The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Teresa has put more effort into decorating her home for Gia’s prom than I remember my high school putting into decorating my prom for my prom. There is champagne, there are pastries, there are grocery-store crudités (pre-chopped!), and there are stately balloon-sculpture columns, as well as balloons that spell out P-R-O-M, in case anyone develops Memento disease in the next half-hour. I mean, I get it: Tre missed Gia’s eighth-grade prom when she was away in P-R-I-S-O-N, and Joe can’t exactly pop by for this one.
My beloved Gia is a vision in periwinkle and Frankie looks great in his tux, even if I personally don’t agree with his fashion decision to wear a shirt underneath it. Everyone is emotional — Teresa and Dolores are both clearly prepared to marry their children off to one another right here and now, if only Nonno had gotten ordained by the Universal Life Church in time — including me. I’m grateful for the comic relief that are the inserts of Teresa’s heavily Facetuned snapshots of the young couple.
Jennifer, Gabby, and their mother slash grandmother attend a scholarship fundraiser for Uncle Steven’s musical theater education program, at which he gives a speech and accompanies an actual Broadway star named Caroline Bowman (get this woman on Countess and Friends immediately) and his students on keyboard as they sing a song that sounds like a real song, but, based on my Googling the lyrics, is not, in fact, a real song. By the performance’s end, tears are streaming down Mama Aydin’s face as she embraces her son and promises between sniffles that she’ll always be there for him, no matter what. She may not be modeling any PFLAG merch just yet, but it sure seems like we’re making progress.
Tre eats avocado toast with Danielle, who is offended she hasn’t been invited to Dolores’ vacation house, but she’s going down the shore anyway, this weekend, what a coincidence, maybe she’ll see them there, who’s to say? Not for nothing, but I feel you should know that the trail of aquatic carnage that supposedly inspired Jaws actually happened on the Jersey Shore.
Dolores continues to bug David for some kind of, any kind of, the vague scent on the wind of a verbal commitment about the future of their relationship. The good doctor continues to drive me absolutely insane with his cryptic non-answers: “Would I have spent this money with you building a house, moving, why?” Duolingo your girlfriend’s love language, my dude. At least he’s never cheated, she observes optimistically in a confessional.
You will no doubt be shocked to hear that David can’t make it to their getaway in Point Pleasant, but D is unfazed — she busies herself arranging cupcakes with her guests’ faces printed on them to indicate whose room is whose, which is a flawless translation of Tinsley’s Tiffany initial necklaces into Jers-ese. Once the others have arrived, Teresa reveals to her friends — all of them standing around the opposite side of the kitchen listening to her, like if “group therapy” involved only one patient but a whole bunch of therapists — that she believes Joe cheated on her. She may be the very last human being with basic cable to come to this conclusion, but I’m happy she found her way there.
In my favorite 30 seconds of the episode, 9-year-old Hudson FaceTimes Jackie — who has by this point sadly changed out of what she had on earlier, a pair of cargo shorts with so many mysterious attachments on them that I feared we were about to be marketed L’Infinity L’Capris — crying, adorably, because he lost his “championship.” We never learn what kind of championship he is referring to. “It fucking sucks,” he sobs, then, chided by his mother for language, course-corrects to “It sucks.” I consider this scene a fitting sequel to “sporty.”
The gang dines on the water in Brielle, the borough of about 5,000 people that according to Wikipedia boasts the first public library in New Jersey to offer public Internet access, and where I think one of my cousins may have had either a baby or bridal shower (this fact, oddly, does not appear on Wikipedia), and that I personally choose to believe was the namesake for Kim Z-B’s eldest. Melissa orders something called Garden State Lemonade, which based on its name is at least 30 percent urine. Dinner is mostly peaceful, but does point to possible family turbulence ahead, as Teresa bristles at her brother and later her sister-in-law’s too-soon jokes about Juicy Joe’s infidelity and whether she should try to pick up a guy at the beach.
Though I agree with Teresa that Joe made a grave mistake wading waist-deep into the mires of “girl shit” at Margaret’s party (I hope, like that guy who swam in the Gowanus Canal, he packed an activated charcoal tablet in case he accidentally swallowed some), he ultimately sort-of apologizes to Bill for being a gross weirdo, and in no time, they’re back to calling each other “baby” over Red Bull vodkas, like the good Lord intended.
But Jennifer is still fighting with Melissa and also with Jackie, and also also with Margaret. The next morning, as Tre describes the resentment she feels toward her husband over how their legal troubles deeply fucked with her life and livelihood, Margaret chimes in about how she relates because of her own lawsuits — and yeah, it’s a little bit of a make-it-about-me moment, but I’m not throwing any flags on the field. (Did I do a good sports metaphor, Hudson?)
But Jennifer wastes no time in pointing out that, ahem, Margaret has “no idea what [Teresa’s] going through, really,” and then Marge waits about 30 seconds to find an excuse to crack a non-joke about how mom-of-five Jennifer doesn’t have a job. All right, whatever. To think, if Danielle had been invited, this fizzler of a fight could have ended with an UberXL to the ER.