The Real Housewives of New Jersey
My bachelorette party was last weekend, and like most things in my life, it was not explicitly New Jersey–themed but nevertheless ended up that way. The crowning pink cubic-zirconia jewel of the festivities may have been a “Same Penis Forever” banner, a nod to Danielle Maher Staub Caffrey Staub, the patron saint of ill-conceived unions. Even if this particular engagement doesn’t work out for me, at least I’ll have 20 (excuse me, 21) more shots to get it right. (If you’re reading this and you happen to be engaged to marry me, I promise I am, like, 90 percent joking. Or 85 percent.)
After no small amount of leading the witness on Andy’s part, Teresa finally confirms that, no, she would not move herself and her kids to Italy to be with Joe, should Tre’s ex-boss not intervene to halt his deportation. And a long-distance relationship is out of the question.
Andy asks if she’s been faithful; Teresa says she has. (Do I hear a senior cat dry-heaving somewhere out there on the wind?) Her vibrator is a “beautiful thing,” even if Milania at one point threw it into the pond in front of their house. (I hope Tre threw it in the dishwasher after that. I shudder at the thought of labia algae.)
Frank, Bill, Joe B., and the other one are brought on to fill out the peanut gallery (I almost typed “penis gallery”). We touch again on Bill and Jennifer’s no-sex courtship. “What if you go down there and it just looks at you funny?” Joe Gorga asks, of a hypothetical wife’s hypothetical vagina. I would pay $500 to watch this man draw a diagram of the female anatomy on the spot.
Then, for the first time in Housewives history, Andy asks the husbands what their own taglines would be.
Bill: A nip/tuck a day allows my wife [to?] spend and play.
Not a bad start, though I think we’re missing a preposition. B-
Jackie’s husband (Evan! His name is Evan! Sorry, Evan!): I have four kids, two degrees, and one kick-ass wife.
A cute homage to his spouse’s actual tagline, albeit a bit of a can-I-copy-your-homework-yeah-just-change-it-around-a-little copout. B+
Frank: I work hard, I play hard, until I spent all my money on boats and whores.
Like Frank himself, vulgar perfection. A+
Joe B.: If you want the job done right, ask me, and I’ll do your wife.
Exactly what I look for in an Angie’s List profile. C-
As for Joe G., he produces a shiny gold cape-blanket-curtain out of nowhere as his “dress,” revealing that his expertise in fashion design rivals his expertise in gynecology, then offers two distinct taglines: “I don’t flip tables, I have sex on them,” and, “I’m not a plumber but I know how to lay pipe.”
See me after class.
Even Danielle’s emergence from the sea foam that is the third installment of this reunion cannot save it from being a fairly boring hour of television. Her marriage to Marty lasted only two months, she reports, and they are continuing to co-habitate during their divorce, despite having filed mutual restraining orders against each other. (Exactly how big does their house have to be to make that work?) And her wedding dress only cost $35,000, thank you very much, not $45,000. That would be unreasonable.
“If I had a man buy me a $35,000 fucking dress, I’d be sucking his toes,” Joe Gorga offers to no one in particular. I am genuinely fascinated by how this man’s brain works, and the fact that he so clearly believes that sucking someone’s toes is the single greatest possible show of deference you could make to them. I’d love to watch him meet a head of state.
Despite Joe B.’s howl-punctuated ballbusting at Marty’s bachelor party, despite Marty’s “promotion” of Danielle’s beauty via denying the very existence of Margaret’s breasts, despite Marty’s unplanned dip in Jennifer’s pool, Joe B. reports that, improbably, the two old buddies have made up. And yet the path to reconciliation for Margaret and Danielle is far too littered with Bride Squad swimsuits to be navigable.
A question from none other than Kim G. points out that Danielle suggested Jackie and Melissa were having a sexual relationship despite her own history of “pretending to be gay.” Danielle insists that, as a noted Garden State bisexual, she meant nothing derogatory by it, but I guess I’m thankful to Kim G. for giving me a reason to link to “Real Close.”
Teresa, as always, refuses to acknowledge any of Danielle’s misbehavior toward her castmates. “If someone’s nice to you, how can you be mean to them?” she asks. This is one of several complex psychological concepts Teresa is currently grappling with, up there with object permanence.
Margaret reminds the world that Danielle is a “prostitute” and a stripper who had an affair with a married man. The latter claim, she says, is substantiated in Danielle’s own book, as if anyone on these couches — including and especially Danielle — has ever read it.
I recommend focusing entirely on Jennifer, who has apparently heard nothing of Danielle’s colorful past, throughout this argument. “Did you say ‘video on PornHub?’” she asks. Dolores nods at her meaningfully; Jennifer’s eyes widen bigger than I have ever seen them.
“You can change your face, you can change your address, you can change your clothes, but you haven’t changed your soul,” Margaret monologues at RHONJ’s own Norma Jeane, born Beverly Ann Merrill. “You can change your name, but you’re still that Beverly inside.”
Even after seeing what Marty said to Margaret, Danielle maintains that the couple was still wrong to push her then-husband in the water.
“It was a shallow pool. He could have gotten hurt,” Danielle says.
“I do have a nine-foot deep end, but—” Jennifer interjects.
Danielle presents Teresa with a Tiffany-blue box. Inside is a necklace engraved D+T, both of their initials — Danielle is wearing a matching pendant. To use the word “cringey” would be an understatement. As Andy observes, Teresa is visibly uncomfortable with the gift, wrapping it back up, putting it away, and stammering a half-hearted thank you.
I’ll leave it up to you to imagine the anguished expression on Danielle’s face as Jennifer now bestows even more jewelry (care of her brother, of course) upon Teresa: a pearl bracelet with a mini-portrait of Teresa and her mother. I feel like I’m watching footage of Kim Jong-un’s birthday party.
The sacrificial offerings to the Great Old Ones continue. Joe wheels out a kid-sized white SUV, complete with a vanity Jersey license plate that reads “Lil AC,” and a matching personalized Adidas tracksuit for Andy’s son. It’s a very sweet surprise baby shower, with each mom giving their TV daddy a piece of parenting advice. May the road rise up to meet you, Benjamin Cohen, and may that road never lead you to the Posche fashion show.