Brittany is a pop culture enthusiast! She loves writing about celebrities, TV shows, films, music, and more!
The question, "Which season of the Real Housewives is the best?" is often asked by newcomers -- and even seasoned fans -- of the Bravo reality-television franchise.
The answer always varies, though. Strong contenders are season two of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, season ten of The Real Housewives of New York, or season two of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
But after a recent re-watch of season six of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (abbreviated as RHOA), I think it's safe to say that it's the best season of Atlanta, and the best season in the entire franchise.
Here's a deep dive into why The Real Housewives of Atlanta season six is the best season:
Let's look at pure facts here: when ranking the top 20 highest-rated episodes across all the Real Housewives franchises, 15 of them are from RHOA season six (which aired in 2013)!
RHOA is responsible for 19 out of the 20 entries on the top 20 list, with the only other franchise on the list being The Real Housewives of New Jersey at #17 (the season two finale was watched by 3.85 million viewers).
Season six, episode fourteen of RHOA, “Peaches Divided” had 4.63 million viewers, making it the highest-rated episode in Real Housewives franchise history, a feat that has still yet to be beaten.
Numbers don't lie—millions of people were tuning into season six of RHOA.
Of course, The Real Housewives of Atlanta would be nothing without the housewives who appear on the show, and season six had an iconic cast.
The cast consisted of RHOA veterans like NeNe Leakes, Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey, and Phaedra Parks, as well as new additions from season five: Kenya Moore, and Porsha Williams.
Most viewers are of the opinion that it takes new housewives at least one season to really grow into their role, and season six is the first season of the franchise at this point without any new additions to the cast.
I think this is part of why the season was so strong; the women had all been on the show at least one season by this point, had developed a rapport - or feuds - with one another, and had ongoing storylines that people were invested in.
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In addition to the main cast, there was also a nice mix of “friends of” the housewives:
- Marlo Hampton, a long-time supporting player who always brought the drama (Marlo is a full-time cast member as of season fourteen).
- Mynique, NeNe's friend, whose husband, Chuck, dated both Phaedra and Kandi in the past.
- Natalie and Christopher, the couple who added to the "Todd's an opportunist" rumours. Chris was also the one who kicked off the fight during “Peaches Divided.”
- And of course, Mama Joyce and Kandi's aunts, aka the Old Lady Gang. Season six was the first time Kandi's mother and aunts were branded the Old Lady Gang; Kandi later went on to use this moniker for the name of her restaurant chain and a spin-off show.
Though fan-favourites Kim-Zolciak Biermann and Shereé Whitfield (who left the show in seasons five and four, respectively), made no appearances during the sixth season, the main cast, their friends, and family, brought enough drama to make the show must-watch TV.
There was a lot going on in season six, but here are some of the major highlights:
Todd Versus Mama Joyce
Kandi began dating Todd Tucker in season five, and their engagement was a major plot line for Kandi in season six. After watching Kandi be unlucky in love during seasons prior (her fiancé, A.J., tragically died between seasons two and three), it was beautiful to see her fall in love and start a future with Todd, who appeared to be head over heels for Kandi.
Unfortunately, Kandi's mother, Mama Joyce, her aunts, Bertha and Nora, and the "streets" of Atlanta, seemed to think Todd was just dating Kandi for her money. He was accused of being an opportunist throughout the season, particularly by Mama Joyce, which caused a lot of tension.
This all came to a head when Mama Joyce told Kandi multiple times throughout the season that she didn't want her and Todd to marry.
Kandi managed to make the best of it by writing and starring in a musical based on the situation called, "A Mother's Love." The musical and its production was also featured on the show (with Porsha appearing in the musical in her first stage role - a side plot which brought up drama on its own).
Phaedra, Apollo, and Kenya
Phaedra, her husband, Apollo Nida, and Kenya had a complicated history as season six began.
In season five, the three started off as friends, with Phaedra and Apollo enlisting Kenya to produce their work-out video, "Phine Body by Phaedra & Apollo: Donkey Booty." However, the negotiation fell through when the trio couldn't agree on how much money Kenya should get for the deal.
Their relationship was already on shaky ground after the couple's trip to Anguilla ("Hold on to Your Weave"- season five, episode six), where Kenya and Apollo were accused of openly flirting with each other (after pushing/throwing one another into the pool), and when Kenya asked Phaedra suggestive questions about a threesome (it was never stated who was supposed to be in the threesome, but it was assumed Kenya was referring to herself, Apollo, and Phaedra).
At the season five reunion, Kenya was further accused of sexting Apollo off-camera, and trying to meet up with him alone in Los Angeles.
All of this spilled over into season six; Phaedra started off the season fighting with Apollo over differences in their marriage and parenting choices, but the Kenya rumours loomed heavily over their relationship throughout all the episodes.
Phaedra and Apollo discussed the alleged sexts several times, Kenya repeatedly denied any involvement with Apollo, Apollo attacked Kenya's best friend, Brandon, during Pillow Talk, and Apollo and Kenya had a private discussion to attempt to clear the air in Mexico - much to Phaedra's chagrin.
Episode thirteen, "Pillow Talk or Pillow Fight", features one of the most infamous fights in Housewives history.
