‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Hatchets and faces

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“Easter Egg Wives Hunt”
November 14, 2018

Let’s begin with Melissa who invites one of our two new housewives, Jackie, over for a playdate. Jackie, we learn, is the mother of two sets of twins, God bless her, the wife of a finance guy and a “parenting journalist” with her own column over at northjersey.com: “Minivan Musings.” ~former editor of MomHouston.com narrows her eyes suspiciously~¬†

Hilariously, her last column appears to have been about your child’s “toxic friendships.”

And Jackie wants you to know that she really does drive a minivan. Sure they’re ugly, but you also don’t care when your terrible children completely trash it, yous know? Real Housewives! They’re just like us!

The two also have the conversation that opened the season, the one about Melissa’s fraught relationship with her sorella-in-law, and how Melissa does not want to go back down that particular road again.

Speaking of Teresa, she and Gabagool take Nonno for a manicure/pedicure day, where Nonno continues to whinge about how Folletto is ignoring him. Gabagool finds Folletto’s claims of being too busy to be weak at best, and Teresa worries that if she says something to Folletto it will undo all the goodwill they have built up over the past few seasons. Or, and hear me out: you should stay out of it and let your padre and fratello work this out amongst themselves.

Later, Teresa returns to the gym where she meets with the other terrifying woman she pays to insult her ahead of her “bikini fitness competition.” Teresa puts on her bikini to show the two bemuscled gorgons her progress:

And Terrifying Trainer Number Two is all, “LOOK AT YOUR FAT ASS. YOU AIN’T SHIT. LOSE FOUR MORE POUNDS OR I WILL ABANDON YOU TO THE TRASHHEAP OF OBESITY. CAPICHE?”

Teresa, meekly, “Capiche.”

And noooooooow I get it. The only other person I have ever seen Teresa be this deferential towards was Meatball. With Meatball in meatball prison, Teresa has turned to bodybuilding to fill that gaping hole in her life which can only be filled with self-abasement, submission, and humiliation. All of this makes so much sense now.

Speaking of bodybuilders and unhealthy relationships, Dolores and Frank go pick out tile together mostly so that she can talk some more about how mad she is with him for lying to her about his disbarment, and to tell him that she’s invited Margaret to her upcoming hatchet-throwing party — an idea she absolutely came up with by herself and not with the help of the producers who thought putting hatchets into these lunatics’ hands would be hilarious.

As for Margaret, she begins the episode by forcing Joe to have their wedding date tattooed on his ring finger because he’s one of those guys who refuses to wear a wedding ring. OK.

Later, she and Joe take Marge Sr. in for her facelift. There is some minor handwringing when the surgery goes longer than what the doctor suggested, but it’s hard to summon any real worry when 1. we would have certainly heard by now if something bad had happened and 2. they certainly wouldn’t have included footage if it had. In fact, the most interesting part of this entire subplot is that despite being SO WORRIED about her mom during the surgery, plans to leave Marge Sr.’s recovery in Joe’s hands while she goes to ~looks at notes~ Oklahoma? Wait, that Oklahoma?

veep-selena-head-tilt-confused-really-though

I have questions. But we’ll have to get to those later.

About halfway through the episode, Margaret swings by her friend Danielle’s house to inform her that she and Dolores are trying to make nice, that Dolores has invited her to this hatchet-throwing nonsense, and that she is going to go. Danielle is understanding and says that while she is not yet ready to make nice with Dolores, she hopes Margaret has a good time.

LOL LOL JK, Danielle loses her Goddamned mind.

“YOU DON’T HAVE MY BACK RIGHT NOW.” “YOU’RE MY FRIEND AND YOU SHOULD NOT BE GOING.” “THIS HURTS ME.” “WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN COMMON BESIDES THAT YOU CHEATED ON YOUR HUSBAND AND HER HUSBAND CHEATED ON HER?” are just some of the things the completely mature and totally changed Danielle Staub says to her best friend for choosing to hang out with a woman that she happens to not like.

Totally normal and definitely fine.

But Square Tits be damned, Margaret goes to the hatchet-throwing party which is much less dangerous than it would have been had they hosted it about 3/4 the way into the season. The women come armed with wine and snacks because apparently the hatchet-throwing … gym? stable? barn? doesn’t serve. Which makes sense on the alcohol front, but less so on the crudite front. Is there some legal reason people throwing hatchets can’t be served buffalo wings?

Anyway, the ladies throw the hatchets while yelling about something that they want out of their lives or that they want to change about themselves. Dolores yells something about her empty nest which, I mean, no. Aside from getting married and having more kids, that’s not something she can really do anything about, right?

This Jennifer person hurls a hatchet while screaming about her “fluctuating weight” which is our more formal introduced to our second new Housewife. Jennifer explains that she is not a “typical” Jersey girl, i.e. Italian. Instead, she is of Turkish descent, her parents were strict and found a Turkish-born man for her to marry. But it’s fine because “Bill” is a plastic surgeon and she got a Jersey McMansion out of the deal, complete with 9 bedrooms, a movie theater, a gym, an indoor basketball court and 16 bathrooms in the event she has to host an entire NBA team. She also has five children, between the ages of 5 and 13, saints preserve her.

Back to the hatchet-throwing: Margaret tells the women about Danielle’s tantrum, including the bit about how the only thing Margaret and Dolores have in common is the cheating, which “surprised” her that Danielle would go for such a low blow.

Dolores:

Margaret also tells the women that she is designing a line of children’s hospital gowns that look like superhero costumes — which, cute! and great idea! — and that for utterly baffling reasons, she has to go to Oklahoma for this project. So she was thinking the obvious: GIRLS’ TRIP TO OKLAHOMA!!!

And even more confusing: everyone seems really excited and onboard for this.

Y’all … it’s … it’s Oklahoma. It’s not exactly known as a tourist destination and for a reason. It’s Oklahoma. Oh, you Jersey dummies, you’re going to be so disappointed, and I am HERE FOR IT.

Later, our new Housewife Jennifer informs her husband “Bill” that she is going on this girls’ trip to Oklahoma, which will be the first trip she’s ever taken without her husband or kids, and he’s all, “OH REALLY? AND YOU JUST DECIDED THIS WITHOUT DISCUSSING IT WITH ME FIRST?” So these two are going fit right in with this anti-feminist and patriarchal cast. I’M SORRY, I MEANT “OLD-SCHOOL” CAST.

After a back-and-forth that was completely real and not rehearsed at all, Bill and Jennifer agree that she can go on the trip, but not before she has to endure a guilt trip in the form of some whinging on Bill’s part about how he’s going to have to adjust his schedule and some fake crying by her five-year-old daughter. Cool. So cool and healthy.

Finally, Easter Sunday. Teresa frantically prepares to host dinner — a dinner she cannot eat because “LOSE FOUR POUNDS, YOU FAT PIG, CAPICHE?” Teresa explains that after losing her madre, she is just desperate to make the holidays as best as she can for her padre. But she needn’t worry: Nonno has been preparing for supper by drinking two bottles of vino by himself. SALUTI!

And that’s why when il Follettos arrive, Nonno has enough liquid courage to confront his figlio about not calling him — he didn’t call his padre all week long. Folletto wheels out his go-to excuse: he’s been busy, to which his father flatly tells him, “fuck you.” “HA HA HA,” says Folletto, half-believing his padre is kidding.

He’s not kidding.

Instead, Nonno turns to Melissa to complain to her that her marito hasn’t called him all week and he hasn’t seen any of them in two weeks. “SHAME!” he literally says to his nuora, “SHAME ON YOU!”

They then take the food out to the table where everyone serves themselves piles and piles of pasta, except for Teresa who nibbles on some Easter grass, and Nonno who drinks his supper after tearfully toasting his moglie. At one point, Melissa, trying to lighten Nonno’s mood, tells him that his nipoti loves his food, to which Nonno sullenly replies, “My figlio doesn’t love me.” Teresa then adds that Nonno wants Folletto around more — and Melissa, in an interview, gets pissed off about this, wondering why Teresa would bring up such a sensitive topic on Easter Sunday OF ALL DAYS. IT IS NEITHER THE TIME NOR THE PLACE.

Folletto sighs that he’s just too busy, he works nonstop, Nonno gets it, right? And that’s when, fortunately, one of the nipoti suggests that they hunt for Easter eggs, breaking the tension. For one second.

Once Teresa, Melissa and Folletto go into the other room to prepare the Easter eggs, Folletto grumbles at Teresa that she needs to stop bringing “that merda” up in front of their padre, and Teresa, foolishly, doesn’t point out that SHE WASN’T THE ONE TO BRING IT UP, THEIR PADRE WAS. Instead, Teresa and Gabagool complain that they’re the ones that have to listen to Nonno whining about Folletto everyday, the least he could fucking do is call his padre every once in a while. IT’S NOT SO MUCH TO ASK. CAPICHE?

And before we leave, a brief rant. This whole mess is a textbook example of why toxic masculinity and patriarchal cultures that leave no room for men to be emotional is damaging to everyone, perhaps most of all to men. Cultures like the one that the Gorgas were raised in, in which a man’s value is entirely determined by his ability to be a breadwinner, and in which women are expected to do everything on the domestic end, inherently create situations in which families are damaged emotionally. Women are asked to not just cook and clean and raise the children, but they are expected to also be the emotional caretaker for the entire family, negotiating fights, soothing over hurt feelings, tending to everyone’s emotional needs. Thus, when men are at the center of something where real feelings are at stake, they can’t handle it. For instance, when Nonno genuinely feels that he is being neglected by his figlio, Folletto expects his the women in his life to deal with it and make the problem go away. After all, Folletto is performing his one role here: working and providing for his familigia, he shouldn’t be asked to lift the emotional weight of tending to his father’s emotional needs because that’s women’s work. But this is a problem that only he can resolve through expending emotional energy by spending time with his padre. And that’s why this is going to be an explosive disaster this season: the only person who can actually solve this problem at its root has been raised in a culture that left him completely incapable of being able to do so.

Get the popcorn.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays on Bravo at 8/9 CST.

2 thoughts on “‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Hatchets and faces

  1. Nearly did a spit take with the Easter grass crack. Love your comedic take on these very special ladies?!
    Please don’t quit recapping them…my favorite recap site for all that is bad will be shutting down soon…TrashTalk TV. They were on your level of greatness.

    1. Cynthia! Thank you for your kind words. I’m not giving up on the Real Housewives — I’m DYING for “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” after that batshit insane trailer that was released yesterday — I’ve just been overwhelmed at the holiday season. I promise to catch up one of these days!

      Thanks for reading!

      –T

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