‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’: On the road again

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Pack Your Baggage”
July 29, 2012

After weeks and weeks and weeks of talking about it, l’intero cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey are FINALMENTE going on their RV trip in Northern California … just as Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast. You remember Hurricane Irene. Sure you do: last year’s hurricane that, to hear the New York media tell it, was going to be the end of civilization as we know it? But it mostly caused a little flooding in the Meatpacking District? To remind us of this Terrible Disaster That Wasn’t, we are treated to clips of Matt Lauer and Gov. Christie in his disaster windbreaker, sternly warning people to hunker down. Except they doesn’t use “hunker down,” because that’s the kind of awesome you only find in Texas.

So Hurricane Irene is bearing down on l’intero cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey as they pack their bags for their big RV trip. Teresa, Melissa and Jacqueline make a few worried noises about leaving their children behind to the end of civilization as we know it for about five minutes, before fussing over which pairs of stilettos and bespangled bikinis to pack. DECISIONS.

Meanwhile, at the Manzo Boys apartment, Albie’s crazy-boring cheerleader girlfriend, Whatshername, is having housing issues or something, I don’t care, so Albie and Christopher and Greg invite her to live with them. Great. More Whatshername. Can’t wait to watch her sit on the couch and not say anything and sit on the bed and not say anything and sit at the dining room table and not say anything and go to functions famiglia and not say anything. She’s like the Next Vito, but even more exciting.

The Manzo brothers explain that thanks to Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene, the airport has been shut down, making their travel plans that much more complicated. What should have been a, what, 6 hour flight? has turned into a 23-hour long slog across the country.  First they have to drive 5 hours to Pittsburgh so as to catch a flight to Houston (heeeey! yous guys shoulda called me! we coulda hung out! as long as you promised to keep your pants on!) where they will finalmente catch their flight to San Francisco. That is too many hours of travel! Especially with only an RV as the final reward! The boys call it the Potatoee Face Tour — as it is visiting New Jersey, Texas and California — and I only include it because I miss Potatoee Face and her Potatoee Face terribleness so much. Oh, Potatoee Face.

Driving to Pittsburgh, driving to Pittsburgh, driving to Pittsburgh. Flying to Houston, flying to Houston, flying to Houston. Flying to San Francisco, flying to San Francisco, flying to San Francisco.

Upon arrival, they board a shuttle bus (seriamente, what is the shuttle bus budget on this series?) which drives them to Outdoor World while they watch YouTube videos of cows having bunga bunga parties.

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Actual question posed: “Do cows $*&^ each other?”

The goombahs are deposited at an unsuspecting Outdoor World, where they buy $4500 worth of hibachis, animal print placemats, food dehydrators, and stuffed raccoons. And ride bicycles around in the store, which I am not entirely sure is actually allowed or encouraged. It does give Teresa the opportunity to compare Kathy to the witch in the Wizard of Oz, although, I should note that contrary to Teresa’s description, the witch never rode a bicycle “on the yellow brick road.” But what’s Teresa without a malapropism or totally confused reference here and there, giusto?

Outdoor World rents the goombahs the 3 RVs (presumably insured out the culo) that they will be driving around Northern California. And the group has divided themselves thusly:

RV#1: The Manzos (including Manzo boys) + The Lauritas

RV#2: Il Meatballs + Il Follettos

RV#3: The Goldblum Jrs + Greg + Lauren & Vito

because Vito’s on this trip, who knew.

And because Vito’s on this trip, he brought along a box of sausage and cheese, as you do, which leads to some sausage shenanigans wherein Caroline tries to steal the box for her RV and Meatball tries to steal the sausage for his RV and everyone wants the sausage in their RV. Sausage! Sausage Shenanigans!

Meatball also appears to be stealing things from other people’s carts, which doesn’t seem like the right piede upon which to start the trip, but whaddya gonna do, it’s Meatball.

And so, RVs loaded with thousands of dollars worth of merda, these goombahs have no idea or intention to use, they are ready to roll. Except that Teresa has some stomach distress about  which I do not want to talk, per favore e grazie.

Everyone freaks out about driving these giant RVs on the twisty cliffside CA-1 — as I would be, too, no lie — and Greg compares himself to Sandra Bullock in Speed, because he is the best, and perhaps I’ll call him “Wildcat” from here on out. And after much yelling and worrying and screaming at in-laws and hand-wringing by Albie about the right time to tell his mother about Whatshername moving in (Tip: Never. That time is called never.), they arrive at the RV park, which, like most RV parks, is a glorified parking lot that is not so glorious. The goombahs, they are disappointed.

