Welcome back to the Real Housewives of Atlanta! It’s the finale, which would normally make me sad, but considering we have the real drama coming in the reunion, I’m able to put off being sentimental about these hos for a week. Orange County just isn’t going to do it for me. I’m sorry. So let’s meet up with our rhinestone-encrusted peaches one last time…
Hope doesn’t pay the mortgage.
We meet at…the Cheesecake Factory. And guess what? I’ve actually been to this Cheesecake Factory! I had lunch there once. I don’t know why, but I’m very excited about this. Anyway, there’s Lisa Hartwell, and along comes Kimmie with a Chanel bag the size of a plasma and covered, just smothered in sparkles. “Gimme that bag!” squeals Lisa.
And then Sheree walks up with her manly back on display in a racer-bank tank. They take their seats and Lisa doesn’t waste time getting down to business. “So there I am at the sunset barbeque,” she begins. As I noted, Lisa did not appreciate being abandoned with NeNe and leftover DeShawn Snow, and now it’s time the let the other girls know.
She blames it on DeShawn. “DeShawn took it personal,” Lisa informs them. And then it’s time for excuses. First Kimmie starts mumbling something about being busy, but she doesn’t waste a whole lot of time there before she gets to what she calls “the real deal”. Kimmie thinks she’s always been supportive, and she’s known NeNe for years, but she’s too negative. And also, NeNe doesn’t support Kim’s dream of becoming a country singer. Well, it was a little mean to make up a song about it, but it seems unfair that NeNe’s penalized for just saying what everyone else with ears is too polite to say.
And then it’s Sheree’s turn to tell why she wasn’t at the barbeque, which everyone seems to have forgotten about in favor of the Why We Don’t Like NeNe string, and Sheree repeats the rehearsed “NeNe’s so negative.” She yaps away about loyalty and talking to people, I don’t know, I kind of lose her. I come back when Kim, right on schedule, tells Sheree she’s beautiful. And then frosts it with “NeNe’s a drag queen.” Thanks Kimmie, five whole minutes into the episode and no one’s told Sheree she’s beautiful. I was getting concerned.
Anyway, Lisa’s not really having it. Lisa’s got her eye on Season Two. So she makes Sheree and Kimmie agree to meet up with everyone for dinner and talking. Sounds like a spin-off of Drinks & Dialogue!
DeShawn Snow is playing basketball with her husband Eric. She’s talking about how she used to cook for him back in college. She made ramen noodles. He made Hamburger Helper and fishsticks. Then they talk about how Red Lobster was a big deal. We get it, you’ve come a long way. The Red Lobster thing doesn’t make the journey any more graceful.
We didn’t even have a basketball. We would just crumple up paper and try to get it in the trash can.
It turns out that Eric Snow has actually had a career ending injury. But the Snows were ready for it, because he was getting ready to retire in a year anyway. I’m sure all this preparation was Eric Snow’s doing, there’s no way dimwitted DeShawn could have fathomed planning in advance.
So what does Eric Snow want to do, now that the NBA career is over? Well, coincidentally enough, cause there just happens to be a cable television crew filming this…Eric Snow wants to get into broadcasting! Coaching is briefly mentioned, but that’s a year round thing. DeShawn mentions that she might try working. “”Maybe I’ll bring home the bacon and you can fry it!” she chirps. That’s funny, but not as funny as the idea of DeShawn supporting the Snows.
When have you ever fried bacon?
And speaking of important issues, like supporting your family, there’s Kimmie puffing away and making a list for the nanny. Sorry, nanny/personal assistant. Everything from Gucci needs to go back. She hated all of it. She also tells us she bought a bunch of evening gowns. “I felt important, so I bought a bunch of evening gowns,” she explains. And then Dallas Austin makes a phone call I’m sure he’s been dreading for days.
We flashback to Kimmie in the studio. It’s just as hideously entertaining as ever. Dallas basically tries to reason with Kim, telling her if she’s serious she’s going to have to go to country music “boot camp”. That means no going out, no drinking…and no smoking. Dallas knows full well she’s puffing away while he lays this down for her too. “I understand,” Kimmie tells him, a little exasperatedly. As if to say, do you understand, Dallas Austin? The name Big Poppa mean anything to you? “I’m a hard worker,” Kimmie tells Dallas defensively. Well, work as hard as you want, you’re not gonna grow a good voice. Dallas smoothly avoids the issue, reminding her of the time commitment, and also that she’s a Mom.
None of which deters Kim. “My kids aren’t gonna stop me,” she says defiantly, “Kids don’t block you from your dreams.” You hear that, world? Motherhood’s got nothing on Kim’s completely realistic dreams of becoming a famous country music singer who isn’t known for having big boobs.
There’s a factory that makes Grammys, right? Just buy me one and cut the lectures.
