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The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: The Soggy Pool Party

We celebrated matriarchal glory in the various ways we saw fit — pastel-colored flowers hastily picked up at Penn Station, tasteful brunches, Waka Flocka Flame concerts — but the 'Wives weren't the ones who earned our respect this week. No, the night belongs to Richie, that pudgy little Jeff Goldblum–looking motherfucker, who's the unexpected voice of reason throughout.

As they ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines/massive SUVs, the housewives minus Melissa and Teresa fill their husbands in on the throwdown at the Summer Solstice Party. Kathy wants to invite the Giudices to the Wakile's upcoming pool party, but Richie insists she should just burn that bridge already.

Here's how Caroline sums it up: "What did that girl do to you that's so terrible? She exists, that's the problem. She's a better, younger version of you, and that's your problem." In other words, Melissa is a home-schooled jungle freak who is just a less hot version of Tre.

Meanwhile, Tre and Melissa regale their respective Joes; Joe Giudice, who at this point is constantly either shitting or punching things, steps up his attempts to brainwash and alienate his wife from her family with subtle, witty jabs like, "Rosie looks like a butchie boy. And your stupid idiot cousin looks like a frog." Joe Gorga, on the other hand, is just straight exasperated and not in the least surprised. He pantomimes addressing a football as if it's Tre's freakishly-low-hairlined head, which houses a gauze-wrapped brick where a normal human brain would be. It's clear which couple is the healthier of the two, and equally clear that Tre's bitterness about her unhappy marriage is what's driving her to attempt to poison her brother and Melissa's. Incidentally: "I don't run back and tell you [everything] like a little pansy," Teresa tells Joe Giudice, which she is literally totally doing right this minute.

Although the solstice shitstorm has made everything awkward for the ladies, Jacqueline and Teresa still have to train together. Wait, no, they don't. They could definitely train alone. But this makes dragging out this goddamn argument really convenient, so they have to train together. Unlike Melissa's slow unraveling of Teresa's flawed logic last week, Jacqueline — still upset that she was thrown in the middle of the debacle — short-circuits Tre in a quick, effective manner, insisting that she isn't just Teresa's acolyte and loyalty goes both ways. Jackie would be a good orderly at Bellevue.  Also, personal trainer Jolene is carrying a bottle of Sutter Home in her duffel bag. Fucking Sutter Home. She can't even afford Chateau Diana because her clients pay her in crazy.

Compared with the other families, the Manzos are like the Brady Bunch. The overweight-shaming, stripper-car-wash-running Brady Bunch. Albie, Chris, and Lauren rev the engine of a sweet white dealership Jag, and when Lauren makes a crack about how the car is so sexy it's "taking her clothes off" (her skirt's riding up), her brothers cringe with more disgust than necessary. Poor Lauren Manzo needs to move out of New Jersey and find herself. A disgruntled Caroline and Albert roll up, with Mama Manzo grousing about how the boys don't need this car. As it turns out, they got Caroline the car for her anniversary. Wow. This year for Mother's Day I got my mom me not being on drugs.

Lauren should move in with A$hley! Jackie video-chats with her bleach-blonde little fuck-up, who Mary says is "doing research for the project we're working on," says Mary. In related news, English phrase definitions have changed so that "doing research" she means "drinking" and by "the project we're working on" she means "Nyquil."

When Joseph and Victoria's friends don't show up for a pool party at the Wakile house, Kathy is annoyed. She needed macaroni salad and potato salad. Between the cookbook drama and Lauren's diet and this, have you ever noticed how much of this show is about food? This show is actually about food the way The Crucible is about the Salem Witch Trials on the surface, and is actually about McCarthyism underneath, but really at its deepest level is primarily about the fact that you can buy Daniel Day-Lewis's hat at H&M.

Why didn't anybody come to get their drink/fuck on at the Wakile's? Was it because of Joseph's hideous fedora? Surprisingly, no. The party isn't well attended because Richie told the kids that it would be unwise to invite their friends from high school to witness the Great Giudice/Gorga Battle Part Deux or be associated with Teresa and Joe Giudice in any possibly way. Snap.

Even Caroline has skipped out, since she's away with Albert in their old place to celebrate their anniversary. "Can I feed you some strawberries?" Albert asks Caroline as they lounge on the sofa of the old-fashioned brownstone they lived in before Albie was born. I guess they still use it as a sex den. Fortunately, we are spared the sight of any strawberry-feeding. Honestly, the Manzos seem to kind of have a great marriage and twentysomething Caroline was really cute in a montage of old photos. She also pronounces cellulite "cell-ul-LEET," which is either incorrect or a very special kind of cellulite only.

Ironically, the Wakile party ends up being attended by the Gorgas, the Giudices, and almost nobody else. Tre and Melissa basically make nice and Melissa admits to a soft spot when seeing Tre with her kids. Later, their little girls pose in identical outfits together and they are able to get close enough to each other to take iPhone pictures from the same angle without ripping each others' tracks out. God bless Rosie, who diffuses the tension by donning a Boca-looking one-piece and doing a painful-looking belly flop into the water, nearly flattening a child in the process.

Richie suggests to Joe Gorga that Tre should go into therapy, but Joe Gorga unsurprisingly responds that his parents are too old-school and would never be able to handle that. And then Richie fucking nails Tre's problem: "Does she consider your wife and her kids her family?"

Gorga thinks about it for a second, which looks painful. Not, like, emotionally. I mean simply having to think about something other than (a) benching and (b) creative names for his ejaculate.

"No."

So as the ladies essentially circle each other and sniff ass like dogs, Gorga asks Tre to sit down and have a rational conversation with him. Good fucking luck. It comes as no surprise when Tre starts crying immediately, using the flawless, oft-used trick of utterly insane women to get out of being yelled at. She feels betrayed, she says, by Gorga's repeating the "gold digger" comment to Melissa.

And now, Gorga Fight, a play by Edward Albee:

TRE: You're not my brother anymore. [Hair flip, sigh.]
JOE GORGA: You're saying you don't tell your husband anything? He knows when you take a pee.

Sensing that her argument is laden with derpiness, Tre switches arguments to how Melissa's a bad aunt. Incidentally, Melissa is watching Tre's kid this entire time.

TRE: You're just the meanest brother ever.
JOE GORGA: [Totally serious monotone.] Don't say that. Because I'm an angel from God. [Farts silently.]
TRE: Where is my kid? I need to get out of here. I can't do this? Where is my kid?

Tre gathers her brood and goes — even though I always kind of feel like she's forgetting one kid every time she storms out of a McMansion in a huff like that — no doubt to regale Joe Giudice with every word. Fucking housewives.

Photo: Bravo