The idea was innocent enough: in a bid to bring all the couples together, NeNe threw a pyjama party and invited the housewives and their husbands (as well as aforementioned friends, Natalie and Christopher, Kenya's friend, Brandon, and Cynthia's sister, Malorie) to gather for a night of drinks and silly questions.
The evening started its downward trajectory when Kenya showed up three hours late, which greatly upset NeNe.
As the night progressed, the discussions turned to an earlier accusation that Kenya made regarding the validity of Chris and Natalie's marriage. Chris and Kenya began to argue over Kenya's allegations that he and Natalie were only "common law" married, and as Kenya stood up to continue the argument, Chris reached out and touched her arm, causing Brandon to stand up against Chris to defend her. Cynthia's husband, Peter Thomas, perceived a fight breaking out and pushed Brandon back, then Apollo jumped in and repeatedly hit Brandon badly enough to give him a bruised face and broken rib.
Just after the men's fight was broken up (this part of the evening is continued in episode fourteen, "Peaches Divided"), Kandi decided to confront Natalie about the claims she had made about Todd being an opportunist. Cynthia, who was friends with Natalie and Chris, entered into the argument in Natalie's defence, which only angered Kandi more. Malorie got involved and pushed Kandi back from Cynthia, enraging Kandi to the point of her screaming threats and hysterically crying. Eventually, Kandi had to be physically held back by multiple people, and taken out of the room.
The evening ended with almost everyone being part of a verbal or physical altercation, and NeNe and Kenya arguing over who was the cause of it all.
Season six was filled with so many memorable moments that the side plots could easily be forgotten, despite being noteworthy on their own:
- Porsha's divorce from Kordell
- Cynthia and Nene's fight over Cynthia's parenting style
- The fake cheating rumours about Kandi's friend, Carmon, and Todd
- Phaedra and Kandi divulging that they both dated Mynique's husband, Chuck
- NeNe and Phaedra's reconciliation in Athens, Georgia
- The bombshell that Mama Joyce had attempted to set Todd up to appear as though he had been cheating on Kandi
- NeNe showing up at the charity masquerade ball that Kenya threw in her honour and dissing everyone
- NeNe and Peter falling out over NeNe's behaviour at the ball
- The "Bailey Bowl" and the fallout between Marlo and NeNe
- Peter meddling in Porsha's divorce in Mexico
- Peter and Gregg's argument in Mexico
The reunion episodes are always my favourite, because it's so fun to see the women gather together post-season to rehash the highs and lows, field shady questions from Andy Cohen and the fans, and of course, argue with one another over everything that happened throughout the season.
The three-part season six reunion of Atlanta is my favourite of all reunion episodes.
The first episode of the reunion started with noticeable tension between Kenya and Porsha.
While their relationship - or lack thereof - wasn't a major focus of season six, their past altercations had boiled over to the point that the women were barely able to share the couch together.
Kenya brought a sceptre and a bullhorn with her to the reunion, the first of which she repeatedly waived in Porsha's face, and the latter of which she used to speak over Porsha as they argued. Porsha grabbed the sceptre out of Kenya's hand and threw it across the stage early into the show, but the bullhorn was the last straw, as it sent Porsha into a spiral that led to her pulling Kenya's hair, breaking down in tears, and having to go home and miss the last two episodes of the reunion.
The reunion was when Phaedra gave her epic read of Kenya (see above).
NeNe was on top form with her quotes ("So nasty and so rude!" and "I said what I said!"), and there was so much shade thrown around between all the women that you'd likely need to wear sunglasses just to make it through to the last episode (though admittedly Phaedra verged on being cruel; besides the sperm bank comments, she insinuated that Kenya's late dog was Kenya's only friend).
It was also announced during the reunion that Apollo was facing incarceration again (spoiler alert: he ended up going to prison for 5 years for mail, wire and bank fraud).
The Impact Of Season Six in Future Seasons
If you're not convinced yet of how historic season six is, let's look at how many of its plot lines influenced and set up arcs in future seasons of Atlanta:
- Though only announced at the reunion, Apollo's return to prison was a major storyline during season seven, and was a contributing factor to his and Phaedra's divorce.
- Cynthia and NeNe's feud began in season six and escalated at the reunion, but followed through to season seven. Though the women made up and broke up their friendship various times in the years thereafter, it might be safe to say that their friendship never returned to what it was prior to season six. The "friendship contract" was officially terminated!
- Kenya and Porsha's fight at the reunion was another major plot in season seven and the following years. Much like Cynthia and NeNe, Kenya and Porsha went through many stages of a frenemy-ship throughout the show, but a lot of trust was irreparably broken between the two of them due to the fight at the reunion.
In my opinion, the epic ratings, the legendary cast, the unforgettable fights, arguments, and drama, the meme-worthy reads at the reunion, and the impact on the future episodes of the show, make season six of The Real Housewives of Atlanta the best season of the series, and arguably the best season of the entire franchise.
There has never been a cast with more chemistry and tension, never a season with more dramatic twists and turns, and I don't know if any other season of Atlanta, or any other franchise, will ever compare.
© 2022 Brittany Brown