For Kimmie, all it comes down to vocal coach Jan’s assessment about the “crack in the foundation”, but “whatever, I’ll get in my won space and figure out what Kim needs to do to get to where Kim needs to be.” Meaning, forget Dallas and Jan and NeNe and all those people who think carrying a tune has anything whatsoever to do with becoming a famous country music singer. Clearly they’re just haters.
And on to our other resident pretend career made possible by a rich dude in Atlanta, it’s Sheree. Sheree is on the phone with Michael Knight, designer of the perfect hot pant on Project Runway. Sheree makes sure we know she used her connections to get Michael on the phone, and tells him the story of the disastrous “viewing”. She complains that she’s running into people who all tell her they can do things, but they’re not coming through in the end. Much like Kim, forget anyone who says that she needs to know anything about design to be a fashion designer. Sheree’s only mistake is hiring the wrong people.
Sheree sucks up to Michael Knight, which couldn’t have been easy for her, and begs him to meet with her and guide her. In other words, lend a modicum of credibility to her crackpot fashion line. They make a plan to meet up the next day.
Then she scored a touchdown and lifted a car with one arm.
Over at NeNe’s (Yay! I miss NeNe already…), she’s writing a heartfelt letter to Curtis. She looks like a little kid doing her homework at the kitchen table while Gregg patiently putters around the kitchen. She invites him over to hear what she’s got so far. She tells Curtis that she’s sorry the DNA results weren’t in their favor, but she still considers him her father. Gregg nods sagely/supportively, as usual, and throws in a “You have to step up and move on.” NeNe tells us she’s not sure if there’s a journey for her to discover who her Dad really is.
Over at the Hartwells, they’re all gathered in the kitchen for baby feeding. Strained Peas & Spit Up? I don’t know, the event, oddly, isn’t named. Clearly, this Oakland thing’s got Lisa thrown. Sure enough, she’s complaining about it and Ed’s telling her they’ll work it out like they “always do”. Enter NeNe to remind us that Lisa and Ed haven’t been married that long, and in her observation, you have to have a very strong foundation to be married to an athlete. NeNe, so wise.
Lisa tells Ed how worried she is about him getting injured, ending with her real concern, which is that she doesn’t want to end up pushing him around in a wheelchair. You know Lisa’s just selfish enough to really mean it too, which is a little disgusting. She assures him that she’d do it though. Honoring that whole “through sickness and health” thing. What a sport.
Sickness, health, and a LOT of money.
Seeing the injury argument is going nowhere fast, Lisa tries a different route. She gets all sweet and sappy and tells Ed Hartwell how much she’s going to miss him. He’s her bestie after all. But then he promises to come home and visit on his days off, and she promises to come visit him on the road, and Ed Hartwell congratulates her on getting the idea. “That’s why I love you so much, you really care about me, it’s not about the other stuff,” he reminds her. Got it, Lisa? Ed Hartwell’s a catch, and now everyone in America knows it. I’d watch your ass.
Over at Sheree’s, it’s time to meet with Michael Knight! Who doesn’t love this guy? Sheree completely fawns all over him, tells him that he’s her fashion fairy godfather. He tries to be nice, telling her she looks “spiffy”. Sheree starts in with her sob story ending with her valiant decision not to show the shoddy samples. What a hero. Michael takes one look at the clothing samples and declares them “whack”. Well, now that we’ve got the technical term for it.
Michael is thrilled to pick apart Sheree’s line, which I would totally be too. He tells her you get what you pay for. Then he tells her how it looks homemade cause of the elastic. Then he critiques her fabric choice. Oh, but don’t worry Michael, that wasn’t Sheree’s fault either. She didn’t choose her own fabrics. See?
You? Are outz.
The problem further gets blamed on how she put too much trust in other people’s hands, and then she does a little more complaining about all the money and energy she (and by she, we mean Bob Woodfield for money and the Sheree, You’re Fabulous! â„¢ entourage for energy) put into the viewing. Michael wastes no time smacking her right into line for that one, telling her that maybe she should have been more focused on the actual fashion line than the big party. “But I’m grand!” complains Sheree. “Less grand, more time to focus on your work,” schoolmarm Michael Knight lectures.
But Sheree tells us that she appreciated the real and sincere advice, and that he didn’t candy-coat things for her. Then he makes the most priceless comment of all, telling her that he runs into a lot of athlete’s wives who think they have the money, they can do a line. But Sheree’s different. She’s an ex-wife! Hee hee, Michael tells her that she is different though, because she chose not to show the crap pieces. Bottom line, Michael’s advice is for Sheree to stay hands on, which should be much harder than it sounds, considering from sketching to picking fabrics, she has absolutely no earthly idea what she’s doing.
