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So, a LOT of stuff went down with Phaedra and soon to be jailed husband Apollo on the Real Housewives of Atlanta premiere. But before we get to that, let's enjoy the palate cleansing sorbet that is Nene Leakes, newly employed as Cirque de Soleil's orgy ringmaster (seriously), clarifying her position on orgies.
No ma'am! Nene's new job as emcee of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity (which, I have learned through some low-impact Googling, was a 10-day guest starring kind of thing) has taken her to Vegas where she is clearly very happy not to have to film with any of the other Housewives. And so we get to spend some quality time with Gregg, who seems very intent on coming to a shared definition of the word "orgy." This was apparently necessary for him to be able to say definitively whether or not he's been a part of one. Despite the topic at hand, Gregg never snatches off his britches as threatened, which is both a kindness and sadness to us all.
And just FYI, Cynthia is TOTALLY FINE with Nene being gone, because she and Nene are no longer friends after Nene continually said mean shit about her at last season's reunion and on Watch What Happens Live. I guess that was before Nene attained the enlightenment expressed by her new tag line, "Why be so nasty and so rude when I can be so fierce and so successful?" Anyway, now that Cynthia isn't friends with Nene, things are much better with her life and her relationship. Husband Peter is even asking her to be a partner in his new business venture, which if history is any indication will go GREAT. Meanwhile, 50 points to Kenya for saying of Cynthia, "She was so far up Nene's ass, she had her own wing." This seems like an odd time for Kenya to finally start growing on me, but what can you do.
So, Phaedra and Apollo. Apollo has always been one to go way off-script, and at this point, Phaedra seems too worn out by the fact that her husband is going back to jail to put up any kind of façade for the cameras. And the whole thing is awful, because two adorable little kids are not only losing their dad, but one day will have video evidence of how much their parents hated each other throughout this particular time of crisis.
This new trend of Housewives and husbands going to prison is miserable, and the fact that they likely have to play out the most horrible times of their lives on camera because they need the money feels somehow extra terrible. And if there's one thing that throws me off-center, it's feeling deep empathy for a Real Housewife (like, beyond, "OH NO EVERYONE WAS SO MEAN TO LISA AT THAT DINNER IN PUERTO RICO!") (and Kandi during extensive Mama Joyce drama, because she's so thoroughly a decent human that it's impossible not feel invested in her happiness), and subsequently feeling gross about my entire existence as a Housewives viewer. I rather prefer to toss my moral compass in the sock drawer while I'm watching this franchise.
And I know that we've all complained about the petty arguments and manufactured drama, but apparently it turns out that those (plus the occasional leg-toss) are the parts that I enjoy. And that particular journey of self-discovery is not making me feel all that great at the moment, either. Is Lisa Rinna our last hope for a return to willful ignorance? Should that question in itself thrust me into a supplemental existential crisis?
In any case, the basic rundown is that Apollo is about to be sentenced, and Phaedra has hightailed it out of their home and into a hotel, ostensibly because she doesn't want the kids to be hounded by the paparazzi. Of course there actually are no paparazzi outside of their home, and mostly I think Phaedra just physically can't stand to see Apollo's face. Phaedra is PISSED. And Apollo also is pissed, particularly when Phaedra does nothing to help his case. It's true that she's a lawyer by profession, but I think that when it comes to dealing with her (soon to be ex?) husband she'd much rather employ her more recent professional capacities as a mortician.
Apollo pleads guilty to several counts of wire, bank and mail fraud, and is deeply hurt and angered that Phaedra not only doesn't come to court with him, but abandoned him on the day of and days leading up to his sentencing. He says she didn't even bother to call when the sentence was handed down. Apollo's brother comes to be with him, and we get hints about what a tough childhood they had with an addict mom. In the end Apollo is sentenced to eight years in prison, and Kandi notes that the justice system has a history of more harshly sentencing black men. And I can't say how their charges compare, but it seems worth noting that Joe Giudice got sentenced to only 3.5 years after also pleading guilty to basically one zillion fraud counts.
Phaedra, meanwhile, thinks that Apollo's criminal activities were selfish, and that he was willing to sacrifice his family for his own greed and gain. She's also adamant that she had no involvement in or knowledge of his criminal activities. Admitting that she's confused about how and what to tell her kids, Phaedra also acknowledges that though she remains stoic on the outside, she does have emotional moments but is focused on keeping it together for her family. The fact that she didn't go to court with Apollo raises some eyebrows, leading even staunch supporter Kandi to note that "even doggone Hillary stood by Bill Clinton" when he, um…engaged in unsavory matters.
The eventual interaction between Phaedra and Apollo, when she returns home two days after his sentencing, is about as ugly as you'd expect. It ends with Apollo saying that he wants a divorce, and Phaedra giving a dead-eyed "bon voyage." He's also very concerned with his financial situation, calls her selfish for not sharing her earnings with him more freely, and wonders if she married him because she wanted a sperm donor.
So, yeah, basically it was a really lighthearted and hilarious premiere episode. We can't even count on Kenya to lift the mood, given that she's allegedly traumatized from her physical altercation with Porsha on last season's reunion. She says that it was humiliating and difficult to live through, to which I ask…more humiliating that having a fake fiancé during your first season on the show? I mean, it's a continuum, is all I'm saying. Even in her state of trauma Kenya DOES manage to get a dig in about Porsha's intelligence or lack thereof, so we don't have to worry just yet that her spirit has been irreversibly crushed.
And in case you're wondering how Porsha is doing, this is the answer:
Next week: The opening of Zumanity, Mama Joyce drama, and HOLY CRAP KENYA AND APOLLO.