‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey:’ Pyrrhic victories

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Salon, Farewell”
September 29, 2013

So we have arrived at the end of the road for a dangerous sociopath: wanted by the authorities, criminal empire destroyed and forced to finally, finally, confront the fact that they have alienated themselves from their friends and family. Yes, the Breaking Bad finale is why this recap is so late, le mie scuse.

We begin the RHONJ finale where we left off: at the Posche 2 festa in full scream. That Penny woman with the doll hair stapled to the back of her head is furiously accusing Teresa of knowing exactly what was going to happen at last year’s Posche fashion show, and Teresa is just as furiously denying it. (Even though, technically, at a minimum Teresa definitely knew there was a chance Evil Chef Symon was going to confront Melissa at the fashion show since he said, “I’m going to confront Melissa at the fashion show.”) Penny starts yelling for Kim D to come over and corroborate her story, forcing Teresa to do the same while simultaneously screaming at Melissa that she can’t believe she is listening to this puttana. Kim D. slithers over, is useless.

Penny points out that she has Teresa’s phone numbers in her phone, and Teresa challenges her to show them any “texes” Teresa allegedly sent to Penny. However, unfortunately for Penny’s case, she doesn’t save “texeses”:

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And that’s when Johnny the Greek walks in. Zorba shakes hands with Folletto, like it’s no big deal that he’s been tweeting for the past two years that Mrs. Folletto is a cheating puttana, or that he accused Folletto of selling his parents’ house out from underneath them. Folletto asks Arianna Huffington why he keeps attacking Folletto and his famiglia on the twitterz, and for a long while, there is no response. Finally, Michael Chiklis suggests to Folletto to ask his sorella where all his information about his famiglia comes from.

After some incoherent yelling back and forth, something happens? The camera swings around wildly, clothes go flying, everyone looks shocked and horrified, and Kathy informs us that the thing that is happening that we are not seeing is even worse than The Christening. But we’ll have to take her word for it because Bravo’s lawyers decided we can’t see for ourselves. We are shown Caroline shrieking at Kim D. that she’s destroyed a famiglia, but that happens every season, so that must not be it.

After a little digging, I discovered that what we didn’t see was Laurita and Folletto getting into a fight with this Greek fellow, and Jacqueline possibly, maybe, probably stabbing him in his squishy bald head with her stiletto heel. Everybody pressed charges against each other: Telly Savalas here claims that the show’s security held him back while Laurita, Folletto and Jacqueline attacked and threatened him with shoe wear. The Lauritas, in turn, claim that after he was removed from the event, Zach Galifianakis returned looking for trouble and threatened to kill them. In any event, on Friday of last week, everyone dropped their charges against each other, presumably after one big group hug. And all we are left with is a bunch of confusing footage and alarmed faces.


Then after whatever happened that we didn’t see, everyone rushes home before the cops arrive. HURRY, YOUS GUYS.

The next morning, Il Follettos grim-facedly acknowledge that after what they learned from Penny last night, Teresa is probably responsible for this mess, if only because she brought these people into their lives. But they aren’t mad — just disappointed. Can they ever trust her again?

The Producers send the Jeff Goldblum Jrs over to Il Follettos’ to give them something to do, and everyone talks carefully around the fight, noting merely that what happened the previous night was “disgustoso.” Per farla breve: Yeah, so Teresa was probably involved with the rumors, but she’s famiglia, so yous know, work it out. Couldn’t we have agreed to this 2 years ago and saved us all a lot of court time?

Meanwhile at Casa della Meatball, Teresa makes herself the victim, again, by wondering how her fratello could believe these strangers over her. HOW! WHY! Meatball, on his part, continues to not care.

Over at the Lauritas’ casa, everyone wears their squid ink water t-shirts and talks about how far Nicholas has come in the past 6 months. Which he has, and it’s very moving, but somehow having them shill their stupid beverage that no one wants to drink because GROSS while talking about this very importante personal struggle just feels icky.

And at the Palazzo dei Manzos, Caroline morosely wanders around her house for a while, montage-remembering ham games and skinnier Manzo boys, and comes to the same conclusion that we all arrived at in the first episode: maybe she doesn’t need her unnecessary Hoboken apartment after all. O? YOU THINK?

At some point, Il Meatballs visit with the Lauritas, and Jacqueline has some Real Talk for her new-old-best-amicia: This whole Penny situation? It looks bad for Tre. Really bad. No one is buying that Tre didn’t have some sort of association with Ol’ Doll Hair. And it’s time for Tre to be accountable. For reals. Jacqueline then gives Teresa the biggest out: Ascolta, everyone knows that there was a period there when Teresa didn’t like her sorella-in-law, and maybe she hung out with some people who were willing to talk some merda about Melissa because Tre wanted her own bad feelings to be validated by others. And maybe, you know, Tre could have taken the high road and walked away, but we all make mistakes, corretto?

Teresa, to her credit, goes with this. Somewhere in that tiny tre-head (HOW DID I NOT REALIZE THAT THREE=TRE=TRE BEFORE THIS? DIO MIO.) of hers, she understands that if she wants to avoid completely unravelling her relationship — such that it is — with her fratello, that she’s going to have to admit to something, and that this is the bare minimum that she might be able to get away with and still be forgiven.

