The Real Housewives of New Jersey
This week we see our favorite ladies in the Hamptons. Well, in Westhampton. Actually, in Westhampton Beach. Yes, it is technically a Hampton in that it has Hampton in the name and it is a village that is a part of greater Southhampton, but it’s in the Hamptons like Cornell is in the Ivy League. Sure, it’s a part, but if you can get into any of the other places, you’d much rather go there. As the name implies, Westhampton is the furthest west of all of the Hamptons. Remember in season four of Real Housewives of New York when Cindy Barshop had a house in Quogue but Sonja Tremont Morgan wouldn’t go to a party there because it was too far away? Well, Westhampton Beach is even further than Quogue.
Calling Westhampton Beach a Hampton is sort of like when people say that Jersey City is the “sixth borough” of New York. Girl, it is not, and I don’t care that it’s 20 minutes door to door to Manhattan. No one cares and your breath smells like Aunt Annie’s pretzels and PATH train.
When the women get into cars to go to Topping Rose, which is a restaurant and hotel where Tinsley Mortimer and Carole Radziwill stayed when they were in a fight with Bethenny Frankel, it’s 30 minutes away. That’s because they are filming there in, like, April and there is no traffic. You could drive across the state of Texas in the time it would take you to get from Jackie’s house to Bridge (as anyone in the east end calls Bridgehampton) during the summer season.
The reason I bring all of this up is because Jackie, her money, how much of it she has, and how she spends it really becomes the focus of the biggest fight of this episode. Well, that and Jennifer’s temper and inability to handle flatware like a reasonable human being.
But before we get there, Margaret needs to fight with Teresa about how and why Teresa wasn’t invited to her Mother’s Day brunch. Margaret tries to sit Teresa down and calmly and rationally explain to her why she’s upset. Her argument is that Teresa picked Danielle Staub’s friendship over Margaret’s and that is a decision she just can’t brook. (Brookhampton is not a Hampton. Brockhampton isn’t either, but it is a boy band. Ask your nearest cool teen.)
The problem with trying to explain anything to Teresa, an actual, literal numbskull, is that it is like trying to strike a match against a wet noodle. Margaret explains that she doesn’t want Danielle around just like you wouldn’t want Charles Manson around. “Who’s Charles Manson?” Teresa, a person who has never seen Geraldo Rivera before, asks. “No, I’m serious. Who is he?” When they tell her she says, “Well, I wouldn’t let a guy like that around my children.” Hello! That is exactly the point.
It drives me insane that she is the alpha of this group. Did you notice when they were choosing rooms Teresa says, “I want the one with the balcony” which is also the only other room with a king size bed. That means she gets the best room and all the other women have to double up in twin beds. It must kill actual intelligent people like Jackie and Margaret that they must kowtow to this person.
As this fight continues, Teresa also says that she doesn’t see the bad in Danielle because, apparently, Teresa has blacked out the entire first two seasons of the show when she was chasing Danielle through a Posche fashion show while other people were grabbing chunks of her weave.
Teresa’s problem with Margaret and Danielle is that she thinks Margaret started it. Margaret pushed Danielle’s husband in the pool, she threw wine on her, and she dumped water on her at the store party. Even when Margaret explains that she only threw wine because Danielle incited her to do so, Teresa says that she would react the same way Margaret did, but also tells Margaret she would never get over having wine thrown on her. Teresa just doesn’t have the logical breadth to understand a simple parallel that Margaret is drawing.
But Teresa is not wrong. Margaret’s problem in this argument is that her rash actions keep her from having the moral high ground. Danielle says some awful things, but if Margaret hadn’t poured water on her, Danielle wouldn’t have set her purse on fire, pulled off her fake ponytail, and destroyed an $800 Fornasetti candle set. Yes, Danielle’s marauding reaction was outsized, but Margaret did kick it off.
That’s my problem with this season, that I just can’t find a person to love. I want to love Margaret, but she goes and does shit like that, which keeps you from totally supporting her. I’m actually growing to like Jennifer — especially when she asks rude questions about how much money people make, because I am the exact same person — but then she starts a beef with Melissa at lunch over a stupid offhand comment.
I want to love Jackie, but her skin is thinner than OJ Simpson’s alibi. I want to love Delores but she is constantly defending Teresa, the human embodiment of the 1-877-Kars-4-Kids commercial. I want to love Melissa, but… Oh. I think I love Melissa. That is… I don’t know. It’s an odd feeling. It’s like Dunkin’ Donuts being your favorite restaurant.
As much as Jackie’s inability to handle criticism and her extreme condescension rub me the wrong way, there is definitely some veiled anti-Semitism going on here, too. They’re always talking about how she’s “not old school” and “cut from different cloth” and “raised differently” and “not like us.” What they seem to mean is that she’s Jewish. Now that Jennifer has found out that Jackie has more money than she originally thought she keeps calling her “stingy.” What is next? Is she going to say that she controls the weather and talk about the size of her nose?
When Jennifer and Margaret are alone together, Jennifer, whose money is newer than the tummy her husband just bought for her, says she doesn’t understand why Jackie doesn’t spend more of her money. For Jennifer, who grew up without money, she likes to impress people with how rich she is. Jackie, who grew up with money, doesn’t need expensive kids’ parties to show everyone she’s rich. She knows she’s rich and that’s enough for her.
Margaret tells Jackie at lunch at the Margarita Grille (you know it’s classy because there’s an extra vowel at the end) about how Jennifer thought her kids’ birthday party was cheap because she only served pizza. Margaret brings it up as a joke but it sets Jackie off. When Jackie calls Jennifer on this, she doesn’t apologize, she doesn’t back down, and she doesn’t explain how they see money differently, all of which would be typical and rational reactions to the argument. Instead Jennifer just digs in and starts scrapping.
The fight gets out of hand really quickly because Jackie feels attacked about her parenting skills and Jennifer, I don’t know, just wants to yell about something. I don’t entirely understand her position other than, “You should be spending all the money you have,” which seems like kind of a dumb argument and up to a personal choice.
Looking to defend her friend, Melissa says that she, like Jennifer, spends all kinds of money on her kids’ parties, but Jackie is really the smart one. In 30 years time she will have saved all of her money and her kids will be set up better than any of theirs. Jennifer then says, “You’re saying my kids aren’t going to be successful in 30 years?” and when Melissa won’t answer her, throws both her fork and knife at her, much to the consternation of all of the off-season “Hamptons” haunters wishing they could hide from the cameras.
This is so obviously a dumb overreaction. And if Jennifer just took a second to listen, she would see that Melissa included herself in this fact. Is she going to say that her kids are going to be losers too? I mean, I do worry about Gino. (JK! Melissa’s kids are all going to be fine and not losers. That was all for comedy, folks.) Now the two of them are standing up in the restaurant and throwing things and, well, this looks less and less like the actual Hamptons with every passing second.