‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ finale review: What needs to be fixed?

The party’s over.

We haven’t really learned much during this season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” but Sunday night’s season 4 finale did at least prove one thing to us above all else: NeNe Leakes does not love products themed around “adult entertainment.”

After Kandi Burruss went through all the effort to launch her new line of “toys” with shirtless, oiled-up men, why would you want to leave? Of course, there is that thing known as trying to preserve some sort of privacy when it comes to your thoughts on the male anatomy. NeNe managed to convince both Cynthia Bailey (who spent most of this episode promoting her own brand in her modeling agency) and Marlo Hampton to go out the door with you.

It may sound strange, but this party was really what this season needed, and to shy away from it almost makes us a little sad — after all, we need an edge! “Atlanta” has grown stale over much of season 4, with the ladies regurgitating old stories and doing things that aren’t exactly interesting. Maybe it’s that they are too self-aware now, or it’s that NeNe has just decided to stay away from the ladies she doesn’t like rather than to try and spend some time with them.

After sitting through this season, there are really two thing Bravo needs to consider doing as soon as possible in order to turn things around for season 5:

1. Fewer episodes – Can you believe that “Atlanta” lasted for nearly as long as a season of “The Big Bang Theory?” Any reality show that has longer than 18 episodes is dragging things out too much, and while we’re sure Bravo loves the ratings, most of what we saw here could have easily been convinced into 16 weeks that would have felt far more engaging. If you don’t have the content for 20+ episodes, don’t do 20+ episodes. It’s as simple as that. You’re running the risk of killing your own brand.

2. A major cast shake-up – We’re aware of rumors that Sheree Whitfield may not return, but there needs to be more than that. Either producers find a way to get NeNe and Kim Zolciak back in the same room, or one of them has to go. Having a whole season of isolated “Housewives” is not exciting for anyone, mostly because the drama is at an uncomfortable standstill rather than boiling over on a stove. You need drama that you can tangibly feel, not something that you hope could happen someday. Keep Phaedra, Cynthia, and Kandi, and then figure out what do do about NeNe and Kim with some new blood thrown in there.

We know we’ve been hard on “Atlanta” this season, but it comes from a place of love. This used to be up there with “New Jersey” and “Beverly Hills” as the most fascinating season, and it can get there again — but we need a “less is more” approach and something genuine to talk about.

What did you think about this season as a whole?

Photo: Bravo

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