‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Revealing the past

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“A Bald Canary Sings”
September 16, 2012

So, ci crediate or no, we are almost at the end of this, the Teresa v. Caroline season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and so far there has been a remarkable lack of Kims, Gs or Ds. This, however, will be remedied, as Kim D. — the one who owns the terribly-named Posche boutique — is back to interject herself and her ill-fated fashion show back into the series. The first of Posche’s fashion shows, you might remember, ended in a weave-pulling, cop-calling disastro; and the second ended with Kathy suggesting that Teresa abandoned her children during The Christening. (She sorta did.) And while the Producers want to make it seem like these two fashion show fights were equally dramatic, they were not. But nice try, Producers.

COMUNQUE. Kim D. calls Melissa and invites her to walk in the Posche fashion show, obviously because Melissa is a singing superstar now, and not because Kim D.’s stupidly-named boutique has received unimaginable amounts of free publicity from letting her fashion shows become a violent free-for-all for a bunch of nouveau riche reality guidos. But whatever. Melissa rolls her eyes at the invite, but accepts because even though she dislikes Kim D. and has heard that Kim D. has been talking smack about Folletto, what is she going to do, not be in the fashion show? Come on.

Kim D. then interrupts the Italiano lesson Teresa is giving the meatballini, to not ask Teresa to walk in the fashion show, but instead be Kim D.’s guest. Um, grazie? I guess? Remarkably, Teresa does not take this as an insult, but instead is more concerned that Caroline and Jacqueline will be invited, and sitting at her table. Oh well, Teresa shrugs. As we say in Italiano, “dice morte tu sei morte per me.”

Jacqueline and Caroline actually go shopping at Posche, because Jacqueline is short on sequins and fur vests. Kim D. invites them both to the fashion show, but warns that they will be sitting with Teresa. Caroline is all, So what, who cares. She can be polite, no big deal. Also, Jacqueline whines about being fat. This is very not interessante.

And now for the “Everyone Moves Forward With Their Lives Before We Board Up For The Season” collection of clips:

That girlfriend of Albie’s who never talks is still living with Albie and Christopher and Big Gay Greg and she makes brunch for the Manzos and Caroline gives her the stinkeye.

Kathy and Jeff Goldblum, Jr. meet with those dessert people, whoever they are. Jeff Goldblum makes inappropriate jokes but the dessert people decide they want to go into the Kathy Goldblum, Jr. business anyway.

Melissa and Folletto go to the Russian Tea Room to meet with some undefined music people, I do not know who these music people are, they are just music people, to discuss Melissa’s “singing career” some more. I wish we could just have an entire spin-off series devoted to Melissa and Folletto’s conversations about Melissa’s “singing career” with anonymous people who claim to be somehow involved in the recording industry because they are always super interesting.

Caroline and Lauren visit the still unopened and horribly-named, Cafface (seriously, so many terribly named businesses! why are they so terribly named?), and get all excited about the new business. Caroline compares Cafface to a rainbow after a big storm. Nope! That’s a terrible metaphor, Caroline! Cafface is simply a vanity project that you bought your underachieving daughter so she’d quit moping around the house! Which is very different from a rainbow!

After so many Potatoee Faceless weeks, SO MANY, Jacqueline skypes with Little Miss Horrible. Potatoee Face reveals that 1. she has no idea how to use a gas stove and will one day blow up herself and a number of her neighbors, 2. she somehow has a job in public relations doing … who even knows what, 3. she has a bunch of new tattoos, including one that reads “Vendi, Vidi, Vici,” because she has “conquered” Los Angeles (not blown herself up yet). Oh Potatoee Face! We miss you! You are the worst!

And then there is an awkward play date at Teresa’s casa, with Melissa and Jacqueline and Stugats and Fagioli and Mortadella and Sfogliatelle and Baby Baccala and whatever Jacqueline’s kid’s name is. Jacqueline avoids talking to Teresa, because. Everyone is molto uncomfortable.

