‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Husband control

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
“The Jersey Breakfast Club”
November 21, 2018

The ladies begin the episode packing for their exciting trip to glamorous rural Oklahoma and, I mean, OKLAHOMA, YOU GUYS. THEY ARE SENDING THE JERSEY LADIES TO OKLAFUCKINGHOMA. There was that one time when the Real Housewives of New York went to Montana where they had absolutely no kinds of business being and that was all sorts of hilarious and amazing but the trip was also super fancy with glamping and they had a staff and wine deliveries and Montana itself is naturally beautiful and it is not RURAL OKLAHOMA. And I know that the trip is ostensibly so that Ponytails can visit her friend who will help her with her children’s hospital gown line (and thereby promote the fact that she is making a children’s hospital gown line) but I would like to believe that what happens is before filming begins, the women are asked to draw up a list of places they have (or want) to travel to, and Margaret included this and some brilliant producer was like, “YES. RURAL OKLAHOMA, HELLS YES. WE ARE SENDING ERRRRRRRYBODY.” And that imaginary producer deserves a raise.

So the women pack their not!cowboy boots and their sparkliest bikinis and Teresa makes a point to call Folletto to nag him about hanging out with their padre while they’re gone which makes Folletto whinge that he’s JUST SO BUSY. After the phone call, Folletto asks his wife to tell his sorella to stop nagging him, and Melissa is like, “OH YOU ARE NOT DRAGGING ME INTO THE MIDDLE OF THIS, NO SIR.” But that is exactly what is going to happen because, as we have established, men in this famiglia are incapable of dealing with emotional conflict in any positive way.

After a plane ride that Teresa is passive-aggressively late for, the women arrive in Oklahoma and gape at cows as if they’ve never before seen cows. Soon they are at Margaret’s friend Polly’s ranch which is in the middle of absolutely fucking nowhere. After telling the women that the first time Margaret visited, she was terrified by the coyotes that would howl at night, Polly informs them that one of them will have to sleep in the trailer because there are not enough beds in the main house. One of our new Housewives, this Jennifer lady, explains that she can not possibly sleep in the trailer because she is a city girl, not a country girl (unlike the rest of these women from suburban New Jersey, I guess) and anyway, she has “three luggages” with her. First of all, that is one of the most Jersey things I’ve ever heard any of these women say but second of all, they are only going to be in Oklahoma for the weekend. Three days. So I guess one luggages per day is the math here?

Dolores takes one for the team and volunteers to sleep in the trailer which turns out to be super fancy, so really the joke is on them because she is blissfully alone.

While the women unpack (Jennifer specifically unpacks some 18 Channel bags because what, is she supposed to go to Oklahoma for two nights and only bring 10 Channel bags with her like some kind of poor trash?), Teresa visits Dolores in her trailer and bitches at her about Folletto not spending enough time with their padre since their madre died. She also drops some potentially damning information: that Folletto and Melissa chose to go to the Bahamas on the anniversary of their madre’s death rather than spend it with the famiglia, and she had to learn about it through Instagram. 

And that does seem very bad considering how intense Italians can be about loved one’s deaths and the anniversary of those deaths, but when I first heard this, my first thought was that Folletto and Melissa chose to go somewhere intentionally because he wanted to distract himself from his grief, not confront or wallow in it, and I couldn’t really blame him. That said, not informing Teresa beforehand and having her find out via Instagram is some cazzate and just asking for trouble.

Oh, and of course Teresa blames Melissa for the trip, jumping to the conclusion that Melissa obviously booked it to pull Folletto away from his real famiglia.

Meanwhile, Melissa shares her side of the Teresa drama with the other new Housewife, Jackie, and how Folletto tried to enlist her to tell Teresa to stop nagging them about their padre, adding that she knows that she is going to hear about it from Teresa. Jackie, not unreasonably, suggests that Melissa tell Teresa to handle it herself, but Melissa is all, “LOL LOL, you don’t know my sorella-in-law.”

