We’re entering hour 60 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta hostage crisis. Apparently, Andy Cohen intends to squeeze every drop of drama of the franchise. After the entire crazy fight from the first reunion episode, the ladies had to sit there for at least four more hours to film content for two more one-hour reunion segments and this episode that features unseen footage. It’s mostly B-roll material, including a few dropped storylines and what seems like contractual obligations to show certain moments. The one thing it does do is cement Kenya Moore’s place as the center of the show. She’s not the most forthcoming but she does seem to be the only one having fun at this point. She also continues to give some of the best lines on the show.
Kenya vs. Porsha: Revisited
Time flies in the realm of housewives. In the week since Porsha Williams (fmr Stewart) gave her on-one-one interview with Andy, footage has been released of her giving a sermon with homophobic remarks. Porsha has since apologized. That’s most likely because she’s releasing her single “Flatline.” The gay community is one of the few actual “audiences” for Housewife songs. Meanwhile, this episode features fun and kooky moments with Kenya. She gives the best lines on the show and her props may be provocative but they’re funny. For example, she and Miss Lawrence Washington gab about Phaedra Parks. Kenya decides to give her a tiara and Lawrence gives the best Phaedra impression.
The Best Parts
The best parts of these clip shows are usually funny slice of life moments that remind us that these are real people and not drama machines. Phaedra Parks and Apollo Nida celebrate their birth of their son. Phaedra says they should have a naming ceremony because they are very popular in Africa and Nigeria… and The Lion King. If only, Dwight Eubanks did a theme party where they held up Mr. President! Kenya has a bizarre photoshoot for her own calendar. It features mostly half nude photos including the shocking booty shot from the opening credits. Who was her artistic director? Cynthia Bailey and The Bailey Agency despite Kenya’s ban after her “coochie crack” comments. There’s also a scene of NeNe Leakes and Kenya gossiping about boys in the car. It’s nice to see NeNe as an actual person. She really evolved, or devolved, into this shell spouting trite wannabe catch phrases. She seems to have had a scowl on her face all season.
It seems like the bulk of the footage has to do with things that must appear in the season. For example, for no apparent reason, Naya Rivera of Glee stops by to have a conversation with NeNe Leakes. She flashes her engagement ring and they don’t say much of note and it feels pretty wooden like an acting exercise rather than a real lunch. It’s pretty clear she wouldn’t agree to be on the show and then have Bravo not air the footage. Also unnecessarily added is a segment about Porsha’s friendship with Kandi Burruss. It’s a pretty blatant plug for all the products Porsha’s working on including a hair line, teeth whitening treatment, and her music career.
Let It Die
This episode featured a few extra moments from some of the most dramatic and boring storylines on the show. Cynthia’s daughter Noelle has a birthday party and introduces her boyfriend, Arthur, to her father Leon Robinson. Did you fall asleep? Natalie Macklin confronts Cynthia after the pajama party that turned into a brawl with sleepwear. Natalie accuses Cynthia of starting trouble because she is the one who used the word opportunist. And with that, she joined the roster of forgotten potential housewives including Kim G from New Jersey and Jennifer Gilbert from New York City.
There is also extra footage from the now overwrought beef between various cast members. Momma Joyce gets a few more digs at Todd Tucker during their dinner and guilt trips her daughter during therapy. There are more misogynistic statements from Chuck Smith to Phaedra as about their past relationship. He had already said enough horrible things when he said she was “part of the team.” Then he manages to be smug and disparage Apollo’s character while also telling Phaedra that he was mentoring her. These scenes just feel like they’re just pouring salt on old wounds.
Kenya: Behind the Props
Kenya stops by for a one-on-one with Andy. She proves she’s eloquent and savvy about her presence on the show. She definitely seems cagey about her African prince and some aspects of her personal life, but given the number of people who have lost relationships on Bravo it may be for the best. She brings up some valid points about her fight with Porsha. Porsha was the first one to throw out threats, the first one to stand up, and generally unapologetic. Also, she was accused for starting the pajama brawl for standing up but Porsha did the same thing. Regardless of how annoying Kenya can be, Andy is as much an instigator as she is during the reunions. Also, no one deserves to be hit no matter how much they are provoked.
