The Real Housewives of New Jersey
We all know the tradition: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a compulsory photo shoot in revealing swimwear to humiliate your bridal party. More has been made of Danielle’s vision for a “Bride Squad” Sports Illustrated spread than her actual wedding.
“Let’s go tribe! Wait, squad,” Danielle corrects herself. (Did you know? “Bride tribe” has 1.3 million Google search results, and “bride squad” only 777,900. Should’ve leaned into the assonance, girl.) Four non-RHONJ cast member bridesmaids may be missing, and yet Danielle, in a white “Bride” one-piece, refuses to wait for them.
As everyone else changes out of their sarongs, Margaret refuses, once and for all, to remove her lacy cover-up pants. “I’m going to punch her,” Danielle mutters, as if the microphone packs jammed awkwardly into the back of everyone’s swimsuits weren’t distracting enough.
I am sure you will be shocked to hear that the photo shoot, to put it kindly, is anticlimactic. Less kindly, it is extremely lame. The women half-heartedly hold hands, jump, and “sexy walk” like “Baywatch bitches” as the breeze whips their hair into their faces and the photographer offers up only the unhelpful direction of “do something fun.” A man presents the models with fresh coconut water and Melissa exclaims, “Yeah, mon!” This would be offensive even if they were in Jamaica, which they most definitely are not.
Left to their own devices, Joe, Joe, and Marty dine al fresco at a local conch joint. Lucky for them, this place is BYOB. The second B, here, stands for “bowl full of several large bottles of booze.” The Joes decide to speak now rather than forever hold their peace. The truly outrageous revelation that Marty and Danielle didn’t have sex last night, along with the potent stage-fright remedy that is a tremendous amount of alcohol, inspires Joe B. to talk more than he cumulatively ever has on two seasons of this television program [sic]: “Bro, to be honest with you, you’ve got to go and think about this seriously, whether or not you really can’t live with no sex, no nothing, fuck that. Your fucking head’s going to fucking explode. Right? Right?!”
“If anybody can pussy whip somebody, it’s her; she’s so frigging hot!” an increasingly annoyed Marty says of Danielle, who he will later affectionately describe as a “challenge.” Oh, honey. The groom doth protest too much. “Ooooooow!” Joe B. repeatedly howl-shouts, an affectation that seems like it’s something out of Swingers, except even Vince Vaughn’s character would be too embarrassed to deploy it.
Finally, when Joe G. serves Marty a phallic slice of conch meat with a cheerful “give it to the bitch,” the future Mr. Staub decides he’s had enough of their bullshit. “Ooooooow!” Joe B. responds, and Marty dumps a drink on his crotch. Sensing the possibility of imminent violence, and possibly an international incident, Joe G. leaps into action. His Brand Is Crisis. “We were fucking with you to see if you loved her. You passed the fucking test!” he congratulates Marty. Cut to a confessional, where Joe explains with deathly seriousness, “This was not a test.”
“There’s two of us,” Joe B. chimes in, his brain activity now limited to counting, I guess. “We love you!” Men truly are from outer space.
Marty wastes no time in tattling on the Joes to Danielle, who confronts them both at a cocktail party that night. “Do you think I’m after Marty for his money?” she asks Joe B., while no doubt reaching for the poison-tipped dagger strapped to her thigh. He hesitates. “Joe!” Margaret yells. “I’m debating the answer,” he explains, before weakly summoning a “no.”
Back in New Jersey, Jackie seeks Dolores’ counsel in the hopes of making amends with Teresa after #WouldYouHusbandBeInPrisonIfWivesCouldInFactControlTheirHusbandsGate (get it trending!), which is mostly an opportunity for Jackie to act inexplicably surprised that Dolores will side with one of her oldest friends over someone she just met.
This scene does not go well for Jackie, who digs a lovely little grave for herself that I’m sure we’ll return to and pay our respects later. She argues that the way Teresa screamed at her is not how “an educated person” would behave. It is extremely difficult to get me to root against you when Teresa Giudice is your chosen enemy, and yet—as a proud, screaming daughter of New Jersey, I will not condone this elitism. I, for one, can think of about a thousand mean, and accurate, things to say about Tre that do not pertain to her level of education.
Jackie tries a different tack and reveals that, when she was in college, her dad served a six-month jail term and her mom was placed on house arrest for tax evasion; Dolores plainly couldn’t care less. “Somebody’s going to have to compromise here, Jackie,” she warns, just as an umbrella blows over and crashes into the cafe table next to theirs. Surely that’s a good omen.
The sun rises on Danielle Staub’s third wedding day. “It’ll be fine,” Marge tells Joe, and herself. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.
As each bridesmaid arrives in Danielle’s bridal suite with wet hair—as an email from Danielle had specifically instructed them to do—she berates them for requiring the blowouts they’d been promised. “I thought it was supposed to be about me! I’m the one getting marrieeeed todaaaay!” she warbles mournfully.
Margaret gamely starts blow drying her own hair, but this gesture of goodwill doesn’t stop Danielle from accusing her of putting her husband up to warn Marty about his bride to be. After a few minutes of crying into her iced coffee, Margaret leaves. “I fucking have your back more than anybody,” she says, correctly. “And out of anybody here you speak to me the worst and treat me the worst.” She’s getting on a plane. See you later.
Out in the hallway, Danielle hugs Margaret and begs her to stay. “Don’t fucking leave me,” she mewls, and Margaret relents. She’ll stick around for the wedding, but this friendship is running on fumes.
Mimosas are poured, gowns are zipped up, and Danielle’s daughters walk her down the sandy aisle for her beachside ceremony.
“I don’t think this marriage is going to last,” Margaret predicts in a confessional, a pronouncement that would come off crueler if, in time and space as we know it, Danielle and Marty weren’t already locked in a bitter divorce battle. Sadly, we can’t all have a romance as long-lasting as that of, say, the former D’Agostinos.