‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: I see dead goombahs

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Spaghetti Western and Meatballs”
August 25, 2013

Your weekly Goombahs Go to Jail update: Well, actually, there hasn’t been any movement on the fraud charges this week, but that doesn’t mean Il Meatballs didn’t have some legal run-ins, because can’t stop, won’t stop. Apparently Il Meatballs got into a screaming fight with beach cops over not paying a beach entry fee this past weekend. Also, Teresa made clams.

But on the show, for the cooking class she’s hosting, Teresa’s making a bunch of kale and pancetta bruschetta — which, I’ve got to be honest, looks delicioso. I would eat all of the bruschetta and all of the vongole, per favore. Kathy swings by the cooking demonstration because … well, Kathy seems just as confused as anyone as to why she’s there. To give someone Teresa can talk at about how well the Mortadella hair care party went, and how she was cleared of all rumor charges by this Penny person? Sure. Why not. What else does Kathy have to do with her time, make a bunch of teensy cannoli?

That taken care of, everyone packs their suitcases for their “Buon compleanno, Melissa! For your present, we got you some quality time in tight quarters with your sociopathic in-laws! Did we mention the part where it’s out in the desert so there’s nowhere to run?” weekend. Il Follettos reveal that they are still suspicious about Teresa’s real role in the cheating stripper rumors; the Goldblum Jrs reveal way too much about their sesso life; Caroline looks forward to getting away from the “chaos” of her unnecessary multiple residence lifestyle; Jacqueline yammers about her hesitation to spend time with Teresa and tries to explain to Nicholas why Mommy has to fly away on an airplane, AGAIN; and Teresa packs 37 bedazzled bikinis to Gabagool’s horror. “EW, WHY YOUR CHUCKALINA FULL OF SPARKLES?” asks a mortified Mortadella/nation.

Because The Producers have decided that this trip to Arizona needs to be a multi-parter, we have to burn some time by watching the goombahs fly across country. Melissa squeezes lemon into her sore throat! The Manzos’ and the Lauritas’ plane is delayed! Jacqueline pouts about their flight being delayed! Albert and Chris get a drink while flight is delayed! Upon arriving in Arizona, Folletto wonders if this is the state where you can have 6 wives, confusing Arizona with Utah, and Kathy corrects him!* Melissa touches a cactus!

Riveting stuff.

Upon arriving at the spa, the group is offered smoothies, given a tour of the property and urged to try to not be so cazzo loud and annoying in the public spaces. Have some common courtesy, you mooks.

They are shown to their villa where Melissa whines about her sore throat and Jeff Goldblum Jr. whines about the size of his room, before pointing out Melissa’s punta del cammello because he’s disgusting.

Then there’s a bat? Flying around inside the villa? Albert does something to it with a pillow (kill it? stun it? make it a comfortable little bed?) to everyone’s relief.

That evening everyone gets overdressed for dinner because it’s a Real Housewives series.

Over dinner it’s revealed that Tina the Energy Healer and Medium is on her way to their villa that evening, and everyone has a skeptical. Meatball warns that anyone reading his mind will be left with a popped brain. Or a crippling sense of emptiness and stupid. Either or.Tina the Energy Healer and Medium arrives and immediately starts in with the John Edwards, “I’m seeing a ‘J'” shtick. Considering that there are eleventy Joes just in this small group alone, this is not so much a psychic vision as it is a statistically well-founded guess. However, the guidos throw Tina the Energy Healer and Medium for a loop, because “Joe” is actually short for “Giuseppe.” With a “G.” Try again, Carnac the Magnificent. Tina the Energy Healer and Medium then suggests that maybe there’s someone coming to her that sounds like “Miriam? Mar– something?” Meatball suggests that it could be his grandmother, Maria. And as soon as Tina the Energy Healer and Medium agrees that this is it, Meatball lowers the Meatboom that OH THAT’S RIGHT, SHE’S STILL ALIVE! thereby exposing Tina the Energy Healer and Medium as a huge, stupido fraud.

After embarking on a fruitless psychic path involving a lake and a dock (a dog? a duck? wonders Meatball), Tina the Energy Healer and Medium asks whose birthday it is, before “sensing” that people are there to try to heal, and that Melissa is having a hard time forgiving someone, and that something was misconstrued. Again, this is nothing that anyone who had seen an episode of this series — or been in the same room with this group for more than five minutes — wouldn’t be able to come up with.

