Are we still in Lake George? Are we still talking about this Jackie-and-Teresa fight? Mamma mia, Pappa pia, buy two and the third is free-a. (RIP, Screech.) God, I feel like the bottom roll in your Spanx because I am sweaty and trapped and I just want you to go somewhere else so I can finally break free.
There’s nothing interesting left to talk about at the lake other than the fact that Teresa seems to want to wear only tennis-ball yellow. To go sit by the lake, she puts on a one-piece in that hue that has laces up the boobs and along the sides, like she’s about to lie on an exotic auto in a Whitesnake video. It is a fantasy I am very into. The problem is that she has this “cover up” tied around her waist that looks like she met a mummy in the pantry and the two of them had a roll around in the expired cans of Chef Boyardee. It’s just a bunch of fabric scraps that look like she tried to stretch an Amish place mat into an entire garment.
When they’re by the lake, they do talk a little bit about boys, and Teresa shares a picture of her “pool guy,” Tony, and, well, he can prime my filter any day, baby. He is just all gray hair, blue eyes, and sweaty pecs. How is a middle-aged man that stacked? He’s got five years on me, and I look like the Michelin Man and Bluto’s illegal gay love child. Teresa doesn’t want to hit it, though, because he’s a friend. She seems to want to dive into another relationship already when she’s only dated her ex, Joe, and one other guy. Teresa looks like that in a swimsuit sponsored by Hi-Liter, and she isn’t going out and MILFing around all the townships in New Jersey? What a waste. She won’t even flirt with the sexy 27-year-old next door who is clearly into at least one of these ladies.
The one lady he couldn’t possibly be into is Lexi, a woman with the accent of a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru order. Is Lexi a “friend of” this season, or is she just the hired help? She goes out and gets breakfast for everyone, she’s helping all the ladies onto their floaties, she’s taking Melissa’s pictures for her socials like she’s proudly wearing an #InstagramHusband trucker hat. Did Margaret just convince Bravo to give her assistant a paycheck? If she did, that is the best coup I have ever seen.
The ladies sit down for dinner, and Teresa brings up Jackie again, even though she keeps telling the women she doesn’t want to talk about it. As Jennifer says, it’s like it takes a long time for Teresa to process things, so she keeps finding new things to be upset about. But I don’t want to talk about what’s said at dinner, which was boring and repetitious. I would rather talk about their dinner. The chef starts them off with a ciabatta roll. Did you know ciabatta wasn’t invented until the ’80s and didn’t come to the U.S. until 1987? I was in the third grade. How am I older than a type of bread? My mind is more blown than Tony would be if I were his lifelong friend instead of Teresa.
While they’re at dinner, Margaret gives us a commercial for her upcoming book and tells a story about working in the fashion industry in the ’80s when she was in her early 20s. She went shopping in the store with her boss (i.e., stealing merchandise) and then he pressured her into having sex with him, and she did. Jennifer’s reaction in confessional: “I would never say that out loud, nonetheless put it in a book. Some things you take to the grave.” Yeah, that is exactly the problem. That is why Margaret is writing it in her book, so girls like her daughters will know that this stuff goes on and make sure they have different choices in their careers. We need to talk about it, acknowledge that it’s awful, and discourage it if we want it to change.
Speaking of Jennifer, she manufactures a chance to talk to Melissa about the things Realtor Michelle said about Joe Gorga at Evan’s party. This party is where the rumors about Evan started, too. Exactly which restaurant did they set up a tent in the back parking lot of? The Making Shit Up Café?
In a master class on how Teresa could have handled this Evan rumor, Jennifer sits Melissa down and tells her that Michelle’s husband said Joe Gorga owes her husband “tens of thousands” of dollars for his work on Joe’s “Growing With Gorga” offshoot of Trump University. Jennifer didn’t spread it around and didn’t repeat it as fact; she just told her the rumor and its actual, real source. This lady knows. Melissa asks for details and then brings it inside to Teresa to be like, “Why is your friend talking shit about your brother?” Teresa’s response: “Well, she didn’t say it to me.” Oh, so as long as no one is spreading the rumor to her, then it’s okay? God, I hate this woman with all the burning of a gay urology clinic the morning after a circuit party.