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Le mie condoglianze, Teresa.

As would I, no lie. But this is why I do not 1. camp, 2. use RVs, 3. hang out in parking lots and call it “camping.”

The goombahs, they attempt to set up their thousands of dollars worth of merda, but they have no idea how this merda works, so it’s a montage of frustrated bemuscled little fireplugs shoving their poles into things and cursing. Which is actually a pretty accurate description of this entire series, come to think of it. Melissa encourages Teresa to go with her to meet their neighbors, which she does, and whom she immediately begins insulting by complaining about living in a parking lot, not recognizing that some people enjoy this lifestyle. Because she is Teresa.

Teresa bonds, sorta, with Jeff Goldblum, Jr. over their shared hatred for RV parking lot living (word). Teresa then takes Kathy aside to clear up the disagreement Kathy had no idea that they had, over the provenance of the cannoli and pizzelle recipes in Teresa’s cookbook, because it always comes back to cookies with this famiglia. Teresa explains that she was offended that Kathy would try to claim said recipes as her madre’s, when, obviously, duh, they came fully sprung from Teresa’s madre’s head. Kathy has no idea what Teresa is talking about, they are their famiglia’s recipes, quit being ridiculous. But then Kathy changes the conversation, and reminds Teresa that Teresa is actually angry at Caroline and Jacqueline in the guise of encouraging Teresa to try to mend some fences. Well played, Kathy!

The next morning, we learn entirely too much about the Goldblum Jr.’s private lives, when 1. Jeff Goldblum, Jr. complains that Greg, Lauren & Vito’s presence prevented him from watching Maru videos with Kathy, 2. that Kathy is a screamer (gross, gawd, stop talking, Jeff Goldblum, Jr, your kids are going to see this), and then 3. climbs into Greg’s bed with … how to put this without throwing up in my computer … his stale cannoli. NOPE. STILL GOING TO THROW UP. ALSO, STOP IT, JEFF GOLDBLUM, JR. YOUR CHILDREN, THEY ARE GOING TO SEE THIS. AND THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNSEE IT.

Over in il Folletto/Meatball RV, it seems in the middle of the night, Meatball got a little chilly, and decided he wanted to do some Bikram Yoga, and turned the heat up in the RV up over 101. Which, yes, is stupid, if it is true. But I find it rather hard to believe that three other adults in the RV would just lie in their own expanding pools of sweat and wait until the cameras were in their RV the next morning to film them “discovering” that Meatball had tinkered with the thermostat, come on try to be vaguely credible. This leads, SOMEHOW, to Melissa climbing into bed with Teresa and the two groping each other’s buhbies. While Melissa says, carefully, that hers are “like real,” which to me suggests that they feel like they are real even though they most obviously are not; Teresa says hers “are real,” which suggests to me that she is saying that they are real, even though she has loudly talked about when Meatball bought her new buhbies, SO COME ON. And then Folletto starts whipping his salsiccia out and showing it to people in other RVs and I can not. I WILL NOT.


Finally, Melissa and Teresa dare to go on a walk on the beach alone together, and Teresa, being unable to ever let go of a grievance, decides to complain to Melissa about Kathy’s Recipe Outrage. Melissa claims that Kathy’s madre said that Teresa’s madre called her asking for those recipes, and since they are ALL FAMIGLIA, SO WHAT, WHO CARES. Nope! says Teresa. These recipes are my immediate famiglia’s recipes! insists Teresa.

After Teresa makes her typical noises about worrying that Melissa is not being loyal enough to her pazzia, Melissa dares to ask Teresa why it is that she’s the common denominator in all of these conflicts, and suggests that perhaps Teresa needs to ask herself if she’s doing something wrong. Teresa is NEWLY OUTRAGED, and makes a bunch of defensive noises about how she’s never wrong and everyone else are all terrible monsters. Melissa manages to back out of the discussion, declares it a “breakthrough” somehow, and begins yammering about how happy Folletto will be with her new relationship with Teresa. Which, honestly, is about the only thing you can do with a walking nightmare with no self-awareness like Teresa. Marone, that one.

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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