I’m going to be recapping these season-ending reunion shows for Andrea while she’s on vacation. Since Andy pointed out the theme of this season is loyalty, I feel it’s only right to try to sway you over to my side by telling you that I went on a frantic binge of watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey over the past two days to catch up in time for tonight’s episode; I’m sure Andrea has never done this for you, which makes me the recap princess. Also, Andrea learned all about recapping from me, along with everything she knows about house flipping.
This season’s reunion is at the Count Basie theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. It’s a grander setting than past reunion shows, one in which it's conceivable that Max Weinberg might just start jamming out in the background. No one’s going to get this reference, but here goes: When I was little, I was obsessed with Family Circus comics, and the only way you could tell the difference between Jeffy and Billy was because Jeffy’s hair had little wavy lines while Billy’s was just smooth. Andy’s hair was pulling a Jeffy tonight, slightly longer in that way that some guys' hair doesn’t actually grow down but out. It still looked good, of course, because he knows what he’s doing, and my very current and perfect Family Circus comparison holds up especially well considering he was sitting next to Teresa, who was wearing her hair as straight as a board. Or straight as a whistle: Thanks to her, we now know we can cram any analogy we like into that instrument.
The seating had Kathy and Teresa on one side, and Caroline and Melissa on the other, with an absent Jacqueline leaving a gap like Juicy Joe’s knocked-out tooth. Something big went down the night before that no one can talk about yet, but it was enough to have turned both Jacqueline and Caroline against Teresa “for good.” “She’s in a bad place emotionally,” says Caroline. “She couldn’t come here and look at [Teresa].” At that, everyone turns to look at Teresa and that is pretty much the position they stay in for the rest of the hour. The powers that be have obviously decided that she has enough villain in her to last for another season, but I'm skeptical. I just keep picturing a tube of toothpaste that’s a week past the point that you were able to squeeze a proper amount of paste out of it, but you keep forgetting to go to Duane Reade and buy more, and so you keep trying to squeeze the last little dregs out, using your teeth, scissors maybe, sometimes applying too much pressure and so what you’ve squeezed out lands on the floor
We start the show where we left off, with the cookbook. Melissa confirms that the sister-in-law dig was about her (because the suspense was killing us on that one), and then gives us a little gift by revealing that Teresa tried to persuade her from doing the show by telling her that people would make fun of her “huge forehead.” At the word forehead, the friend with whom I was watching stiffened and leaned forward in her chair. “That’s weird,” she said, “because I’ve always found Teresa’s forehead to be freakishly small.” It turns out Teresa has, too. She hates her forehead. Wants it to die. Or at the very least she wants Melissa to suffer from the same feelings of forehead inadequacy that she has been forced to suffer through herself.
Andy tries to steer the conversation over to the “Christening Heard Around the World,” where it briefly lands, but soon enough we are back to Teresa and Melissa fighting. Melissa mentions how Teresa didn’t invite Joe to the show’s season-two premiere, and Teresa accuses Melissa of being a bad wife because she wasn’t constantly checking Teresa’s Facebook page. Or something like that. I tell myself that I will only check my own Facebook page for as long as it takes for them to move onto a new topic, but that never really happens, since every topic on tonight’s episode revolves around Teresa, which is basically her dream anyway. If she could make a wish that she knew would come true, it would probably look a lot like her onstage at the Count Basie theater, all eyes on her. Andy would be there, except he wouldn’t look like himself; he’d look like her, only with a bigger forehead. All the other girls would look like a more proportionately domed version of her, too. Instead of mean questions about her sketchy finances, the Andy-Teresa hybrid would just say “swimsuits” over and over again. This would happen forever, and if anyone tried to stop it, she would banish them to the cornfields.
Back on Earth, though, Teresa is fighting with Caroline, who claims that Teresa told her she didn’t want to make up with her brother at all because he was an asshole. Teresa denies it and Caroline keeps repeating, “I am not a liar.” There is something dangerous about losing Caroline as an ally (and I mean dangerous in the sense that there are no stakes involved whatsoever, but if there were ). She seems poised to spill all of Teresa’s secrets, and you get the sense that there might be a few gems in there (and a whole lot of filler).
Andy does manage to tear the attention away from Teresa long enough to ask Melissa what the hell Joe does for a living, print money in their basement? Melissa certainly takes a while answering, especially considering how she’s always going on and on about how busy he is at work. She emphasizes that part again — “He’s an extremely hard worker” — and then she says he converts warehouses into condos. There is definitely something undeclared under there.
Of course, this gives Teresa a chance to say that Melissa’s Joe learned about house flipping from Juicy. Melissa says her Joe freaks out every time he hears that, and Kathy inserts that Teresa claimed that Kathy learned to bake from her. And then they all go at it again for a while, but really more out of habit than anything else.
By this point, it’s clear that we’re not going to get anywhere close to the Andy-pushing episode of last season. Andy, meanwhile, is fully trying to push Teresa’s buttons now. He brings up the controversial statement about Jewish friends that she made, about how they would’ve divorced Joe in a second after his money problems set in, and her response is pretty hilarious: “I only said that because I have a Jewish friend who said I would’ve divorced him in a second.” The part of Teresa that makes her a tricky villain is that half the time she is simply playing catch=up. When Andy brings up how she said she wasn’t going to be cutting back on the Christmas presents this year, she freely admits she bought her kids an iPod Touch and a toy Mercedes truck. When Andy suggests that a Mercedes truck is still expensive, Teresa shakes her head and says, “Nope. Only $200.” She is too confused about exactly which joke is being played on her to connive.
The last ten minutes is the Andy Cohen show. He just keeps hitting them out of the park. He asks Teresa if she and Juicy would’ve gone to jail if they hadn’t declared bankruptcy fraud, and she denies it. His question about when she has to pay the eight million dollars she and Juicy owe is met with a shrug, and he responds, “Well, you should probably look into that, don’t you think?” When she mentions rumors of alleged Picasso painting in her house worth $50,000, Andy interjects, “They’d be worth $50 million, and frankly you and Joe wouldn’t be able to afford them.” I’m feeling the most alert I have all night, and I’m already scheming ways to fix Andy up with Greg so he can be a regular on the show. The problem is, it would mean not fixing him up with another friend I’m convinced he would be perfect for, and I’m afraid my loyalty is going to have to lie with the real people in my life for the moment.