The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Before we get to all of the drama surrounding Marge’s drag brunch, can we take a quiet moment to appreciate my favorite scene of this whole episode? (Also, hi! I’m Dame Brian Moylan, president and founder of the Real Housewives Institute, filling in for my intern-for-life Molly “Milly Fotzpatrick” Fitzpatrick while she’s away on vacation.) It’s when the fertility clinic calls Melissa and Joe to give them the results of the tests they took a few episodes back. Because she is a Real Housewife, she is physically incapable of talking on the phone unless it’s on speaker, so the receptionist just has to tell everyone the fertility news, including Melissa’s two young sons, who are sitting on the floor of her palatial “great room” trying to play Fortnight in peace.
“Usually we see about 15 million sperm per milliliter,” the nurse says on the phone, “but when we put Joe’s sample under the microscope, we only saw three sperm swimming.” Three. Three! Oh, stop. Oh, hold on. Let me catch my breath. Oh, I think I just peed a little from laughing too hard. Three. Only three. I mean, Carl from Summer House has three balls, but Joe Gorga has the lowest sperm count on all of Bravo.
This wouldn’t be so delicious if Joe wasn’t always talking about how he has to have sex 90 times a day and that if he doesn’t “get the poison out” of his system by rutting with his wife at every opportunity, it will kill him. But this guy, the same one who is on “growth hormones” for “bone and joint health” (a wink as big as the fountain at the King of Prussia Mall), has killed all of his sperm. And to make it worse, Melissa is, like, super-duper fertile. Joe, who needs to be the king of his castle, is walking around with a ballsack full of dead fish and Melissa is able to just pop out babies like University of Phoenix hands out degrees.
Margaret is having a Mother’s Day brunch for all of the cast and their mothers in her backyard and it’s going to feature drag performances, because nothing says motherhood like men dressed as women. (For the record, all of these drag queens likely have more working sperm than Joe Gorga.) Before the event can even start, Jackie ruins it by calling up Teresa, who is getting a pedicure with Dolores, and invites them to her Hamptons house next week. She tells Dolores, “Oh, I was going to tell you tomorrow,” confirming for Teresa that they’re all hanging out with Margaret without her.
“She didn’t invite me? Bitch,” Teresa spews like a broken percolator. Instead we see her at home having breakfast with her four daughters and engaging in New Jersey’s second-favorite leisure activity — fighting with your spouse. (The first is jarts.) God, can we just fast-forward to the divorce that we all know is coming already?
Over at Margaret’s house, she’s dressed in Frida Kahlo cosplay while the queens Harumy, Digna, Sucia, and Hybiscus strut up the driveway like it’s Ninth Avenue and they’re late to a gig at Flaming Saddles. Margaret has them greet all the women and their mothers as they arrive, and that seems to spoil the surprise, doesn’t it? Don’t you want to just have everyone over to brunch and then, as they’re digesting their omelets, just bring out the queens so that everyone can holler and grab their phones and swing their napkins over their heads while they lip-sync?
I feel like this has to be the banjee-est job these drag queens have ever had. They have to greet everyone in the driveway, walk across the “before” picture in a Scotts Lawn Care ad to the back, and then sit them at a table that looks like it was pilfered from a closed-down princess-themed ice-cream parlor. However, the best part of that whole walk is when the drag queens have to escort the mothers past the landlocked boat on the trailer in Margaret’s side yard. I mean, couldn’t she bring them through the house or something to avoid that unsightly mess?
Despite that, brunch is going pretty well. All of the women and their mothers are telling stories about what they were like growing up, and Jackie tells a story about how she was living with a guy whom she didn’t want to marry and he bought an engagement ring. Jackie told her mother to give this guy $15K for the ring, and then when he was ready to propose she would sell him the ring back. However, Jackie told her not to ever sell the guy the ring back.
After she tells this story, Jennifer says, “Wow, she must have had some money growing up.” This is completely the wrong lesson to learn from this story. The lesson to learn from this story is that Jackie is completely insane. Why would she even bother with any of this? When she found out the dude had a ring, why not just dump him and have him bring the ring back? Why go through all of these logistical hoops just so she can, what, continue to date a guy she has no intention of marrying? This sounds like a plan that Rudy Giuliani would have come up with to get dirt on the Bidens or something.
The only real drama at the party is when Margaret talks about Teresa and how she wants her to stop being friends with Danielle to be friends with her. Everyone also thinks that she should have invited Teresa to the party to try to smooth things over. Dolores, correctly, says, “This is going to be a war.” Look at Dolores, someone must have given her a Magic 8-Ball for Christmas.
Finally we get the drag performance, and one of the queens had to learn the lyrics to Melissa’s (underrated) dance hit “On Display” because that was the only song that the producers could afford to get clearance for. The rest of the queens are just mouthing “cantaloupe watermelon” along to nonsense because Bravo didn’t want to spring for the original tracks. Everyone loves it except for Jennifer’s mother, Josephine. When the two talk about the performance later at Jennifer’s house, Josephine says she didn’t have any idea what was going on and that these were men dressed up like women. She didn’t really like it because it wasn’t something she was used to. Jennifer explains it all and then uses that to shift the conversation to her brother, who is gay, even though her mother doesn’t like to talk about it.
Now, poor Josephine is going to take a lot of hate on Twitter for what she says next, which is that she supports her son but “if you have a sick child it’s not like you get rid of it. But why does he have to talk about it so much?” Jennifer explains to her mother that it’s not a sickness and that it would help their relationship if she could say, openly, that she is proud of her son and his being open about his sexual orientation. Everyone is going to call her homophobic and, well, her comments do come from a deep-seated place of bias. Josephine even admits that where she is from people don’t talk about this and she doesn’t know how to process it.
Let’s give Josephine a chance to do the right thing before we all pile on her. Both Jennifer and her brother realize that it is not his problem, it’s Josephine’s. Jennifer is also doing her best to support her mother and understand her, but also to push her into doing the right thing. This is what we need to make progress. This is the wind that will fan the flame of righteousness inside of Josephine and get her marching in the Wayne, New Jersey, Pride parade behind a PFLAG banner in 2020. Telling her how wrong and awful she is isn’t going to help anyone. Her family is guiding her in the right direction, let’s just hope she follows them.
But this scene is the most I have ever liked Jennifer. Well, this and when she gets the address for Jackie’s Hampton’s house just so she can find out how much it rents for ($50K a month in the summer) and what it’s worth ($2.7 million). Thank you for answering the questions that we want to know and doing the Trulia stalking that everyone at home who doesn’t have the address wanted to be doing.
Jackie’s Hampton’s house is really cute on the inside. It looks like Tory Burch designed a house for her little sister whose family lives in Cleveland. You know that Tory wouldn’t have picked out that front door, though, the one with the oval window with a glass flower design that is the unofficial flag of Long Island (and not the classy part where the Hamptons are, either).
As soon as Teresa arrives she says, “Thank you for inviting me, and thank you for not inviting me, Margaret.” And we are off on the Teresa venom train. She is thinner-skinned than an onion on Accutane. She’s also so privileged in this group, so insulated by her status as the one OG, that she can just treat people however she wants and not expect any consequences. Sadly there probably won’t be any, but it does spell a lot of drama for the week ahead.