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Last night on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, it was a totally Kim-free episode as the other ladies toured the bush of South Africa. They laughed, they danced, they sang, they did charity work – I know, shockingly that all actually happened! They also made snide comments and embarrassed themselves, but hey it’s better than a screaming match!

Things began at the tale end of the epic showdown between two ladies desperate to prove each one is the lesser gold digging, wannabe living off a sugar daddy’s dime. It is much to everyone’s surprise, including Kandi‘s that NeNe intervenes and basically pries these two crazy ladies apart. As NeNe herds Marlo up the stairs, still clutching her omnipresent mimosa, she scolds Sheree on remaining calm and letting it go.

Afterwards everyone shakes it off and proceeds on to their respective dinner engagements. Well, almost everyone NeNe and Cynthia looked like they both wanted to catch the first bus out of there! Sheree arrives at her friend Kevin’s dinner party where he is excited to see the ladies and has planned a lot of exceptional entertainment for the evening. I can see why it would be impractical for Sheree to invite three more people last minute but she should have approached it a different way. Seriously, couldn’t a Bravo producer make copies of Marlo‘s etiquette book and pass it around to the entire traveling group? At Kevin’s the ladies are treated to some amazing fire dancing, flirting with danger indeed. That is pretty much the theme of this entire trip!

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After the entertainment portion of the evening everyone settles in for dinner. Everyone goes around the table introducing themselves and describing what they do for a living. I noticed Sheree didn’t announce her “profession.” Kandi gets the good fortune to be seated next to a South African model looking to make it in the entertainment industry. Kandi astutely notes that she may be a long way from home, but she still managed to find a little piece of Atlanta in this unemployed actor who doesn’t act – except at faking it til he makes it! And apparently he hopes Kandi will be his lucky break!

Meanwhile CyNeLo goes to dinner at Nobu. Cynthia is disappointed they are in Africa and dining at a Japanese restaurant as she wants to experience all the country has to offer. I think Cynthia is actually disappointed she came on this trip with these ladies instead of people actually care about exploring South Africa.

That dinner as so awkward! Cynthia was visibly annoyed, NeNe looked rattled, and Marlo was acting like nothing happened! As Marlo flounces away from the table (in an amazing Missoni cape) shouting about being fabulous, NeNe has a reality check about her own behavior in hostile situations, citing how embarrassing it is to get so out of hand. Cynthia is very disconcerted by Marlo’s use of the F-word and feels that was the most egregious moment of the fight.

Returning to the table, the ladies debrief the fight, Marlo is over it and warns everyone not to get her fired up. Quoting Kim Z, Marlo instructs Sheree can Google her – and check her charges. Oh lawd. Following that classy exchange, the ladies disembark for the club to put bottles on Sheree’s credit cards – which Marlo astutely observes will likely be declined.

When KanDraRee (that’s Kandi, Phaedra, and Sheree) arrive at the club Marlo is already tipsy and acting crazy. She greets all the ladies and Kevin with a hug, but flips Sheree off. Learning her lesson (maybe she Googled Marlo from the car?) Sheree ignores her. Everyone is dancing, drinking, and having a good time when Marlo starts heaving fistfuls of money into the air, making it rain with nary a stripper in sight! Marlo is hot to prove her worth – monetarily anyways. NeNe is embarrassed–again–but Phaedra and Kandi have no shame! They start grabbing her rejects and stuffing them in their bras. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure and Ayden needs Pampers!

In the van back to the hotel, KanDraRee fill the others in on the fabulous dinner. Clearly not caring that they were not invited, NeNe and Cynthia participate in a civil conversation about the evening, but Marlo keeps making rude passive aggressive comments to Sheree, sniping “I wish I were invited,” and later clarifying to Kandi that her sugar daddy was actually 60, thankyouverymuch! NeNe must be emotionally eating to escape the pain of this trip, because she is begging the driver to stop for chips.

The next day our weary and intrepid travelers leave the city for a true African adventure in the brush. Well, actually it’s a luxury game reserve with a full staff dedicated to their every whim. The only thing Phaedra cares about is seeing a tiger – wrong country! Arriving at the reserve, the concierge gives the ladies the run down and a tour. Marlo interrupts to ask if there is “hair and make-up” available for a safari! Then she demands he bring some one in to provide those services. FOR A SAFARI! Desperate much?

On the tour the women are shown both modern and traditional rooms. Everyone bickers over who gets the modern rooms because they need enormous closets for the three days they will be there.  NeLo decide Phaedra, being a southern belle, needs to the traditional room, but she likes modern too. Eventually they decide to draw numbers for the rooms, and irony is ironic because NeLo gets stuck in the loser rooms – cause well…. HA!

Luckily, they can still fit their hair and make-up crew in there. The next day while Cynthia waits, and waits, waits, in her camo vest for everyone to join her at breakfast, NeLo are playing fashion barbie getting professionally dolled up to ride around on a golf cart in the wilderness. Hot mess, doesn’t even begin to describe NeNe’s fur cape and leopard peeptoe combo – nor their attitudes.

While the other ladies join a disappointed Cynthia at breakfast, NeLo still take their good ol time being self-obsessed.Cynthia is feeling left out by Marlo and NeNe’s fabricated friendship and the other ladies decide to be nice to the one lonely tall, left by her lonesome while Marlo absconds her friend to the dark side. Sheree and Cynthia bond over budget shopping and mixing up and down market goods. We know Sheree likes to return to Neiman’s… Meanwhile NeLo bonds over credit card debt.

