‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Happy Birthday, Jesus. Hope you like crap.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“There Arose Such a Clatter”
July 24, 2011

SO. After Folletto and Melissa insisted that Kim G’s “friend” and Teresa-instigator, Monica Chacon, please leave the party that they most certainly did not invite her to, and after Kim G said “nope” about thirty times, and after Monica Chacon, bored with this stupidità, finally just saw herself out, Teresa climbed down off the ceiling. But only for about two seconds, because Kim G, her can of gasoline and her pack of matches, they have stayed behind. And at the very same time Melissa is insisting to Teresa that Kim G is harmless, Kim G is marching around the party shrieking at anyone who will listen that Teresa is a criminal who threw her friend out of the party for no good reason, and heckling the Gorga siblings when they attempt to take a picture together. Oh, Kim G. You are the Kimmiest G!

Caroline, however, is unamused, and she and Lauren quietly tell Kim G to quit Kim Ging, please and thank you. Kim G begins sputtering her outrage, OUTRAGE! And Caroline calmly evokes their sons’ 15-year friendship; can’t Kim G just put the Kim G away for one night for the children? Think of the children.

This does not work, however, because Kim G! As Teresa and Meatball sensibly leave the party, and without punching a single person, not even a little punch, Christopher, the very son that Caroline was referring to, comes over and quietly suggests that maybe it’s time for Kim G to see herself out. BUT KIM G AND HER 75-YEAR-OLD BODYGUARD WILL NOT HEAR OF IT. There’s a bit of a Manzo tussle (a Manzussle?) at the door, and people are yelling but I’m not really sure why, and Albie and Caroline seem VERY ANGRY that Christopher is the one who is showing Kim G the door, although it only makes perfect sense to me, seeing as he has perhaps the best relationship with her and is managing to handle the whole thing with a degree of dignity, compassion and maturity. Eventually, finally, Kim G shoves her bodyguard and his walker into the limo and they go speeding off, and Caroline yells at everyone to go back inside.

And the Follettos just shrug at the whole thing. While Melissa comments that it’s a little strange that the Manzos threw someone out of her party, she likes that Caroline’s sons stood up for their Mama, and Folletto is honored that Albert came to the party. Well, sure. Your sister congratulates you at your son’s christening? Throw some punches and toss a couple tables. Some strangers come to your party and throw out guests? Chi se ne frega. This just makes sense. Perfetto, perfetto senso.

Hey, remember that “radio show” that Caroline “hosts?” You know, where she gives advice? Yeah, the producers just now remembered it, too. Just in time for Caroline to host a special program about divorce and kids, and for her brother, Chris, to call in with a thinly disguised question about his relationship with Potato Face. Good radio show! It must be very popular!

And now it’s Vigilia di Natale. Kathy’s mother, Maria, comes to her house to help stuff mushrooms and talk family feuds. It seems these Gorgas? They are really very good at family feuds! Maria is Teresa and Folletto’s father’s older sister (Still with me? Do I need to draw una famiglia albero?), and back in the day, her husband sold his shoe business to Sig. Gorga. Somewhere along the line, Sig. Maria decided that Sig. Gorga still owed him $100, $150, who knows, some small amount. Sig. Gorga, he disagreed. Everyone attacked a table or two and stopped speaking to each other. Some years later Maria ran into her brother at the fish store on Christmas Eve, and wished him Buon Natale, and then went home and told Sig. Maria that she couldn’t go on this way with the not speaking to her brother. And this is very sad! Maria! She tears up just thinking about it! And she looks like la mia bisnonna e la gran-gran-zie, and it makes me very sad for her and ALRIGHT. I MIGHT HAVE TEARED UP A LITTLE MYSELF. SHUT UP.

Caroline’s Vigilia di Natale involves her putting on a ratty t-shirt and spending all day cooking eleventy thousand dishes for her 37 brothers and sister and their 893 children. This is a lot of work!

