Recap: ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ – ‘South Africa: Just Like Home’

Oh my Lord of the Rings, I think I may have just seen the most ridiculous fight, well, at least during this season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” The bar for cray-cray is pretty high on this show, but the battle that breaks out in this episode just has to be top ten if nothing else. The only thing that could have made it more insane would have been dwarf tossing or a Jell-O wrestling match, and since the battle continues into next week’s episode, I can’t even rule that out. 

But everything stars off SO well on our ladies’ trip to Africa! They sip champagne in first class. They take off their make-up like savvy travelers, and Cynthia makes fun of NeNe for wiping off an eyebrow. And NeNe doesn’t even slug her! Phaedra wants to ride elephants. And anything else that presents itself. Oh, Phaedra, Apollo will be watching this, remember? What happens in South Africa does not stay there if there’s a camera crew following your every move.

Anyway, they finally arrive in South Africa. Marlo and NeNe immediately get all princess-y about their Louis Vuitton luggage. They can’t go up the escalator with their Louis Vuitton luggage! Marlo can’t leave her shoes and Hermes Birkin bags unattended! Psst, girls? Really rich people DON’T CARE because they can REPLACE their expensive stuff. I’m sure Marlo’s worried she’ll have to sleep with yet another old geezer if she needs a new Birkin bag, poor thing. 

The diva act continues once they finally get out of the airport. Marlo will NOT share a bathroom. Phaedra thinks she has some gall expecting anything considering that she crashed the damn trip. Then, Marlo decides to quiz everyone about the contents of the etiquette book she’s reading. Did you know you pass the salt WITH the pepper? Sheree suspects Emily Post never wrote an entry about aggravated assault. Yeah, Marlo, you’re not fooling anyone with your Birkins and your etiquette book. We’ve all seen your mugshots, so get over it.

The women will be staying in two luxury apartments in Capetown, each with three bedrooms. When Sheree says that she, Marlo and NeNe will be staying in one of the apartments, NeNe looks like she’s going to have a small seizure — but psyche! Sheree reveals that of COURSE she’s kidding, and NeNe and Marlo practically pee themselves with hysterical laughter. What a JOKESTER! She’s so NUTS! Because they’d rather SKIN THEMSELVES ALIVE than share space with HER! I think they either all need sleep or Marlo and NeNe need to get over themselves. 

But before anyone can relax and unpack, Marlo wants the concierge to tell her who will have access to the suite. She wants their names. Because a maid could STEAL HER SHOES! Or her BIRKINS! PLURAL! She has more than ONE! Is there any chance someone can give Marlo a sedative, pop her onto a flight back to Atlanta and dump her stupid handbags into the ocean? 

Not a chance, because these women are going to behave themselves! They’re in the motherland! Thhe women have a toast, and Kandi is feeling positive. This is going to be a fun trip after all! Oh, Kandi. You’re so silly. 

The next morning, the women have breakfast and chat. For the time being, everything seems fairly friendly, but beneath the surface everyone is thinking nasty thoughts. Kandi knows that Marlo is constantly trying to erase her past. Cynthia thinks Phaedra’s ridiculous for talking about kings and queens when she’s wearing a robe from Marshall’s. I hope Cynthia feels a little stupid for being judgmental when Phaedra gives everyone a gift (except for Marlo, who whines that she didn’t get a gift until Phaedra tells her she’ll send her one). But still, friendly, friendly, friendly. Sure, with underlying hostility, but friendly on the surface. 

Then, the trouble starts. Sheree tells everyone she’s going to a dinner party at her friend Kevin’s place, but she’ll only take Phaedra and Kandi. Because, well, she doesn’t like NeNe and she knows Cynthia’s attached at her hip, and, well, Marlo is… Marlo. Everyone nods and pretends this is okay. It’s not, of course, and the Talls and the Smalls go to their respective corners to dish.

