The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Some personal news: Jennifer’s son Justin (the 14-year-old who appears this episode in purple Thanos face paint) is about to enroll in my beloved alma mater, the Bergen Academies, a countywide magnet high school. I am confident he will thrive there, on the basis of the purple Thanos face paint alone.
Jennifer herself is off to Istanbul for her brother’s engagement party, the greatest yet of her In My Traditional Turkish Culture educational public-television segments. (What can I say, I love learning!) There, amid a banquet that looks fancier than most actual weddings, the groom’s uncle asks the bride’s father for her hand in marriage, then Jennifer’s brother clasps a diamond cross around his future wife’s neck, to celebratory ululation from all assembled.
“When Melda marries into my family, she’s instantaneously going to become my sister,” Jennifer says of her future in-law, who I hope Bravo is backdoor-piloting for season ten. “You know, unlike some families in Jersey.” I stop mid-giggle at this solid burn and feel my blood run cold. Is Jennifer … growing on me? What is happening? Could Andy Cohen be piping hallucinogenic fog under my apartment door at this very moment?
I know one thing for certain: Bill still sucks. Before Jennifer leaves, she shows her husband Jackie’s column that alludes to their family. “There’s nothing wrong with the article,” Bill declares. “She makes valid points.”
In my personal opinion, this is grounds for divorce, or at the very least, legal murder. One time, at the Trader Joe’s in Forest Hills, a stranger yelled at me for doing a terrible job of parking, which, to be fair, I was. The fact that I am horrible at parking (shoutout to the nice man at the Lodi DMV who definitely should have failed me on my road test!) is among my fiancé’s core, identity-defining beliefs and yet he hesitated for exactly zero seconds before shouting back at our new friend. I have never loved him more.
Even if your wife’s chosen parenting style is, to put it kindly, chaotic neutral, hey — maybe publicly back her up on this point she’s clearly upset about (and hey — maybe try participating in the child-rearing process for five consecutive minutes).
Over coffee, Jackie and Teresa (who, lucky for Jackie, seems Savasana sedated) reach a détente after agreeing they both were guilty of disrespect. It also helps that Jackie not only apologizes, but in a truly dizzying alternative-facts interpretation of #WouldYourHusbandBeInPrisonIfWivesCouldInFactControlTheirHusbandsGate, explains that she’d intended it as a compliment to Teresa’s strength all along. I see. “We may have a beef again in the future, because we are very strong type-A women,” concludes Jackie, The Secret-ing her next story line into existence.
Like second-generation bodybuilder Frank Jr., Teresa has started training under Frank, whose preferred workout style involves grunting and shaking and general sweaty misery. He instructs the already shredded Teresa to lose 12 more pounds, which sounds insane to me, like she’s going to need to start ripping out hair extensions and fake lashes by the fistful to make weight.
Melissa and Joe take birthday boy Joey and their two other, non-Joey kids to Sugar Factory, where the children sip truly hideous neon-blue drinks and Dad entertains himself by repeatedly suggesting that Antonia’s ambition to own a boutique like Melissa won’t make her rich. “You wanna build buildings, make some big money, or do you want to sell a shirt?” he asks — I don’t know, when you put it like that, selling a shirt sounds pretty chill — to his wife’s great annoyance. “Nothing irks my skin more than what you just did,” Melissa proclaims, but it seems to me like Joe’s campaign of idiocy is only pushing Antonia closer to her mother anyway.
Danielle, perhaps sensing correctly that her bygone wedding was her last hurrah of relevance to this program, has been continually text-fighting with her now ex-friend Margaret, who is Done. You hear that? Done. We catch a brief glimpse of Margaret’s approximately 5,000-word response to Danielle on her own phone screen, and the random details spied therein are absolutely tantalizing. There’s something about Us Weekly, something about a “3 way,” and something about “Priscilla and Julius.” I’m willing to assume this is hair stylist Julius Michael and makeup artist Priscilla DiStasio, who’ve worked with Margaret, Danielle, and a whole menagerie of Housewives and served as the much-abused glam squad on the woman briefly known as Mrs. Caffrey’s wedding day. Anyway, I could produce a six-episode season of a prestige investigative podcast about this single message, so hit me up.
Dolores is hosting a glamorous lunch event for the shelter where she volunteers, treating residents (and their kids) to manicures, massages, and goody bags care of Margaret and Melissa. It’s genuinely a very sweet occasion.
Teresa, Melissa, and Margaret take a break from performing empathy to chat about Jennifer’s trip to Turkey. Marge muses aloud as to whether her brother’s fiancée could be a mail-order bride. Once Jennifer returns, Teresa wastes no time in passing this comment along. Jennifer’s skin, needless to say, is very irked. What about Margaret’s “cheating scandal,” huh? How about that?
Dolores labels herself, Teresa, and Jennifer the “old-school values” squad, the Jets to Melissa, Margaret, and Jackie’s Sharks. Or should that be the other way around? Whatever. Either way, I’m looking forward to the Rumble.