The Real Housewives of New Jersey
I regret to inform you all that I am not Julie Klausner. We can all learn something from this: You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. Which, in this case, is to read about what would happen if the cast of Jersey Shore were handed mortgages in Franklin Lakes after a decade of having their souls sucked out of their assholes in Azkaban. So let’s do it. If we were using Friends titles, this would be “The One Where They Wear Bindis and Screech at Each Other.”
Down at the shore, Teresa inquires of husband Joe: Will it be weird to see Richie after Candleholdergate? “I woulda rather neva saw that motha-efffa,” Joe grunts as he does pull-ups on a bar in the doorway. Sidekick Jacqueline appears and Teresa fills her in on the fissure growing between herself and brother Joe Gorga, which is totally inexplicable and clearly has nothing to do with Teresa telling Joe Gorga that his wife Melissa will leave him for a richer man (predicated not upon any concrete Smell Yo’ Dick–type proof, but upon the fact that “she rubs [Teresa] as that type of girl”).
Poor Lauren Manzo is still on the same diet as those kids from V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic: fruit, chocolate powder, a squeeze-bottle of egg whites. Throughout the episode, the Housewives address her like she’s a problem dog who finally stopped shitting on the carpet. (“Hey, pretty giiiiiiirl!” “You look great, Miss Laurennnnnn!”) Like Tibetan monks who starve to obtain the highest spiritual plane, Lauren is hovering above this plane of existence and seeing deep and important visions of the future: “When I lose weight I’m gonna be really rich,” she tells Caroline. “I’m gonna have a lot of money.”
Both Manzo ladies repeatedly say that it’s hard being Lauren because her brothers are such splendiferously attractive, brilliant, and charismatic business entrepreneurs. Read: They have all four limbs and the idea to start a car wash with strippers. Incidentally, they are also douchebags who say these kinds of things to Lauren about her boyfriend Vito and their future children: “They’re gonna have some big tits” and “They’re gonna be koala-bear types who can’t control their arms and breathe heavy.”
As everyone minus the Manzos gets shwasted on a boat, Rosie and her mother watch the children. I use the term “watch” liberally. They’re basically running loose in the street looking tan and scrappy and filthy like kids in the background of a Fellini movie. It is a fruitless, chicken-egg conversation about whether Melissa McCarthy based her Bridesmaids character on Rosie or vice versa. The kids drive Rosie to down red wine in a plastic cup.
Finally, in case you were wondering how dolphin-shaped belly-button rings fare in the desert heat, we get an update on premiere vocal fryer A$hley Laurita, whose parents decided to curb her partying and set her straight by shipping her off to the quaint, quiet, one-horse town of … Las Vegas. Jacqueline confirms that Aunt Mary is sending A$h to a life coach and “teaching her how to use the computer.” But everyone knows that despite Jacqueline’s best efforts, Ashley’s feet are set on a doomed and permanent path of three-chamber bongs and Purple Drank and males who wear Ed Hardy to social functions, so there is an uncomfortable subject shift to Caroline’s impending Change of Life. Teresa, whose years in the tanning bed have apparently worn down her cognitive memory, keeps bringing up Candleholdergate like she’s shocked that someone could give her tough-guy husband Joe a black eye. “[Because] for years he’s been telling her ‘I’m the best. I’m the greatest … ’ He brainwashed her,” says Joe Gorga, which is pretty insightful for a dude who refers to his own ejaculate as “poison.” Everyone else talks her down, but not before Kathy invites Teresa to punch Richie in the face so she’ll just shut the fuck up about it.
Although she appears the sanest of the bunch, it seems that Jacqueline is one of those Into the Abyss-interview-subject, stealth-crazy people. Exhibit A is Jacqueline’s spiritual adviser Tia, a psychic who looks exactly like what you would expect a psychic from Jersey to look like. Tia has helped Jacqueline plan an all-white Summer Solstice party to rid herself of the bad energy in her life, although a way more practical and inexpensive way to do this would be to Gorilla Glue every single other person on this show to a beach chair and wait for high tide. Before the party, Melissa fills Caroline in on Teresa’s backstabbing, but says she’s willing to let it go with an apology. “Unless my face is bleeding, you get a pass,” she says. Meanwhile, Teresa and her pal Kim are driving over to the Solstice bash. “We’re wearing white because we’re all so pure,” jokes Kim, who is recognizable because she is the only blonde and her face looks like a catcher’s mitt. There is also a bizarre, lingering close-up on a blood-red cross dangling from the rear-view mirror, like Roman Polanski directed this episode or God is telling us not to watch this show.
At the Summer Solstice party, a woman is poorly playing the flute and odd young women who look like shot girls are bindi-ing people as they arrive.
“These are bindis,” Tia informs the new guests. “They’re to open up your third eye chakra.”
“Ohhhhhh,” says Teresa, who clearly has no idea what that means.
Rosie, decked out in a white suit and looking like if the Derossi-Degeneres wedding had culminated with Ellen eating Portia, gets in Teresa’s face about the gold digger comment. I hope Rosie head-butts Teresa because it would be like that scene in Scanners except instead of the contents of a natural human head, a single menthol cigarette would fall out and White Snake would start playing from the stump. I also like how people keep asking Melissa “So Joe’s okay with it?” about beginning a singing career, like she’s overstepping her professional boundaries as Joe Gorga’s vaguely-resembling–J. Lo–circa-2001 sex Tamagotchi. Teresa bullies submissive sidekick Jacqueline into procuring Melissa for the inevitable confrontation (Part 1: Civil), during which Melissa does the unforgivable. She refers to Joe’s stint “in jail” rather than the euphemism of “going away.” Old-school Kathy confirms: “In Jersey we don’t say ‘jail’ because it’s a pride thing.”
Teresa spends like twenty minutes getting in and out of her car in a huff, and at one point Jacqueline whimpers about being put in the middle and how unfair it is (GROW TESTICLES ALREADY, JACQ-JACQ), and finally Teresa and Melissa throw down for the remaining ten minutes of the episode in a way that is almost impossible (and against my good conscience) to record in detail for posterity, but I will say that Teresa’s main argument is that Joe Gorga informed her of Joe Giudice’s cheating back in the day, but he was, so it’s a moot point and she’s clearly just bitter and wants to destroy her brother’s marriage. Teresa fucking sucks. She sucks so hard she manages to make Melissa, the woman who expects “How Many Times, Dear Joe” to catapult her into the Top 40, come off like Hillary Clinton by comparison. Finally, they all go home. I’m officially putting my vote in for an Ashley-in-Vegas spinoff called Dirty Extensions: all the vocal fry of The Hills, with all the humor and pathos of Celebrity Rehab. Only on Bravo.