Melissa calls up her husband, and the story he tells is that Michelle’s husband sent him a bill for his services, Joe paid him and then, when this dude saw how successful the seminar was, he tried to press him for more money. Okay, that makes sense. I guess. I mean, I don’t know. All of my motivational speaking is me telling myself that if I get out of bed in the morning, I can watch at least two hours of Bravo lying on the couch before I have to do anything, so what do I know?
When everyone’s back from Lake George, Teresa has a meeting with Michelle, who pops by her onyx mansion to take pictures of the house so they can list it. Michelle walks in dressed in Fox News co-anchor cosplay: tight blazer, tighter hair, and vacant eyes. Teresa takes her out back and tells her she won’t feel comfortable listing the house with her until she clears this thing up with Joe. If I were Michelle, I would have turned on my Tucker Carlson–approved heels, given one circle with my index finger in the air, said, “Okay, wrap it up!” and dragged the stagers, photographers, measurers, and various and assorted attractive and overtanned Realtors back from whence they came.
But Michelle agrees with Teresa, so we’ll have to see how this plays out. The scene of Teresa and Michelle walking around her house is actually quite moving. As Michelle talks about the house in the mercenary terms of a selling agent — all making the “rooms pop” and getting the “best light” for potential buyers — we see black-and-white memories of everything that went on there. We see the girls pirouetting in the foyer, Gia coming down the stairs for her prom, Nono boiling a squid, the police showing up with warrants. No, wait, they skipped that.
There is something permanent about this house. During season one, Tre was just moving in and paying $120,000 in cash to furnish the never-quite-filled domicile. We’ve seen every nook and cranny. It’s like going back to a friend’s mom’s house where everything is exactly where it was when you used to smoke pot in their garage in high school. Nothing changes, the same décor, the same snacks in the fridge, the same broken toilet with the handle you have to jiggle. But the people change, we change, the environment, like the polar ice caps, slowly, slowly melts, until one day we’ll be drowning in it and we’re going to have to sell. Just remember, though, this little stumble down Memory Subdivision is a trick played on us by the editors. Teresa was probably walking around wondering, Is my phone charged enough for three more selfies this afternoon?
This episode has just enough juice for one last party. Jackie says she wants a do-over of Evan’s birthday party where he can enjoy himself because now his memories of his real party are marred by Teresa’s rumors. She wants to get “everyone who is close to us” together so he can celebrate again. Um, everyone who is close to you is just … the cast of the show. Okay. Got it. And this isn’t a party, it’s just a dinner at an outdoor café that also has branded cornhole on the Astroturfed back patio. Okay. Sure. We know Jackie hates giving BJs and planning parties, but this is anemic even by her standards.
As everyone arrives in couples, Dolores shows up with Frank instead of her boyfriend, David. While they’re getting ready, Frank says he must be like a gay guy to her, someone she can hang out with, have fun with, and not have to sleep with when they get home. She calls him her “G-usband.” All right, which of you homosexuals told Dolores that is a thing? Why did you pull a mean trick on her? Did you also tell her a dash of poppers will make her martinis stronger? Are you just clowning this woman? No gay has ever said “G-usband.” I have called Mr. Kenworthy my “gus-band,” and I have said “hus-bear” ironically. But “G-usband”? I’d rather spend another three weeks in Lake George.
While Jackie says this party is about trying to forget what Teresa said about Evan at his party, Jackie keeps bringing it up. She tells Joe Gorga how destructive she thinks it is. She tells the group of ladies that the next time she sees Teresa, she’s not going to acknowledge her. (Yeah, let’s see how that goes.) When the guys sit down to eat with Frank, who arrives late, she’s like, “Tell Frank that this isn’t true,” and the guys are already over it. They’re housing some chicken wings, talking about their favorite protein powder, and making homoerotic jokes about all the cornholing they just did. They don’t know this is a fundraiser for the Manzo Project and the anti–Teresa Giudice super-PAC. (Where can I donate?)
Then Jackie had to get up and make a toast in front of the group. Um, at a dinner for nine? No, ma’am. Nothing else needs to be said. Stop soaking in it like a cigarette butt left in a red Solo cup of half-drunk beer. Yes, what Teresa did was destructive. Yes, as Evan said, this bell can never be unrung. But for her sanity and ours, for the life of the show, for a sense of closure so that this doesn’t become LucyLucyAppleGiaDoesCokeInTheBathroom, it’s time to put our differences aside — or at least mostly hanging off our faces, like the masks the wait staff were wearing at the restaurant.