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Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: New Digs?

For what it’s worth, we’d like nothing better than to press charges against Andy Cohen for sneaking up behind us and ripping out big chunks of our brains each week — that’s our real brain! — but we don’t actually go through with it. Because we understand that he’s just a kid … okay, maybe he’s not technically a kid, but he’s certainly toddler-esque in spirit. The point being: It strikes us as kind of sad that Ashley and her beret are going to end up with a criminal record just so that Andy Cohen can remodel his pool house or whatever. And we wonder, sometimes, when he watches what happens, does he ever find himself overcome with abjection and dread? We’re just saying: If we were him, we’d drink on the job, too.

Tonight’s episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey kicks off with the little Giudice troll tribe (minus the newborn — who was probably in the bathroom, smoking) beating the living crap out of each other in a martial-arts studio. We don’t know exactly what kind of martial art it is in which small girls are instructed to kick each other repeatedly in the head, but from their father’s delighted reaction, these kids are well on their way to a black belt! Congrats, kids! Plus, it looks like excellent preparation for future participation in reality shows, as well as great exercise.

Continuing the “girl fight” theme, Danielle meets her “friend” Danny at a boxing gym, where it turns out Danny is surprising her with self-defense classes. From the looks of it, Danny is surprising her with more than that. He is all glowing and goofy, and Danielle has that triumphant look about her, like she just swallowed a house cat whole. But that’s as much as we’re going to dwell on that subject, lest we go into catatonic shock. Also of note, Danielle has apparently learned how to pronounce the word “women” but continues to anthropomorphize mental institutions.

On to this week's learnings:

1. Danny’s “Silent Bob” sidekick should totally get his own show.
And on this show, he should do nothing more than silently and solemnly react to whatever nonsense is being said across the table. Hey, maybe he could replace Larry King! Because this guy packs more pathos, insanity, and mystery into one nod and eyebrow-raise combo than Caroline Manzo does in an entire episode of blubbering about Albie. He somehow manages to look seriously concerned and like he doesn’t speak the language at the same time. It’s awesome. Who is he? What is he doing? What does he want? Seriously, Andy Cohen, think about it. We’re intrigued.

2. Denial makes for great TV ...
By far the best part of the episode was the part when Joe sneakily offers Teresa a brief and terrifying glimpse into their financial future and domestic arrangements. Joe has invested in an apartment building that also houses a pizzeria and a Laundromat. At first, when he’s showing Teresa around the pizzeria kitchen and jokingly pointing out where she’ll be cooking, it feels like he’s kidding. Later, when he takes her upstairs and shows her around one of the depressing apartments, it doesn't. Does Teresa take the hint? Of course not. We’ll say this about her: She has elevated denial to a superpower. “I own lots of properties in my name,” she says. “Some are good investments, some are bad investments.” She thinks about this and adds, “The economy is bad.” And then she’s off to Posche, to smoke some chinchilla.

3. ... except when it doesn't.
We know by now that RHONJ makes the other shows in the franchise look like Michael Apted documentaries; is that why Caroline Manzo is still spit polishing the perfect housewife routine? Nobody cares. The further she stays away from the drama, the more we wish the Manzos would just get hustled onto the ice floe already. Because, sure, what happens every week on RHONJ is sad and undignified, but sad and undignified is all these ladies have. (Also fur vests and tons of berets.) Anyway, this week in the McMansion the Brownstone Built: Albie gets his letter from Seton Hall stating that he’s not useless, he’s just useless to them. Hope that helps.

4. There’s a thin line between love and hate.
That scene with Ashley and her igneous rock of a boyfriend? We don’t see the spark. We couldn’t help but notice, however, the little smile that creeps onto her face when she talks about how Danielle is “obsessed” with her.

5. And, finally, if you’re going to get in the middle of one friend’s pressing charges against another friend’s kid, it’s time to pick a friend.

Jacqueline’s characterization of Kim G.’s rent-a-friends as “a busted-up Sex and the City” was spot-on, whatever it means, as was her request that Kim G. pick a side already. But Kim G. won’t pick a side because she, like Danielle, is crazy — only her crazy is a lot more cunning, and insidious, which promises to lead to the most unhinged finale ever. We hope Danny’s weird friend is there, too, crazily agreeing with everything everybody says.

Photo: Bravo