The ninth season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta finally wrapped last week, and what a season it was. Part four of the reunion was some of the most compelling, high-stakes television I’ve seen in forever – prestige cable dramas be damned. Don’t @ me. Personally, things played out great for me in that everybody I like came off well, while the ladies I hate were blown to pieces. I just love it when things go my way! Anyway, here’s my end of season report card. Let me know if you agree!
Most Valuable Player: Kandi
Kandi snatched the center peach again this season and boy did she deserve it. Outside of being involved in one of the most scandalous storylines in Housewives history with #lesbiangate, one thing that really stood out was what a good sport Kandi was. She was clearly set up by Bravo and Block with that deadbeat daddy storyline, but she let it play it out for the viewers and made great television in the process.
She delivered a lot this season, from her personal family drama and adjusting to a new baby with Ace, to her subsequent feud with Porsha and reunion showdown with Phaedra. With other Housewives hiring boyfriends and faking business ventures for TV, the franchise is getting a little too contrived these days, but Kandi always delivers the authenticity that viewers crave. At this point, I’d say she’s as important to RHOA as Nene is, and if Nene returns full-time next season, then I hope to see the two share the center peach.
Most Tired: Porsha
I’ve had a huge problem with Porsha for years now, and I believe her demotion to a friend role in season 7 should’ve remained that way moving forward. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that she doesn’t make good TV sometimes (her testimonials always have me rolling), but this woman hasn’t had a real storyline since her divorce from Kordell. I know that most Housewives exaggerate or even fabricate things for the show at times, but Porsha’s fakery was on another level. From Todd and the babynup to her on-camera anger management to her bullshit Freak ‘n Fraud alliance to spreading the sex dungeon rumours which even her dumb ass couldn’t have possibly believed, she was nothing but FAKE FAKE FAKE. Even her reunion meltdown is questionable at this point.
Between her lies and her penchant for physical violence, Porsha behaves like she’s on a VH1 or WEtv series. Say what you want about Bravo, but it’s the cream of the crop for this genre of reality television and Porsha just isn’t up to par. She belongs on Love & Hip-Hop or Basketball Wives. Normally I’d say she just needs to be demoted, but in light of her bringing up the drugging and raping allegations on camera with no proof, she should probably be fired.
Most Messy: Sheree
Whether she’s carrying bones or just being Miss Messy, Sheree worked hard for her cheque this year. She was the source of non-stop drama, but it was mostly good-natured shade throwing instead of the low down and dirty antics of Freak ‘n Fraud. I don’t know if her Bob storyline was actually real or not, but either way it felt genuine on the show and showed a more vulnerable side of Sheree that we’ve never seen before. She also had some of the funniest testimonials of the season, and the whole Chateau Sheree Vs. Moore Manor was screamingly hilarious. Was I the only one into that?
This was probably her strongest season ever and it proved that producers made the right decision in bringing her back. With that said, I still want her to be held accountable for her dubious financial situation and unfinished house, and I’ll be ready with the popcorn when it eventually all comes out. Kenya failed to make Chateau Thelma a storyline this season, but I’m confident she’ll make it stick next year!
Most Improved: Kenya
First of all, let me say that I’m #TeamTwirl and I’m not implying that Kenya was bad before and suddenly became bearable. But Ms. Moore finally proved that she could hold her own on the show without being the main villain. Not that she didn’t try, she pulled some mega shady shit, like exposing Sheree’s financial situation, trying to antagonize Porsha into being violent again, and throwing the divorce party to get under Phaedra’s skin, but most of it didn’t stick. What we got was the Matt storyline, which was more compelling than I expected, and the house feud which was a tonne of fun. For the record, Moore Manor is the superior house and I love that Kenya lives within her means. Sheree’s busted unfinished McMansion is a travesty and one she can’t afford to boot.
