Did we really need three hours for this year’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion? Based on what happened in the final hour, apparently not.
Some key topics were touched on, including NeNe’s new gig on “Glee” and more indecent behavior from Marlo. But most of this either could’ve been shoved into a supersized second half of the reunion, or saved for online exclusives.
So, what did we learn?
— Marlo wants the ladies get to know her “as a person, as a friend.” But does nothing but insult them all and start fights in an obvious bid to join the cast. She accuses Kandi of being a “sugar mama,” and even when Andy asks why Marlo “made it rain” in Africa (when she was obviously baiting Sheree to pick up money she tossed in the air at a club) the conversation flips around again to Marlo picking on Kandi.
If there’s really anyone who actually likes Marlo, maybe the relentless attempts at bullying Kandi will convince them to see the light. Marlo claims she’ll “always have money because of haters” like Kandi. Andy wonders how anyone can make money from haters. Marlo has no convenient self-aggrandizing nonsense ready for a quick reply.
— NeNe gets a fan question asking about the hypocritical reference to Kim as Kandi, Sheree and Phaedra’s “boss” when NeNe herself acts like she’s heading up a gang including Cynthia and Marlo. According to NeNe, Cynthia and Marlo are their own people.
When Andy asks Kim if she feels like a boss, Sheree, Phaedra and Kandi all answer for her: they’re their own boss. NeNe says she just meant they all reported back to Kim. Sheree says “Hello, we’re doing a show.”
— So does Cynthia have a mind of her own? Sheree claims Cynthia totally changes when she’s around NeNe. Kandi says Cynthia’s opinions will shift with whatever NeNe thinks. When NeNe tries to defend Cynthia, Cynthia shuts her down (see, she’s her own person!)
Cynthia says no matter what happens between Kandi and Kim (“Tardy for the Party, etc.), Kandi always goes running back to Kim (basically parroting what NeNe says, again, for no good reason). Sheree jumps in to note that’s because Kandi and Kim are friends. Cynthia wants to know why her friendship with NeNe is perceieved differently then Kandi’s friendship with Kim. (Maybe because Kandi doesn’t constantly seek Kim’s approval or take her side in every argument and situation?)
— Was anyone genuinely changed by the trip to Africa? Cynthia and Phaedra agree that everyone was changed for the better. Sheree and even Marlo agree with this. For some reason, Andy lets it go at that.
— Sheree explained again why she didn’t invite Marlo to the party in Africa. It’s a rehash of a dumb situation but Marlo throws in a new egotistical twist by proclaiming that there’s no way Sheree’s “gay black male friend” wouldn’t have wanted such a “fabulous” woman like Marlo at his party. After all, she’s gorgeous and loves designer labels (her description). Sheree just shakes her head no and Andy kicks Marlo out of the reunion (or graciously says goodbye … if you’re going to be picky about it).
— After a montage of her greatest brawls (including a couple major blowouts with new BFF Kim), Sheree admits she is “not proud of all those” fights she’s had on the show in the past. She claims she doesn’t even remember her fight with Marlo in Africa — it was a blackout moment.
Kim’s take on the past? “Back then it wasn’t funny, but it’s funny today.” Kim adds, “Sometimes doing the show things get blown way out of proportion … Sometimes Sheree and I should’ve picked up the phone to clarify things.”
NeNe doesn’t believe Kim and Sheree’s friendship is genuine and adds that there’s no way they’ve known each other ten years.
— Andy read a viewer question asking Kim and Sheree to say something nice about NeNe and vice versa. After an awkward pause, Kim says NeNe is fun. Sheree says “ditto.” NeNe replies back that “Kim is fun. I’ll give Sheree what she gave me: nothing. The hand.”
— What went wrong with NeNe and Kim? NeNe: “After awhile that gets old. I wish Kim the best but I’m moving on.”
Kim: “We’ve had arguments and stuff but the one thing I value in my friendships is like communicate. NeNe gets real loud and doesn’t want to hear what I want to say. Our friendship through the years was a screaming match.”
— Marlo has to answer for her gay slur in South Africa. She wants to first apologize to Andy and then all of her gay friends. Andy points out that she denied ever using the “f-word.” Marlo says she only denied it to Lawrence and that’s because Sheree was there smiling and “I wasn’t gonna give her the satisfaction of the day.” She has since learned to think before she speaks (uh, right) and from now on she’ll just use the word “queen.” Andy gives her his blessing for that.
— Andy points out that after all the grief NeNe gave Kim about Big Poppa, NeNe now has a sugar daddy of her own. “John’s not married, so we can do whatever we wanna do,” NeNe points out. She sees no problem with the relationship and she doesn’t feel weird about accepting his gifts. But she does think it’s a little bit fast to start showering someone with gifts. Still, she appreciates his kindness.
As for Greg? NeNe says she does love Greg and Greg loves her. If they can work through their issues, they may get back together.
— Kim on her joke about NeNe that closed the season finale: “We all know NeNe doesn’t have a penis, for god’s sake. Laugh about it.” Andy says no one is laughing now and asks NeNe if she found it funny. She just found it “vulgar.”
— Kim congratulates NeNe on “Glee” and adds “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that’s what you should be doing.” But NeNe feels like her haters want to put out a message that she doesn’t work for her money. Andy asks how the other women are supposed to give NeNe credit when she doesn’t even talk to them.
— Turns out “Glee” is the realization of a long-term dream for NeNe. She had been auditioning for TV pilots when she first heard about “Real Housewives.” She decided to try reality TV instead and claims she brought Kim and Sheree along with her. They don’t deny it but NeNe keeps going, saying she had to convince the producers to cast a white woman (Kim) and to cast Sheree because they initially thought she might be “boring.”
Sheree finds that interesting since she’s the one who made it “jump off” (i.e. caused fights that the producers surely loved). NeNe won’t let it go and Sheree tries to stay polite and even musters a not entirely un-genuine sounding “thank you.” When Andy asks NeNe if she feels like Kim and Sheree owe her, NeNe responds “Absolutely not,” but then gets upset when Sheree says the same thing. NeNe has no beef with Kim on the subject, but Sheree’s refusal to kiss the ring isn’t going to fly.
Now that Sheree has formally left the show, it looks like NeNe will have to find someone else to bully.
What was your favorite moment of the reunion? Has fame gone to NeNe’s head? And what will next season be like without Sheree?