RHOA Recap: Phaedra blings out a funeral, Sheree and NeNe engage in a “grown lady discussion”


The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Episode 401 “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” recap or “Why We Spent $78.97 on Grain Alcohol at Green’s at 11:58 Saturday Night.”

As the fourth season of RHOA unhinged its jaws on Bravo Sunday night, a very pregnant Kim Zolciak and her 25-year-old Atlanta Falcons defensive end boy toy Kroy Biermann move into their new home, “Celebrity Apprentice” veteran NeNe Leakes is newly single after separating from hubby Gregg, singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss is pondering the launch of Bedroom Kandi, a line of adult toys, runway model Cynthia Bailey is starting her own modelling agency, aspiring thespian Sheree Whitfield has a business-related beef with NeNe and Atlanta attorney Phaedra Parks is moonlighting as a funeral planner. Why not unscrew the top off a bottle of “extra sweet white wine” and join us for the recap fun here at our lavish new digs at the Housewives Home Office. Or as we lovingly refer to it: HHO Central.

As the fourth season begins, Kim and Kroy are moving into their expansive new home, complete with a tennis court, movie theater “and a place to house my wigs,” previews Kim. The iTunes sensation and her faithful assistant Sweetie sip from a QT cup while cheerleading Kroy and the movers as they lift a parade of  hideous furniture off a truck. Assessing the differences between Biermann and her ex, Big Poppa, Kim explains: “Big Poppa wouldn’t lift a tissue” and perhaps more importantly, “Kroy’s ass is a masterpiece. Can you believe that [expletive] is for real?!” But naturally, Kim also finds something to complain about. While inspecting her baby daddy’s phone, Kim says: “It’s weird that you don’t have ‘Tardy For the Party’ as your ringtone.'” Kroy’s response: “Like I’m going to put that [expletive] on there.” So much for our wager that Kroy has been completely whipped by the bewigged warbler.

Sheree drops in on her hairstylist/songstress pal Lawrence as he records his new single, “She’s Over It.” So what’s the little ditty about, exactly? We’ll let Lawrence field that one: “So, I’m coming from an angry place but a place where i’m about to revolutionize” (Note to self: Look up symptoms of an aneurysm on WebMD). In voiceover, Sheree explains that her exploits on stage last season have led to some new business opportunities: “I’ve been getting a lot of attention for my acting and I’ve been doing appearances at events and upscale parties.” FYI to Sheree: That’s not “acting.” You’re a rented party guest. There’s a difference. Being a generous and unselfish soul, Sheree has offered to let NeNe in on her new-found financial windfall “acting” at car shows across the country, only — shocker — NeNe has done an end run around her RHOA co-star in order to secure a bigger payday for herself. Or in Shereespeak: “The heffer tried to backdoor me!”

Cynthia is busy meeting her old mentor and gender-bending modelling coach Miss J, who has flown into Atlanta from Milan to oversee Cynthia’s new modelling students. Sniffs Miss J of Cynthia’s new Southern hometown: “This city has a reputation of being a sports, music and party town, not a fashion town. After New York, Paris and Milan, what made you move to Atlanta?!” Note to Miss J: Your criticism of Atlanta’s fashion sense would have likely proven more effective sans the Maria Von Trapp blouse and the skull-accented black bandanna tied around your head. The drag queens at Blake’s on the Park accessorize better than that.

Here at HHO Central, we now humbly offer a moment of silence to mark the passing of Phaedra’s great aunt Lillian. Phaedra and fam have gathered at the historic West End funeral home of Willie A. Watkins to make the appropriate arrangements (the business has assisted in the burial of Coretta Scott King among other notable Atlantans). Surveying the selection of horse-drawn carriages Watkins offers, Phaedra’s eyes are inexplicably drawn to a pimped out musical hearse with flashing lights on the roof and wired with speakers, presumably to pump out the gospel jams on the ride to your final resting place. Explains Phaedra: “Everyone knows I’m known for the most fabulous things in life. This funeral will reflect that.” Sidebar: We’ll be honest. Having covered the smart, savvy real-life Parks for years, we have no idea who this RHOA cartoon creation is. Watching her on this show is more than a little reminiscent of us overdosing on Count Chocula on Saturday mornings as a tyke, watching The Brady Kids,  the animated spinoff of The Brady Bunch. The real child actors from “The Brady Bunch” provided the voices for their cheaply animated counterparts but the adults had been replaced by a talking mynah bird in a wizard hat and a pair of racially insensitive pandas.

Speaking of random, Kandi gathers Phaedra and Sheree at The Liberator to check out the latest in self-pleasuring adult toys as she announces she’s going into the biz herself. Picking up a large vibrating pink object, Phaedra observes: “I hope this is something you wear around your neck.” But Kandi checks Ms. Parks when she refers to her as “Dildo Girl.” Corrects Kandi: “I’m an Intimate Luxury Specialist.”

Less intimate is the episode-closing throwdown between NeNe and Sheree at what appears to be The Grape at Atlantic Station (oddly, the mystery restaurant allowed them to film inside but clearly put restrictions on shooting signage). Of course, Sheree and NeNe are due for a dust up over NeNe’s shady behind-Sheree’s-back business negotiations. Seeking refreshment, NeNe asks a waiter: “Do you know if you have any sweet white wine?” (Here at HHO HQ, we took that as a sign to crack open our handy six-pack of Everclear). Sheree’s hopes for a “grown lady discussion” are quickly dashed when NeNe pointedly says, “I have no desires to get out of character with you. None.” As the conversation deteriorates into a shouting match, NeNe wags a finger and says to Sheree: “While you were running your mouth, I was running to the bank” and then exits The Grape-esque setting. A still-livid Sheree chases NeNe outside and screams: “I knew you back when your first car was getting repo-ed at Home Depot, you TRIFLING BITCH.” For non-Atlantans, Sheree’s screeches may have appeared extreme. But for those of us who frequent Atlantic Station, we know she was just trying to be heard over the melodious sounds of Mel Torme blasting through the sidewalk speakers these days.

Coming next week: Kim Zolciak’s brand new single, “Home Depot Repo” hits number one on iTunes.