This was what one would call a “set up” episode. Not much happened but it’s all in preparation for the big trip to South Africa starting next week.
So this may be one of my briefest recaps to date.
First of all, NeNe Leakes reluctantly ends up deciding to fly to South Africa but invites Marlo Hampton without telling the other ladies.
Previous episodes have set up recurring character/”Housewives” wannabe Marlo as a socialite who lives off rich men but has a shady past with seven mug shots to her name. (Most of the arrests date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s and include an assault.)
Kandi Burruss and Phaedra Parks last week wagged tongues about Marlo’s past and did so a bit more this week. Scandalous! If Marlo gets angry, Phaedra cracks, “I ain’t gonna sit and wait. I’ll get on my Nikes and run!”
Naturally, the producers set it up so Phaedra, Kandi and Sheree Whitfield are shocked (shocked I tell ya!) when Marlo shows up at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport with NeNe. NeNe supposedly never bothered to tell Phaedra, who planned the trip, she was bringing along her new BFF.
Phaedra is only mildly annoyed, telling the cameras: “The more, the merrier. A little more spice in the gumbo.”
Sheree uses her signature line: “Are you kidding me?”
Kandi is more bemused: “How come we didn’t get that memo?”
This reminded Kandi of how NeNe brought along her friend Diana to the trip to Miami last season. “She needs muscle with her,” Kandi theorized. And Marlo, she noted, sounds like good muscle.
In the other primary storyline:
Kim Zolciak, with her newborn, isn’t going on the trip to South Africa.
She is enjoying her time with her future husband Kroy Biermann, a Falcons defensive end stuck at home during the NFL lockout. The timing is good. They get to spend quality time with the new baby K.J. But then the lockout ends and he’s off to a training camp for a month. Kim is bummed out and we see excessive scenes of them telling each other how much they’re going to miss each other. Given Kroy’s deadpan persona and Kim’s neediness, it’s far more maudlin than entertaining.
There was plenty of other filler, too, including Peter complaining to Cynthia Bailey that she gets to go on vacation with her friends and not with him. Apollo is cool taking care of the year-old baby Ayden while Phaedra is gone. Kandi works out to lose weight while Kim does a wrap since she’s too lazy to exercise. Marlo and NeNe shop for the trip at T. Clothing Atlanta and NeNe balks when she finds out she almost spends $10,000.
Next week, the five ladies (minus Kim) go to South Africa. They seem to bond at first. But Kandi gets into a fracas with Marlo. Then Kandi says she couldn’t picture Kim there holding a baby in an orphanage. Sheree tells Kim by phone and Kim looks offended. Phaedra says she has nothing against NeNe. NeNe does not believe it. And there appears to be some sort of problem between Marlo and NeNe but it’s hard to define.
Last week, for episode 10, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” against the Golden Globes had its worst ratings of the season, falling to 2.7 million from an average of 3 million season to date. It also did worse than “Kourtney & Kim Takes New York” on E! And the episode drew 500,000 fewer than the comparable episode 10 a year ago.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk