The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Before we camel-ride along the beach that is this week’s episode, two quick items of business to address:
(1) In a purely civilian capacity, not as an emissary of the Real Housewives Institute, I bought my very dear friend (who’s from Closter — what’s up, Closter?) a Cameo from Margaret for her birthday. Marge’s video was delightful and I highly recommend her services. Thanks, Big M!
(2) I have been remiss in not sharing with you a link to the official video for Milania Giudice’s single, “I Can’t Wait to Grow Up.” My only complaint about this otherwise transportive cinematic vision is that the mall in which it was shot is not in New Jersey at all, but Syracuse. It’s like watching Mallrats and just sensing the Minnesota all over everything. (No? Just me?)
Back to Cabo! I guarantee a nonzero faction of these women are down to Build the Wall when in fact it is plainly they who are terrorizing Mexico and not the other way around. Kudos to the RHONJ editors, who successfully took us out of last week’s baffling Jennifer-Melissa broken-glass confrontation at exactly the moment it seemed like Drunk Jen might try her hand at amateur plastic surgery (maybe she and Bill could go into business together like Cary and Mark!), but it deescalates as quickly as it began.
“The girl had devil eyes, Dolores, all night,” Melissa says, and even though it’s unclear exactly which girl she’s referring to, I am nevertheless prepared to declare her correct. Dolores, picking up the broken glass by hand (Dolores! Get a potato!), is at least as angry at Melissa, threatening to kick Jennifer’s ass her own self.
“I don’t even know what the fuck happened,” Teresa says, unconvincingly. Representing one-half of this disagreement, we have a woman throwing glasses at people and another woman smashing glasses and threatening people with the shards. Representing the other, we have two women who did, well, neither of those things. As far as Teresa is concerned, you might say there are very fine people on both sides.
If anyone is “toxic,” it’s Margaret, Tre insists, as always leading us to wonder exactly where she falls on the spectrum of actively stupid to actively malicious. (Then again, to paraphrase a wise child in a tacos commercial, what about both?)
Sobered up back in Jersey, Jennifer is appropriately mortified. She nervously fills Dr. Bill in on her stabby antics and Margaret’s “girlfriend” dig. “Are you mad? You look mad,” she asks. “Ha ha ha ha ha,” he says, a very normal and in no way alarming laugh.
Margaret and Teresa meet for a riverside lunch in what has to be Edgewater, right? They should have gone to Mitsuwa, but I digress. Exactly one fun detail emerges from this scene — Margaret doesn’t even drink red wine, she explains, so she grabbed Dolores’s glass to throw at Danielle — which is otherwise yet another platform for Teresa to insist that Margaret should maintain a toxic friendship with a third party in order to appease her. But at long last, Tre reluctantly acknowledges that, okay, fine, Margaret has never done anything bad to her. A platonic love story for the ages!
Jackie, who my calculations tell me I like again, reminds us about the existence of her estranged sister. She’s decided to reach out, once and for all. Jackie appears to dial her sister’s number from memory (which, after 15 years, is impressive). I’m surprised by how emotional it is to watch their conversation unfold — perhaps all the more so because we’re only witnessing half of the conversation, since Jackie defies Housewives convention by electing not to put the call on speakerphone. Both sisters are eager to be reunited and plan on getting together soon.
Over in Passaic County, Dolores and Frank have a heart-to-heart of their own while washing cars, which, as we all know, is the single most vulnerable, soul-bearing activity that two human beings can engage in with clothes on. He brings up his conversation with Teresa, about whether he could be holding Dolores back from a more serious relationship. You know, with someone who isn’t her ex-husband who happens to live with her. If he is, Frank wants her to know he’ll move out. “Um,” Dolores answers. She doesn’t really know. Keep an eye on this developing story.
It’s time for Margaret’s charity event, except, change of plans, it turns out that her big kid-friendly hospital-gowns idea has already been done by someone else (Marge, did you not do a Google?), so now she’s just going with that person’s whole thing. That was a little anticlimactic, but okay! The party is nevertheless for a very good cause: a fashion show featuring child survivors of cancer and a silent auction, all to benefit a children’s hospital.
We enjoy a great appearance by Marge’s employee Lexi and her unplaceable outer-space accent. Taking into account this new data — and the way she predicts that the event is going to be a “tearjerkah, for sure” — my latest guess to Lexi’s origins is that she’s actually a minor character from Good Will Hunting.
All the housewives and (non-incarcerated) husbands are in attendance, as is Polly from Oklahoma, who, if her itinerary allows, may finally have the chance to experience the unearthly glory that is a Paramus sunset. Everyone is still residually alarmed by Jennifer, who, praise Chanel, has chosen to stick to ice water this evening. She makes amends first with Dolores (good, because I still want them to be friends! The hand weights, you guys!) and then, with obvious fear, approaches Melissa. “Are you in a calm mood?” Melissa asks, eyeing Jennifer’s hands for any sign of a weapon. But in light of Jennifer’s sincere apology, Melissa absolves her. At least for now.
Alas, Margaret’s master plan of reuniting her feuding ex-husband and stepson in one place failed to result in a reconciliation, considering the two men refused to speak to one another throughout the evening. (But we do learn one interesting Josephs family tidbit: Jan’s girlfriend is Joe’s ex-wife’s best friend.)
Otherwise, the event is seemingly a great success. An 11-year-old leukemia survivor speaks movingly about spending weeks at a time at the hospital; a series of very cute children march down the runway costumed as baseball players, skeletons, and unicorns.
Lexi was right: Tears have indeed been jerked.