ladies do all day – their hair? Maybe they were waiting on Marlo to get dressed in her over-the-top outfit and shoes. While it’s appropriate to dress-up for a private yacht excursion, a too-short skirt and heels worthy of Minnie Mouse just makes Marlo look like an amateur.
The cruise seems relaxing for all, but the laid-back attitudes can only last so long, and the ladies go below deck for a snack and some “conversation” – which is often housewife for argument. Marlo does her usual pot-stirring, mixing it up with Kandi, but for once, the other ladies take this opportunity not to escalate their issues but to clear the air of them. Even NeNe takes advantage of this chance to communicate, rather than giving everyone the silent treatment, and uses her sharp sense of humor for good for a change.
Alas, the good times can’t stay. The Smalls return to their part of the penthouse to get ready for dinner and do some sniping about the Talls behind closed doors. Cynthia stops by to wish the ladies well and extend an olive branch, making sure they feel welcome at her dinner even though they have other plans. Perhaps looking to spice things up, Shereé invites Cynthia to dinner with the Smalls, as long as she leaves Marlo and NeNe behind. Cynthia says she needs some time to think about it, but really she wants to gossip about the invite with the Talls.
The high school shenanigans don’t surprise us, but what does is Marlo’s reaction to being left out. For a woman who is so new to the group and likes to act above it all, she’s awfully concerned about her popularity. When Marlo confronts Shereé about being slighted, the Battle of the Lowest Blows begins: Shereé can’t get a man, while Marlo’s main man was once an 80 year-old sugar daddy. Sheree can’t afford her lifestyle while Marlo can … only because of her 80 year-old sugar daddy. Marlo has a custom-made bed, Shereé has a blow-up mattress … ouch.
Let’s be real here, both ladies have tried to recreate themselves with smoke and mirrors, but the truth is pretty obvious. No matter how many fancy cars Shereé leases, we can all tell she’s broke. No matter how many fancy dresses Marlo wears or how she behaves over cocktails, she’s a former convict with a long list of offenses. You can fake it till you make it, or until you put yourself on a reality show. We’d also like to provide Marlo with an important, modern-day etiquette lesson – in proper society, you’re expected to avoid using gay slurs with a double “g” in the middle.
We’re not sure what was more bizarre, that NeNe was acting as the fight’s referee instead of the instigator, or watching Shereé and Marlo start to vogue like drag queens doing the chicken-dance as the episode came to an end. Maybe RuPaul will start the next show by asking Marlo and Shereé to lip-sync for their lives. Think what you will, but at least it wasn’t boring for once. Emily Post must be rolling in her grave.