Every Housewives fan has their favourite one-season wonders. It’s part of the joy of our obsession. Some of you think Jules Wainstein deserved another shot. Others know that Carlton Gebbia was misunderstood. Hell, there’s even someone out there who thinks Cindy Barshop was good. I would like this person to come forward so they may immediately be doused in holy water and guided through a regimen of repentant prayer. My Housewives hot take? I fucking love Kim Fields.
Kim Fields, of Facts of Life and Living Single fame, joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta in season eight. Here are some reviews of her tenure, sourced from Reddit:
“Absolute worst housewife in RHOA history. Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to bring her on? I still thought it was kinda sad (and telling) that Andy asked the other women at the reunion if Kim was a “good fit” for the show and every single woman there said “no” in a roundabout, sugar coated way.” (u/beastlyturtle)
“Her time came and went long time ago. On RHOA she was painfully boring, and by far the worst addition to any housewives franchise ever. Now I can look forward to next season knowing we won’t have to suffer through her scenes anymore! I hope she falls back into obscurity where she belongs.” (u/YOLOlemons)
“She’s incredibly boring to the point where she is aggressively boring. Like, her boringness is unavoidable and detracts from the overall event. […] She also refuses to be a part of any activity which isn’t completely G rated for some reason. You’re an adult and your friends are adults! They might want to do adult things! There’s a reason this girl doesn’t have any friends. They all got tired of watching Disney Junior in silence and going to bed at 8pm.” (u/justsayinyall11)
So as you might imagine, Kim Fields, who was by common consensus dreary as a funeral and hated every second of filming, was canned. And I get it. Kim really only works as a one-season experiment. But by God, I loved every moment of it. You hear people say that they want normal women on these shows, with normal problems. But here is the Housewife that gives the lie to that logic. Kim Fields is a truly average person, dowdy and boring even for a normie, and her time spent with cartoon characters like Kenya Moore and Porsha Williams sent her spiraling into a series of identity-claiming meltdowns.
So let’s take a trip down memory lane, to RHOA season eight. NeNe has departed for her megawatt A-list Hollywood career. Phaedra’s baroque attempt on Kandi’s reputation/life is but a gleam in her eye. Everyone is listening to Freco and Merlo’s hit single, The Drop. And we’re all excited to get to know about the faith, family and career of a little someone named Kim Fields.
We meet Kim via Kenya Moore, who will eventually become the bane of her existence, but her first truly notable scene is with Phaedra. Phaedra stops by to film some filler B-reel with the new chick and is shocked when Kim immediately disintegrates into a weepy puddle about how her life has been completely subsumed by minutiae like reading to her children and carpool and she no longer has an identity of her own. An auspicious start for any Housewife, I’m sure we all agree!
Kim’s first chance to reclaim her identity and debut a dynamic, fun new Kim Fields is at Kenya’s boat party. Kim arrives on the boat and promptly declares that she does not drink, and has brought along a novel and some Tupperware full of grapes and mom snacks to privately enjoy. Turn up, Régine! Her attempts at an evening of pleasant introversion are promptly scuttled by Cynthia and Porsha kicking each other to death, which spurs yet another Kim Fields weeping sesh, to the puzzlement of everyone around her.
Around this time, Kim determines her best path on the show is to serve as a peacemaker, by issuing sanctimonious little bits of fortune cookie advice that irritate people more than help them. My favourite of these:
Food for thought: Does it seem like there’s a different between information and instigation? 🤔
Too true, Tootie. Kim has a great way of dressing everything she says in this wonderfully irritating mom tone that instantly gets under everyone’s skin.
Shortly thereafter, the cast heads to Miami, where in the midst of a heated room selection, Kim opts to sleep on the living room couch for no reason at all:
The trip to Miami is a difficult one for our heroine, who has not spent a moment away from her husband and children. Their arrangement of Kim checking in with the family multiple times a day and reading bedtime stories to her children via Skype cannot sustain her, leading to Kim having a blithering meltdown (number three!) in the middle of a fun day out in Miami.
(Sidebar: what is it with these McCords and Bellinos and Fieldseseses who have never spent time away from their families and don’t know how to healthily do so? Take a vacation! Smoke a joint. You’ve earned it. It doesn’t always need to be Jim and Alexis time.)
Anyway, Phaedra spends a healthy hour or so talking Kim off the ledge and Kim seems very briefly able to continue on with the trip… until Kenya tries to kick Tammy Browning’s nephew out of the house and a scuffle breaks out and the spectacle drives Kim to a hotel, where she will spend the rest of the trip.
We’re now halfway into the season, and every attempt Kim has made to engage with the group has ended in utter disaster, with her either ugly-sobbing about how this isn’t Who She Is, or just storming out of the event altogether. She’s also being actively tormented by Kenya, who will seek to ruin her life from here until the end of the line, mostly via the old problematic ATL standby: spreading unsubstantiated gay rumours about Kim’s husband.
Kim isn’t ready to wind it down yet, though, and ramps up both her passive-aggression and her stuffiness to the next level. Hence, The Beatless Brunch: Kim’s idea of a fun Housewives theme party where the women are banned from wearing makeup because they as a group focus too much on outward beauty at the expense of their souls. The cast members are invited via a meandering, self-righteous voicemail, helpfully depicted in a montage of all the other women listening in disbelief and disgust. Kim provides her guests with journals (to log their positive affirmations) and compacts (to truly see themselves) while they suppress eye rolls and groans. Predictably, nearly everyone shows up in a full face of makeup.
Kim is now three quarters of the way through her inaugural season, but that’s still time to shove in one last aggravating neurotic quirk. Kim, like God provides: she will not travel without her family. The codependent disaster of Miami fresh in her memory, Kim Fields opts to drag her children along to every single cast trip from here on forward. This includes the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., where Kim is livid that the political content (the oppression of young Black men) is not appropriate for her children, and the Housewives vacation to Jamaica, where she is thankfully able to shield the boys from Shereé’s insistence that their father is “fruity or gay.” And yes, I know, the harmful homophobia of Housewives rears its head again, but the baser part of me is dead at the way Shereé inflects “fruity or gay.” I’m only human and the woman’s voice is gossamer.
As with all one-season wonders, the reunion acts as something of a coda for Kim. She makes a game run at Kenya and the other women act politely impressed, but when questioned by Andy, they all basically admit Kim is a terrible fit for the show and they have no idea what she’s doing here to begin with.
So that’s Kim, a true square peg in the round hole of Housewives. She never should have showed up and it’s a miracle she survived. Funnily enough, Kim has a little cameo at the beginning of The Comeback, Lisa Kudrow’s excellent and prescient parody of semi-scripted fly-on-the-wall reality. She’s one of the potential subjects of the show, along with Marilu Henner and Kudrow’s character, Valerie Cherish, but quickly reveals that she finds the entire enterprise of reality television boring and base and doesn’t want to be involved. She should have taken her own advice on that one. Thankfully, she didn’t, and we got one glorious season of tearful torture. Hopefully, she’s socked the money away for her kids’ college, and she’s content in the privacy of her home, drinking six glasses of water a day and going to sleep by 10 pm.
Thank you for joining me for the saga of Kim Fields in Wonderland, a church woman’s brief descent into madness.