“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Episode 412: “South Africa: Just Like Home” recap:
As our episode opens, that clinking sound you hear is the ladies on a 16-hour flight to Cape Town, South Africa. It’s also the sound being generated at the downtown Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau as this hot mess of a reality show flies far from our fair city for 10 days. With luggage carts crammed with designer suitcases, Phaedra Parks, NeNe Leakes, Sheree Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey and interloping ex-con “RHOA” wannabe Marlo Hampton attempt to board the airport elevators without causing the cable to snap, ending the episode before we’re even properly buzzed on our 40-gallon drum of Goldschlager. Essentially, these women have brought enough wardrobe to clothe every man, woman and child living in South Africa.
For each of the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison here.
“Marlo and NeNe each brought 20 pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage with them,” notes trip organizer Phaedra. “Did they bring canned goods with them?” On the shuttle to their penthouses in Cape Town, Phaedra describes the luxury accommodations she’s booked for the girls. “I hope we all have our own bathroom,” says Marlo. “I do not want to share a bathroom.” Personally, we can understand Marlo’s dilemma. After all, she’s accustomed to having her very own stainless steel, lidless commode. Inside her very own jail cell. On the shuttle, Marlo chooses to dispense some etiquette tips to the ladies pertaining to passing the salt and pepper at dinner and how to close your legs when transitioning from sitting to a standing position while in a dress. Sheree in particular is taking notes: “This chick has a criminal past. I seriously doubt that Emily Post has a chapter about aggravated assault.”
Meanwhile, back in Atlanta (well, OK, Roswell. . .) at Kim Zolciak and Kroy Biermann’s luxurious rental, the stress of her man being at Falcons training camp is beginning to wear on Kim. “It’s just me, my two boobs and my three kids,” she laments. Luckily, Kim’s parents, Joe and Karen arrive to film a prospective TV pilot for TBS: “Dinner & a Lecture.” As Joe prepares stuffed shells and turkey meatballs, he does an archeological dig into all of Kim’s past failed relationships, including her extended fling with the adulterous Big Poppa. Just then, Kim’s youngest daughter Arielle announces to no one in particular that Kroy has been inquiring to her about what kinds of diamonds her mother prefers. In short, little Arielle has become the pint-sized pitch person for Bravo’s upcoming Kim and Kroy-centric spring spin-off reality series, “Don’t Be Tardy For the Wedding.”
Back in South Africa as rest of the ladies sip champagne on board a sunset yacht outing, Kandi has a revelation about where in the world they actually are. “So, this is where apartheid was?” she quietly asks a nodding Phaedra. “And where Nelson Mandela was in prison?” Well, just to clarify, technically speaking, Mandela wasn’t on this particular, canapé-accented, champagne-stocked luxury yacht at sea piloted by a dashing Caucasian captain but yes.
On behalf of herself, Kandi and Phaedra, Sheree has accepted the invitation from a gay male Atlanta friend to dine with him at his Cape Town residence. NeNe and Marlo are not on the guest list. Fortified with a little liquid Veuve Clicquot-flavored courage (and perhaps an intense desire to convince producers to add her as a series regular in these waning episodes of Season Four), Marlo confronts Sheree about the social snub and her clear lack of etiquette. Referencing NeNe surprising everyone at Hartsfield-Jackson with Marlo in tow, Sheree explains, “I didn’t even know you were coming!” Since this is reality television (as opposed to, say, reality), a fight ensues.
Phaedra provides a detailed summary for those of us temporarily distracted picking flecks of gold out of a molar: “Something about Sheree’s money problems and Marlo’s old white sugar daddy. I don’t know. They were speaking in tongues or Spanish or something. It’s becoming gibberish at this point.”
That is, until Marlo unleashes the f-word.
“That’s why you don’t have a man,” she screeches at Sheree. “Go and hang with those [expletive] with your ugly stupid ass.” If you listen closely, you can almost detect Bravo executive vice-president of development and talent and “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen curling into a fetal position. In voiceover Kandi says, “Ugh. The word that rhymes with maggots? I don’t know etiquette but I know you’re not supposed to say that.”
And then, Marlo moves in for the jugular by bringing up Sheree’s somewhat sketchy finances. Asks Sheree: “What do you know about my bank account?!” Marlo’s responds, “I shop in the stores and everybody at Neiman Marcus talks about how you return stuff.” (that door you heard shutting is the conference door to a certain high-end Lenox Square department store today as corporate reps begin a 16-hour sales personnel-retraining seminar. . .).
Finally, NeNe gets in between Marlo and Sheree to break up the throw down and to offer some much-needed perspective: “Oh my God. Is this how I look in an argument?! Because they look absolutely stupid.”
Coming Feb 12: NeNe’s journey of self-awareness is interrupted on safari when a tortoise attacks, Marlo delights cash-throwing customers in a nightclub by shaking her moneymaker and traumatized by life in the bush, Cynthia buys a 48-count package of bathroom tissue at the South African equivalent of Costco.