Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (RHOA) is admittedly one of my guilty pleasures. Not that I aspire to be like them, I just like the outrageousness of their actions, and wonder if they really act that way when they are not in front of the camera. The Atlanta housewives are a raunchy, backstabbing bunch who seem to settle their differences before each new season starts.
But are they for real?
Peter Thomas and Cynthia Bailey, a good friend of NeNe Leakes signed on for the third season of RHOA. Peter, an entrepreneur, was accused of being broke and taking advantage of the seemingly meek and mild Cynthia, who is a former top runway model. The housewives poked fun at her, suggesting she had a child-like mind. And when Cynthia got an opportunity to be featured in an exclusive swimsuit fashion show, Phaedra, another new housewife added this season, said she looked like a "pretzel dipped in cottage cheese, strutting down the runway."
In a recent interview with Uptown Magazine, Thomas, not afraid to speak his mind on the show or in an interview, had this to say about the cast members of Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Uptown: If they say, "What do you think about the other housewives?"
Peter: I'm gonna say, "I can't stand Phaedra's ass. I think Kim is crazy as f-k. NeNe has a big-ass mouth, okay? And Sheree's not cute. She thinks she's cute, but she's not cute." And this is on the record. The only one I like is Kandi, and she's too soft. That's why she got played (by) Kim. And that's how I truly feel.
Ouch! So this leads me to believe some of the things the ladies go through with each other are real.
NeNe, who used to be the favorite housewife in season's past, is now the "bad girl" of the group.
Her blog reflects her sentiment, that she doesn't care what the other cast members think. Nene writes: "These ladies have apparently formed an alliance, except for Cynthia, who happens to have a brain of her own. I don't have the energy nor do I have the time to stoop to their level of ignorance. I understand that everything about me is under attack. From the color of my polish to the style of my shoes, because I'm a threat. I refuse to follow the leader. I am the leader."
The blogs on Bravo's website are filled with viewers berating NeNe for her threatening outbursts directed towards the only White Atlanta housewife, Kim Zolciack; in a recent episode NeNe got angry with Kim for speaking disrespectfully to Sweetie, Kim's Black personal assistant. NeNe even went so far as to call Sweetie Kim's slave. And it only escalated from there.
Kim says in her blog, "I want to apologize to all of you who intended to watch RHOA and got stuck watching the Discovery Channel, because who other than a gorilla gets out (of their) seat and attempts to attack someone?" Gorilla?
She continued, "The tour had been stressful on everyone, tension was rising, buttons were being pushed, but until the no-class moose got on the bus, there was honestly no drama."
Moose? Really? Apparently these women are as nasty off screen as they are on screen.
I've never witnessed a syndicated reality show in production, but as a documentary producer, I also know 'real life' can be more dramatic than a semi-scripted show. And the Atlanta housewives seem to have some serious issues with each other and themselves.
If you want to see past shows, read their blogs, and to learn more about the Housewives go to BravoTV.com and click on "Real Housewives of Atlanta."
By the way, NeNe Leakes caught the attention of 'The Donald,' and she will be going head to head with none other than Star Jones on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." She must be doing something right.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org