‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Good clean country living

Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Teresa’s Got a Gun”
June 26, 2011

Last we left these crazy people, Teresa and Melissa were sitting down together in Jacqueline’s letter-writing room to finally, once and for all, talk out their differences and try to make some peace between their famiglie. Melissa begins by explaining that the reason Folletto became so enraged at the christening and attacked that poor defenseless table/threw some wildly inaccurate punches at Meatball, was because he was drunk on 17 vodka shots aggravated that Teresa was being fake and pretending to be lovey with her famiglia because cameras were around.

Addenda: 1. Teresa did not come to the hospital when Little Joe was born.
2. Meatball does not attend the children’s birthday parties.

1. No response.
2. Yeah, well, something about a plumber and some bills that Folletto owed and somehow Meatball got involved and LONG STORY SHORT: business.

Melissa is flabbergasted at the colglioni on Teresa that she would imply that Folletto’s famiglia is having financial issues WHEN SHE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A CNN-REPORTED FALLIMENTO ENORME! To which Teresa suggests that they are both at fault for whatever problems they have, and that they shouldn’t talk about the past. Which, bravo on that great deflection, Teresa, but if you were serious about leaving the past in the past, you wouldn’t then follow it up by suggesting that Melissa started this entire mess by not returning phone calls. Because those phone calls, mio caro, were in the past.

SIGH.

Melissa’s recollection was that Teresa fired il primo culpo when she became enraged with Melissa for hiring a photographer for her Christmas card that Teresa had also once used. After all, Teresa didn’t want to see the same picture of everyone’s kids in every house she goes to. WHAT THE WHAT?

Teresa, tellingly, has no response to this and starts going on about how she wants their kids to grow up together, they are le mogli, it’s their job to make it better. Teresa then smothers Melissa in an aggressive hug, probably to shut Melissa up before she reveals any other crazy thing Teresa has done, and for a moment it almost looks like we’re out of the woods.

Almost.

Teresa attempts to invite le Follettos to come for Christmas, which sends Melissa into a spin of self-pity about how hard it is to be an Italian nuora. Teresa helpfully explains to the camera that while Melissa and Folletto were dating, he received a phone call from some other puttana at his parents’ house on Christmas Eve, which made Melissa storm out of the place. And the Gorga’s took this personally for some reason? They just want some rispetto, some amore from Melissa, is that so much to ask?

Jacqueline, alarmed that the progress that had seemed to be made is quickly degenerating, rushes in with cookies. THOSE BETTER BE PIGNOLI COOKIES, JACQUELINE, OR TERESA WILL THROW THEM IN THE TRASH, I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. Melissa, in turn, pulls out some awesome pictures from some trip they all took back when they could stand one another and were actually friendly. And I need copies of these pictures. I am going to put them in frames and put them in my house and pretend that they are of me. So awesome. Jacqueline, in an effort to end this stupid reconciliation before Melissa remembers the time Teresa got mad at her for using the same stupid giant hair bow company for Stugats that she uses for Gagabool or something, tells Melissa that she once punched her sister-in-law, Caroline, in the jaw, and won’t le Folletto’s come to her Christmas cocktail party? Yes? Good. Problem solved. Go home now.

Kathy, based on a handful of mini-apple turnovers and some cannoli, has decided that she wants to open up her own desert shop/catering business. This, however, is not ambitious enough for Jeff Goldblum, Jr. who urges her to open a restaurant instead. Maybe a banquet hall. This is an excellent plan and I can see no possible pitfalls. Because you can make tiramisu, you should absolutely open a banquet hall, Kathy. Yes.

Kathy puts on her Annie Hall costume, and she and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. visit a potential location for “Take the Cannoli” with a real estate agent. (You can just send the check for that restaurant name in care of Tubular, Kathy.) She doesn’t like the place. The end.

Stugats has been taking ballroom dancing classes for roughly 5 minutes now, and she is so good that the dance studio has given her a part in the big Christmas show! WOW! SHE MUST BE AMAZING! I mean if she wasn’t amazing, would this dance studio want a national television show to come in with their cameras and tape her performance? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. Melissa explains to her sister that she’s invited Folletto’s parents, which, bonus! allows her to explain on camera that Teresa has been using Mrs. Gorga for free babysitting on account of not being able to afford a nanny anymore. ZING. Also, Teresa didn’t call Melissa on her 30th birthday, but I don’t know what that has to do with anything.

When Melissa informs Folletto that she invited his mamma to the recital he mostly just grabs her culo and acts gross because he is so, so gross. Melissa explains that she named little Stugats after her mother-in-law as a sign of rispetto, and that because she lost her padre, she knows how important it is to maintain a relationship with one’s parents. This leads Folletto to comment that he is now Melissa’s husband and her padre. STOP IT. STOP BEING GROSS, FOLLETTO. MADONN’.

Also? I am going to buy all of these ladies a copy of The Feminine Mystique. I swear to God, I’m going to do it.

In addition to Mrs. Gorga, Melissa has also invited Kathy to the big recital, which leads to a smidge of tension as Mrs. Gorga and Kathy haven’t seen one another since the incident at the Posche fashion show. Mrs. Gorga greets Kathy cooly and that is the end of that “story.” Folletto, however, is thrilled to have his mamma there, and dances around with her, which is actually very sweet.

I know this would require my Christmas present being given to me a bit early, but all I want this year is an invitation to the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Upper Montclair‘s Winter Recital, please. Because if it is anything like last year’s IT WILL BE AHMAYZING. There will be ladies lifted up and spun around by male dancers while waving feathered fans; there will be flappers; there will be a strange, and not-at-all weird or inappropriate dance involving a grown man and a little girl with a giant thing on her head. So, so amazing. Like an amazing fever dream after taking a bunch of Ambien and washing it down with a gin and tonic or 8. Genius.