Over at DeShawn’s, she and Lisa have given the cook the afternoon off so that they can cook Chicken a la Lisa. Trust Lisa Hartwell to name a chicken dish after herself. Lisa thinks it’s great that DeShawn is learning how to cook, and that sometimes a certain lifestyle can handicap you. Whatever Lisa, she can totally cook ramen. Get off your high horse.
Domino’s is my best dish.
During the cooking session, Lisa informs DeShawn of Ed’s future in Oakland. “It’s good, right?” she queries thirteen-year NBA veteran DeShawn. DeShawn confirms that it is, it’s just a part of the business. Then Lisa tells us that she’s going to be throwing a surprise party for Ed Hartwell’s birthday, but it’s hard because he’s always snooping in her laptop. Interesting, he doesn’t seem the type.
There’s some talk about the chicken, and then it’s DeShawn’s turn to spill about Eric Snow’s career ending injury. She assures Lisa that they’re ready for the change. DeShawn’s making the hard choices already. She’s giving up the lease on her Mercedes. Now they only have five cars. Sigh.
Finally, the Chicken a la Lisa is done. DeShawn decrees the process “tedious” in preparation. The chef tastes it and calls it “fantastic”. Way to suck up, paid employee. DeShawn acts like she cooked it all by herself, and then tells us that if she puts her mind to it, she can do anything.
Having seen her throw the Titanic of “fundraisers”, I can unequivocally tell you this is not so.
And there’s Kimmie with the cigarette. “No smoking in the house!” her eleven-going-on-forty year old daughter Brielle tells her. Then she gets on Kim about all the second hand smoke. Then she lists reasons why Kim should quit smoking, like family and health and yellow stains on your teeth. But all these reasons pale in comparison with what Kim’s got, and that’s her voice. “It’s my God given talent, and I’m destroying it,” she laments. My mind drifts back to the disaster in the studio. Actually, more cigarettes might only help the situation. I really don’t see how they could make it worse.
But even the fear of ruining God’s gift isn’t enough for Kimmie to quit smoking. She wants to know what her kids will do for her. The older one offers to stop sleeping in her bed. Kimmie, sensing the oncoming shitstorm, deadpans to the camera, “Both my girls sleep with me. That’s just something I messed up on back in the day.” Done. Kim’s unapologetic smoking, wine IV and, at best, lazy child rearing is actually kind of refreshing.
So the family Kimmie has a deal, and the two little kids start gleefully throwing away cigarette packs, which are kept in the fridge. Why? Is tobacco yummier frozen? “Say goodbye to the open pack!” the older girl cackles. I wonder how long smoke-free Kimmie will last. In my estimation, anything over ten minutes would be an accomplishment.
She’ll be smoking her own weave within the hour.
Then it’s time for Ed Hartwell’s surprise birthday party! And now, Sheree has the fancy, glittery purse from the Cheesecake Factory! It’s the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sparkly Chanel Logos. Ed Hartwell doesn’t really seem that surprised, to be honest with you. Maybe he is all in Lisa’s computer. Lisa makes a toast to her “wonderful husband”, fills the crowd in on the Oakland thing, and then moves on to the real issue of the party, which is that NeNe and Sheree aren’t even looking at each other.
NeNe tells us that the problem is Sheree has a wall up. And NeNe doesn’t like that. She doesn’t have “tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime” for that. For her part, Sheree tells us that she ignores ignorant people, which is why she’s ignoring NeNe. Sheree is as articulate as she is fashionable. And then Sheree tells us that Lisa “axed” her if she could take a picture with her and NeNe. Sheree is pretty much horrified, but she agrees to do it.
Please sing the Kim can’t sing song.
NeNe’s not really onboard either, but if Sheree’s doing it, NeNe’s not going to back off. “I don’t know if I want to take a picture with you bitches,” she drawls as she walks into the shot. Sheree simpers back that she doesn’t have to. “I sure don’t,” NeNe snaps back, and then she poses.
And then there’s a “Thank you, Jesus!” which must mean we’re still on NeNe. It’s time for Bryson’s graduation from high school. Bryson poses in his cap and gown, and NeNe starts the inevitable monologue about how the diploma should have her name on it too. Then we follow them to the car dealership where Bryson’s reward for finishing high school is a new car! He likes the Mustang, but NeNe barely breaks monologue to veto it for being too fast. She wants a safe car. He needs reliable transportation, she continues.
They compromise on a big truck sort of thing. Bryson really likes it, and Gregg cheerfully agrees to buy it. Gregg’s the best. NeNe tells him to look at it this way, it’s so big they can just pack Bryson’s stuff in it, and send him on his way. She wraps it up with the trademark speech about Bryson becoming an independent, strong black man. NeNe’s always on message. Honestly, kind of a sign of a good Mom.
Feel free to change whenever.