The reunion was a particularly delicious moment for Kenya. Coming off of her best season ever, she dragged Phaedra and Porsha at every turn and officially emerged as the victor in her long-running feud with the pair of them while they were exposed as the scheming frauds that they are. Twirl has now atoned for her appalling behaviour towards Kim Fields last year. Now I’m looking forward to season ten, where I just know she is going to team up with Nene and absolutely destroy Porsha and Kim Zolciak. Yass!
Most Underrated: Cynthia
I know Cynthia is often slammed for being the ‘boring’ ATL Housewife who’s worn out her welcome, but I couldn’t disagree more. She brings class and glamour to the series, and her level-headed nature is needed to balance out some of the crazier cast members. She brings it in her testimonials with her various wigs and playful shade, and she’s had a great evolution from her first season until now. It’s a misconception that every Housewife needs to be wild and crazy to be compelling. There’s a huge difference between the normal, voice of reason character (Cynthia, Eileen, Carole) and the snooze-worthy, refuses to engage in juicy drama Housewife (current Camille, Susie, Kathryn). My only Cynthia criticism is her worn out Peter plot, but she seems to have finally wrapped that up now and is preparing for the good ol’ post-divorce single and ready to mingle storyline. Bring it on!
Most Despicable: Phaedra
As a Bravo fan, I’m not against playing dirty. In fact, some of my all-time favourite Housewives (Tamra, Kenya, and Lydia Schiavello) have gone about as low as you can go. But what I absolutely cannot stand are Housewives that want to do their dirty work off camera while portraying a perfect facade on camera. It’s an insult to the viewers and it messes up storylines on the show. It takes the real out of reality television. It’s why I hate Lisa Vanderpump, and it’s why I now hate Phaedra. What she did to Kandi this season was by far the worst and most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in Housewives history, and the fact that she did it all off camera while portraying herself on the show as a church-going political activist just made it even worse. Nothing about her is authentic and I’m just sick of it. Even if she hadn’t done what she did to Kandi, I’d still want her gone just for being a total fraud. This is somebody I never want to see back on the Real Housewives ever again.
Best Friend: Shamea
I’m by no means a Shamea stan, but she was an important piece of a major storyline and she played her part without going overboard. The best thing a Friend of the Housewives can do is just be themselves and hope that it’s enough to get asked back again, and that’s what Shamea did.
Worst Friend: Marlo
I’ve always enjoyed Marlo’s appearances, but honey, this season the thirst was real. Marlo’s always rehearsed her reads and played up to the cameras, but she took things to a new level with her vicious attacks on Kenya over a minor slight. Her insult about Kenya’s deadbeat mother was a low point in a season that already had drug and rape allegations. Luckily, Twirl was smart enough not to take the bait and gave Marlo nothing back, thus squashing any feud and potential storyline. For the most part, Marlo had me cringing more than laughing and left me questioning if her time on the franchise is finally at an end. I mean, hasn’t Shamea basically replaced her at this point?
Most Unnecessary: Kim Zolciak-Biermann
I was so excited when Kim popped up in the mid-season trailer. After all, who doesn’t love an OG comeback? But I was left sorely disappointed after watching her scene. Her attack on Kenya was completely contrived and a desperate play for a more lucrative contract next season. Pretending she didn’t know Kenya’s name when they’d previously filmed half a season together was just embarrassing. It was literally Marlo Hampton levels of thirst and desperation. And then Kim had her ass handed to her when Kenya dragged her plastic surgery and Kroy’s unemployment which just made her look even more pathetic. She could’ve started something with Kenya in a more realistic way, but to take it from zero to one hundred when the pair were friendly acquaintances was just bad TV. I know she’s coming back next season, so I hope Bravo have had a little talk to her about keeping it real. She was a serial liar during her original stint on the show, is that what we’re going to get upon her return too?
Jacques is a journalist for SBS PopAsia, Idolator, and Daily Mail Australia. You can follow him on Twitter at @arcadeyblog.