‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Boiling over

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Hot Tub of Sour Grapes”
August, 26, 2012

So here is the thing, paisans: I hate Real Housewives reunion specials. As a viewer, the reunions can be fun: so much screaming! So much cursing! So much finger-pointing and Andy Cohen shoving! But as a blogger who is trying to transcribe what is happening and then make it somehow interesting or even entertaining to read, these reunion specials ARE THE WORST. So much screaming! So much cursing! So much finger-pointing and Andy Cohen shoving! It can be next to impossible to hear what anyone is saying, and even if you can make out who is shrieking what, often what is actually being said is nothing more than a collection of  hysterical sentence fragments that make exactly zero sense. Also, it’s hard to be funny when people are being straight-up horrible to one another, and often a lot of the subtlety lies in body language and gestures and long story short: Fights be hard to blog, yo.

And so there is a very strong temptation to just write: “Teresa and Caroline scream at each other until Teresa goes back to New Jersey,” and go drink a bottle of grappa. BUT BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, I WON’T DO THAT. But I really, really want to, yous guys.

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All you really need to know about this episode.

So, remember, Teresa left Kathy out of her toast at dinner because why bother. Sometimes it’s hard to even remember that Kathy is part of the cast, honestly. But Kathy and everyone else that isn’t Teresa or Meatball get all bunched up about it, and Folletto sensing the pressure change in the room decides to head to the hot tub as a means to diffuse the situation. Yes. Very good idea. Everyone grab your wine glasses and get into the hot tub, this is an excellent plan and not a recipe for making everyone much drunker much faster and much more inclined to throw tables or get punchy.

il Meatballs, il Follettos and Greg get into the hot tub together, and everything is kinda fun and sparkly and guido-y. But then Kathy shows up with her mom sarong, climbs into the hot tub and starts talking loudly about “old times” and not wanting to leave California with “unresolved feelings,” and everyone but Teresa flees. WAY TO RUIN THE HOT TUB FUNTIMES, KATHY. But instead of talking about, oh, I don’t know, the stupid recipe non-issue or the fact that Teresa left her out of the toast at dinner, Kathy decides that she is going to mend Teresa and Caroline’s friendship. Bonne chance with that, Kath.

Kathy hopes that in Teresa’s current spirit of reconciliation with Melissa and Jacqueline and herself (sorta, kinda), maybe Teresa should go for the superfecta and make nice with Caroline. Teresa insists it isn’t her decision to not be amici with Caroline. And besides, she’s already apologized to Caroline about the cookbook, whaddya want from her? Kathy attempts to point out to Teresa that Caroline was always supportive of her and helped her reconcile with Folletto. But Teresa shrugs this off, and insists that she was always better amici with Dina, and, you know, Dina and Caroline have issues. (NOTE TO SHOW: I STILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT THESE ISSUES ARE. QUIT TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUES WITHOUT TELLING ME WHAT THE ISSUES ACTUALLY ARE. SICK OF IT.) Teresa then pulls a Teresa and suggests that Kathy is being awfully pro-Caroline, and very anti-Teresa.

Making this entire conversation even more ridiculous and dangerous is the fact that Caroline is sitting within ear shot of the hot tub, and unabashedly listening to every word being said. But do Kathy and Teresa take the conversation someplace less Manzo-y? Maybe inside or sometime in the future? NOPE. They just keep yammering about Caroline and Dina and Teresa always being the victim and nothing is getting through Teresa’s tiny little threehead, and Caroline, she is becoming less and less amused.

Eventually, Teresa leaves the hot tub and goes inside, giving Caroline an opportunity to thank Kathy for defending her and doing her very best to mend fences, but the fact is, Caroline is done with Teresa. Finito. Fine.


Oh look, though! A commerical for La Bruja! LA BRUUUUJA! ¡HE  EXTRAÑADO TANTO!

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Put on that wine nightgown, La Bruja and get your culo over here already.

Alright, so. Teresa returns and plops herself down in front of Caroline and makes some noises about how she’d love to be amici again, and Caroline is like, QUIT LYING WITH YOUR LIARFACE. Caroline then goes on a rant about Teresa being disingenuous and insulting and selling unflattering stories about everyone else to the tabloids. Teresa sputters that she is merely asked to be on the covers, she doesn’t write the stories! Teresa is una disgrazia! shrieks Caroline.