Also, this is the very first Natale that Potato Face will be spending with Jacqueline, because her padre still has the flu? I don’t know, this isn’t actually explained. Whatever the reason, Ashley potatofaces about it, and she’s just the worst. At the dinner, one of the Manzo brothers, Christopher, maybe? asks about New Year’s resolutions, and Ashley announces that her resolution, well one of them, in addition to “texting more” and “rip out more hair extensions,” is to make her step-father, Chris, like her. Patetico. Chris, to his ENORMOUS credit, does not roll his eyeballs right out of his head, but calmly explains to his step-daughter that while he loves her, he doesn’t like the way she acts, and that she needs to start listening to the people who love her. WHATEVER. NEW RESOLUTION = IGNORE STEP-DAD. I have a resolution for Chris: think harder about that facial hair.

Teresa is also hosting uno Vigilia di Natale, with the Festa dei Sette Pesci, not that they are counting how many fish they’re serving, 7? 15? 32? who can say. It doesn’t matter. Because by inviting her parents, the Meatball family and the Follettos, what Teresa is really cooking is a recipe for disaster. (Such clever writing. Another Pulitzer, coming right up.)

As the Follettos get dressed for Teresa’s dinner, Melissa asks little Stugats and Fagoli what Christmas is about. They’re pretty sure it’s about snow, happiness and presents, and Melissa sets them straight: it’s actually Jesus’ 89th birthday. This is literally what she told her children: Jesus is 89 years old. Folletto is a little tense about going to his sister’s house, and announces that he’s only going to stay for an hour. FINE. PUT ON YOUR STUPID HAT, AND LET’S GO ALREADY. DON’T FORGET THE PIGNOLIS.

Teresa has wrapped little Sfogliatelle and Mortadella and Baccala in giant balls of tulle and sent them to play with candles while their mother squeezes into a dress that barely covers her l’inguine and cooks some more fish. The Follettos arrive, and Teresa immediately sets in to what a puttana Melissa looks like in her way-too-short-and-inappropriate-for-Christmas dress. Pentola meet bollitore. But soon enough the cousins are playing together and Sig. Gorga seems thrilled to have his children together, and Siga. Gorga is dressed up as Babbo Natale, not that Sfogliatelle is buying it for one hot second, and everyone is getting along. Except for Meatball, who is busy calling Melissa a raccoon-eyed puttana rather loudly, which is neither helpful nor in the Natale spirit. BUT WHATEVER. The point is, despite Meatball (who, it is becoming more and more clear, is the real trouble maker in this entire situation) attempting to get his brawl on, Teresa and Folletto manage to enjoy each other’s company and have a nice time. And then Folletto announces that the Follettos are leaving and heading to Kathy’s. KTHNXBAI.

“A Very Jersey Christmas”
July 31, 2011

Teresa is molto unhappy with Folletto that he is abandoning her dinner for Kathy’s house, WHO IS ONLY UNA CUGINA. And if she were a good cugina, she wouldn’t have invited Folletto in the first place. But Folletto is unmoved, even when Teresa shows him the plates! That she put on the table! For him! Nope. Still leaving. KGRAZEEDERCHEE.

Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr. have quite the Vigilia di Natale spread going, including a giant sea bass that they picked up at the Brownstone, and tons and tons of little deserts, obviously. Nothing much happens, other than Melissa mentioning to Kathy that the Manzos invited them to a New Year’s Eve party. Had Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr. been invited? No? Huh.

All 1800 Lauritas enjoy Caroline’s meal and nothing else much happens. Christopher and Albie try to trick Jacqueline’s invisible son, CJ, by sneaking outside to shake some sleigh bells beneath a window, but CJ is no dummy, and is all, yeah, I can see them lying down under the patio. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GET UP A LITTLE EARLIER IN THE MORNING TO FOOL CJ. WHOEVER HE IS.

