The Real Housewives of New Jersey
May 20, 2012
Yous guys, I’m starting to really feel sorry for Teresa. I, like most people, completely agree that she is La Peggiore. She’s terrible! So very terrible! But like Kathy, I too feel bad for the crazy puttana. Her finances are a disaster, her Meatball husband might be going to meatball jail on account of criminal stupidity, there are plenty of hints that her Meatball husband might also be cheating on her with the most pitiful women in the world (I mean, SERIOUSLY ladies-who-might-be-sleeping-with-Meatball-who-are-not-named-Teresa-Giudice, have some dignity), her sister-in-law is younger and prettier and nicer and financially secure and not insane, and all of this is being broadcast on national television. That’s a lot of horrible things for one tiny-foreheaded person to deal with! And so while she is, indeed, awful to il Follettos, it’s obvious that she is lashing out at them because they remind her of what she doesn’t have: a happy and financially healthy family. (That’s not to say that I would be friends with Teresa in real life — there is no way in inferno I’d keep her around if she acted this way, come on.)
But is this season of New Jersey starting to feel almost as dark and uncomfortable as the last season of Beverly Hills? Are we watching another Taylor situation unfold before our eyes? The abuse, the financial shenanigans, it’s all there, and it’s all unfolding in front of the cameras, again. This isn’t a revelation, but most (if not all) of the women on the Real Housewives series have a desperate need to present their lives to the world as glossy and perfect as a magazine spread. And Teresa might be il peggiore offender I’ve ever seen. The reality of her life is so far removed from how she wants everyone to perceive it, that she is fraying at the edges, and the whole thing is becoming hard to watch.
For instance, this episode begins with Teresa attempting to tell her husband about the pool party combarette with Folletto as they are driving down the Turnpike … somewhere. Meatball, however, is not having it, and begins calling her una idiota del cazzo, Folletto un idiota del cazzo, the mere idea that she might want to reconcile with her brother cazzo idiota. Meatball then announces that il Follettos are no longer allowed in the Meatball house, which is a completely reasonable thing to say. Teresa, clearly conscious of the cameras and how this DOES NOT LOOK GOOD, attempts to respond that she should try to reconcile with her brother for her famiglia’s sake, but Meatball cuts her off by announcing that when he cazzo says something, she better cazzo listen. Also: shut up. Furthermore: if Teresa’s padre or madre say anything to him about any of this, he’ll kick them out of his house. And also: he’ll leave Teresa if he has to spend time with her familigia. Plus: Cazzo her and cazzo her familigia. Perfect. This isn’t horrible at all. We are not sitting here watching a woman be emotionally abused by a meatball. This is not what is happening at all.
In the interviews, Teresa attempts to laugh off Meatball’s rant as not being sincere, but all I can do is imagine what Meatball says to her when there isn’t a cameraman in the backseat. He’s probably very sweet and compliments her on her hairdo and sense of personal style.
Folletto and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. workout at a gym Jeff Goldblum, Jr. watches Folletto work out at a gym and the two talk very sincerely about Folletto’s feelings. Folletto has a lot of feelings. They are sad feelings. Folletto has a lot of sad feelings.
In much less interesting developments, Lauren is still dieting. She hits golf balls with her father. It is very boring.
Back at casa del Meatball, we have a Sfgotielle sighting! It’s only for a moment, but I am fairly certain that was Sfgotielle dancing around her gross shirtless padre as he lifted weights in the garage. Until Fact or Faked comes in and proves that it was just Mortadella in a Sfgotielle mask, or the whole thing was computer generated, I’m going to choose to believe that we caught a glimpse of the elusive Sfgotielle. Inside the house, Teresa is on the phone with Jacqueline discussing the pool party combarette, how Folletto has yet to reach out to her and how she only wants her figlie to see her (pretend to be) happy. Jacqueline invites il Meatballs to her completely legitimate and not made-up at all “field day,” and Teresa agrees to attend with Gabagool, because she’s contractually obligated. Meatball and the rest of the Meatballini will be going down the shore and avoiding this entire mess, grazie very much.
Lauren? Still dieting. She goes jog bra shopping with Jac. It is SO VERY BORING.
Considerably more mortifying are: il Meatballini’s matching outfits; Gabagool deciding that the appropriate time to announce to her mother that she wants a training bra is when the house is crawling with cameramen; and Teresa’s discussion of tampons. Teresa, taken aback that her 10-year-old, prepubescent figlia has decided that she needs a bra (she does not) begins talking about how her madre never discussed buhbies and tampons with her. She then kinda contradicts this by explaining that when she was growing up, tampons were strictly forbidden in her home; they were only for married women. Because tampons take your virginity (they do not). CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS YET?
