OH, MY AMICI! Where have I been? Why haven’t I been keeping up with my favorite dumb felonious goombahs? I don’t even know!
The truth is, my Meatballs and Folletttos were somehow misplaced during the move from Tubular, and I’m only just now finding them and catching up. And while I might have to abbreviate some of these entries, I swear on my legitimate citizenship and my own — not my twin’s — driver’s license that I will catch up. As Madonna is my witness, I will catch up, yous guys.
Before we get started, here is a quick reminder of all the nicknames I use for these popolo. I know, it can be confusing.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“A Very Hairy Christmas”
July 17, 2016
Now that Teresa’s release from prison drama is behind us, we can begin our series appropriately, with the traditional sassy introductions and catch phrases:
I think we now all feel a little better.
We begin this episode on the day of Teresa’s release, with Attorney Jimmy giving a short press conference and demanding that everyone GO HOME ALREADY. Folletto and Melissa watch the statement and Folletto explains that he’s happy and sad all at the same time, while Melissa wonders how Teresa will behave when she comes to their home for Christmas Eve dinner the next night and whether or not she’ll bring sprinkle cookies.
Elsewhere, Jacqueline and Dolores also watch the Attorney Jimmy yell at the paparazzi, and Jacqueline gets all emotional imagining Teresa’s reunion with her daughters. Dolores reads Jacqueline showing basic human empathy as a suggestion that there might be room for Tre and Jac to get over their differences and mend their relationship. Maybe! But probably not!
On Christmas Eve, before heading to il Folletto’s house for dinner, the Meatball ragazze get ready for their traditional Christmas photo — except instead of involving angel costumes, fake snow and photoshopped backgrounds, the girls are posed in front of the Christmas tree and photographed by People Magazine, to whom Teresa sold the exclusive rights to her post-prison pictures. Hustlers gotta hustle.
For some reason Folletto comes over to drive the Meatball famiglia to his house? Meatball can’t drive thanks to his driver’s license shenanigans, but while Teresa is sporting a fancy new ankle monitor, she is still allowed to drive, SPOILER ALERT! as we learn in the next episode. Anyway, Teresa barks at her fratello to avoid the paparazzi, baffling Folletto who apparently hasn’t been let in on the whole “People Magazine‘s exclusive rights” business. “Who cares about the paparazzi?” Folletto wonders. UH, PEOPLE MAGAZINE, THAT’S WHO. DUH.
At il Follettos’, Teresa is reunited with her padre who never visited her in prison for reasons, and everyone sits down to the traditional Festa di Sette Pesci, which includes a bunch of lobsters and a pile of pasta. But before they can mangia the honestly amazing looking food already, Meatball reminds the children why they are here: to celebrate Jesus’ death. Or maybe it’s His resurrection. Wait, what’s it for again?
After dinner, Teresa helps Melissa clear the dishes so she can scold her sorella-in-law about how she needs to work harder to make them a real famiglia again. Melissa protests that she’s always loved Teresa like a sorella, but Teresa’s like, “Nah, I found your performance lacking. It didn’t feel genuine. You really need to sell it. Maybe you should have taken acting classes instead of singing lessons.”
Teresa then brings up the impossibly hilarious, violent-for-no-good-reason, Christening Festa of Doom from five years ago, because no one holds a grudge like a Southern Italian holds a grudge. If holding a grudge was a crime, Southern Italians would get life sentences. If holding a grudge was an Olympic sport, Southern Italians would sweep the medals every single time (and still be angry at the other countries who dared to compete against them, gil stronzi).
Melissa suggests they not rehash the past, because, honestly, no one is going to come out of that with clean hands. But because Teresa isn’t one for listening to common sense — or making sense — she compares Melissa siding with Caroline, Jacqueline and Kathy several seasons ago to leaving Teresa on “Gilligan’s Island all by [herself].”