God – the CAPES this episode!!! I love, love, love a cape! NeLo finally arrive at the table, and Marlo is wearing of all things… Sequined harem pants! Apparently Marlo is confusing herself with Diana Ross, the Studio 54 years, as she prepares for her safari. I’m thinking those were Marlo’s attempts to camouflage with the bush, but sadly sequins are more likely to attract an hungry lion. Maybe NeNe talked her into them for a reason…

Over brunch (breakfast?) NeNe gets flowers from Olives aka John. That’s probably where she also got that Louis VOOtawn cape. Not to be confused with Louis Vuitton.

The ladies leave the table and troop outside for their safari. NeNe has wisely ditched the cape, fearing animal attack and has switched to flats. Marlo is still the tackiest thing the grasslands have ever seen! Marlo wants to be carried to the jeep so her heels won’t sink into the ground – she is trying to get cast on this show something desperate.  No one takes her up on the offer. Even NeNe had the decency to tone it down, but not Miss So Much To Prove Marlo! Phaedra is making fun of her behind her back by doing some crazy dance moves.

Dividing up for the rides, the smalls ditch the disco talls. On Land Rover A, the Smalls appreciate the scenery and are quiet and respectful of the animals in their habitat. On Land Rover B – Marlo is narrating – constantly. Soundtrack de Mugshot Marlo, $19.95 + s&h.

The ladies then get upclose and personal with NeNe‘s boyfriend… Mr. Turtle. He’s a nightmare indeed! Similar to Mr. John. After spotting some zebras, the guide instructs the girls to hop out, but stay near the vehicle for fear of scaring the wildlife. Marlo, of course, decides to play lioness chasing the herd; charging through the bush in her Blahniks causing all the Zebras to flee for their lives. Marlo is a bit Cruella de Ville…. Poor Cynthia is rightfully embarrassed and my opinion of her has raised a little.

On Land Rover A, The Smalls compare the giraffes to NeNe and Marlo and poor Cyn getting ditched by her girl. Funny! But please, giraffes are far too elegant. The great search for tigers culminates with the tour guide succinctly informs them that there are no, in fact, Tigers in Africa.

After the safari, the girls have Bellinis in the bush and a toast to friends. Wrong group, Julian. Some how these women all changed into heels to have a picnic in the middle of no where. Were the smuggling the heels on the Land Rover?! I’m very confused by the costume change.

The next day all the ladies visit a local orphanage in the village. The women decide to go to the store to get supplies to donate and come across a group of school children singing and dancing. Cynthia jumps right in and an impressed Kandi starts videotaping some of the awesome dance moves. I think she found her first act for her new show! Phaedra praises them for their youthful skin, wondering what their secrets are. Haha.

These boys were amazing! Even NeNe gets into it as she busts a move and starts dancing with the kids.

Afterwards they clean out a local store, buying food and supplies for the kids and the community. Everyone else buys necessities, Marlo wants to get perm kits. The shop keeper warns them that everyone in the village could benefit from the supplies, so they stop by the side of the road to pass out food and hygiene products. I do think it was great that the women were donating to the villages and the kids. I certainly hope Bravo donated large proceeds to this village community!

Arriving at the orphanage for children who have HIV/AIDs and come from abusive homes, the women are instantly drawn into the adorable kids, putting their selfishness behind them to interact and really spend time with these little ones. They were so cute… I was bawling watching those beautiful children. I’m really glad the episode ended on this positive note. Even Marlo was normal – except for her shoes.  After five minutes of interacting, the women moved to tears, bow out after a thank you serenade from the children.  They ride off into the sunset, sniffling through their designer shades, and pondering their beautiful lives in the states complaining about closets and sugar daddies and other nonsense. I hope there was more to the trip than we saw!

Next Week: The bickering resumes. Kim is accused of racism.

Watch What Happens Live: It’s a Whitney Houston Tribute Special. RIP, so terribly sad. I’m sure you all cried, as I did. Phaedra, Gloria Estefan, and Kandi (via the phone) are the guests. Gloria looks great – good work! The bartender is Apollo. Phaedra, as we all know, is Bobbi Brown‘s attorney and she is devastated by the news of Whitney’s passing. Phaedra knew Whitney personally, and reveals she met Andy and Bravo through her connection to Bobby and Whitney. Phaedra calls their love “pure” and said they were crazy about each other – and had an incredible connection.

Andy asks Phaedra if Bobby brought Whitney down. Phaedra calls their relationship “interesting” and said Whitney was a very strong woman with a strong personality, and they are both adults. Basically, Phaedra wants to keep her job and she doesn’t want to say anything!

Kandi calls in to talk about a song she wrote for Whitney that she produced with LA Reid and Babyface, called “Tell Me No.” Kandi describes Whitney as “so fun” and down to earth. Kandi reveals she sees Bobbi around Atlanta “a lot,” causing Phaedra to give some cringing looks! Phaedra says she would represent Marlo in court – if she pays! haha.

Poll Question: What’s YOUR favorite Whitney Song? “I Will Always Love You” wins by a landslide! Farewell, Whitney – you will be missed.

THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE? WAS IT NICE TO SEE A MORE HUMANE AND NORMAL SIDE OF THE WOMEN INTERACTING WITH THE KIDS? IS MARLO INSANE OR DOING IT TO SECURE A SPOT ON THE SHOW?

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