Apparently not. Because Teresa then tells Meatball about Gabagool wanting a bra, in front of Gabagool, which embarrasses Gabagool more than the fact that a camera crew is there to capture the moment? Ugh, this familigia. This leads Gabagool to tease her mother about not having buhbies until she got buhbie implants and I REALLY WANT TO STOP TALKING ABOUT ALL OF THIS NOW. PLEASE.
TOO BAD FOR ME. Because we’re going to pack up the crew and go along with Teresa and Gabagool to shop for Gabagool’s first bra. Healthy. Such a healthy environment these children are growing up in. Everyone should be very proud of all the healthiness that is happening. I AM DONE.
Jacqueline’s “field day,” which is now a thing, I suppose, gets underway with Christopher and Albie suggesting they add vodka to all the drinks (very good idea I am not even kidding); Big Gay Greg (where have you been?) teasing Lauren about her boring, boring diet; and everyone plotting to get Teresa and Folletto on the same team, hoping that this will fix everything.
On the way to Jacqueline’s “field day,” Folletto tells his wife that he felt so terrible about the pool party combarette, he sent Teresa a text the next day telling her that he was sorry for what happened, he loves her very much and that he wants to move forward. Which, of course, is interesting, since Teresa previously told Jacqueline that she had yet to hear from her brother. Maddon’, these people. When il Follettos arrive, Jacqueline asks Melissa about the Folletto and Teresa, and Melissa immediately mentions the supposedly non-existent text. GASP! says Jacqueline. MY STARS! says Caroline. THIS IS ALL SO STAGED! says Therese.
Before the games begin, Folletto approaches Gabagool and explains that he cares about her madre, and that they will make up. Gabagool, she’s not having it, however, and informs her zio that he hurts her madre’s feelings and makes her cry. Folletto assures Gabagool that he cries too, but she is not so inclined to believe him. And so to mend the fences between them, Folletto gets Gabagool into the dunk tank where he immediately dunks her. Good job, Zio Folletto!
Once the Goldblum Jrs. arrive (and after a minor scandalo about the extraordinary shortness of Melissa’s short shorts: very short!) the games begin. Christopher and Albie choose teams, and somehow Teresa, Melissa and Folletto all end up on one team, and Gabagool on the other. Tug of War, Sack Races, and Three-Legged Races all are things that happen, and in the end, Team Teresa-Melissa-Folletto wins, sending Gabagool into a screaming, crying fit, accusing all of them (but mostly Zio Folletto) of being big cheating cheaters.
Inside Jac’s house, Gabagool has a pout, which is where Jacqueline finds her and encourages her to come back outside and have fun. NO, announces Gabagool. YOU GO OUTSIDE, she brats. I WISH I WERE WITH MY MEATBALL PADRE AND THE OTHER MEATBALLINI DOWN THE SHORE. Caroline and Jacqueline team up to encourage Gabagool to be a good sport and go back outside, but Gabagool merely demands that they GO GET [HER] MADRE. NOW. Instead, Jacqueline pulls out a children’s book on good sportsmanship and begins reading it out loud to an increasingly furious Gabagool.
Teresa eventually comes inside to find this ridiculous scene, and relatively calmly tells Jacqueline and Caroline to back off. Listen, this could have gone so much more orribilmente. Teresa could have thrown a table or shoved someone, everyone, and I would have not been surprised in the least. Instead, she asked Caroline and Jac to not mother her child — which, yeah. Don’t do that. Gabagool was being a terror, no doubt, and Teresa might have reinforced Gabagool’s awfulness by not reprimanding her for her behavior. But when you take into consideration that Gabagool is a crazed pre-teen, Teresa already feels victimized by these people and everyone’s feelings are extremely raw, it’s actually pretty admirable that Teresa was able to walk into a situation where two grown women were cornering and criticizing her daughter, and no one ended up being bludgeoned with a bottle of purse wine.
This, of course, doesn’t occur to Caroline who argues that Teresa is sending Gabagool the message that no matter how poorly you behave, if your feelings are hurt, the other party is in the wrong; or to Jacqueline who notes that Gabagool is behaving like a certain 10-year-old Potatoee Face she once knew. And both of these things are probably right! No one is arguing with you, Caroline and Jacqueline! BUT STILL. CHIUDERE IL BECO. YOU BACK OFF.
MADDON’. LOOK AT WHAT YOU PEOPLE HAVE DONE. I AM DEFENDING TERESA, CHE DIAMINE!
Exactly, Gabagool. Now who wants a giant block of provolone?
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.