The Real Housewives of New Jersey
As we enter week two of the RHONJ excursion to Milan, I’m happy to report the city is still standing. For now.
Danielle and Siggy are late for a bike ride with Melissa, who, ironically, is wearing a “Fashionably Late” sweatshirt. Wait, wasn’t Siggy all set to storm out of Milan last we saw her? Not anymore! The three women careen down busy sidewalks, narrowly managing to avoid mowing down any pedestrians (at least that the editing shows us), until they reach a picnic spot in a nearby park. There, over berries and champagne, Siggy complains once again about Margaret’s “meanness.”
I am beginning to wonder if Siggy might have Memento-style anterograde amnesia, waking up every morning to see “SOGGY FLICKER” tattooed on her forehead and a Polaroid of Margaret tucked into the corner of her mirror. “I’m fine with that, if you guys don’t speak,” says Melissa, tapping out after another unsuccessful round of trying to defend Margaret. Let me heartily co-sign that sentiment. I do believe that Siggy, deeply immersed as she is in Siggyworld, genuinely feels hurt — I don’t think she’s milking it for the cameras. But Margaret obviously didn’t intend any real harm by mentioning Hitler. We are all adults here. And more important, Siggy is an adult under contract to appear on a theoretically entertaining television show, so let’s move on, please.
Teresa has hired a local chef, Alberto, to teach herself, Dolores, and Margaret how to prepare some local cuisine, which they’ll then serve up as dinner for the whole group. He may be kind and patient, but Alberto is no SEXZCHEF. Has this man even gone on the record about his stance on thick booties in yoga pants? After picking out their “ingredientses” (as always, Teresa, thank you) at a local market, the ladies head to Alberto’s own house, a prospect that genuinely terrifies me on behalf of Alberto and his family.
Teresa apparently is enough of a pasta-making expert that she thinks a pasta-making class is beneath her, despite the fact that she signed herself and her friends up for this pasta-making class in the first place. And so, she volunteers for a special responsibility: To make steak tartare, she’s handed two enormous cleavers (Alberto, no) with which to smash chunks of raw beef into smaller chunks of raw beef. I mean, there are worse visual metaphors for season eight of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. But centuries of Italian culinary tradition are no match for Teresa’s yoga triceps, and she ends up chopping shards of the cutting board right into the meat. In a more exciting and upsetting version of this episode, she would proceed to spoonfeed the wood-beef right into Kim D.’s mouth. Wish you were here!
At Alberto’s — please don’t destroy this nice man’s home, there is no way he has any idea what he signed up for — Margaret pouts through dinner until Melissa takes her outside to talk. Understandably, she’s still feeling “raw” over Siggy calling her anti-Semitic. But back at the table, for conservatively the fifth time this season, Margaret sincerely apologizes to her unwanted nemesis for unintentionally hurting her. In response, Siggy takes a sip of her wine and stares into space, neither reciprocating nor even acknowledging the apology she’s been waiting for. What more does Siggy want, short of Margaret throwing herself onto a funeral pyre?
This next morning, Margaret brings along Danielle, who has a dedicated shoe room in her home, to visit a potential shoe factory. (“Where you going? To a bar mitzvah?” asks Siggy of the plunging black dress Danielle has chosen for the occasion.) It’s a busy facility, and as Margaret and Danielle are led through all the gluing and sewing and shaping happening on the production floor, I find myself wishing we’d suddenly veer into a How It’s Made crossover for the remainder of the episode. Alas, Margaret isn’t interested in making a deal after all. The quality of the craftsmanship is high, but so are the price points. Surely she could have gotten this information in advance and saved herself a trip to Italy, no?
Teresa takes Siggy to look at a random picture of Jesus on an arch somewhere in honor of her late mother, to make up for her missing that Margaret-planned memorial on the beach in Boca. Surely if Margaret had invited Siggy to join her in admiring a portrait of Christianity’s number-one dude, that gesture would have been interpreted as further evidence of her anti-Semitism. Because it’s Teresa, though, Siggy is touched. But not so touched that she won’t equate being called a vaguely hurtful nickname to being accused of cheating on one’s incarcerated spouse — or as Teresa puts it, “You were called Soggy Flicker. I was called an adultery from Kim D.”
By this point, even Dolores, who I believe is fully prepared to go down with the RMS Siggy like the band on the sinking Titanic, thinks they need make peace. At dinner that night, Siggy interrupts Melissa’s toast to thank Margaret for her apology before starting to cry some more. Margaret asks if Siggy really believes that she’s anti-Semitic. Siggy (eventually) says she doesn’t, and that she’s sorry for hurting Margaret’s feelings, a classic Housewives non-apology.
Anyway, the good news is that we have a Studio 54–themed birthday party for Margaret to look forward to — which promises to be especially delightful given that Teresa doesn’t know what Studio 54 is.