Real Houselines of Atlanta
"I never thought I was a lesbian but Kenya is looking oh so sexy." – Cynthia
"I’m trying to be nice. I am trying to buy some of this woman’s beads so she can afford a hotel room at the Holiday Inn." – Kenya after her fight with Malorie Massie
"When your man lives many continents away you have to learn how to keep it fresh. And you might have to open up your computer screen and uncross your legs sometimes." – Kenya on Skype
"I must remain a lady at all times and I do not kiss and tell. But what I can say? If I do kiss something, it is not small." – Kenya
"He’s gonna need a wax." – Phaedra on her baby’s hair
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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This episode has everything you’d want from an episode of Housewives: drama, crying, shade, and drag queens. There has never been so much drama and designer clothes in one mansion since Dynasty. The ladies were reeling from their binge drinking fighting the prior day. They decide to make breakfast and have a little light conversation. But really, they are just playing storyline volleyball. Because, after all, what kind of housewife are you if you don’t have your own storyline for the reunion?
Mynique Smith, angling to be a regular on the show, asks everyone really graphic questions. Mynique, do you really need to know if Kandi Burruss is having phone sex? Somehow phone sex brings up a whole bunch of secrets about Porsha Stewart’s life ... she has a tattoo and had a piercing on her hello kitty. She also had a miscarriage. Way to keep it light for brunch, ladies. Not to be undone, Mynique brings up NeNe Leakes' cancelled sitcom The New Normal. Then Cynthia Bailey makes the biggest mistake of her life: she interrupts NeNe. Cynthia, don’t you know she will try and kill you like she's murdered the English language all episode? The producers have thrown their own shade by providing subtitles for NeNe’s dialogue.
NeNe does not like to be challenged, so starts yelling at Cynthia and mocks her parenting. She mentions teenage girls twerking which sends Phaedra Parks into a cackle. Cynthia bursts into tears and heads to her room. That’s what you get when you try to steal the spotlight, Cynthia! Kenya Moore pops in to console her and quickly changes the subject to her absentee mother. The crying daisy chain continues as Porsha becomes overwhelmed about missing her lost stepchildren and ends up crying in her room. NeNe consoles both Cynthia and Porsha but not before throwing a little shade first. She even convinces Porsha to text Kordell, the man who alerted his wife about their divorce on Twitter. NeNe is proving to be a mastermind. If she is going to stay on Real Housewives of Atlanta, she wants to make sure she’s the show runner so it doesn’t get canceled.
The girls prepare for a night out and ... a southern feast? What goes better with drag queens than a five-course southern meal? The ladies gussy up, drink, forgive each other, drink. NeNe sends Kenya to go make peace with Phaedra. Phaedra ignores Kenya and just continues pumping her breast. It looks like Phaedra is matching Kenya’s flip fan with her breast pump because she is definitely throwing mother’s milk shade.
The ladies check out the drag show featuring Mother Chablis and a very drunk NeNe. Miss Chablis teaching Mynique a lesson in reading. Then the ladies return home to binge eat. Not to be undone by everyone else’s drama, Kandi asks everyone if they would be interested in starring in her musical. It’s met with jeers and then an uninvited houseguest enters. Is it Kim Zolciak? Is it a ghost? Nope, it’s a roach. The ladies lose it and Kenya and Porsha have a détente and kill the roach together. NeNe tops off the night by attacking Porsha’s character and then the ladies hug and celebrate their love.
Shades of Glory
You just don’t need to come face to face with a vagina like that ... it’s not cute. - Porsha on nude webcam sessions.
Nene has had issues with her oldest son, so this is a do not judge lest you be judged situation. - Phaedra Parks on NeNe’s parenting.
Maybe you shouldn’t be having a conversation about her daughter? - Kandi to NeNe
I don’t know if they think in their minds this [crying] makes a good trip but it actually sucks. - NeNe
I don’t need to troll around the prison yard for a man. - Kenya
NeNe is with all of her girls tonight. She looks like them. She has the adam’s apple, the big knees, the big feet ... but I don’t think she tucks though. - Kenya
I’ve done some plays ... it was a lot of work. – NeNe on starring in Kandi’s play.
Oh yes ... Liquid Gold. - Phaedra about her milk.
You got to bury her chile, because she’s going to die over Noelle. - NeNe about Cynthia