Jacqueline invites Teresa to a Squid Ink Water Tasting that Folletto will also be attending, so the two can talk about the whole mess. And after making sure that everyone is perfectly clear who the real victim is here — IT IS TERESA, DO NOT GET IT TWISTED — Teresa accepts.

Later, everyone goes to the Squid Ink Water offices, where they endure samples of Fruit Punch-flavored Squid Ink Water and Blueberry Squid Ink Water. Mmm. Fruit Punch Squid Ink.

That bit of shillery taken care of, Teresa takes her fratello into a conference room to regurgitate the half-admission that Jacqueline constructed for her: Tre hung out with some people who had some bad things to say about Melissa and maybe she should haven’t stayed and listened, but she was really really mad at Melissa, so. And then everyone cries and they hug and I guess they are made up even though she never really copped to being the source of the rumors about Il Gorgas? Sure. Problemas solved. Everyone is a happy famiglia again. This will certainly last.

And so everyone goes to Il Meatballs’ shore house that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and is now rebuilt, because METAPHOR.  They have a backyard barbecue complete with 5 cases of Fabellini and posters of Fabellini all over the place, as you do. After all, what goes with hamburgers and hot dogs better than raspberry flavored sparkling wine? The entire cast marvels that they are all together in the same place without punches being thrown or anyone being tossed into the bay, cincin!

FINALLY, the “Where are they now?”s:

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Kathy decided she’s ready for a new kitchen… and started building her dream home. She’s taking the lead in design … while Rich stays out of the way. (realitytvgifs.tumblr.com)
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Jacqueline is celebrating an addition to the household … Potatoee Face is back in New Jersey and plans on attending beauty school in LA later this year. The family continues to focus on Nicolas’ recovery. (realitytvgifs.tumblr.com)
Caroline and Albert have decided to call it quits … on the Hoboken apartment. They’re back home  with Lauren, Frannie and a rotating cast of animals. (realitytvgifs.tumblr.com)
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Melissa and Joe have sold their mansion for $3.8 million. Their new home is a half hour away from Teresa, but they plan on having the entire family over for Sunday dinner … someday. (realitytvgifs.tumblr.com)

And as for Teresa? Her “Where is she now?” is our Weekly Goombahs Go to Jail Update, and involves Matt Lauer explaining to us with a Very Very Serious Face what we already all know: She and Meatball have been indicted on 39 counts of all of the fraud and she is in Big Trouble.

Andy Cohen has, for obvious reasons, the first interview with Il Meatballs, and explains that certain specific criminal allegations will not be discussed because lawyers. That out of the way, here’s what we get out of Teresa and Meatball:

  • Teresa is in disbelief that this is all happening
  • Teresa describes it as being in a “dream” multiple times
  • Teresa has decided she has to be “strong” for Meatball and the meatballini
  • The Meatballs sorta, kinda knew this was coming
  • They chose to be and stay on the show anyway
  • Teresa is not going to go quietly into that good night; “that good night” being a publicity-free life
  • The rest of the cast has texted and even called them giving their support
  • Gabagool knows what is going on, kinda
  • But not really
  • In the event that they both go to jail, Il Follettos WILL NOT BE TAKING CARE OF THE MEATBALLINI
  • Il Follettos have “not really” been supportive of Il Meatballs, according to Meatball
  • Meatball blames the indictment on their participation on the show
  • However, NO REGRETS


  • Actually, Teresa does regret saying that she wouldn’t sleep in a “used house”
  • Not that it was untrue
  • They will probably continue on the show AS LONG AS THOSE OTHER WOMEN WATCH THEIR MOUTHS
  • Teresa knew nothing about Meatball’s financial affairs, and absolutely did not go asking any questions when Jacqueline showed her the tabloid story about them both going to jail because why would she?
  • Meatball also knew nothing about Meatball’s financial affairs because accountants
  • Teresa has insomnia
  • Meatball does not blame his DMV issue for attracting the feds’ attention
  • Meatball has driven drunk many other times besides the one time he was caught
  • Meatball has been to jail where he hung out with attorneys and buffed the floors and worked out and it was basically just like Orange is the New Black
  • Meatball is a legal resident, just not exactly a citizen if you’re going to get all technical about it, Andy Cohen, and he might just get deported back to Italy
  • Neither of the Meatballs believe they have ever lived beyond their means EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY BECAUSE THEY ARE DELUSIONAL SOCIOPATHS
  • Teresa pays really close attention to what they wear on the show, like insane attention, and won’t allow Meatball to wear the same shirt twice, BUT THEY DON’T LIVE BEYOND THEIR MEANS, YOUS GUYS
  • The IRS poked their heads in a few years ago, but Il Meatballs didn’t think anything of it because they are not very smart
  • Teresa is too busy being strong for Meatball and meatballini to think about the possibility of going to jail, it’s a full-time operation

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  • Teresa doesn’t understand the 39 charges against her
  • Except that she kinda does, now that you read them out loud that way, Andy Cohen
  • Il Meatballs are “learning as they go.”

Oh, Meatballs, buona fortuna! You’re going to need it. (In jail.)

As for the rest of you, we’ve still got a couple of reunion shows to slog through, so this is not arrivederci, not yet. See you next week! Try to not get indicted by the feds!

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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