Ah, Lisa Wu Hartwell, this is an age-old question and the subject of many essays written by Women's Studies majors all over the country.
But we're not going to go that deep. Let me tell you how one "ends up on the pole" in Lisa's case. Sheree has an idea: "Two strippers is gonna come in and show us how to work the pole" (Sheree has the most terrible grammar, btw. At first I thought she was nervous and mis-speaking, but it's just been too consistent and I can't ignore it any longer). Much drinking ensues. EVERYONE ENDS UP ON THE POLE.
Truly, this was one of the best episodes of reality tv I've seen in a long time. It's taken me so long to write this recap because I keep reliving the scenes in my head and staring off into space in wonderment. Then I think to myself, "what if writing about it destroys the magic?" It's that good. I'll take my chances--here is your Real Housewives of Atlanta recap:
1. Let's start with the Pole Party. Here is the teacher.
She brings her own pole. (The logistics of this really bogged me down for a while, but it looked stable so I just had to let it go). We see her wipe the pole down with a yellow cloth. She treats it with with respect. "In Atlanta, we pole a completely different way than the rest of the country," she says matter-of-factly. Who knew stripping had different...dialects?
She and her partner teach the women how to "shake they jelly"--shake it so much that it is but a blur.
Then there is the personal coaching. Here is Sheree, being spotted and performing such an advanced move that it looks like an Olympic event:
And maybe it should be.
Dude, she is defying gravity. She's burning her jelly on the lightbulb, yet she just sticks herself to that ceiling like she is made of...well, I could say something really gross here but shall refrain because I am a lady (hear that, Kim?). Just think of the grossest sticky thing that could be on a stripper pole. Incidentally, I showed this photo to my husband, prefaced with a "you are NOT going to believe this," and he wasn't nearly as impressed as I wanted him to be. "Yeah," he said "there's someone like that at every strip club." Do college recruiters know what a goldmine of athleticism these places are?
Sheree sums up the experience with this equation:
"(women) + (alcohol) + (a pole) = a great time. A GREAT time."
2. Kim is in the kitchen with her personal chef (seriously, how much does Kim cost you, Big Papa?). She starts to sing to the radio, and it marks the first time we hear her belt out a tune.
Naturally, she is smoking. Because of the music and the voice-overs, I couldn't hear her very well and was thinking "wait, is she really that bad? Is it that she's just not trying? How does she think she can be a singer if she can't carry a tune?" As if Kim has read my mind, she says "I always get what I want. I'm not real worried about it." I would be, especially if I was bankrolling this trainwreck. BIG PAPA, I AM TALKING TO YOU.
3. NeNe's trying to help her 9 year old with his math homework. Gregg has to intervene because NeNe is not getting the fractions, as in "is 1/3 bigger than 1/2?". I don't hold this against NeNe (which is exactly what Anderson Cooper would say), but this scene really endeared me to Gregg. He has such a stabilizing influence on NeNe.
4. DeShawn receives a Rolex from her husband for her birthday. Bravo does not tell us how much it costs. wtf? Here she is, apparently shaking the box.
DeShawn tells Eric that she's not going to wear the watch that night because it's silver and she's wearing gold. She doesn't want to "mix metals." Oh, Jesus. Stop acting so early 90s and call your stylist, DeShawn! Eric, if you buy me a Rolex (vintage, please) you can bet your sweet ass I'd wear it.
5. DeShawn has a birthday dinner with her husband, Lisa and Ed, and NeNe and Gregg. NeNe drinks a little too much and starts to get loud, but she's still lovable NeNe. She crosses the line a bit when she's rude to the waitstaff and starts talking shit about Sheree: "She's very fake. I'm for real." It's important to note that Lisa and Ed are obviously uncomfortable.
(I swear to God, I am going to start a tally for how many times being "real" is mentioned on this show. Look for it at the end of my recaps from now on.)
THEN, when dinner is finished and they all pile into the limo, NeNe starts to sing theatrically, "I'm pretending to be friends with Dallas Austin...I know he's doing a favor for my man...." So, it's clearly about Kim's (figurative) fake ass. Lisa tells the camera in disbelief, "wow, that's your friend?" DeShawn is giggling and tells the camera she was just cracking up at NeNe and didn't realize the song was about Kim (she's so dense that I actually believe her). Gregg wisely tells NeNe to shut it.
6. Kim goes to get botox, accompanied by her new bff Sheree. Here is Kim giving Sheree the bird (not blurred out) because Sheree has perfect skin (just another reason to hate the bitch):
"Black don't crack," Kim remarks. Kim states that she has been getting botox since she was 24. For migraines, of course. Would you like a closer look at Kim's Alpine hooker outfit?
She looks like she's headed to the set to film a Heidi porno.
7. The moment you've been waiting for--Kim's visit to the vocal coach, Jan, a bigwig who's trained the voices of Usher and Rob Thomas. It is quickly established that Kim can't match any sort of pitch, and worse, can't even hear that she's not matching the pitch. In essence, Kim's singing pretty much shits the bed.
"What's that have to do with recording music in the studio?" Kim asks with great seriousness. OMFG. Then she has the balls to tell the camera, "She's nit-picking me. She's telling me I don't know the ABCs of singing. I don't need to, I'm a singer." Um, I think there's some faulty logic in there, toots.
8. Next, Kim and Sheree are sitting in Kim's convertible outside of a strip mall listening to Kim's "#1 hit single" Tightrope. Kim is smoking, drinking a glass of Chardonnay (Big Papa must have suspended the open container law for her) and singing in her shit-ass voice. Sheree tells her she has the voice of an angel and Kim eats that right up, smiling modestly. Sheree then tells the camera that Kim has a "beautiful" voice. This is such a flat-out lie that there can only be one explantion: Sheree is using Kim to get into Dallas Austin's pants. And bank account.
I will leave you in suspense for the next half of the show--you'd better believe it gets even better!