The women come down to dinner (after making themselves up fully, obviously, but I will say this to the Jersey ladies’ credit, there is not a glam squad in sight), and admire Polly’s piano. “I HAVE A PIANO,” says Jennifer. “NO ONE PLAYS IT. I JUST BOUGHT IT. FOR MY NEW HOUSE.” Polly then invites the women out to the patio to admire the sunset. “I HAVE A VERY SIMILAR SUNSET FROM MY NEW HOUSE,” Jennifer hilariously declares. “I CAN SEE MANHATTAN AND IT IS BLOOD RED. EVERY NIGHT. ALL THE TIME. IT’S THE BEST SUNSET.”

The women then sit down to dinner and after presumably Jennifer declares that she, too, has a dining room table in her new house they just chose to edit it out. Melissa asks why Danielle isn’t on the trip with them. Margaret explains that Ol’ Square Tits is being super pazzo ahead of her wedding and has issues with her being civil to Dolores, and it’s just better to have a drama-free weekend, right?

As the food is served, Teresa pulls out her own little tupperware of sprouts and birdseed which prompts Jackie to tell them about the time she became anorexic in her twenties. And it’s an interesting observation that I hadn’t considered before this episode — she clearly recognized her own anorexic behavior in Teresa, in her compulsive need to control what and how much she’s eating. Granted, Teresa’s behavior is being monitored by trainers and it is in pursuit of a goal, this “bikini fitness” competition. But at root, I wonder if Jackie isn’t pointing out that Teresa is doing what many anorexics are actually doing when they avoid nourishment — they are using food as a way to control something in their lives when so much feels completely out of their control. And with her beloved madre suddenly dying, her marito in prison and possibly about to be deported, a teen figlia about to go off to college, and a sorello who seems to be growing increasingly distant, there is a lot in Teresa’s life that she can’t control right now. But she can control how she looks in a bikini, so.

Anyway, long story short: Jackie decided she had to change her eating habits when she had kids so that they wouldn’t mirror her behavior, the end.

After dinner, Melissa tells the women that she revisited the psychic that she, Teresa and Folletto hired last season to speak to Madre Gorga because she wanted to reach out to her dead padre. The psychic knew Melissa’s nonna’s name, which was pazzo, but the REALLY pazzo thing was that the psychic asked Melissa how many sorellas she has. When Melissa told her two, the psychic insisted that she has another sorella out there somewhere. Melissa then explains that her padre was “colorful” i.e., a man raised in a patriarchal culture that excuses selfish and thoughtless male behavior who felt entitled to cheat on his moglie while she raised their three figlie. At Melissa’s padre’s funeral, there was a mysterious woman that no one knew who sat in the last pew and sobbed. Melissa tearfully concludes that this woman was his padre’s goomah and that somewhere out there she has a half-sorella that she wants to find.

Teresa, meanwhile, can not believe this merda: Melissa crying over a sorella that she doesn’t even know actually exists, meanwhile she has a PADRE-IN-LAW she is NOT MAKING A PRIORITY. (Even though if it’s anyone’s job to make Padre Gorga a priority, it’s Folletto’s. Still, the business of crying over a person who is the figment of some charlatan’s imagination is, to Teresa’s credit, utterly absurd.)

The next morning, after a quick run through the coyote-infested prairie, Teresa calls her padre and learns that Folletto finally took some time to hang out with Padre Gorga the night before. This, it turns out, is TERRIBLE news for her relationship with Melissa, because in Teresa Logic this means the only thing standing between Folletto spending every waking moment with his padre is his selfish bitch of a moglie.

Teresa brings up this theory to Melissa over breakfast, to which Melissa suggests they talk about it at another time, maybe without an audience. This is antithetical to the entire premise of the show, though, and Dolores decides to jump in and escalate the situation by reminding Melissa about the Bahamas and how she — and she alone because Folletto has no responsibility or agency here — decided to disrespect the memory of her madre-in-law by not spending the anniversary of her death with the famiglia.

However, instead of explaining that Folletto couldn’t handle being in New Jersey for the anniversary of his madre’s death because TOO MUCH, Melissa chooses a much, much, much stupider path, arguing that Teresa has more time to deal with Padre Gorga since she doesn’t have to cater to Meatball all the time.

