Noelle says goodbye to her mom Cynthia before leaving for Howard University on her own for the first time.

‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’: season 11, episode 9

Originally posted Monday, December 31, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The producers of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” are desperately trying to stretch this season out, a season without any discernible tension among the ladies or even among the couples. 

So they basically grabbed a story line that would have been a minor coda most other seasons and turned it into the A story this past Sunday: Cynthia Bailey’s daughter Noelle goes to college!

Noelle has been an occasional presence on the show, just enough for regulars to know who she is. But the kids are rarely a central figure on a show about the housewives themselves. She and her mom have been super tight. She’s an only child. Cynthia and Noelle’s dad Leon get along just fine. 

So Noelle’s departure for Howard University is particularly heartrending for both Cynthia and Noelle. She even collapses in tears and refuses to come out of her room when Cynthia holds a celebration for her. 

Eventually, Noelle makes it to D.C. Cynthia helps her move into her dorm room. Leon shows up and they eat dinner. He provides a pep talk. After dinner, Leon tells Noelle she is going to take an Uber back to her dorm without them. Noelle looks distraught and hugs her mom tight. It’s a sweet, bittersweet moment and the editors effectively splice in a few past scenes of Noelle and Cynthia from years past. Then her Uber car drives away and Cynthia fights back tears. “I have to let her go,” Cynthia said. It actually is touching and real. So bravo to the Bravo producers for making this work. 

In other story lines: 

Pregnancy moves forward: Porsha Williams meets with Dr. Shelley  Dunson-Allen and finds out due to her fibroid issues, she will have to have a C-section. Porsha imagined a home water birth. She sees her baby via ultrasound for the first time. 

Eva Marcille gives that look anybody gives Marlo Hampton when she says something outrageous and NeNe Leakes quickly mocks Marcille for what she just said.

Stop her, please stop her! Of course, NeNe Leakes - knowing Marlo Hampton sows trouble and knowing what RHOA needs and wants - brought her to the place where Eva  Marcille was trying on dresses without telling Eva.

Eva took it surprisingly well but Marlo was her usual insufferable self, demanding Eva  go “couture” for her wedding while Eva wanted something more simple, elegant. 

 “I want ten pounds off,” Marlo said. Eva gave off that look, like, “Seriously? You’re talking?” And NeNe fortunately called Marlo out for her crappy dietery habits and big butt. “You snitch!” Marlo said jokingly. And it all kind of ended there. 

Health lesson: The doctors got rid of the colon cancer from NeNe’s hubby Gregg Leakes but there were a few pesky cells that could turn into something big, he was told. They recommended chemo. Gregg said no. “I’m totally healed by God,” he told his sons. But he told them to get tested regularly so they don’t get caught the way he did. 

Mama Joyce reconciliation with Todd: Kandi Burruss’ mom was skeptical of Todd Tucker when Kandi and Todd got together several years back. She called him an opportunist. He had to earn her trust and he thought he had it. Then he saw her last season tell Porsha that Kandi helped turn him from a “lemon to lemonade.” He was insulted and refused to speak to her for months. Kandi got them together and Mama Joyce actually apologized after a contorted effort to explain the “lemon” comment and place it in a more positive light.  “I hope you guys are together forever,” she ultimately said. And she seemed 100% sincere. 

NEXT WEEK: Porsha gets booted from Kandi’s birthday party and the detente is broken. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.