Let Phaedra Parks Back on ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ Cowards!

·5 min read

In the fourth episode of Peacock’s The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Season 2, Phaedra Parks asserts: “I always understand the assignment and I always come prepared for the job.” It’s an overused turn of phrase, but one that distinctly applies to her in particular. As a former cast member of Real Housewives of Atlanta and on the second season of Peacock’s spin-off show, Parks has proven time and time again that she’s one of the greatest housewives to ever grace the franchise.

Whether she was spending her very first season on RHOA lying about the term of her pregnancy or her second season showing up to a divorce court proceeding with zero preparation, she was always contributing the necessary amount of slapstick humor that every city of this gloriously messy franchise desperately needs. Has anything ever been funnier than Phaedra Parks introducing herself to a group of strangers on a cast trip by saying, “I’m an entertainment attorney and I’m also a fledgling mortician”? That’s rhetorical. Nothing can beat that.

Phaedra comes to RHUGT with the same chip on her designer-clad shoulder as every other cast member. They’ve all been fired by Bravo at one point or another, and have arrived at Real Housewives of New York alum Dorinda Medley’s Berkshires estate to, essentially, compete to show the world why they should be brought back to their respective franchises.

Phaedra’s time on RHUGT has once again proven what we all have known from the start: she is the funniest person to ever live. She has the physical comedy chops of Lucille Ball, the timing of Maria Bamford, the flair of Chloe Fineman, and the unstoppable comedic potential of a misplaced banana peel on the ground.

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From the very moment she arrived on our screens in episode one, I was hooting and hollering with all the fervor of a drunk student at a college showcase. It was as if comedy was reborn before my very eyes when, after listening to Dorinda describe a tree in her backyard where she can feel the presence of her late husband Richard, Phaedra looked dead in the confessional camera and asked, “Who the hell is Richard?”

Season 2 of RHUGT is practically built around Phaedra’s asides and one-liners. She is our voice of reason, our charismatic guide through the newly-excavated tenth circle of hell that is the Bluestone Manor estate. She keeps the peace and shakes off the drama and fights going on around her by throwing on a new wig, each one somehow more gorgeous than the last. And she’s down for just about anything, telling the audience while Dorinda feeds her lobster that “since I’m at [her] multimillion-dollar lavish estate, put your fingers in my mouth, stick ‘em up my butt if you want to, I’m here for it all!” Poet Laureate Parks.

But it’s not just her well-honed comedy skills that make her so compelling in this spinoff. Much like she did during her tenure on RHOA, Phaedra remains an excellent pot-stirrer on RHUGT. And just like any good chaos chef, she knows how to step back and let the pot boil over in front of her without getting burned.

Well, except for the maneuver that backfired so hard it got her kicked off the show in the first place: alleging to fellow cast member Porsha Williams that longtime housewife Kandi Burruss planned to drug and sexually assault Williams. It was an egregious lie, and spreading that kind of slanderous rumor could’ve proven career-ending for Kandi if it were to be believed, but it halted Phaedra’s instead when word got back to the rest of the cast on the Season 9 reunion.

Phaedra Parks: The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Scene Stealer

Burruss has since stated that she would not continue on RHOA if Phaedra were to return to the cast. And, well, I’m sorry to say it, but…it might be time for Kandi Burruss to move her legs, hips, and body off Atlanta to make way for the return of one Ms. Phaedra Parks. Hear me out here: Burruss’ storylines on RHOA lately have been duds. She’s distracted with her restaurants, her sex toy empire, and her career as a writer/producer of everything from hit singles to smash Broadway shows.

None of it is compelling. Watching Kandi and her husband Todd Tucker argue about the status of Tucker’s New Jersey bachelor pad is more boring than watching the apartment’s paint dry. The most memorable part of the cast going to see Kandi’s show on Broadway was watching fellow cast member Marlo Hampton grab a Citi Bike to try to make it to the theater on time. Plus, Burruss has her Bravo spinoff Kandi & The Gang. Kandi doesn’t need Real Housewives of Atlanta, but RHOA certainly needs Phaedra, which she continues to prove week after week on RHUGT. And if her scene-stealing guest appearance on Wednesday’s episode of the snoozefest that is The Real Housewives of Dubai is any indication, Bravo would be smart to set her up with a full-fledged series return.

Phaedra Parks is effortless. She lets a punchline roll off her Fendi jumpsuit like it’s a piece of lint and yet it’s somehow the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Phaedra will change the pronunciation of bondage to “bundage” and elicit a great ripple of laughter in my soul that is so potent I feel like I’ve entered a new spiritual realm. Her repetition of the word “bunghole” after a bourbon tasting remains lodged in my prefrontal cortex. It’s all so perfect, and it’s the injection of silly energy that Atlanta needs right now while it’s saddled with a cast that takes themselves far too seriously.

Give Phaedra Parks the opportunity to continue to show contrition for her transgressions in primetime. One (admittedly major) mistake shouldn’t be enough to denigrate her character over five years later. She may not be a perfect person, but she is the perfect reality star.

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