Season 1 | Episode 1 | Aired Aug 18, 2014
When Hollywood Exes ended, I didn’t know how I was going to get the reality fix I needed. But after watching the first episode of Atlanta Exes, I feel reassured that there is plenty of lady drama to go around. All of these women were married to big-name sports and entertainment personalities that the American popular culture knows pretty well: Usher Raymond, CeeLo Green, Kevin Hart, etc. So it is terribly fascinating to lift the curtain a little and get a different perspective onto these celebrities whom we think we know so well.
We first meet Tameka Raymond, ex-wife of Usher Raymond. In these first few scenes, she is having a “packing party” to which she has invited the other ladies, in expectation that they will help her move out of the house she formerly shared with her ex. When the ladies arrive, however, it becomes clear that Tameka is far less interested in packing than she let on, and isn’t really ready to move on from this place in her life.
Tameka’s story is different from the other ladies’ in that not only is she recently divorced, but she also lost her son, Kile, in a boating accident in 2012. Her divorce and Kile’s death came within about a year of each other, and Tameka is obviously still struggling with the compounded loss. Her story is heartbreaking, and will make you root for her instantly. Don’t worry, though—she changes your mind later in the episode.
While I was still on her side, I felt bad for her as she buckled under the other ladies’ constant pressure to “let go” and “move on.” Going through her closet, they found lingering evidence of Usher, and were a little heavy-handed in their urging her to throw things away. After becoming overwhelmed at the task, Tameka just gave up and sank down on the floor, surprising Monyetta and the other ladies.
Tameka makes a few comments here in the closet that will set the precedent for her “character” for the rest of the episode. It becomes clear that she thinks her pain trumps theirs, and Torrei doesn’t think that’s cool. It’s hard to know how to feel about this after just one episode, but nobody wants to be told that their baggage is not as real as someone else’s. Of course, none of the other ladies have lost children.
Christina is the most understanding of the ladies; she is still holding onto CeeLo Green eight years after their divorce. He makes a cameo in the first episode, having taken the red-eye from L.A. to help Christina pick out some new clothes. They chat about Christina’s wishes to start dating, and he is not as supportive as he pretends to be. He plays mind games with her, hinting that he’s not ready to let her go, and that she should wait forever for the right person. Frustrated, Christiana reminds him that he’s seeing someone else too, but he replies cryptically, “I have someone who knows I have you.” It’s a real mind f*ck, if you ask me, and Christina should get as far away from that passive-aggressive, codependent crap as soon as she can. She’s the one who admitted that it wasn’t “a healthy situation,” so it seems she should leave him in the rearview.
Following their meeting, Christina goes to see Torrei’s new condo. Torrei is Kevin Hart’s ex-wife and moved to Atlanta for a fresh start and to work on her comedy career. She met Kevin when they were both at community college in Philadelphia, and Torrei put her career and life on hold to support Kevin. Torrei still has a lot of feelings about the divorce and is angry at her ex’s infidelity, and sad that he gets to have as much time with the children as she does. She obviously still has feelings for Kevin and says she feels empty without her best friend. It also seems that the children didn’t come with her to Atlanta, and she is having a hard time making a home without them there. Christina comforts her and offers solace, commiserating with her about the loss of the family unit.
Monyetta is feeling a similar loss, even though she and Ne-Yo still live in the same house. She has weekly family dinners with his mother and sister and looks to them for advice about how to move forward. Hers is the most recent split, and I believe she is still waiting for him to “get right and come back.” His mother is skeptical and tells her to live her life without him; he will either come around or move on. His mother cautions Monyetta about becoming a “dried-up old granny,” and tells her to get back out there. Monyetta has some fresh wounds to heal, so I predict she is the most likely to backslide with her ex, although Christina is a close second.
Sheree Buchanan is the last lady on the list wanting to reconcile with her ex, former NFL player Ray Buchanan. She and Ray married young and had lots of babies, but when the money and fame came around, she says Ray “lost himself,” causing her to lose herself a little too. When she, Torrei and Christina go out for drinks, she is obviously on the prowl. She tells the other two ladies that she likes them young, big and (ahem) endowed. When a man approaches the ladies, she immediately dismisses him for being too old. Torrei guessed his age based on his Afro-Sheen and Steve Harvey haircut. He was a good sport about it, and the ladies had a good laugh. Sheree seems like she is the most fun and the most willing to have a good time.
Sheree is going to have to be a good sport if she is going to put up with Tameka and her judgements. When Sheree invites Tameka to go shopping with her for her 11-year-old’s birthday, Tameka says terrible things about Sheree’s judgment and taste, and makes some pretty dismissive comments about her parenting style. At first it seems like Tameka might have Sheree’s best interest at heart, but the longer it goes on, the more it seems like Tameka is being needlessly hurtful.
Sheree lets it go at the boutique, showing a great deal of restraint, if you ask me, but seeks advice from Torrei about it later. Instead of being angry and backstabbing, in true reality-show-housewife fashion, Sheree shows concern for Tameka, saying it is out of character for her to be so negative. Maybe, according to Sheree, she’s in more pain than she’s letting on.
This is the topic of the ladies’ lunch in the final scene, when all the ladies come together to visit and “offer support.” Tameka doesn’t let up on Sheree, criticizing her outfit and being openly rude about it. Apparently a white bra “should be banned in all 50 states.” This is news to me, but Sheree doesn’t lose her temper at all, which is amazing. Instead, the ladies rally around Tameka, supporting her and asking her to trust them with her pain. It was nice to see a group of ladies supporting each other. I wonder how long this will last.
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Atlanta Exes airs Mondays at 9/8C on VH1.