But first, back to Atlanta! Kim’s mom and dad drops by to make dinner because Kim is so tired! She needs a nanny! Or help! Which she is not getting from Sweetie! Kim’s dad tells her Kroy has made her a more tolerable person, and that makes him happy. There was too much drama with Pappa, it seems. But Kim still wants her ring! After mom and dad dish up the food, Sweetie eats dinner while Kim takes care of the baby. Kim jokes that Sweetie isn’t getting paid for the day. Sweetie does not seem to give a crap. I’m not sure if Kim has expressed to Sweetie what her expectations are, but I’m starting to understand why Sweetie is no longer her assistant. 

Back to South Africa! And it’s time for a yacht cruise! Kandi asks Phaedra about apartheid, which holds no interest to the other girls, who would probably rather be shopping. Marlo continues her endless etiquette lesson and tells everyone to keep their knees closed when they stand up. I’m so glad I wasn’t on this trip, because in less than an hour of watching it on television I sorely want to dump this lunatic overboard. Then, once everyone’s had a pleasant time watching the sunset, Marlo decides it’s time to clear the air. Oh, oh no. Clearing the air, on this show at least, is code for “let’s beat the hell out of one another.” Great. 

Marlo thinks Kandi isn’t welcoming. Kandi thinks Marlo shined her on at the mall. NeNe thinks Phaedra doesn’t like her. Phaedra doesn’t know why. Everyone vows to play nice with one another, at least for the next nine days. Finally, Marlo wants Sheree and NeNe to vow to be pleasant to one another. Everyone is saying that they’re going to behave, but Marlo’s little peacemaking endeavor has clearly irritated everyone. 

Finally, it’s almost dinner time. Cynthia makes reservations at Nobu for herself, NeNe and Marlo, then decides to pop into Phaedra, Sheree and Kandi’s apartment to let them know they’re welcome to join if they want to ditch Kevin’s party. Sheree then makes a fatal error — she lets Cynthia know she can come to Kevin’s party if she wants to, since she’s no longer attached to NeNe’s hip. 

Cynthia blinks.

So, she can come and Marlo and NeNe can’t? 

“Pretty much,” Sheree says. 

Cynthia, of course, runs off to tattle to Marlo and NeNe, making mocking, mean girl faces as she does. Marlo is so offended! SHE wasn’t invited! I don’t think Sheree even considered inviting her, simply because she’s NeNe’s friend and she barely knows her. But Marlo wants to confront Sheree. And then it all goes CRAY-CRAY.

First, Marlo and Sheree are focused on bickering about the dinner party, but that’s only for a minute. Then, Marlo is dropping both F-bombs (the one used as a slur against gay men and the other, well, you know) and then Sheree starts yapping about Marlo having sex with an 80-year-old man and Marlo starts shrieking about Sheree being broke and hanging out with drug dealers and it is ON. 

In fact, it is so on it’s hard to actually understand what’s being said. I just hear “REPO’D” and “80 YEAR OLD MAN” and “BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!” and “MY MERCEDES IS PAID FOR, BLEEP!” Amazingly, the other women not only can’t get a word in edgewise, NeNe steps in to break it up. NeNe!

On the bright side, this dumb ass fight gives her a moment of clarity. What if she looks like this when she argues? Because these two women look “absolutely stupid.” I hope NeNe remembers this moment, I really do.  

Finally, after they’ve exhausted real insults and just seem to be tossing brand names at each other (“ASTON MARTIN!” “MERCEDES!”), they start mimicking one another. Now, no one is even speaking English (or any other language), they’re just making Muppet noises, like dueling Beakers gone bad. Or maybe Animals without the drum kits.

Even better, this interminable fight isn’t over! It continues next week! I’m putting money on Sheree, honestly, though Marlo has the necessary insanity and volume necessary to grind anyone down. I’ll be interested to see how everyone behaves when the girls go on safari, though I suspect someone’s getting fed to the lions. 

Do you think Marlo was justified in being offended? Were you surprised things broke down as quickly as they did? And do you think Kim is going to fire Sweetie soon, or will Sweetie just quit?