Tina the Energy Healer and Medium then decides it would be really funny to make the Goldblum Jrs. sob hysterically on the couch. Step one: pass along a message from Jeff Goldblum Jr.’s dead padre urging his son to watch his wedding video. Step two: tell Kathy some generic nonsense about how her dead padre loves her, can dance now and that he “hears” her when she talks to him. Step three: Enjoy the blubbering.

That bit of hilarity done, Tina the Energy Healer and Medium takes her leave, and Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Jr. sob some more. Later, Kathy, Rosie and Teresa chat around the pool about Kathy’s difficulties with her padre, something about how on his deathbed, she tried to have a moment with him, but instead of telling her that he loved her, he urged her to get along with her siblings, boo freaking hoo. So Kathy takes comfort in what she wanted to hear from Tina the Energy Healer and Medium — that her padre heard her when she told him that she loved him that day — rather than in what Tina the Energy Healer and Medium actually said — that Kathy’s padre hears her when she speaks to him in the present. And that, signore e signori, is how mediums work.

The next morning, Melissa is too sick to go on the scheduled hike with everyone else — but not too sick to strip down to a bikini and sun herself next to the pool. That’s just good medicine.

Meanwhile, everyone else meets Connor, their extraordinarily sincere hiking guide who assures them that they are going to have some time to “reflect” and “figure stuff out” on their trudge through the 1,000 degree desert. Or, as the case actually was, in a 76 degree desert. It turns out that if they really went to Arizona around Melissa’s birthday —  which is on March 21 — the high temperature was a blistering 76 degrees. HOW DID EVERYONE NOT COLLAPSE OF HEAT STROKE? IT IS A MIRACOLO THAT THEY SURVIVED AT ALL!

And so after what appears to be a 5 minute walk under an alarmingly-shot-but-not-really-all-that-hot-even-by-Jersey-standards sun, dodging piles of horse merda and whinging about being dehydrated, the group meets a woman with a gong. “What’s with the gong?” no one asks. Gong Lady explains that she’s there to perform a purifying and cleansing ceremony on the group. WELL, BUONA FORTUNA, LADY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE GONG IS FOR, BUT METHINKS YOU’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER ONE. AND MORE PURSE WINE.

Gong Lady gives them small scraps of paper onto which she instructs them to write something that they want to let go of, and then they are going to burn said scrap of paper and then everything will be magically fixed, ta-da! Albert refuses to participate, because of course Albert refuses to participate, it’s a minor miracolo he agrees to participate on the show in any form. So Caroline steps forward in what is the first of many passive aggressive digs at other attendees, burning “worry,” and pointedly looking at her workaholic husband. Folletto burns “anger and hate,” which is not particularly passive aggressive, just honest. But then Kathy burns “putting everyone else’s needs first” which is OBVIOUSLY about her terrible husband, and Jacqueline burns “reacting to negativity” which it should be noted is not the same thing as “being negative” or “negativity.” And with that, Jacqueline wins the passive aggressive gong ceremony.

Finally, a very emotional Teresa stands up, and asks everyone else to join her around the firebowl. There, she holds Jacqueline and Folletto’s hands as she announces that rather than burn anything, she’s going to “invite in” relationships and love and happiness and joy and amiciza and reuniting which isn’t a noun, but a verb and therefore difficult to invite in anywhere, but now I’m just being a pedant.

Freshly gong-purified, Tre and Jacqueline walk off into the desert by themselves to talk about how much they missed each other and apologize for being so awful. And it’s going well! It’s going really well! Until Teresa notes that she truly doesn’t want to hurt anyone lest the karma come back at her daughters, and Jacqueline is all OH HELLS NO I KNOW SHE DID NOT JUST IMPLY SOMETHING ABOUT ME AND MY AUTISTIC SON. And she probably didn’t! Being Teresa, it’s likely she wasn’t thinking about anyone but Teresa! But I TOLD YOU Gong Lady was going to need a bigger gone. And now I need all of the purse wine.

*Although, Folletto isn’t wrong. It’s actually much easier to have 6 wives in Arizona than in Utah, contrary to most people’s assumptions and misunderstandings of the history of Utah and the Mormon church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890 when they wanted Utah to join the union. Since then, Utah REALLY FROWNS on the practice and cracks down on it. As a result, many of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints who believed that polygamy was an important principle of the religion moved to Arizona [as well as Mexico and, ahem, west Texas] where they would be left alone by the authorities. So, technically — albeit unintentionally — Folletto was right.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central on Bravo.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.

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