Caroline and Jacqueline discuss whether or not to invite Kathy and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. to the New Year’s Eve party, and Christopher notes that they’ll have to hire extra security for Jeff Goldblum, BECAUSE JEFF GOLDBLUM, JR.! HE LOOKS SO MUCH LIKE JEFF GOLDBLUM! Funny, we hadn’t noticed. (Seriously, Bobby, I think the producers might owe you royalties.)

Finally, Caroline and Albert pass out the overpriced bracelets to their children with the explanation of their symbolism, and Caroline notes that some people might think they’re corny, so at least she’s self-aware.

On Natale morning, Jacqueline and Chris shower their kids with presents, and in return, Potato Face gives them nothing. But see, the thing is? She never gets her mother anything? Not for Mother’s Day, not for Jac’s birthday, not for anything. So, it’s part of a bigger pattern: a pattern of Potato Face being a complete jerk.

The Follettos also go over-the-top with presents for the kids, but explain that since it’s Jesus’ birthday, they’re willing to spend the money. WELL, SURE. That’s what Jesus would have wanted: for little Stugats and Fagoli to have a popcorn machine. I am pretty sure that’s in the New Testament. Folletto gives Melissa a pair of ridiculous heels, a Louis Vutton suitcase, a Rolex and her recording studio, because HAPPY 89th BIRTHDAY, JESUS.

Teresa, in the meantime, has decided that in light of recent events, this year they need to not spend crazy money on presents. The girls need to learn that they aren’t going to necessarily get everything they want, just little things like Mercedes ride-on toys. This is perfectly reasonable. Almost as reasonable as Teresa not only allowing the camera crews to film poor Gabagool getting sick that morning, but then taking a picture of her moments after she threw up. Memories!

Kathy’s family celebrates with presents from Posche, because of course they do. Victoria and Joseph present their mother with a laptop computer that they purchased by pooling their allowances together, for her new business. And the letter that Victoria writes to explain the gesture to her mother moves everyone. Now if you’ll excuse Jeff Goldblum, Jr., he has something in his eye.

As for the Manzos, this is the first Natale without the kids, because the boys are staying in Hoboken for no particular reason (Really? They wouldn’t just spend the night on Christmas Eve? This is doubtful. I am full of doubt.), and Lauren is hanging out with Bobby’s BFF Vito and his family. So, Caroline and Albert get in the car and drive around to nowhere in particular until they end up at some underpass where apparently Albert proposed to Caroline oh so long ago. Romantic! Albert presents her with a new ring and gets down on one knee, asking her to marry him, which apparently he didn’t do the first time around. This is all very sweet and I love the Manzos, the end.

Finally, the Manzos all get together to go to a Alexa Ray Joel concert at the Oak Room, supposedly that night. Because who wouldn’t want to go to an Alexa Ray Joel concert on Christmas night? Didn’t you go to an Alexa Ray Joel concert for Christmas last year? Didn’t everyone? HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR JESUS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. They try to pretend that there’s something going on between Alexa Ray Joel and Albie, that somehow she knows the Manzos at all, and didn’t just agree to come over and say hello to them in exchange for a little free publicity. Caroline, who just moments ago I loved, starts yammering on and on about how much her kids and Alexa Ray Joel have in common: for starters, they are all children of privilege. WELL, THEY’RE PRACTICALLY TWINS, THEN. Alexa Ray Joel sits at their table for a few minutes, while Caroline makes everyone very uncomfortable by going on and on and ON about how VERY PROUD she is of Alexa Ray Joel for creating her own career and not riding on her parents’ very famous coat tails. And it is all very awkward and painful and very clear that Alexa Ray Joel has no idea who these people even are, despite them being so proud of her and her so-called accomplishments. Then Alexa Ray Joel sings about how all she can do is love and she wants to go to your room and put her head on your shoulder or some such, and her mother, Christie Brinkley stomps around the room (but never comes over and says hello to the Manzos, because she doesn’t have anything to promote, she’s Christie Brinkley) and that’s how Alexa Ray Joel saved Christmas. Buon Natale, y’all!


Edited to fix my inability to type.

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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