Photos: Bravo

The Boy Is Mine

Kenya swats at rumors surrounding her and the newest new girl's man.

BBQed Beef

Kandi and her mom wage a passive-aggressive standoff at a family cookout, and the odd cousin and aunt want to stick their necks in. At issue this time is Kandi running her mouth about the damage Joyce's boyfriend did to her old house. Joyce can spew whatever acid she wants about Todd, but her daughter is forbidden from being upset about her property's missing bathtub and various essential walls. She cries some crocodile tears about Kandi never appreciating things people do for her. (It's a true record-scratch moment.) While Kandi typically defers to her mother's every unreasonable whim, she's now readily admitting to what we already knew from day one: "My mama's always mad about something!" She threatens to ice her out once and for all, but that (fully justified) threat rings about as hollow as the demolished house she's angry about in the first place.

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Do We Need Another Girl?

Demetria McKinney -- someone who's apparently "Atlanta famous" thanks to Tyler Perry's House Of Payne -- struts into the Bailey Agency to conduct some "business." She's looking for a model to appear in her second music video, and figures Cynthia is the perfect source for some good-looking "chocolate" (ugh!). Their conversation oh-so naturally turns to the week's big drama: oh, by the way, she has a man named Roger Bobb. And, by the way, Cynthia should come meet him at some contrived event they're hosting. Also, Cynthia had better keep her friend Kenya away from Roger because of blog rumors or something. Here we go.

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Mama Catches The Vapors

Back at the cookout, Joyce is sucking her teeth and harumphing all over the place. Why won't Kandi just let her leech in peace? When Kandi calls her out about a series of angry text messages, she feigns some mysterious illness in order to get out of their confrontation. Who among us hasn't had a mother pull the old fake cough, feeble voice, hanky-to-the-forehead defense? Classic.

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Giving Face

Kenya's trying to get her entertainment hustle on once again. In order to do that, she's got to have some new publicity shots, naturally. And her girls Cynthia and Claudia have to come over and offer her moral support and catsuit compliments. She's working it for the cameras, and though the camel toe situation is on red alert, she looks the best she's looked so far this season. Afterwards, Claudia complains about only seeing cat penises, and both she and Kenya express their desire to dive into the local dating pool. Well, has Cynthia got news for them! They're both conveniently invited to her friend Demetria's whatever-whatever party! But, hey, Kenya, don't go pushing up on Demetria's man like you did that one time...

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NeNe's New Calling

At last, a housewife with designer aspirations who actually knows her target demographic. NeNe's now in the business of hawking her own line of signature muumuus and knit dusters, and she takes her goods to HSN. "I live for a check!" This is all kinda brilliant. No delusional She by Sheree runway shows destined to fail before they start -- just NeNe, doing what she does best, which is running her mouth in front of a camera as her fans eat it up. A bunch of ringers (maybe not, but probably) call in to sing her style praises, and the peekaboo muumuu purportedly sells out. This segment is mainly watchable for this mind-boggling sound bite: "I wouldn't do anything without having a gay! I believe that gays are special people and I have one!" She actually says this about another human being and glows with pride while doing so. What a world.

Phaedra's Maternal Crisis

Phaedra is having a difficult time deciding how to tell her boys that their father's going to prison. Though she didn't ask Kandi for help, she gets some unsolicited advice thrown her way anyway. During her visit, she's introduced to Kandi's cousin, whose dad was also incarcerated. He advises Phaedra to tell her kids the truth about the situation, rather than pretending their dad's just "away." But, since he himself also went on to serve time, Phaedra's looking at this dude as just the kind of cautionary tale she's hoping to avoid. Thanks for playing, guy. Phaedra just came over for smoothies and idle chit-chat.

Yet Another Empty Meeting

Kenya stops in to talk about her acting career with Roger Bobb. As a former Tyler Perry producer, he's the perfect wrung on her social-climbing ladder. He claims he'll put in a few calls, whip her up some Emmys, and draft up the standard rich & famous contract. It's as easy as that. Also, Demetria is discussed. In as wooden, noncommittal language as possible, he acknowledges that, yes, they are dating. Kenya doesn't believe it for a minute, but keeps her flirt game on "minimum lash-bat" all the same.

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Time For Some Banquette Bitchiness

"I didn't even know people were still doing music videos," Phaedra mutters as she wanders into Demetria's video release party. The place is moderately packed, and there's even a Da Brat sighting. The booze is flowing, the inappropriate dresses are inappropriate, and the ladies (save for NeNe) all drop in, one by one, to be a part of the spectacle. Kenya arrives last, claiming to be on the prowl for both a business partner and a life partner. What she gets, instead, is a very accusatory, side-boob-popping Demetria. This imminent cat fight has been all hyped up since last week, but it's deflated as quickly as it puffed up. It's all 'I don't want your man!' 'You don't? Cool! Let's be buds!' The end. No weave-pulling and no dramatic walk-offs. Demetria is now left free to focus on the fact that none of the flat-screens in the venue will actually play, rendering her big video viewing party even more useless than it had previously seemed to be.

Now, where the faces really get tight is on the point of Apollo's arrival. As it's pointed out, Phaedra's having an even worse night than Demetria. Her husband summons her away from her cackling klatsch and tries to flex some authority with "I'm still your husband. Don't forget that." As he shows off for the onlookers -- first, stealing kisses and whispering in her ear, then provoking her, then forcing hugs on her -- she remains stony, despite what is clearly flesh-crawling discomfort. A Housewife who doesn't want to make a public spectacle of herself, preferring to keep private matters private? Doesn't that violate her contract somehow? As sensible and decorous as she's being, it really makes me wonder: why didn't she just get up and leave?

Verdict

The storylines here are so stale they practically have the accompanying mouthfeel. You got your rumors about Kenya, Kandi's mom being vile, and Phaedra's painfully enduring marriage to Apollo. Unless you're dying to know about the next F-lister to desperately wiggle her way into the spotlight, this is just a fly-over episode. Or, wait. Maybe you just need to know which stilettos NeNe recommends for those hot new pleather skinny jeans of hers that you just copped...in which case, don't let me stop you from tuning in!

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