RHONJ Recap: The Girls Are Back In Town
Another summer, another season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey! THE BLOODFEUD between the Guidices and the Gorgas seems to be lying dormant. The Manzos, Lauritas and Wakiles are no longer gracing us with their presence. They’ve been replaced by a younger and tanner bunch. Grab your zebra print booties and sequined fedora and let’s see how it goes. The Jersey girls are back.
First of all, Bravo wants to give us a quick recap of THE BLOODFEUD. And since by all accounts it’s pretty much over, let’s hear the swan song. If only they’d set it to Livin’ on a Prayer, but whatever. We see Penny and the wig she stole from Bret Micheals’ dumpster telling midget Joe Gorga that his sister Teresa is responsible for the cheating rumors. Then it’s Midge declaring war on Teresa and her army. Followed by Midge’s wife Melissa on her knees begging to Ter, which is by far my favorite part. Then we cover the brawl in upstate New York when Midge’s fake hair rubbed off all over the furniture.
And then they make up and flashback’s over. Wow, we really are moving on. And after years of writing about how they should get just over it already, I’m naturally devastated that they actually are. Does this mean that our episodes will no longer be filled with the RHONJ scrolling through their phones and screaming tweets at each other?
In other news, Twitter stock has plummeted since peace has been declared in Franklin Lakes. Of course this is no coincidence.
But on to this year’s plotline and that’s THE FRAUD. So much to say about this, but we have a whole season ahead to talk about it. In short, the Guidices committed fraud and made several appearances on the Today show. Also, they will probably be “going away” for while. That translates to jail, although according to RHONJ it’s against the rules of Italy to call it that that so maybe we should just call it Voldemort.
And with that, the eerie music sets in and – oh my, they’re giving us a date! Bravo is flat out telling us it’s February 28, 2014! So off brand for this show that loves to confuse us with scenes filmed alternatively in 2011 and 1997 and cut together to look like 2013. The Gorgas lounge in the bedroom of what looks like their new home and watch the Guidice drama unfold on the TV news. Then they giggle and toast to schadenfreude with some Asti Spumante.
Melissa officially declares all other dramas meaningless in the face of THE FRAUD and I guess that’s the dirt on the grave of THE BLOODFEUD.
RIP. (For a little while, then resurrect.)
Mel calls Ter, hurries through the “hey babe”/ “hi hon” style pleasantries and breathlessly inquires if what she just saw on the news is true?!? Now you know I’m an unabashed member of the Ter fan club, but objectively – she seems pretty beaten down by all of this. She exhaustedly tells Mel that no, today’s news isn’t true.
Ter says that they haven’t accepted their plea deal and it’s stressing her out. Mel offers to help in any way they can, and then takes Ter’s cue to get the hell off the phone with her. Meanwhile, little Gia, who’s actually now a teenager, asks Ter what the call was about. Ter tries to brush it off, but Gia informs her that she “obviously knows what’s going on”. Obviously. I love Gia for giving a little Jersey attitude in an otherwise somber moment.
Ter tells Gia again that it’s not for her to worry about, which is a little bullshitty considering all the cameras that have set up shop to record this touching conversation, but it’s actually the realest we’ll probably see on any Real Housewives show. Ter gets choked up, then Gia does and they hug. It’s a little emotional.
So let’s lighten things up. Cut to “three months earlier”. I am still floored at the complete disclosure we’re getting with respect to the timeline. Ter is yelling for Gabriella, the Milkman’s Kid to help Milania with her homework. Milania, the littlest hustler, tries to negotiate a later time slot for homework doing, prompting Brown Smurf Joe Guidice to poke his head out a doorway like the proverbial sitcom dad telling her to do it now or she won’t be eating for a week.
And then it is full-on, fist pumping bass. Jersey shore, guido style. It’s almost brilliant. And it’s accompanied by a shot of yet another humongous tricked out SUV cruising the mean streets of the suburbs. It glides through the gates, and then we see a pair of black boots alighting and standing on a doormat branded with the letter “G”. Who is this stranger with the big intro?