FINALLY, it’s time to get ready for the Posche Fashion Show. Kim D. insists, somewhat suspiciously, that Teresa come with her to a salon to get their hair and makeup did, instead of Teresa just having her usual team swarm her marble and onyx palace of a bathroom. At the salon, Kim D., somewhat suspiciously, introduces Teresa to some guy, Angelo, who does P.R. for the salon? Because hair salons need in-house P.R. agents? And he leads them upstairs and gives them glasses of champagne and then out of nowhere and completely naturally and not in a premediated way at all, he declares, “OH, YOU’RE TERESA GIUDICE? I KNOW YOUR COGNATA, MELISSA! SHE USED TO BE A STRIPPER AT THIS CLUB I USED TO WORK AT. NO, SERIOUSLY.”

Teresa nearly shoots the champagne through her nose, turns an alarming shade of white, even under her Sizzle Tan, and announces that she doesn’t want to talk about her famiglia. Kim D. seems to barely be able to contain her delight as she declares a “WHOOPS!” and then orders P.R. Guy to fetch some ice cubes for their champagne. Teresa announces that her heart is beating 500 bpm, and she is “freaking out.”

P.R. Guy returns with ice cubes and more information on Melissa’s less-dressed days, and over Teresa’s protestations, Kim D. starts asking for more specifics about Melissa’s career. Teresa flees the room, hiding in the hallway while P.R. Guy satisfies Kim D.’s (the Producers’) curiosity: It was 7 or 8 years ago; Melissa danced for 8 or 9 months; the customers were disappointed when she left. Eventually, P.R. Guy leaves, Teresa returns, and insists that she DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT HER FAMIGLIA AND/OR PASTIES OR G-STRINGS OR POLES OR LUCITE HIGH HEELS, CAPICHE?

And so, properly shellacked for the evening, Teresa and Kim D. go to the fashion show, where Teresa is forced to share a booth with Caroline and Jacqueline and Melissa and Kathy. But everyone just ignores one another and Meatball’s fratello says hello and Caroline complains about her GPS and everything is perfectly fine.

Which can not stand, of course. P.R. Guy suddenly reappears, swooping down on the booth, and asking Melissa if she remembers him. Teresa begins panicking again and Melissa politely asks him how he’s doing in that way that indicates that she has no idea who he is (although it is less than convincing) and eventually P.R. Guy goes away and Melissa starts explaining to Kathy that she knows him from somewhere, she just can’t remember where… (yet another performance that is less than convincing) and Teresa’s eyes go wild and she clutches her chest and she starts yelling that this is “THE BIG ONE!” which is not the most subtle way to deflect attention from an awkward situation, but then Teresa’s not the brightest lampadina on the albero, so, you know.

But we’ll have to wait until this Sunday to learn how Melissa reacts when she finally does remember how she knows P.R. Guy when these Poschenanigans are continued next week.

kathy rhonj bored lips.gif

In the meantime, let’s chat about Teresa, and her behavior at the salon and fashion show. Personally, I read Teresa’s reaction to P.R. Guy’s revelation about Melissa to be genuine shock. But, let me be clear: I don’t think Teresa was surprised to learn that Melissa used to dance, I think she was shocked that P.R. Guy would dare say on camera that Melissa used to dance. Apparently, despite all the terrible things that Teresa was willing to say about Melissa on camera (and to the tabloids) even she doesn’t stoop so low as to discuss this part of Melissa’s past (presumably because she is worried about how it will reflect upon her).

Or maybe I’m falling for a big ruse on Teresa’s part; perhaps she orchestrated this entire reveal with P.R. Guy, thinking that she could smear Melissa while still looking like the good sister-in-law who is trying to defend her famiglia’s honor. Maybe. But my suspicions fall squarely on Kim D. and the Producers teaming up to ambush Teresa; to introduce her to P.R. Guy at the salon so that upon seeing P.R. Guy at the fashion show Teresa would have a reaction. That reaction is hugely important for the Producers and their purposes. They are depending on Teresa to do or say something stupid and set fire to the whole damn set, otherwise they have a terribly boring finale, and who wants that, right?

There is another (mostly insane) conspiracy theory in which Melissa herself manages this reveal, that she is the one who encourages P.R. Guy to come forward. Why would she do that? Maybe to control how this part of her past comes to light, and to make her look sympathetic rather than slutty? Who knows. It’s unlikely, but her reaction to seeing P.R. Guy seemed a little stilted and unnatural (of course that might just be that she was dying of embarrassment and worry that she was about to be exposed as a stripper on national television).

Finally, there is one last explanation which pulls all the above theories together: the whole thing is scripted. But that’s no fun, so let’s just write that one off, sì?

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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