‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey:’ Down da shore

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“High Tide, Low Blow”
April 22, 2012

MARONE, YOUSE GUYS, IT’S BEEN LIKE, SO FREAKING LONG, RIGHT? Well, not so long for the signore del New Jersey, who, in a Housewives franchise first, just kept filming after the last season ended. Why? Chi lo sa. But I suspect that Teresa’s cookbook and its completely unnecessary barrage of insults aimed at all of her friends and famiglia took everyone so by surprise that the producers started shrieking, “SHE’S A SOCIOPATH. KEEP FILMING! THIS IS REALITY SHOW GOLD!” As a result, none of the women have had a moment’s reprieve from the cameras and the lights and the crew milling about their kitchens and the fake, forced together vacations and the drama, all of the drama, and as such they are each as tense as a tiny purse dog in a room full of preschoolers.

We begin by revisiting last season’s reunion special, reminding us that Jacqueline did not attend the reunion because she was so furious with Teresa; Teresa’s cookbook was either 1. really funny or 2. shockingly offensive depending on whether you were 1. Teresa or 2. Everyone Else; and that they were filming the reunion special in the middle of this season so they couldn’t really talk about much of anything at the reunion itself, not really.

Also, this:

whirlwind of stupid rhonj caroline

Yes you are, Caroline. We all are.

We begin this season some 4 months before the reunion special at a pool/hookah party at an unfamiliar house. Is it Melissa and Folletto’s second home? Did Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr. move? Does this house belong to someone’s friend? A cousin? MYSTERY. What is important is that Melissa, wanting to keep the tenuous peace between her family and Teresa’s has not shared with Folletto what Teresa wrote about her in the cookbook, and she knew he wasn’t going to read it himself, because come on. What she didn’t count on was Jeff Goldblum Jr. busting it out and reading excerpts from it to Folletto, et al. Melissa waves it all off as Teresa merely being childish, and they all make sad noises about what a sad life Teresa has and how she is trying to make everyone else sad because she’s so sad. Except for Jeff Goldblum Jr. who calls for burning Teresa on the stake. Funny joke, Jeff Goldblum Jr! So, so funny and not disturbing at all!

Caroline has not seen Teresa since she learned about all the fun things Teresa wrote about her in the cookbook (Including: Caroline was only 1/15th Italian, Caroline is as Italian as the Olive Garden, Caroline’s meatballs are suspect, and that car wash strippers are inappropriate.), but the producers shove everyone together at Jacqueline’s house so that this can be remedied. To her credit, upon arriving, Teresa asks to speak to Caroline privately, and calmly explains to Caroline that Caroline is misreading the cookbook. These aren’t insults! They’re scherzi! Scusa if you’re so sensitive you can’t take a joke! Marone! Caroline explains that it wasn’t so much what Teresa wrote about her that was maddening, but what she wrote about Christopher and strippers and car washes. Teresa tries to argue that she was just making a point that she wouldn’t want little Mortadella or Sfogliatelle to become a car wash stripper, but the producers undermine her by highlighting what she actually wrote: “I do not condone young girls stripping to bring in business to a car wash.” Thank you, Producers! That’s very helpful, Producers! Teresa, backed into a corner, becomes defensive and panicky and tries to claim that it’s not good for her health to have Caroline call her out on her bad behavior. Caroline narrows her eyes at Teresa.

Since it is summer and since we are in New Jersey, inevitably we must at some point go “down the Shore” (or “to the beach” as everyone else in the universe says). INSERT OBVIOUS SNOOKI JOKE HERE. To ready themselves to go to their respective “shore houses” (or “beach houses” as everyone else in the universe calls them) Melissa and Folletto pack a suitcase full of sex toys; Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr pack a suitcase full of sex toys; I pack a suitcase full of phenergran; and Meatball and Teresa pack a hastily wadded up bouncy house? Inflatable pool? Throwing table? that they keep outside with their pack of Direwolves.

As they pack their feathers and lubricant, Folletto informs Melissa that in a recent conversation with his sister, Teresa suggested that Melissa would leave him for a richer man, given half a chance, on account of Melissa being una cercatore d’oro and una puttana. Melissa, to her enormous credit, has a flash of anger that quickly turns into pity, because Teresa. Come on. She’s an insecure mess married to a cheating, about-to-go-to-meatball-jail Meatball. All you can really feel is pity, right? What’s the point in getting angry?

Il Meatballs drive down to the shore house. On the way there, Mortadella yells at Teresa that she doesn’t care about Teresa’s stupid cookbook; Mortadella yells at Teresa that she is never home; Gabagool yells at Meatball for hanging out with a bunch of anonymous “girls” the night before; and Meatball yells at Gabagool to “shut up” and “mind [her] own business.” Great parenting job, youse guys! You two win all the prizes!

