‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: No tables were harmed during the filming of this episode.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Whine and Dine”
June 19, 2011

Tout d’abord, un grand merci à la belle Bobby pour sa récapitulation merveilleux et en temps opportun la semaine dernière. I must confess, while I was strolling along the Seine, wearing my beret and nibbling un croissant, the VERY LAST THING on my mind was Potato Face and whether or not her dum-dum stepfather would be stupid enough to buy her a(nother) car. And for that, I am so grateful, Bobby. You’ll never know quite how grateful I am.

But, tristement, all vacations must come to an end and all demons must be faced. Like this feud between Teresa and Folletto. And face it they shall. (Kinda.)

“BUT WAIT, THERESE!” I can hear you screaming at your computer screens, “WHAT ABOUT CAROLINE AND HER RADIO ADVICE JOB? DID SHE GET IT? WE WON’T STOP SCREAMING UNTIL THIS MYSTERY IS REVEALED!”

I agree, it was an amazing cliff hanger! Will Caroline, a local celebrity thanks to this ridiculous basic cable show, be the next Frasier of Northern New Jersey, a job for which she interviewed on camera thereby taking a huge personal risk? They said they were going to talk to other people! What if she doesn’t get the job? I’M ON PINS AND NEEDLES, TOO. WHATEVER SHALL HAPPEN?

Caroline gets the job.

And then we spend a good 20 minutes of the episode listening to Caroline tell Nicole from Trenton that she needs to try to get along with her family over the holidays, and deal with someone WHO WAS MOST DEFINITELY NOT A PRODUCER’S ASSISTANT WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT who calls in to say she doesn’t get along with her sister-in-law, and Caroline has to read the weather which was just awkward and painful, the end.

L’elefante in the episode, however, is Teresa and Folletto and their BIG CONFRONTATION. At the gymnastics meet that he managed to not actually see, Folletto suggested to Teresa that they meet and talk at Portofino’s, which the 2001 Zagat’s raved has “reasonable prices.” And I have lots of questions about this? Namely, who thought these two meeting in a public place during the dinner rush seemed like a good idea? Did the producers have to take out extra insurance? Did they make all the other patrons sign legal releases promising not to sue, no matter how many tables might be thrown at their faces? This just seems like one big headache to me, which may be why I’m not a reality television producer.

Anyway, after complimenting Gagabool’s performance which he did not see, Folletto gets down to bidness: what did Teresa mean when she wrote, “if I’ve hurt you and your family?” But before she can answer, the waiter arrives with the wine, and there is a long, awkward moment where the waiter is putting the wine on the table and then putting the other wine on the table, and then adjusting the wine on the table, and everyone wants to just throw the table already, but, to their immense credit, they manage to fight back their Gorga instincts.

Back to the whole “what did she mean when she said she was sorry” issue, Teresa, unsure what she meant, exactly, is informed by Folletto that she’s been neglecting his family and wife. And I don’t think “neglecting” means what he thinks it means, but fine. The christening comes up because they will be obligated to bring it up in every episode this season. And this somehow leads to an interesting conversation re: Meatball.

As noted before, Meatball and Folletto used to be paisans. But! Then! Teresa married Meatball, and loved Folletto too much? And Folletto told her, “You need to quit loving me so much?” And Teresa didn’t take his advice? And it drove a wedge between Folletto and Meatball, and made Folletto kinda angry at Teresa, for loving him too much? Sure. This all makes perfect sense. In fact (to steal from the genius Gabe over at Videogum.com), it might make too much sense.

Teresa, however, thinks things fell apart between them when Folletto married Melissa, whom he apparently married after being previously engaged to two other people? I think? The timeline was somewhat confusing, but I think Teresa took exception to the fact that Melissa moved in with Folletto a month after meeting him, and married him soon after, and basically she’s not saying her sister-in-law’s a gold digger, but she is suggesting that Melissa ain’t messing with no broke broke.

Folletto accuses Teresa of being fake and clinging to people who aren’t her real family: notably Jacqueline and Caroline. In return, Teresa whines at Folletto that he never congratulated her on her cookbook. This leads to a very involved debate on the etiquette of book signings, the likes of which I’ve never seen, even when I worked in the book publishing business. Seriously.