Inside the estate, Meatball is at that moment undermining his wife’s insistence that she has nothing to do with the stories, proudly admitting that of course they sell articles — but only to InTouch, because il Meatballs, they gots standards. The men question Meatball about one of the stories that claimed Teresa was pregnant with a boy, and Meatball is all, so what, who cares? Teresa is a star. Laurita, he disapproves, and notes that Jacqueline had been approached by a tabloid for $50,000, but turned down the offer, because NO, GROSS.

Caroline and Teresa, meanwhile, are still talking about Teresa’s cookbook and whether or not Teresa meant to hurt Caroline and whether or not Teresa should have called Caroline to warn her it will be in the cookbook and whether or not Teresa actually  tried to call Caroline, and Jacqueline, she pretends to be asleep through this whole business,  whereas I wish I could be asleep because ohmygoodness let the cookbook thing go already, Caroline. Let it go! This is a dumb thing to be so angry about months and months later! Silly! Just silliness!

Next topic: Jacqueline and whether or not Teresa is trying to pull Jac away from Caroline, too, implying that Teresa is responsible for the rift between Caroline and Dina and COME ON. WHAT DID I SAY, SHOW? MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE. Caroline calls Teresa out on her insistence of complete, unthinking loyalty from her friends, and for the first time in this fight, Teresa looks as though Caroline has landed a blow. Caroline then tells Melissa and Kathy that Teresa gave her a hard time for being nice to them, and Teresa is outraged that Caroline would “backstab” her in this way, even though this is not news to anyone. Caroline then complains that she spent an entire year of her life trying to help Teresa make things better with her famiglia, and Teresa is OUTRAGED! Why, she and she alone fixed her relationship with il Follettos! How dare Caroline suggest otherwise! But Caroline suggests even more in an interview, claiming that she overheard Teresa poisoning her own mother against Melissa and Kathy, so.

Blah blah blah, why won’t you tell the truth, blah disgrazia blah blah blah. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Inside, Laurita confronts Meatball about telling some business associate that Laurita is “shady.” Meatball doesn’t deny it, but instead demands that Laurita give him a kiss. And with that: argument over.

Outside is another story, and Teresa complains that she is feeling attacked on all sides (except she doesn’t say it that succinctly, of course, and instead makes a bunch of “boom” noises and swings her head around to suggest that she is under assault because Teresa is pre-verbal), and that if Caroline hasn’t noticed, she’s had a hard year. Ah yes, responds Caroline, Teresa, La Vittima. You suck, no you suck, no you suck more, and then Teresa suggests that just because Caroline is 50, she thinks she’s smarter than Teresa. Oh, Teresa, it’s not her age that makes Caroline think she’s smarter than you. And with that, Teresa attempts to leave, but thinks better of it lest Caroline accuse her of running away.

Somehow Meatball gets involved, and yells at Caroline to get over the cookbook already, and everyone becomes super tense and worried that things are about to become physical. Hilariously, Albert makes some noises about how he had been playing it calm and quiet, but he was ready in case Meatball crossed a line with his wife. O REALLY, ALBERT? READY TO DO WHAT? BAN HIM FROM THE BROWNSTONE FOR LIFE?

Outside, Lauren jumps up and starts yelling at Teresa for suggesting that her mother is only 1/16th Italian, which, oh, Lauren, honey, just sit down. This is not making anything better. Your mother does not need defending, trust. Jacqueline “wakes up” long enough to make some meek noises about “unhealthy purging” before going “back to sleep” again.

Lauren keeps pressing Teresa about the magazine pieces, and Teresa attempts to claim that she is not responsible for the stories, except for when she’s on the cover, but even then she’s not really responsible for what is written, because. Caroline yells at her that she’s pazza. Teresa returns that she has more class than Caroline and begins yelling that she’s telling the truth about the tabloid stories, ON MORTADELLA’S LIFE, SHE’S TELLIN THA TRUFF. And to emphasize her truthiness, Teresa grabs Kathy’s face and demands that she look her in the eye.

Kathy, surprisingly, does not enjoy being face-grabbed and tells Teresa to not put her hands on her, which, fair enough! But Teresa, she is so worked up and starting to unravel, and instead of just apologizing to Kathy, she does that thing that 6-year-olds do when confronted with being rough: “I didn’t do this [does thing accused of doing — hitting brother, pinching friend, setting the dog’s tail on fire], I did this [does thing accused of doing, slightly softer, to demonstrate — taps brother, touches friend, pulls dog’s tail].” To show that she didn’t grab Kathy’s face, Teresa proceeds to grab Kathy’s face. Multiple times.

