For Apollo Nida, tonight's episode of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" was probably small potatoes compared to what he's facing now with the feds. (The U.S. government filed a criminal complaint Thursday charging him with bank fraud and identity theft. Jail time is possible. Details here. )
I'm not sure exactly when they taped this episode but it happened around nine weeks before Kandi Burruss' play Nov. 21, a fact referenced earlier. That would make the taping of this hour in mid-September assuming all the events were sequential.
The U.S. Secret Service confiscated Apollo's cell phone and laptop Sept. 13, 2013, according to the criminal complaint. On that day, Apollo discovered the woman he was working with had turned on him and he knew the feds were on his case.
So if this was taped right after he knew he was in big trouble, he was probably a wee bit stressed.
Apollo- Phaedra Parks' husband since 2009 who had a previous five-year prison term for racketeering - charged Kenya Moore's friend Brandon DeShazer and started beating on him until others intervened.
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The final moments of the episode featured him taking off his shirt and approaching DeShaver again until a note "To Be Continued" popped up on the screen.
What led to this craziness? It was one of the most violent fights in the six-year history of the program.
It all started with Kenya Moore telling folks in last week's show that she had heard Cynthia Bailey's friend Natalie was in a "common law" marriage with Christopher Williams, an R&B singer and actor Moore had worked with before. Natalie had told others they had a regular marriage.
Spreading rumors is a standard way to stir the pot on the show, even of people who weren't consequential to the show until the producers decided they were.
NeNe Leakes, now that she's fully engaged with "Real Housewives" again, also knows how to play the game. And she should. She is the last remaining original member.
So she hosts a "pajama pillow talk" party and includes everybody - the guys and the girls. She also brought in Chuck and Mynique Smith and Malorie, Cynthia's sister, among others. And for show, two lingerie-bound models were there to set the mood. "This event isn't about bashing but about helping," she says.
NeNe, dressed in saucy lingerie herself, feeds the women uncomfortable questions, including asking whether Porsha Williams would be comfortable if her man was bisexual. "I wouldn't feel comfortable if my man was bisexual or heterosexual, nothing. You need to be about Porsha-sexual if you're with me." (She obviously meant homosexual there...) NeNe is also annoyed with Kenya over the fact she came late and didn't text NeNe in advance. Kenya says her friend Brandon's flight was late and apologizes in a semi-sincere way.
"Once a heathen, always a heathen," Phaedra sniffs.
Another question: would you be comfortable if your man went to strip clubs. Porsha? No. But Cynthia is okay with her hubby Peter doing it. (He says it's like "being at the office.") Kandi has seen Peter accepting lap dances, an act that seldom happens at an office.
Apollo mentions he used to go to strip clubs "every day." He says now it's "more on the social level." He defends the monies he spends there, and it could be in the thousands. "It's MY money," he says. (Um... we can surmise who's money it was if the fed charges are correct.)
(Kenya wonders how he could blow that much money. She surmises it's "his allowance.")
Then NeNe broaches the subject of Kenya accusing Natalie of being "common law" married. Natalie tells Christopher that's what he told Kenya. "I don't know what medication you're on," he says to Kenya.
"I'm on the same medication as you, Chris," Kenya responds.
Then Kenya gets up. "This isn't backpedaling. This is front pedaling."
Chris gets up to stop Kenya from approaching his wife. Peter tries to push back Brandon, Kenya's friend, who gets up to support Kenya. But then Brandon gets a little crazy. Peter pushes Brandon back. Then Apollo joins in and starts punching Brandon.
The cast pulls them apart. NeNe yells at Kenya for provoking the mess. Then again, she told everyone "to get real."
In other storylines:
- Apollo actually showed up earlier in the hour when Phaedra drew upon Dwight Eubanks' expertise yet again to hold a party for her second son Dylan at a fancy white house ($3,850 rental). It's a presidential-themed soiree featuring fake "Secret Service" men, a red carpet, a marble stairway, a trumpeter and a deep-throated announcer. Dylan is nicknamed Mr. President and doted on as such. (His brother Ayden is considered the "Prince.") The only housewife who shows up to support her is Kandi Burruss, who is always amused by Phaedra's over-the-top parties. And it was nice to Dwight again after such a long absence. Apollo refuses to dance a choreographed bit that Phaedra took part in with Dwight and several other men. He later appears annoyed right before the official blessing. "Yo damn, I can't eat?" he exclaims. He also declines to comment when she askes him to say something about Dylan. "For once, Apollo is at a loss for words," Phaedra says. "I hope that will continue." I'm not sure when this party was held - before or after he found out his allegedly illegal enterprises were under watch by the authorities. The only clue: Dylan was born in early May and the producers ID him as six months old. This may infer this party happened closer to late October or early November. But RHOA is known to move events around and not go in chronological order.
- Cynthia Bailey tells Peter about how Kandi threw a little shade last week by saying she knew stuff about his past but wouldn't talk about it. Peter is a bit annoyed and plans to bring it up to her. (Even the guys can get into the gossip game.)
- Kandi is moving forward with her play and getting some decent names to join her. She tells her fiance Todd about how Natalie had said he was an opportunist. But Kandi says she defended him. "I feel like our relationship is awesome," she says. (This seems like a dead storyline but based on the trailer for next week, it isn't.)
- Kenya Moore, who was 42 when the show was taping, wants a baby and went to a doctor, who told her that her hormones are good but her egg reserves aren't so hot. Kenya again brings up her African boyfriend but sounds like having a baby with him is not a good option. So she visits a sperm bank. There, she meet a good-looking dude who happens to be depositing some sperm since he was the last of his family line. Later, she gives the doctors a long list of wants for her husband: tall, handsome, smart, the usual.
Brandon says Apollo broke his rib. A new fight also ensues between Cynthia and Kandi. I have never seen Kandi this peeved! And it's unusual for Cynthia to get caught in the middle of so much drama.
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"It was really hard to watch this fight tonight," Cynthia said on "Watch What Happens Live." Sunday. "I want to apologize on behalf of the whole cast."
She said when Kenya got up, that's what Brandon got up. Then others got up. "I was surprised how Peter was involved in the fight. He was trying to keep Brandon out. Brandon was trying to get to Christopher. We thought Apollo was trying to help - then it went crazy."
Last week, the ratings dropped back to 3.7 million viewers after two weeks of more than 4 million. But it's still above the average for the season. Given all the Apollo brouhaha, I would be the numbers will bounce back up tonight.