Sheree’s cute little girl also has some good school news, she got straight A’s! Well done little honey, but unless those grades are delivered with a couple of pairs of expensive shoes, I doubt Mommy’s gonna notice. Sorry little girl, life’s rough. And sure enough, Sheree gives the kid a quick hug, promises her a trip somewhere (for quality time with Dad, no doubt – Sheree needs her Sheree time, you know), and then reminds them all they’re running late for Lisa’s peaceful dinner. Sheree reminds us that there’s no hatchet to bury with NeNe, because it’s just dead. But even though nothing’s doing, she’d still rather not sit next to NeNe at dinner.
Over at Kimmie’s, she’s trying to dress her little one. The Gucci dress is vetoed. So is the D&G tennis dress. Label dropping, cigarettes, boobs – Kimmie’s dÃ©classÃ© commentary is like a warm blanket. I’m really gonna miss it. “Oh my God, shoot me,” she moans.
Kimmie is not looking forward to the dinner. “Lisa begged me,” she tells us, eyes rolling as far as the Botox will allow. Kimmie tells us she just doesn’t want NeNe to lose it in front of her kids. Which I suppose should be a concern, but it’s Kimmie. She’s thisclose to dumping the kids for an extended visit with the nanny/personal assistant so she run off and become a famous country music singer. One fight with NeNe isn’t gonna make things too much worse.
Haven’t you people heard of Jon Benet?
Saint Lisa just wants everyone to be friends again. She and DeShawn show up to dinner early and talk about what they’re going to do. “Let’s just hope they show,” DeShawn warns. No one showed up to her sunset barbeque, remember. What makes Lisa think her dinner’s such hot stuff?
But there they all are. First comes NeNe, charging up with her team following right behind her. Sheree shows up in yet another backless ensemble – she loves showing off that muscle-y back. Kimmie’s dress is totally cool in a 18th century hooker kind of way. NeNe reminds us that she doesn’t plan on apologizing, she hasn’t done anything wrong, and she and Kim will never be friends. Or was it that she and Sheree will never be friends? I lose track. It’s fabulous.
So, they’re all there, but of course it’s not enough for over-achiever Lisa Hartwell. Nobody’s interacting enough for her. The kids are doing okay though. They ask each other what they’re doing for the summer. NeNe’s little guy, who’s they cutest ever, informs the crowd that he’s going to Six Flags with his brother. That’s so what NeNe’s boys do.
Lisa gets the group seated, introduces them to the chef, and launches right into a speech about how they’re all great people, and now they need to go around the table and air the dirty laundry. Unlike DeShawn, when a Bravo producer gives Lisa Hartwell a job to do, she gets it done.
Ready, set, GO!
Sheree starts off with a cryptically sanitized missive about how she’s opened her eyes and grown. Whatever. NeNe doesn’t do much better with some more mysterious dancing around the topic, talking about misunderstandings and how she and DeShawn have become leftover besties. Then it’s Kim’s turn. She follows the boring party line, talking about how it’s been all drama, and she doesn’t deal well with it. She tops it off with a completely misplaced “everything happens for a reason”, which brings NeNe leaping to life with a, “What happened, Kim? I wonder what happened?” And here we go!
Well, of course we get a fight – actually, it’s more of a mouthful from NeNe about how Kim was disrespectful. If you had a problem with me, you should have come to me. Your history is with me. You were manipulated. You say so many things. You look ridiculous. She just goes on and on. Kimmie sits there, completely defeated. Or pilled out. Either way, I’d be doing the same thing. There’s no stopping Hurricane NeNe. And who would want to?
Uh, please be respectful. Me and my married man are trying to raise my kids right, ok?
“Sorry you feel that way,” Kimmie mumbles, followed by something about her kids. Yeah, yeah. They don’t stop you from following your dream, they don’t stop NeNe from saying what she needs to say either. And then Gregg steps in for the tent revival portion of our dinner.
“It puzzles me…” he begins. And then goes on to talk about history, and how 99% of what they hear doesn’t emanate from the source, and they know who they are and how he loves everyone at the table. It’s not worth it to him. Gregg and NeNe, they really know how to make their points.
And that’s our Brady Bunch moment, my dears. Kimmie and NeNe make plans for Kim to share some of her intravenous wine with NeNe. Kimmie tells us she should have talked to NeNe a month ago. Gregg asks the men to raise their glasses to toast to all the ladies. All is happy and peaceful. Well, until the reunion.
Get over here and let me eat that cute little face.
They give us a little post-script on all the housewives. NeNe has no plans to search for her birth father. Sheree is still negotiating her seven-figure settlement. DeShawn is planning another fundraiser, heaven help us. Ed Hartwell got dropped by the Oakland Raiders…and Kimmie and Big Poppa broke up! How is she sustaining? There must be a Big Poppa II.
NeNe leaves us with a signature soliloquy. “I’m a free bird, honey. You know I put it on the line, dontcha? To be continued…” Indeed! See you for the reunion…