The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Oh God, it is yet another week of dealing with the banana-bread-brained COVID idiocy of Teresa Giudice. So what excuses did she have this week for spreading a rumor that Jackie’s husband, Evan, an MBA printed on romance-novel covers, was cheating on her? The conversation about this at dinner gets so heated that Teresa says she’s going to “blow her casket,” which, honestly, is all you need to know about this here conversation and Teresa’s synapses, which are so far apart they’re like Gandalf holding onto the ledge just before his grip slips and he ends up falling into the unceasing abyss. (The “unceasing abyss” is what Teresa’s fifth-grade teacher called her.)
When the women ask Teresa at dinner in Lake George why she thinks Jackie is so upset about the rumor, she says, “Because she’s weak, she has no backbone, and she has an inkling that her husband is cheating.” Okay, if she was weak and had no backbone, wouldn’t she just believe that the rumor is true? And if she was weak and had no backbone, why would she stand up to Teresa to defend herself? And if she thought it was true, why would she fight to defend it? This line of reasoning makes as much sense as putting ranch dressing on your chicken parm.
Then Teresa is flabbergasted that Jackie is so upset and asks who acts like that. Thank you to Margaret for pointing out that “[Teresa’s] husband was cheating on her and she was not calm about it,” complete with her harassing Kim D when she brought up the allegations and demanding truth. Teresa still says that it is true that she heard this rumor (though I think she made it up) and won’t admit that she doesn’t believe it.
When the women call Jackie to check in on her, she says what she wants is for Teresa to call Evan and tell him that the rumor is false. That is never going to happen. You’re more likely to see a sex tape featuring the pope and Tim Tebow than to see Teresa calling up Evan to tell him that she is wrong. If Jackie is waiting for that apology, she better listen to some En Vogue because she’s never gonna get it, never gonna get it, never gonna get it, never gonna get it. Whoo-woo-woo-hoo!
Teresa said earlier in the day that she wouldn’t apologize to Jackie because “I apologized to her. If she didn’t like my apology, she should stick it up her ass.” But Teresa gave the Housewives Apology No. 2, which is “I’m sorry I said something at your event.” It’s not an apology for what was said, it’s an apology for when and where it was said. That follows Housewives Apology No. 1, which is “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.” Again, not an apology for what was said — just an apology for pissing someone off.
When talking to Jackie on the phone, Melissa tells her that maybe she should apologize for what she said about Gia, but Jackie refuses. At dinner, Teresa says she’ll apologize to Evan, but only if Jackie apologizes about Gia. So here is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an uncomprehending object. Even after Teresa barges out of dinner and all the women follow her upstairs to try to change her mind about what she’s done to Jackie, Teresa still refuses. Melissa finally surrenders, “We tried to bring Teresa around, we failed, so Jackie needs to get past all this.”
That line of reasoning reminds me a little bit of Trump’s second impeachment. (I’m sorry if politics hurt your feelings and I brought it up at your party.) Everyone agrees that the insurrection was wrong and that he caused it, but no one is able to punish him because his detractors don’t have the support and his allies are afraid of the power he wields and won’t piss him off. I understand why Jackie doesn’t want to apologize. She’s sick of eating shit so that she can cater to Teresa. But I also agree with Dolores: At some point, someone needs to make a bit of a concession, or we end up with a federal minimum wage that is stuck at the price of one Subway footlong-meal deal an hour.
I’m so tired of talking about this; let’s talk about something else. How about Margaret’s assistant, Lexi, who has an accent that is so undecipherable even Dorit Kemsley thinks that it is made out of the melted-down microchips that the Russians used to make their Sputnik V vaccine. When all of the women are sitting by the fire at the end of the episode and they hear an animal in the woods, I think she says, “The biggest thing we have in England is a badger.” This lady is from England? Then why does she sound like a cross between Bruce Springstein’s first girlfriend, a Philly cheese steak, and a bottle of Designer Imposters Body Spray? I live in England, and there are plenty of regional accents I haven’t heard, but there are none that sound like a Speak-and-Spell powered by the horn on a Barbie Ferrari.