YEP. BECAUSE WHAT MADRES OF FOUR WITH A MARITO IN MEATBALL PRISON HAVE IN ABUNDANCE IS FREE TIME.

I mean, Jesus Christ, Melissa, don’t make me defend Teresa here.

Melissa then tells Teresa that if she has issues with how much time Folletto spends with their padre, she take it up with Folletto himself and not drag her into it, which, as a sorella-in-law myself, I am 100% in agreement with.

Teresa fires back that Melissa needs to control her marito.

Let’s just pause here and appreciate the fact that the woman whose own marito’s behavior landed her in meatball prison for a year tells another woman that she is responsible for her marito’s behavior.

This argument descends into the women screaming at one another: “YOU’RE THE MOGLIE!” and “YOU’RE THE SORELLA!” and “SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!” before Melissa declares she is done with this “conversation” even though the conversation was done a long time ago.

And then the women split up to partake in traditional Oklahoma activities: fishing and shooting guns. Well, Margaret, Teresa, Jennifer, and Dolores stand around a retention pond and watch some guy and his grandson fish, and Jackie shoots guns at an abandoned building while Melissa shrieks and runs around in circles. But sure. Local activities.

The fishing group returns to the house and they chat about camping and how Jennifer never has and never will go camping. “Ah, so you’re high maintenance disguised as high maintenance,” Dolores replies. Word. Jennifer protests that she is actually a very humble person and everyone is like, “Uh-huh. Go tell it to your 30 Chanel bags upstairs.”

As for Melissa and Jackie, they also chat briefly about how she and Folletto did go to the Bahamas over the anniversary of his madre’s death because he didn’t want to be home for it. AND IT’S NOT FAIR FOR TERESA TO MAKE MELISSA FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.

Meanwhile, we check in on Folletto back in Jersey who is irritated with his sorella for nagging him about their padre, but coming to the realization that all those years ago when he was blaming Meatball for the troubles in his famiglia, it was Teresa all along.

Folletto also makes his figlia (and only his figlia) help him for dinner and asks her if she doesn’t want to be a stay-at-home moglie when she grows up. Stugats responds that she wants to do what her madre does, and this asshole right here belittles Melissa’s job by replying, “sit in a boutique all day?” Stugats protests that there is more to Melissa’s job than that. And good for her, this is exactly why Melissa needs to stick with her boutique: her daughter needs to see women in her life fulfilling their ambitions, because God knows her padre would have her married off to some mook like him, making babies and doing nothing else with her life — a point that he pretty much explicitly says in this segment.

Back in Oklahoma, the women — except for Margaret and Melissa — decide to go shopping in “town” such as it is, and they end up buying a bunch of expensive cowboy hats and boots as tourists are wont to do, benedica i loro cuori. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Margaret has a casual meeting with her friend about these hospital gowns and they decide to include a line of hats. This was definitely not a meeting that could have taken place over the phone, it absolutely had to be done in person and with five other women tagging along. 

After her Very Important Meeting, Margaret takes Melissa out for a walk to look at cows and to basically let her know she’s Team Melissa on this fight with Teresa. Margaret also suggests that Teresa is under stress and that maybe if Meatball were home, she wouldn’t be up Melissa’s ass. Of course, Meatball was home last time Teresa was up Melissa’s ass, but Margaret wasn’t on the show then so you can’t blame her for trying to make an excuse for that sociopatico.

Finally, before dinner, Melissa goes to Teresa’s room to try to clear the air and prevent any table flipping. There, Melissa whines that no matter how hard she tries, it never seems to be good enough for Teresa, and that she worries she will never be loved and accepted by her sorella-in-law. And proving her point, Teresa sneers in an interview that she can’t believe this is what Melissa is upset about, who gives a shit? What Teresa is upset about is that Melissa isn’t forcing Folletto to spend time with his padre to Teresa’s satisfaction. To that point, Melissa asks Teresa again to take it up with Folletto and leave her out of it, and Teresa is all, “Yeah, that’s never going to happen, but let’s pretend everything is fine for dinner tonight and we’ll fight like polecats about this later.” Except without saying any of those words.

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

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