‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: The calm before the tempesta

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Dinasty of Denial”
September 9, 2012

What a weird, boring, nothing episode. What a weird, boring, nothing episode! Listen, you can drag Dina back onto RHONJ, Producers, and have her prance around one of Teresa’s events and pretend that 1. this is Something Important and 2. this was worth slogging through 45 minutes of footage of bambini going to school and receiving mani/pedis, but it doesn’t make either of those things true. Why are you wasting my time? JUST GET TO THE FINALE ALREADY.

Ugh, this episode.

Everyone is back from the Napa trip, some earlier than others, and it is time for the bambini to return to school. Therefore, we are “treated” to a montage of il Follettos and il Meatballs preparing breakfast, packing lunches and chasing down school buses for their respective follettini and meatballini. This is exactly as interesting as you think it is.

After the older three meatballini have been dispatched to meatball school, Teresa and Meatball discuss Caroline’s meltdown in Napa, and Meatball’s sage advice is just to ignore Caroline. Who needs her? Meatball then compares Kathy to a stress doll whose eyes pop out of their heads and THAT IS NOT NICE, MEATBALL. Teresa decides that she needs to address those pesky rumors that Meatball’s been getting a little sauce on the side: NO. HE IS NOT. Conversation over, chiaramente.

Speaking of Martian Popping Thing, Kathy is very upset because her daughter is a senior in high school, and Victoria wants to go to the University of Maryland for college. Kathy deems this Too Far Away, whereas Jeff Goldblum, Jr. thinks it’s a great idea because he wants to be naked in his casa. I’m hoping that Jeff Goldblum Jr. Jr.’s continued presence in the casa might deter this.

And so the Goldblum, Jrs. visit University of Maryland and it seems like a nice university and the women’s studies major who leads them around seems like a nice girl and nice Victoria will fit in here nicely. Kathy wrings her hands about laundry and grocery shopping and safety and the dorm room size and YAWN.

The Goldblum Jrs. then visit Washington D.C., and can’t tell the difference between the Capitol Building and the White House. This, for some reason, helps Kathy come to terms with her daughter going away to school SOMETIME NEXT YEAR. Seriously. It’s a year away. Calm down.

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So, in the aftermath of the Napa combattere, the ladies visit with one another, and pet each other’s hair and pretend that everything will be fine. Melissa swings by Jacqueline’s house and asks her if she really was asleep while Caroline and Teresa screamed at one another over her. Nope! Jacqueline says. I was just being spineless staying out of it! (I should clarify, I don’t think that Jacqueline should have been screaming along with everyone else — that certainly would not have helped matters — but pretending that you are asleep so as to avoid an uncomfortable situation isn’t exactly brave or demonstrating particular strength of character.) Melissa keeps insisting that Caroline and Teresa can be friends again, and Jacqueline’s like, Yeah, I don’t think so, Caroline is done with her. Were you not there, Melissa? Did you not sit 6 inches from those paza puttanas while they yelled at one another? As for Jacqueline and Teresa, they can still be friends, Jacqueline supposes, she just understands that there are certain things that Jacqueline can not discuss or bring up with Teresa, like anything about Teresa’s famiglia or finanza or casa or vita. Good friendship!

Teresa goes by Kathy’s house to have a staged conversation with her cousin pick up the shoes she left behind in Napa when she and Meatball stormed out in the middle of the night. Kathy immediately asks Teresa why she included everyone but herself and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. in her Napa toast that last night, and Teresa is all COME ON. WHAT, AM I SUPPOSED TO TOAST THE MANZO KIDS, TOO? BASTA. Surprisingly, this non-apology does nothing to make Kathy feel better. The fight with Caroline comes up, and Kathy tries to explain that she wasn’t siding with Caroline, she was just sad for Teresa that she would lose a quality amicizia with Caroline. Teresa, however, complains that she was ambushed, because anytime Teresa is confronted with her poor behavior or, you know, la verità, she declares herself “ambushed.” Kathy and Teresa half-agree to make la pace, and half-agree to frankly discuss any issues they may have with one another in the future. Good plan!

