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Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Nobody Wins in the Ham Game

Tonight on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, we are reminded that the real-estate market is not what it once was. Nor, for that matter, is motherhood. First, Danielle’s Realtor turns up in a dress that looks like Pucci, but turns out to be BCBG. If that’s not foreshadowing, we weren’t English majors. Sure enough, the device starts to pay off right away, as Danielle’s Franklin Lakes Gothic McMansion reveals itself to be the Dorian Gray–like embodiment of her disintegrating personality. It’s literally coming apart at the seams.

After a tour of her beloved bathroom and a quick paean to the super, super importance of bidet ownership, Danielle starts to unload on the by-now ashen Realtor: Her ex is a deadbeat and the house is an albatross. She can’t afford its upkeep and it’s depreciating faster than a Taurus in a rental fleet. The Realtor doesn’t know what to say. Does Danielle want the Realtor to communicate with the ex? The Realtor fully expects a demurral. Yes, Danielle does. “Get me out of here,” she pleads.

In a happier place, Caroline, Teresa, and Jacqueline get together for a light girls’ lunch. Teresa fills the others in on her sex life since she got the “bubbies” and Caroline overshares sad conjugal details without really intending to. Then the real reason for the lunch date is revealed, and it has nothing to do with the arugula-and-pear salad. Teresa starts grilling Jacqueline for dirt on Danielle, because without Danielle, the show’s got nothing, and Teresa knows who butters her bagel. “I don’t mean to bring up garbage while we’re eating,” Teresa says. Jacqueline looks up from her plate, alarmed. Maybe it’s not such a happy place after all — maybe it’s an ambush.

Teresa casually brings up “court documents” detailing Danielle’s crimes. Caroline remarks that someone switched off the light of childhood innocence in Danielle’s kids' eyes.

Teresa agrees: “Totally.”

“She will never win,” Caroline says. “She will never win against us. Never.”

And as it dawns on her that she’s the Fredo in the family, Jacqueline blinks in stunned silence.

Meanwhile, back at home, Caroline’s adult children are pelting each other with cold cuts. This is something they apparently do all the time, and Caroline doesn’t like it. She hates the ham game. “There’s nothing good about the ham game; there’s nothing funny about the ham game; there’s nothing responsible about the ham game.”

She’s wrong, though. The ham game keeps her son Albie from fixating on the fact that his sister is dating his best friend, Vito, at least temporarily.

Albie went to college with Vito. Then he went to law school. Now he hangs around the house flinging pork around and tortures himself picturing his best friend and his sister holding hands.

“You can’t get grossed out whenever he holds my hand,” Lauren says.

“I will say that thinking of him holding your hand makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit,” Albie replies.

Which makes us wonder if (a) this generation of kids is ever going to learn how to vomit properly, and (b) if Albie will eventually muster the courage to tell Vito how he really feels. We think no and maybe.

Caroline is convinced that Albie and Lauren will soon work it out, that their “moments” will soon be “far and few between,” that they will work out their Vito angst to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s hard to say how or when this will happen.

Caroline’s right about one thing — Jacqueline is a total doormat. Her daughter Ashley comes home with a bag of laundry and a smirk. After an argument about designated drivers and underage drinking, Jacqueline tries to turn the situation into a teachable moment by sending Ashley home with her laundry, but Ashley appears impervious. You know she’ll be back soon, while on break from taking a break, having run out of detergent or something.

Meanwhile, if Jacqueline’s daughter walks all over her, Danielle’s kids are powerless before her malignant force. In tonight’s episode, there’s big news for the beautiful Christine: She’s been spotted by modeling scouts at IMG and they want to do a photo shoot. Christine is excited, but keeps a lid on it. Her little sister Jillian eyes her warily as mom breaks the big news: Danielle is going to be at Christine’s side every step of the way.

“When you make it big, will you remember me?”

“Yeah,” says Christine, averting her eyes.

“Promise?”

“Yeah, I’ll remember you.” And you know she will. She’ll remember her once a week for years, at $200 per 50 minute session.

But Danielle is ecstatic, thinking about the fun times they’ll have together in the industry she apparently knows so well. Which reminds her:

“You’re next!” she says to Jillian. “We’ll get another big house eventually.” She's probably regretting she didn't have as many kids as the Novogratzes about now.

As it turns out, the photographer hired to shoot Christine is none other than internationally renowned fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon, who just happens to be the ex-husband of a Real Housewife of New York. Naturally, Danielle finds a way to insert herself in the shoot, and Christine contains herself by counting the seconds until she, too, can be emancipated. Christine lands on the cover of a magazine. And Danielle plans a luncheon in her honor — a luncheon to which neither Christine’s friends nor Christine herself will be invited.

In the meantime, what about Teresa getting Gia booked for Fashion Week, too? Danielle doesn’t think Gia has it in her to be a supermodel. “She’s short.” She’s 8.

Photo: Bravo