The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Hoo, boy. Since Jacqueline left, it sure seems like the RHONJ editors had a villain vacuum to fill — and two episodes into season eight, there’s no denying whom they’ve chosen to take her place. (Her name rhymes with Twiggy.) The aftermath of Cakegate is messy, both figuratively and literally. “Let’s not kid each other. My IQ is a lot higher than these girls,” a livid Siggy says within earshot of all of the aforementioned girls, as she cleans up the remnants of Teresa and Melissa’s food fight. The camera zooms in on the cake wreckage in a series of closeups set to ominous music, a montage that would seem melodramatic even if the camera were focusing on an actual human corpse.
The next morning, Siggy finds a sympathetic listener in Dolores at a smoothie-purveying establishment called Raw Juce. (As Coach always said, there is no “I” in “juce.”) They never bothered to respond to a group text, so the other ladies are off to do yoga on the beach without them. On the ride there — during which Melissa appears to be drinking milk … out of a mason jar … with a straw? — they recount the events of the previous night and rehash Siggy’s meltdown. She threw her glass of wine before they even touched the cake, which, purely from a stain-removal perspective, is a much worse offense. “Siggy’s behavior screams control freak,” observes Danielle Staub, who is increasingly the most reasonable person on this television program. Margaret suggests that Siggy, a proud Gemini, really does have a twin: “Soggy” Flicker, so named for all her crying. A little on-the-nose for my taste, but okay.
The yoga class, taught by newly certified instructor Teresa herself, is interrupted when Margaret accepts a delivery right on the beach. She’s ordered an enormous memorial wreath of white roses, in honor of Teresa’s late mother, for them to set out to sea. This strikes me as an extremely weird thing to do, especially given that she only met Teresa 36 hours ago (how far in advance did Margaret order this?), but everyone seems to find it very moving, so what do I know? All the women write emotional notes to their lost loved ones and attach them to individual blooms, and then Teresa, who can’t swim, takes the wreath far out into the water on a paddleboard, with the assistance of an accompanying instructor. It was surely the sweetest and most meaningful litter deposited in the Atlantic Ocean that day.
The whole gang reunites to pay a visit to Siggy’s best friend Lori. Lori’s OB/GYN husband delivered both of Siggy’s kids — in fact, that’s how they met! (Even if this doesn’t constitute some kind of HIPAA violation, do doctors normally introduce patients to their family members? Because, no, thank you.) But even the ride to Lori’s house is uncomfortable. Outside the front door, Siggy pauses to preemptively scold her pals: “I really want you guys to have a good time, but just last night I felt like it went too far … My point is we’re going to my friend’s house, please fucking respect it.” Unsurprisingly, Melissa and Teresa don’t appreciate being told to be on their best behavior. Lori has procured a hunky tennis instructor and an even hunkier lifeguard to teach Teresa how to swim, but no amount of pecs and ponytails can alleviate the bad vibes here. Both Siggy and Dolores are upset that they weren’t invited to Margaret’s surprise memorial: Siggy because she feels she’s owed loyalty for bringing Margaret on the show, and Dolores because she has known Teresa’s mother since she was a teenager. (Personally, I find Dolores’s case slightly more persuasive.) A very valid counterpoint from Margaret: What does this have to do with either of you?
Dinner is where else but Siggy’s own home in Boca. On the wall just inside the front door hang 11 (!) photos of Siggy striking a variety of poses, seemingly from the same shoot. In one, she is strumming an electric guitar and wearing what appears to be a Slash-inspired top hat. The Housewives’ meal will be catered by a man named Sexz Chef, and he is all I want to talk about from now through my wedding day and the births of my children until my dying breath. (His Instagram bio reads, in full: “Allow SEXZCHEF to tastefully satisfy a few of your 5 senses. Thick bootie in yoga pants. Daddy loves Rocco. Sambuca, scarfs, food & make romance NOT sex.” For the record: same, same, same, same, same, same, and same.)
Before long, simmering tensions come to a boil. Siggy tells her supposed friends that she’s angry they didn’t apologize first thing in the morning, a suggestion the other women literally laugh at. Well, excuse me, but that cake cost $1,000! Come on! Siggy insists she didn’t say anything insulting, and when the other women quote her insults back to her, she denies them. [Cue a well-timed flashback to Melissa’s birthday dinner.] Dolores, God love her, is still staunchly Team Siggy. “Maybe you don’t have to apologize for the act, but apologize that — Siggy, you’re upset,” she says to Teresa and Melissa, clearly trying as hard as she can to defy logic in the name of friendship. Teresa is baffled that Dolores isn’t taking her side.
Margaret takes this opportunity to trot out that “Soggy” nickname again. (Marge, no offense, but it wasn’t that great a zinger the first time.) Siggy calls Margaret an “ice princess.” The shouting match escalates from there, until it reaches a grand crescendo of Siggy yelling, “Trashy! Trashy! Trashy!” With that, everyone but Dolores storms out. On her way to the door, Teresa says the crab cake they were served was salty. Did she really have to drag Sexz Chef into it?