Melissa next swings by Caroline’s house, where Caroline is preparing for her most recent attempt to host a radio advice show. OH GOOD. CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE EXCITING CAROLINE RADIO ADVENTURES. SUCH GREAT TELEVISION, THAT.

Melissa is there to ask if Caroline thinks she can get past all of this with Teresa and be friends with her again. NOPE! says Caroline. DONE! FUGGHEDABOUDIT! FANGOOL. The end.

Melissa’s busy day (week) ends with her taking Stugats, Mortadella and the Elusive Sfogliatelle (she exists!) for a mani-pedi day, so that Teresa can prepare for her Fabulini launch party. This is exactly as interesting as you think it is.

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All you need to see from the mani-pedi montage.


Caroline Manzo is given a trial radio advice show on Sirius, which is a Very Big Deal because it will be broadcast nationally. She and the entire Manzo mob head to the Sirius headquarters in New York City, where a producer assures her that as soon as she gives out the phone number, they will be inundated with callers desperate for Caroline’s sage advice.

This does not happen.

What does happen is the Manzos stare in silence at the non-ringing phones until Caroline mentions that they had recently taken an RV trip with amici and famiglia and it devolved into total pazzia. And because people would much rather gossip about Real Housewives nonsense than turn to Caroline Manzo for help with the feud they are embroiled in with their step-brother or ask her for dating advice, the phones finally beginning ringing. Or at least, they ring twice: once to ask exactly how pazza Teresa was on the RV trip and once to ask why Caroline and Dina are fighting. YES, WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING CAROLINE? PLEASE MAKE THIS SEGMENT INTERESTING AND FINALLY ANSWER THIS QUESTION. But, of course, she does not answer that, and instead dances around the question, as she always does. And long boring story short: if Caroline Manzo wants a radio talk show, it’s going to have to be one where she divulges Real Housewives spoilers because no one cares about what she has to say otherwise.

Finally, Teresa’s Fabulini launch party, to which she invites exactly 0 of the current Housewives. Not even Melissa. Not even Jacqueline! Zero current Housewives. But she does invite a Liza Minelli impersonator who dances around all liazminelli-y, and she invites Dina. Which is supposed to be a big deal. But it is not a big deal, for a number of reasons:

  1. Dina has been talked about more this season than she was in the combined two seasons she actually participated as a Housewife. I mean, seriously, there’s foreshadowing and there is beating the audience about the head all the while shrieking, “HEY! REMEMBER DINA? YOU KNOW, DINA? PAY ATTENTION TO HOW MUCH EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT DINA, BECAUSE THAT WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER. WINK, WINK.”
  2. We still don’t know what happened with Caroline and Dina. I would be a lot more invested in the idea that Dina is betraying Caroline and siding with Teresa if I knew what her problem was with Caroline in the first place.
  3. Dina hasn’t been around for two years. Dina wasn’t there when Teresa was being a nightmare to her famiglia, she wasn’t there to be mocked in Teresa’s cookbook, and she wasn’t there to be dragged through the tabloids by Teresa in an effort to pay her bills. I’m not saying that Dina wasn’t Teresa’s amica this whole time — I’m sure she has been around off-camera. But because she was off-camera, Teresa had nothing to gain by exposing Dina to the same sort of nonsense that she put Caroline, Jacqueline, Melissa and Kathy through. Talking smack about the women who are actually on camera will always be much more profitable for Teresa than talking about some has-been Housewife.

So, yeah, I don’t really care what you have to add to this conversation, Dina. Get back to me when you want to talk about what is really going on with you and your sister.

BUT IF YOU MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FABULINI PARTY: nothing much. Dina totters on her high heels. Teresa and Dina rehash what happened on the Napa trip. Teresa and Dina wonder why Caroline is so worked up about the cookbook “offense.” Teresa and Dina talk about how high school the whole feud is. Teresa and Dina agree that Caroline is La Peggiore.


Sigh. Let’s hope that tonight’s part one of the two-part finale (which precedes the inevitable two-part reunion — yes, miei cari, we’ve still have another month of this nonsense to get through) is more interessante than this waste of an hour. Dio mio.

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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