Lexi barely says anything this episode, though. When all the women are at lunch, Melissa brings up her 15-year-old daughter, Antonia, and her boyfriend, Zach, who is so nice that he doesn’t pressure her for sex. Melissa then tells the ladies that she is going to have a sex talk with Antonia because her mother had that talk with her and she turned out just perfect, which is kind of a self-centered way of thinking, but I get it. Teresa immediately launches into an “I don’t want anyone touching my daughters” speech, which is the same sexist bullshit that her brother is spouting all the time. It’s funny that these women are so sex fueled but would guard a daughter’s virginity like it’s the last remaining meatball recipe on earth. Women have sex. They should all know it. That is fine. Just let them have sex and be free about it. God.
Melissa is right to have a sex talk with her daughter because, even though she can look it up online and see people doing it, watching a PornHub video and talking to your mom about sex are two different things. One is about the mechanics of it (as defined by the heterosexual, exploitative male gaze), and the other should be about the emotional needs and consequences that are attached to those mechanics. Every parent needs to contextualize sex for their children, even if they learn the biology of it in health class. It’s a little sad to me that none of Teresa’s daughters will get that because we have yet to topple the Catholic church with the pope and Tim Tebow’s sex tape.
Also very telling is that Margaret says she lost her virginity at 15 and Melissa says she lost hers at 18 and none of the other women would mention it. They’re so ashamed of having sex out of wedlock that they still won’t even talk about it probably 30 years after the crime was done and they’ve all moved on from the husbands who thought they were marrying virgins (bar Jennifer who is still with her virgin husband).
What’s crazy to me is that Teresa won’t talk about sex with her daughter, but she will go to a strip club with her brother. I love strip clubs and strippers of all stripes. I also love both of my brothers, but I never want to be in close proximity to them when they get a lap dance. Teresa talks about how she and Joe were out one night with friendsm and he was like, “Let’s go to Hi Beams Go-Go Lounge in Patterson,” so she went along with him. Just as they were entering, Joe got a call from Melissa and made Teresa talk to her and tell her they weren’t at the strip club. This is all … very weird, and that no one seems that bothered by it, but they won’t talk about their first time having sex, is mind-boggling to me.
As retribution for this, Teresa has the idea that they call up Joe and tell him that Melissa has been flirting with some guy they met in Lake George. Now I’m really pissed because that thing about Melissa texting with a restaurant owner that has been teased in the season trailer and the upcoming highlights for this week was all just a ruse the ladies made up. I can’t believe they thought this was a hilarious idea, knowing that Joe would probably get right into his Suburban and drive up to Lake George to let his roid rage out on whatever stupid restaurateur was trying it on with his wife.
Joe is so taken by this ruse and so ready to believe that Melissa is cheating that he starts speaking in Italian to Teresa so that none of his kids, who are in the car with him, can understand what he’s saying. When they finally tell him that they’re punking him, he says, “You’re so corny,” which is really the best response, but you also know that he was already trying to remember the code to his gun safe so that when he got home he could go protect his wife’s honor like he’ll protect his daughter’s virginity.
He brings the incident up to the boys at game night, for which he’s invited Bill, Joe Benigno, and Frank over to play cards at his house, which always looks like it was designed by the animators of Beauty and the Beast. Apparently the basement, no longer a recording studio, is now a Goomba’s Bar and Grill, complete with wine room, poker table, and a marble island that has a Magic Eye portrait of Tawny Kitaen etched into the top of it. I actually love these little boys’ nights they have and find something endearing in how they behave like 14-year-olds, eating wasabi and talking about the possibility of maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day having a threesome. This is like the Stranger Things kids all grown up, right down to playing games in a finished basement.
The best part of their convo is when Joe Benigno says that he has heard the same rumors about Evan that Teresa, but he says that’s because his house is full of women and they’re always speaking at crazy volume. That doesn’t mean that the rumors are true or anyone believes them, or maybe they’re just all talking about this rumor that Teresa totally made up. Then they go around the table and all say that Evan is most likely totally faithful and that they’ve never seen him even try to get the attention of another woman on their nights out. Then they all slap each other on the back, try to light their farts on fire, and talk about their different strategies for castrating any man that dares to look amorously at any of their daughters. You know, the important business of the patriarchy.