Teresa whines that Melissa didn’t do enough to stick up for her, and in response, Melissa reminds Teresa about how she used her amici to spread rumors that Melissa had been cheating on Folletto. “Yeah, alright, maybe I did that, but that’s my point: we can’t let people come between us,” is Teresa’s response, which on the one hand, not cool, Tre. But on the other hand, hey! Look at you owning your bad behavior, Teresa! And because it’s Christmas, and Melissa really doesn’t want to fight, the sorella-in-laws agree to be nicer to one another. And maybe they will! Maybe! But probably not!
Elsewhere, Dolores goes to therapy, which is one of my least favorite Real Housewife plotlines. Fact: other people are as interested in your therapy as they are in hearing long descriptions of your dreams.
In other boring subplots: Melissa shows her kids the still-unfinished boutique. The kids are underwhelmed and Folletto bitches about Melissa wanting to have her own business and not just be his sex prisoner.
And over at Jacqueline’s house, Potato Face makes plans to move in with her boyfriend, while Jacqueline pouts. We also learn that Jacqueline is loud during sex, a fact I could have happily gone my entire life without knowing.
Over at Teresa’s, Gabagool asks her mother and Zio Folletto if she can go out with friends on New Year’s Eve, and they are both like, “While our padre would never allow it in a million years, our padre and mamma also didn’t go to prison when we were kids. You’ve been in a living hell for the past year, you deserve a night out. However, your padre is not going to be cool with this, just so we’re all clear.” And when Meatball joins them, he grumbles that if Gabagool wants to leave, she should leave, “she’s like a little pain in the ass, this kid, with her and her friends.”
Later, Teresa and this Dolores person go get manicures together, where Dolores takes out her phone and loudly announces, “OH LOOK, MY BROTHER IS TEXTING ME TO WISH ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY. NOT THAT I CARE ABOUT BIRTHDAYS. BIRTHDAYS ARE NO BIG THING WITH ME. IN FACT, I HATE MY BIRTHDAY. SO MUCH. WHICH IS WHY I AM YELLING ABOUT IT BEING MY BIRTHDAY IN THIS NAIL SALON AND ON CAMERA.” That it is Dolores’ birthday is news to Teresa, who demands to know why she didn’t tell her. Except that she just did? In the most painfully obvious way she could think of? They plan a dinner to celebrate, but when Dolores calls it a “reunion” dinner and suggests that Jacqueline be invited, Teresa blanches. “Uh… I mean… sure… it’s just that… I mean… I haven’t seen her in a long time…” Well, get over it, Biscotto, because y’all are on the same cast together, and this reunion is going to happen one way or another.
Finally, New Year’s Eve 2015. Both Teresa and Jacqueline host relatively small get-togethers in their respective homes, and, unsurprisingly, they do not invite one another. Dolores, however, is invited to both, and makes an appearance at Teresa’s first. Meanwhile, Jacqueline’s guest list includes Rosie and Kathy, who are both a little surprised they weren’t invited to Teresa’s considering they are actually her famiglia — and Rosie had become pretty good buddies with Meatball while Teresa was at
Back at Teresa’s, Gabagool is getting ready to go out with her friends when Meatball announces that he’s changed his mind: she can go out, but she has to be back home before midnight, or “there will be problems.” But because Meatball is actually a huge drunk baby, he demands that Teresa be the one to tell her, because somehow it’s Teresa’s fault Gabagool is going out in the first place.
Gabagool takes this news about as well as could be expected, and stomps out of the house to join her friends. Teresa returns to the party, and with Dolores’ support, calls Jacqueline to wish her a Happy New Year’s. The conversation almost goes sideways when Teresa figures out she is on speaker phone and her cousins are listening in, but considering how far we’ve all come with this group, as long as someone isn’t screaming “VAFFANCULO” or threatening someone’s life during the call, it’s a win. Yes, Rosie, because she was angry she wasn’t invited or even acknowledged by her cousin, says Teresa can go fuck herself — but it’s after the phone call ends, so that doesn’t even count.
And then at 12:15, Gabagool returns home, and it’s close enough to midnight that no one yells at her, not even Meatball, but that’s probably because he’s properly lubricated at this point. And then everyone starts crying about the year ahead of them, and GOD DAMMIT, SHOW, I don’t want to feel sorry for these dumb goombahs, but here I am.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays on Bravo at 7/8 CST.