The issue of book signings and the proper way to invite guests to said book signings is exhausted without any sort of resolution, and so they move back to Melissa: Why’s she so awful? Teresa brings up the housewarming card and the business of Melissa passive aggressively congratulating Teresa on her “redone home,” which does seem pretty damning in a complete vacuum. BUT! Folletto reveals the other side of the story: apparently before this, Teresa told Melissa that she and Folletto only finished building their home in a year because they had a loan. OH BURN. I guess? I mean, is this an insult? Financial responsibility is an insult? Teresa clearly meant it to be an insult, but I’m not certain that saying someone took out a loan, which they clearly did, is an insult. “YOU SO FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE, A MAJOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TRUSTED YOU WITH A FIXED RATE LOAN WITH AN APR OF 5.5%! OOOH, SNAP!”

Long story short: Folletto asserts that even if Melissa is una puttana, she’s still the puttana that gave birth to his children, Teresa’s niece and nephews, their parents’ grandchildren, and therefore they should still love her. Not that he’s calling Melissa una puttana — but that’s a clarification I’m making, not Folletto.

And so Teresa wants to know what they can do to get past all of this — she misses Folletto for some reason — and she doesn’t want all this stress to weigh on the family anymore. And Folletto, after all of this, instructs Teresa to call Melissa, that the two of them have to work it out. We couldn’t have just done that in the first place? No? THESE PEOPLE. THEY ARE OOBATZ. Folletto has a headache and has to go home. SO DO I, FOLLETTO.

So do I.

Meanwhile, Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr., Folletto and Melissa are scheduled to have dinner with some medigans, the Hizas. Folletto tells the group about the meeting with his sister, and Melissa is quick to note that she doesn’t want to discuss anything with Teresa until she apologizes. Mrs. Hiza, for some reason, interjects that Teresa was rude to her this one time, but NO ONE CARES, MRS. HIZA. NO ONE ASKED YOU. Madonn’.

Jacqueline checks in on Teresa, who still seems defensive and is ranting about Melissa’s words coming out of Folletto’s mouth, and makes even more direct accusations that Melissa is a gold digger. Jacqueline reasonably points out that Melissa and Folletto have been married for six years now, and she’s given him three kids and put up with his constant demands for food and sex, so, you know…

Teresa addresses the bankruptcy issue by saying 1. there is no issue and 2. she can’t discuss it except with her lawyers. But Jacqueline needn’t worry about the CNN reports of an auction because that’s totally not for real. Which, OK, fine, sure. But I gotta tell you, one of my friends ends up on CNN about anything? It’s going to take a lot more than “Pshht. Fuhgeddabouddit,” to convince me that I should do exactly that.

After explaining to the camera that she too has had falling outs with her sister-in-laws (going so far as throwing a punch at Caroline!?! Saywhatnow?) but everything is totally cool now, Jacqueline offers Teresa the use of her house as a neutral place where she can meet with Melissa. And for some reason, Melissa agrees to this? Even though this is clearly not the definition of “neutral?” FINE. WHATEVER. SURE. Tables everywhere thank you, Jacqueline.

The morning of the big confrontation, Caroline swings by Jacqueline’s for some coffee and gossip, and she lays down some truth: Melissa = Teresa. Teresa = Melissa. No doubt.

Teresa arrives, and invites both Caroline and Jacqueline’s families up to her place in the Catskills, AND I’M SORRY, WHAT’S THIS? THE MEATBALL FAMILY IS IN BANKRUPTCY, AND THEIR FURNITURE IS A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION ON CNN, BUT THEY HAVE A “PLACE” IN THE CATSKILLS? Hey, a hot financial tip for you, Teresa: Sell your second home in the Catskills, use the proceeds to pay your credit card bills. I’m not even going to charge you for that, seeing as YOU ARE IN DIRE FINANCIAL STRAITS AND ALL.

Caroline advises Teresa to put on her big girl panties and take the high road with Melissa. This might be difficult, but when Teresa sees Folletto with her kids again, it’ll be worth it. And I am certain this bit of reasonableness registered in Teresa’s little walnut brain. Absolutely. For sure.

Jacqueline is nervous, and promises to bring in cookies if she hears things escalating, but Teresa waves her off, promising that she’s a cool and calm as a whistle. I have no idea what this means.

Melissa arrives, clad in a pink fur vest and bearing a bottle of wine and compliments on Jacqueline’s home. Jacqueline grabs the bottle and then shoves Teresa and Melissa in the letter writing nook before scurrying away.

Teresa begins by saying she wants to make things better for their children and parents, that she’s sorry for how out of control things have become, and that family’s the most important thing, ultimately. To this, Melissa pronounces that she doesn’t see how this will ever work. And this is where the episode ends. WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, BRAVO? WE’RE GONNA DRAG THIS OUT FOR ANOTHER EPISODE? YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE.

MANNAGGIA ALLA MISERIA.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays on Bravo at 8/9 CST.

This post first appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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