Alright. So, the main reason this entry is SO LATE (save the comments, I KNOW, I know) is that this whole “Itralians in da Catskills” storyline MADE ME SO TIRED. SO VERY TIRED. Nothing actually happens, but yet there are so many guns and indiscreet comments about very specific sexual acts and Nutella, and I just … I just couldn’t.

BUT I MUST. So.

Before the big trip, Chris and Jacqueline pack up Chris’ impressive collection of guns, while Jac worries about the showering situation at the cabin. Fair enough, Jacqueline. Fair enough.

Unfortunately for us all, this trip to the Catskills is kid-free. So Teresa says goodbye to Gagabool, Sfogliatelle, Mortadella and Baccala, whom she is leaving with her mother for the weekend, while explaining to the camera that while she’d like to invite Folletto to the cabin, she’s not going to. The end. (And it begs a question: we’re led to believe that this trip coincides with Stugats’ big recital. So who was watching Teresa’s bambini then? Unless: editing shenanigans!)

At the cabin, we’re introduced to a bunch Meatball’s relatives, all of whom are named Joe. FACT. And because everyone is named Joe, there are some very confusing inter-famiglia relationships when someone introduced, for instance, is captioned “So-and-so, Joe’s Mother-in-law.” WHO’S MOTHER-IN-LAW? THERE ARE 18 JOES HERE, FOR SERIOUS.

The crowd stays up late and drinks what Jac describes as rotten egg wine (which she later clarifies was actually the sulphur in the well water, which anyone who has spent five minutes in the country would know) and they start being SO SUPER GROSS. I do not need to know that Meatball calls Teresa a dirty slut in the bedroom. I do not need to know that he does not think she’s very good at … um … The Oral. I do not need to know where Meatball and Teresa first slept together. AND I MOST CERTAINLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WHICH VIBRATING TOYS THEY MIGHT USE IN THE BEDROOM, MUCH LESS SEE THEM. PUT THAT AWAY, TERESA. GOOD HEAVENS. I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS AND NOW I CAN NEVER UNKNOW IT. STOP. STOP. STOP.

They have a pizza-making contest, because stereotypes! And Jacqueline wins with a Nutella calzone. For this, they extended the episode 15 minutes.

Jacqueline broaches the topic of Christmas Eve, and whether Teresa intends to also invite Kathy. Not so much. 1. She wants to focus on repairing her relationship with Folletto and Melissa, and 2. This one time Kathy’s father and Teresa’s father got into a fight over $200 and everyone stopped speaking to each other. This is how “the ball drops.” — Teresa.

The next morning, one of the Joes begins roasting a pig while the rest of the men shoot guns from the deck, which is just a good idea.

Caroline “The Voice of Reason” Manzo drives up with her sons and her friend Dolores, but Lauren and Albert had the good sense to stay home, God bless them. Look. Caroline’s famiglia had a farm when she was growing up. She knows from the country. But she’s pretty sure Teresa’s country is just going to be chaos. (THIS IS A TRUE FACT.) Albie and Christopher are allowed to shoot guns, maybe, but they are not allowed to do something Caroline keeps calling “quads.” And perhaps this is a Northeastern term (although I just asked my Philadelphia-born-and-raised husband, and he’d never heard of it, either), perhaps I’m just ignorant, but it took me most of the episode to figure out what a “quad” was. For those of us in the south: a “quad” is an ATV or, more colloquially, a “four-wheeler.” MYSTERY SOLVED.

Teresa greets the Manzos clad in a full-length fur vest. Which is exactly what one wears to shoot watermelons tied to trees off one’s cabin balcony, duh. After a little chatting about how the talk with Melissa went (fine) the ladies head into town … for some reason. To buy organic, homemade baby food? Sure, let’s say that. Shockingly, the ladies do not pass as locals.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Chris asks Meatball if he’s going to keep Teresa on a budget during the holidays. Short answer: nope. GOOD PLAN, MEATBALL. IT’S JUST A TOTAL MYSTERY AS TO HOW YOU ENDED UP IN BANKRUPTCY, BIG GUY.

The men, including Christopher and Albie, ride “quads” against Caroline’s express wishes. Because they are GROWN ADULTS. The Joes then return home and everyone eats the pig and a roasted lamb, which freaks out Caroline, for all her “I grew up on a farm” noise. But the highlight of the evening is the picture of Meatball from 20 years earlier, doing the splits at a boardwalk somewhere down the shore.

You’re welcome.

(Note: “down  the shore” is something I would never say, but I have it on good authority from my Yankee-goin-down-da-shore-every-summa husband that this is what Northeasterners say. And now you know.) Jacqueline and Meatball attempt to do the splits, and, remarkably, considering his age and general meatballness, Meatball is eventually able to slide down to the floor. BRAVO! And then everybody goes and rides the “quads” again in the dark after drinking a bunch. Just good decision making all around. Also, OH MY GAWWWWD! IS DAT A BEAHR? (No.)

The Jerseyites decide to invade some local bar, which is met with as much bafflement and awkwardness as might be expected.

In the final hours of their stay in the Catskills, Teresa and Meatball lead their guests to a small chapel that la famiglia de Meatball has built on their property in honor of San Michele. This, for some reason, sends Jacqueline and Caroline into fits of giggles, so much so that Jacqueline has to excuse herself from the property. And then the whole thing ends with everyone thanking San Michele for a wonderful weekend, and prayers to help them get through the holidays. Throw one in there for me to get through this season, per favore! AMEN.

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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