After the conclusion of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” last night, Andy Cohen sat down with Porsha Williams to discuss the big boo-boo that got her sent home early from the reunion — her hair-pulling beat down of former beauty queen Kenya Moore. While Williams seemed self-possessed (certainly more so than the last time we saw her, screaming and kicking her high heels against the floor like a furious three-year-old), she wasn't entirely apologetic about what happened.
Even as Cohen pressed for that on-air apology that didn't come (Williams opened the door to one, but that's about it), he did suggest Bravo might be somewhat responsible for what went down. To wit, future reunion shows will have a strict no props rule. Yeah, as much as Moore tried to beat a drum in the third part of the reunion about being a defenseless victim as Williams yanked her across the set by her hair (or weave), I'm pretty sure none of it would have happened if Williams hadn't had a scepter waved at her and a megaphone stuck in her face.
Still, Moore pressed charges and Williams now has a mugshot to add to her resume. This isn't the first time there's been an on-camera battle on a “Housewives” show, nor the first time someone threatened to call the law, though I think this might be the first time criminal charges have ever been taken this far. As Williams so colorfully put it, thanks to Kenya she was placed in a cell with “pissy smelling, dirty” criminals and had to be fingerprinted. It sort of takes the fun out of a catfight, doesn't it?
If anything, this season's reunion for the Atlanta cast seemed to be all about breaking through the fourth wall. Arguments flared up about who got camera time and who conspired behind the scenes to control it. NeNe Leakes teased Kenya Moore for being the lowest-paid member of the cast. The ladies muttered about plotting out what high-drama plot they'd discuss on camera, and what wasn't appropriate to say when the cameras were on.
It was all a little too much about how the sausage is made, and though we all know reality TV hardly hews to the old school, hands-off approach of real documentaries, it started to feel as if the only people not in on the plotting and scheming were members of the audience. Maybe next year.
If there had to be a theme for “The Real Housewives” franchise this year, it might be adventures in the legal system. Teresa and Joe Giudice just pleaded guilty to mortgage and bankruptcy fraud charges in March, and now Williams may or may not be facing a misdemeanor assault charge (Moore has said she'll drop the charges if she gets a sincere apology). Remember when this show was just about living lavishly and bickering with frenemies? Now it seems the lavish lifestyles (at least in one case) are ill-gotten and the bickering is just useful footage for the prosecution.
Williams talked to Cohen about how she's finally realized that Kenya is just playing a part on the show — in essence, pushing buttons to make sure she's part of the action (and thus, an invaluable part of the cast). At this point, it's hard to imagine anyone isn't playing a part — unless, of course, they end up in prison, which only suggests they took their part too far. Interestingly, the way Moore egged on Williams was to growl “get fired” before contact was made. So much for “take your best shot.”
I'm not sure if “The Real Housewives” casts have simply become too self-aware to generate relatable drama, or if a casting shakeup across the board would cure what ills the franchise. But it seems this much reality is too real to be fun anymore.
Do you think “The Real Housewives” franchise needs to change? Do you think Porsha needs to apologize? Do you think Kenya was asking for it?