Il Meatballs arrive at their shore house, because when you are in bankruptcy and your husband is probably (certainly, most definitely) going to jail for trying to forge a driver’s license like some sort of criminal mastermind jenious, you should most certainly have multiple houses. Very good financial plan. Meatball unloads whatever the giant rubber blue thing is out on the patio, but before it can be inflated, Mortadella spies a rat running around inside of it, because of course there’s a rat running around in this thing, gross. They soon discover a giant hole has been chewed in it, presumably by their stowaway rat friend, which is surprising considering they kept it outside in a giant heap in the Direwolves’ kennels.

Inside, Teresa confronts Meatball about all of the tabloid stories regarding his potential incarceration, his constant cheating and how all of this is stressing Gabagool. Whaddya gunna do? shrugs Meatball. Meanwhile, Baccala eats an entire bag of marshmallows. Mortadella smears her face with chalk. Sfogliatelle is nowhere to be seen, most likely forgotten back at the main house.

Melissa and Folletto’s shore house is in complete disrepair and utterly uninhabitable, which Melissa pretends to be surprised by, BUT COME ON. So il Follettos stay at the house that Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr. are borrowing from their friends, along with the Always Awesome Rosie and Kathy’s mother, Maria. But before we can go over there we have to endure such indignities as hearing the word “Gorgasm” and discussing whether or not Folletto will be releasing any “poison” this weekend. Madonn’.

Over a barbecue, il Follettos and the Goldblums discuss how Teresa’s nightmare life is being splashed all over the tabloids — in large part because she’s selling her story to them. All of them. In a particular piece, Teresa announced that she couldn’t count on Folletto, and that she and the girls would be all alone in this world if Meatball goes to meatball jail. Folletto takes exception to this, and announces to the crowd that not only would he support his terrible, terrible sister, but that when he brought up the issue of finances with her recently, she lashed out and called Melissa una cercatore d’oro and una puttana. Because she is terrible. Always Awesome Rosie theorizes that Teresa is just jealous and should have married a man more like Folletto, which is both accurate and kinda gross. Maria, however, she has had BASTA! BASTA! And Always Awesome Rosie ends the conversation, explaining that she is not a threat to Teresa with her short hair and chubby physique and her living with her mother. Unspoken things are left unspoken.

The next day, they all spend the day at the beach together, and Teresa gets all weepy upon seeing her niece and nephews, Stugats, Fagoli, and Little Joe. Jeff Goldblum Jr. suggests to Folletto that Teresa might be vulnerable enough to allow him to offer his support in the event that Meatball is insaucerated. (Oof, sorry, that was awful.) So Folletto takes his sister aside and tells her that he read the article and needs her to know that no matter what happens, he will support her and her children. And a normal person would have thanked her brother and been grateful for his unconditional love and aid in a time of crisis, but because Teresa is a sociopatico, she chooses to yell at him for bringing up money. MARONE, THIS ONE.

In boring news, Caroline has The Menopause. She goes to see a doctor who tells her it’s The Menopause. She would rather it not be The Menopause, and would like to blame Teresa for this somehow, please and thank you.

Because despite Teresa’s non-apology and fake panic attack, Caroline is surprisingly not quite ready to forgive her for the cookbook, which is revealed when Caroline, Lauren and Jacqueline go for a boring walk down the boring street. Jacqueline does mention that she and Chris are still dealing with horrible Potato Face (who, last I saw had changed her name to Potatoee Facee Ashlee? But they are still spelling it Ashley? Because even the producers can’t take that noise seriously?) and are completely exasperated with her. Because she is still living in their house somehow. How? How is she still in their house? She has been kicked out of Jacqueline and Chris’ house 8 times last season alone!

Maybe the 9th time will be the charm. Potatoee Face has, since we’ve last seen her, bleached her hair Pole Dancer Blonde, got some more charming tattoos and quite possibly had lip injections. Because when your 20-year-old ambitionless layabout daughter who refuses to get a job, go to school or otherwise do anything but sleep until 3 pm everyday and then party with her friends all night needs some encouragement to get her life together, you should totally pay for her to fill her top lip with collagen. Very good idea. Potatoee Face struggles with a vacuum for a while as a metaphor for her general shiftlessness, while Jacqueline snivels at her life coach (which is a racket I totally need to get into one of these days) about her parenting failure. He agrees that Jacqueline is a failure.

Finally, basta is basta. Again. Chris calls Potatoee Face in to inform her that she is going to be moving to Las Vegas to live with her Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary. Tomorrow. Because he and Jac can’t take her awfulness anymore. And if she doesn’t go to Las Vegas, Potatoee Face and her lips are out on their own. Potatoee Face is all, WAHHH? BUT I’M SUPPOSED TO GO GET PIERCINGS AND MORE TATOOS AND MORE LIP INJECTIONS WITH MY FRIENDS TOMORROW! GAAH! Because she is il peggiore. Arrivederci, Potatoee Face! Don’t let the door hit you on the culo on the way out!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

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

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