Another Manzo success.
Yes, just when we thought we were rid of the high falutin’ Manzos, here’s another one. They’re like a holy rolling snake that just keeps growing new self-righteous heads. Dina smugly informs us that “the bitch is back and if you don’t like it you can kiss my ass.” Oh, so she’s brought some faux-witty bon mots with her. Splendid.
I’m no fan of Dina Manzo. Or most Manzos, to be honest. I think they’re all boring people up on a boring high horse, and Dina’s no different. When she left RHONJ the last time, she thought she’d be the star of HGTV. I watched her party planning show a few times, intrepid reporter that I am. It was basically Dina prancing around Party City and sprinkling some glitter around various catering halls.
When Dina ditched RHONJ she acted like she was just too good for Bravo, and hello, insulting. Which of course makes it all the more delightful to watch her crawl back into the muck. The best thing I can say about Dina at this point is she’s wearing a turquoise shirt that looks like a beach towel with Madonna circa 1985 style fingerless lace gloves that appear to be attached to the sleeves. What is this shirt even doing?
How do you put this shirt on? Are the gloves attached with a button? Or maybe a snap? So many questions. Well, congrats Dina, thanks to your shirt you’re slightly less boring.
Dina tells us that she and Ter go way back. They don’t see each other all the time, like when there’s no cameras and stuff, but when they do they just pick up right where they left off. And either like a) a true friend, or b) someone who gets who the real star of the show is, Dina refuses a glass of wine in favor of a Fabellini.
Dina’s come bearing gifts. Her Mom made Ter an arts and crafts project in the form of a guardian angel bracelet. Ter complains to Dina about the legal bills and how it’s money that she should be using for the girls’ college fund. Who’s she kidding, we all know that money would have just gone to marble encrusted houseplants.
But still, lawsuits are hard. “I had a normal life, and now I’m in this nightmare,” Ter bemoans, conveniently forgetting the 39 counts of bank fraud that paved the way. But Dina’s bored of THE FRAUD. Let’s talk about Dina. Divorce sucks, have you heard? Yeah, Dina’s full of insight. She tells us she’s “pretty zen until you fuck with me”. Because someone who takes the time to attach coordinated fingerless gloves to a shirt is pretty much my definition of zen.
It turns out, her Manzo is a cheater but unlike some other alleged philandering Manzo husbands, he’s not semi-discreetly carrying on in the basement apartment of a restaurant. Dina’s husband is having sex with twenty-five year olds and flaunting it by buying them new purses. She clarifies that she still loves him, but also signs Ter on as her “wing-woman”.
Now that THE BLOODFEUD has died, Ter and Mel are BFF. They take the kids, Milania and Antonia to cheer practice. They both carefully inform us that the family is all good. Mel also takes a moment to extol the virtues of her perfect children.
The kids do their cheer routine and then Ter encourages little six year old Milania to show Tia Melissa how she twerks. Milania happily obliges. Tell us that part about the college fund again. Mel is a little horrified. Ter encourages innocent little Antonia to twerk along with her bad seed cousin, but Mel isn’t having it.
And then it’s time to introduce a new cast member! We haven’t had one of these in years on RHONJ and now we have three so let’s get excited! Sorry, blame it on the cheerleading scene. Mel mentions her friend Amber to Ter. They were good friends when they were single, but “once you get married…”she trails off. Guess what homegirl, married people have friends too. This is the same exact story she told us about the friends she ditched that Bravo tried to force back on her last season, by the way.
Anyway, Amber’s having a party that will conveniently serve as the stage for us to meet all the new girls, and Mel and her bad acting are just setting it up. And what a coincidence, Ter happens to have plans with Dina on the day of the party, so she’ll be coming along too. Ter does not exactly look overjoyed at the prospect of attending.