An argument then ensues about one of the stories about Kathy that Teresa gave to the tabloids. Did Teresa claim that Kathy and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. asked her how many times she’d gone to the mall while she was going through bankruptcy? Yes! Because Jeff Goldblum, Jr., he did that! It was a joke! replies Kathy, even though we all know it wasn’t a joke, not really. Well, joke or not, it hurt Teresa’s feelings, and Caroline is like, ESATTAMENTE. THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING, YOU PAZZA. SOMETIMES JOKES HURT PEOPLE’S FEELINGS, YOU SOCIOPATH. Teresa promises that there will be no more tabloid stories about Melissa or Kathy, and Caroline understands that this is a not-so-thinly veiled threat: she is Teresa’s only target now.

At some point, Laurita urges Meatball to get Teresa out of there, and so he wanders over and tells her that he just found out that he has urgent meatball business back in Jersey and that they have to go home right now. And I find it oddly endearing and almost sort of sweet that poor Meatball felt the need to make up a story to remove Teresa from this pit bull fight, instead of just being like, HEY. THAT IS ENOUGH OUT OF ALL OF YOU WITCHES. WE ARE LEAVING. K, ARRIVEDERCI.

Teresa briefly disappears to pack her bags, as Melissa and Kathy lament what a horrible turn this vacation has suddenly taken. But then Teresa is back on the patio pointing fingers and screaming that she never wrote one bad word about Caroline in a magazine, ever. Caroline, she is tired, and she does not care. Meatball points Teresa back in the general direction of her suitcase, because this is not going to do any good. As Teresa exits, Caroline tells Kathy and Melissa that if being friends with her causes problems in their relationships with Teresa, they need to let her know so that she can remove herself from the situation. And not to give Caroline too much credit in any of this because, seriously, Caroline had her share of awfulness in all of this, but this is not only a considerate gesture, it’s an honest reading of the Situation That is Teresa Giudice. Honestly.

As she packs, Teresa keeps ranting about how just because she’s 50, Caroline thinks she’s better than Teresa, which, yep! You know how 50-year-olds are, always rubbing their 50 years in your face!

Folletto, meanwhile, has, like Melissa, wisely stayed out of the crossfire. He understands that his sister is pazza and terribile, but he also understands that their relationship is a fragile thing, and that he has to support her whether he thinks she’s right or not. And so, he announces that they will go home with il Meatballs, because they kinda have to go home with il Meatballs.

Teresa stomps around her room, shoving things into her leopard print suitcases, yelling that she’s sorry that she grabbed Kathy’s face, she’s just EMOTIONAL. Kathy attempts to explain why she brought up the Caroline thing in the first place (something about not wanting Teresa and Caroline to lose their history together, who cares really) and Melissa hopefully adds that she thinks things will work out between Teresa and Caroline. That’s very sweet, Melissa! Keep believing, Melissa!

And with that, il Follettos and il Meatballs head out into the middle of the night with their suitcases, and Caroline retreats to her bedroom for a good sob, and ARE WE DONE WITH THIS YET? CAN WE BE DONE NOW, PER FAVORE?

Well, not entirely. Following the episode is a “Special One-on-One” episode of Watch What Happens Live, in which Andy Cohen interviews Teresa and Caroline! But separately! So who cares!

Nothing in particular is revealed that we didn’t already know, and wasn’t already covered about 15 times in the previous hour:

  • Caroline wishes Teresa would have called her off-camera to apologize for the cookbook
  • Caroline knows she came off as a bully, but it was her “truth”
  • Teresa thinks Kathy was an instigator
  • Teresa makes vague suggestions that Caroline and Albert’s marriage isn’t perfect, but gives no specifics
  • Teresa claims that she tried to call Caroline twice about the stupid cookbook
  • Caroline claims that it was her “truth,” again
  • Teresa claims she held back from saying truly awful things for the sake of Dina and Dina’s mother
  • There is not enough alcohol in the world to get rid of my headache after these 90 minutes

And now we’re done. Finalmente. Now pass that grappa — I gotta start somewhere.

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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