Fucking contractual obligations.
And then it’s time to meet Amber. She’s at home, preparing for said party. She’s calling it the Fall Harvest party so she doesn’t have to call it the Fake Bravo party. And Amber wants us to know she’s a real type A power thingy person whatever. She’s quizzing her party planner about the looks and IQs of her party staff. “If I have to correct even one of ’em-,” she threatens.
I will be the judge of pretty and smart. Stop laughing.
Well, it took less than thirty seconds to learn that Amber’s horrible. Hold my spot on Team Gorga. She confirms my hypothesis by proudly telling us she’s controlling and difficult. Then Amber’s doorbell rings, and hey, it’s a dead pig carcass!
Amber and her kids freak out and her husband just laughs. Amber’s daughter sobs. Amber’s daughter seems like one of those kids who tries really hard to be cute all the time and ends up being really annoying. While the kid sobs for attention, the dead pig is casually dropped off on the kitchen counter. Just a dead pig carcass, chilling on the counter.
Decorative and hygienic. This Amber is some class act.
She does admit to being “wound way too tightly” which she thinks she should do something about, then fake giggles and slurps some wine through a straw.
What’s more precious than difficult and controlling?
Time to talk completely naturally about who will be attending this party. Melissa’s name is mentioned. Now it’s time for Amber’s side of the story. She says they hung out in their twenties and just partied all the time. Well, Amber should do lots for Mel’s credibility as a non-stripper.
Amber says they both had big goals, just different ways of going about them. Amber brags about her degree from Columbia University in something related to exercise or something which sounds like a degree in aerobics. Following the report of Amber’s grand academic achievement, she immediately tell us that Mel just wanted to marry money, and she succeeded. Well! The acrylics are coming out early. Do tell, Amber.
Back to Dina, who has re-cast herself as Spiritual Guru Housewife #7. She spins a yawn inducing tale of spending 10 days in a spiritual Mongolian yurt which is enough to piss me off because now I have to spend time looking up what the hell a yurt is.
You can buy them online. I don’t know if these are the spiritual kind though.
And then she admits that she actually only stayed for 5 days, then ran off to a B&B. Then she tells us that she’s not a spoiled girl anymore. Dina takes us to therapy, where we learn that she’s pretty much still sleeping with her cheating ex. Dina doesn’t really seem to have her act together, which is always the perfect time to go on reality TV.
Back at the Guidices, Milania is making breakfast. Ter tells her that she likes to be in the room while Milania’s cooking, which is smart because if anyone’s accidentally-but-only-because-no-one-can-prove-it burning down the family manse, it’s Milania. Although to be practical, Ter really should be letting the kid get a little practice in on her own.
Milania’s such a little chef. Now she wants to make pancakes. But Ter and little sister Audriana have other plans.
Sorry, I’ve dressed for tiramisu.
What occasion calls for eggs, pancakes and tiramisu? I’d like to know more. Oh, Ter just launched a dessert line. I sort of wonder what Kathy Wakile would have to say about that, but not really. The attorney’s fees are “astronomical” Ter tells us.
Tiramisu on marble. Heaven.
Now I ask you, how many times have you watched the RHONJ and thought to yourself, “You know what this show needs? A couple of wacky twins with big boobs and orange tans.” Yeah, me neither but that’s what we’ve got.
We drink in the afternoon! We’re fun!
They regale us with fascinating stories of switching places with each other – wait, twins do that? So crazy. The one named Teresa makes a really big deal that her name is pronounced “Ter-essssss-a” because she’s apparently extra Italian. Her husband is – oh, I forgot his name already which is weird because she also informs us that they are the “king and queen of Little Italy”, where he owns two restaurants.
Hey royalty, looks like they forgot to cover the street in rose petals. Although someone did toss a used plastic bag in the king’s wake.
Teresssssssa tells us that she and her husband are on their second marriage to each other. Then we get a screen full of this.
She really went back for seconds.
This is Teresssssa’s husband. He is talking about how much he loves sex. I say we just say no.
So what’s the story with the twin? Nicole was married for 14 years and according to her it was all quite blissful.
Nothing says ‘fairy tale’ like blurring out the faces of your loved ones for legal reasons.
And then “something happened” in their relationship and now they’re divorced. But she’s still a hopeless romantic, she tells us. Followed by the declaration that “a woman only needs two things – Dunkin’ Donuts and oral sex”. I wanted to comment on the ridiculousness of this statement but when I thought about it, I realized she may be on to something.
Oh, and tightly wound Amber is pals with the twins too. She’s there while they’re day drinking and discussing the upcoming Fake Bravo Harvest party. It seems like a twin – and I’m never gonna be able to tell the difference and I really don’t think it matters so I’m just going to call them both a twin – has invited some extra couples to the event and it’s throwing Amber into a tailspin.
The twin laughs it off, swigs her cocktail and says not everything needs to be so intense. Amber gives her the death glare.
Finally it’s time for the party. We check in to see what everyone’s going to wear. A twin is going for a chain belt and Louboutins. Dina and Ter are leaning toward leopard. Midge Gorga lounges on the bed and informs Mel that he’s not going to this party, which it doesn’t seem like he was even invited to anyway.
Amber, the hostess, fusses with her kids clothes and makes me like her a little bit when she tells us that her kids better behave as she instructs of they’ll have everything taken away. Thank you Amber. I thought discipline was dead with THE BLOODFEUD.
Ter and Dina sit in a car on the way to the party, and it’s clear that Ter is distracted and worried about what the party guests will say when they see her. Dina is being nice about it.
What a bad angle. The cameraman now sleeps with the fishes.
As Melissa pulls up to her dear old pal Amber’s home, she drily comments that she’s not surprised that Amber lives in such a big place. “Amber had a vision of…prosperity,” she drawls.
The ‘I couldn’t be happier for my friend’s prosperity while we had to short-sell our balsa wood mansion’ face.
Mel and Amber see one another and wave excitedly in the way that girls do when they totally hate each other. Mel compliments Amber’s home.
I compliment her ability to look so smug while decked out in an entire wall of 99 cent Claire’s Accessories.
Mel also compliments the well behaved kids who are taking everyone’s coats as they arrive to the party. Then the twins pull up. They agree as they run up the stairs to Amber’s that they do not want to get their hair wet. Twins are so much alike.
I’d be petrified if this walked through my front door but Amber’s really got these kids trained well.
Amber introduces Mel to the twins and Midge Gorga, who never met a party that he didn’t want to bitch about attending all night while secretly planning which beret he’ll wear for his screen time. When introduced to the twins, he makes a stupid joke about seeing double.
And then Amber appears upset. What’s wrong, puppet? Well, it looks like people are spilling some food on the floor. At a party? Heaven forfend. Although we do see a shot of what looks like lady’s shoe covered in whipped cream.
I’m sorry, what kind of party is this exactly?
Amber wants us to get it straight. “Italians, when they go to a party, know how to be respectful of people’s homes,” she lectures. She also doesn’t know what book of “etiquette-cy” they’ve been reading. I want to know if this is the same Amber who will be correcting her wait staff’s grammar.
Mel inquires about the randoms at the Apple Picking Basic Cable party, and Amber bitchily tells her that a twin invited them. The twin then informs us that “for Italians, a party’s a party and the more the merrier!” Lots of competing Italian party theories. I say we just wheel out the Jesus Christ ice sculpture and call it a day.
Ter and Dina are the last to arrive. They squeal as they traverse the icy stairs in their heels. Dina, in true Manzo fashion, is quick and haughty about critiquing the setup. “Party planning 101 – arrival is everything,” she sniffs, proclaiming that if she had planned the party, things would have been much different.
Confetti cannons lining the walkway. Party planning 101, people.
They walk into the party and Ter makes a big deal about how she knows people are talking about her. It doesn’t really look like they are, but a caption that looks like a TV trick says “I can’t believe she’s here!” or something like that. Mel greets them and introductions are made. Teresssssssa makes a big deal about their names. Ter looks like she could care less as long as the Bravo check is clearing the bank.
Dina’s opener with the new girls is that she’s not bitter, but she finds most people to be assholes. Way to make new friends, Dina! Then she sort of backtracks, saying that she doesn’t have time for people because she just works so darn much. Doing what, the new girls coo. Oh, I run a foundation for kids with cancer, she humble brags. I’m sorry, I thought she was the party planner to the Z list stars of northern New Jersey?
“I had breast cancer!” Amber yells, triumphant at her connection to an original cast member. She gives a somehwhat rehearsed but still sympathetic speech about her cancer, and then volunteers to help with Dina’s charity. Ter is making friends with the twins, as they chat about Italian food. She says their carefree ways remind her of how she used to be…before THE FRAUD.
One of the twins and Dina are chatting about divorce. Meanwhile, Amber is pulling Mel aside to have a heart to heart about getting their friendship “back on track”. But really it’s an excuse to ask Mel why she blew off their friendship. Mel contends that it was the other way around, and then Amber floats cancer into the mix, which Mel of course denies any knowledge of.
It’s all reminiscent of the time she took 4 days to visit her father in law in the hospital and blamed the stomach flu and faulty math. Mel loves to play dumb, but she’s not smart enough to pull it off. And Amber isn’t having it. She accuses Mel of having actually sent a facebook message wishing Amber well, which Mel denies. Oh, and Mel also says she didn’t know about Amber being sick because “I never talked to our mutual friends again”.
I cancelled them after their wedding photo appearance.
Now it’s a fight about whether or not Mel knew Amber had cancer, and whether or not she sent a nice facebook message about it. Do you still have the message, Mel asks? But alas, the evidence has mysteriously disappeared from Amber’s facebook. I say a subpoena is in order. “I hope you believe me,” says wide-eyed Mel. “Of course!” lies Amber.
In the middle of the party, the twin’s husband isn’t having fun. And he’s yelling obnoxious stuff like “I could start a party at a funeral home!”, which means that no one within 10 feet of him is having fun either. The twin explains that he’s been drinking all day, cause that makes it all just fine. Dina is rolling her eyes at the jackass. Finally, he and the twins leave.
Mel sidles up to Ter and Dina and asks them if they’re having fun, then interrupts Dina’s polite diatribe about how sweet Amber is with a recap of THE FACEBOOK MESSAGE. Dina suggests that she put it behind her but Mel just doesn’t know. This is a tough one. I hope it doesn’t get in the way of their legitimate and believable friendship.
At the Guidices, it’s family photo time. The Brown Smurf Joe Guidice has a huge family. And it seems like everyone has brought a cake. What a great photo shoot.
They gather for the picture and it comes out very nice. The Brown Smurf gets up to make a speech about how much he loves his family. Little Gia is sobbing again. This kid’s breaking my heart. She’s been prostituted on TV for so many years now that it’s easy to forget but she really is just a kid. She hugs her Dad, and then he’s sobbing too and great, now Joe Guidice is somehow making me feel bad for him.
Finally, Papa Guidice wanders over to console his son and granddaughter. I’m sure you all know that the man passed away about a month ago, and the first episode of the season where his son goes to jail is dedicated to him.
So in light of all the heavy Guidice drama, I guess I’d say I’m pretty grateful to the twins and Amber for bringing the trash that we show up for. Although according to this season’s previews, Midge Gorga appears to be investing his last balsa wood house short sell dollars into….a garbage truck business. Which brings the concept of trash to a whole new level. Obviously. xo CB