Hello and welcome to Fight Court, a game show where the professionals on Real Baked Zitis of the Brownstone Catering Hall get into horrible arguments and we amateurs at home decide who is right and who is wrong. I am your host, Dame Brian Moylan, and there are quite a few fights to get to this week, so we better start. [Ding, ding.]
Melissa vs. Jennifer
Missy G starts this fight off the minute she sits down on Jennifer’s rented patio furniture and says she didn’t expect to be hanging out at Jennifer’s house since they always go after each other. Jennifer says it’s playful, but I have never heard anything but the starkest sincerity come out of Jennifer’s mouth, so I find that hard to believe.
Their main issue is that Melissa and her husband, Joe, say that Jen called him a “crook” in an Instagram caption. Not to put too fine a point on it, but she did not call him a “crook”; she said he is part of a “crooked family,” and considering his sister did time in prison for fraud, that is not entirely inaccurate but is a bit of a self-own for Jennifer’s good friend Teresa, who is collateral damage in this fight in so many ways. Joe says that Jennifer’s comment cost him a lot of business, but not even fans of this show take Jennifer seriously, so I’m buying it.
Jennifer certainly escalates this when she calls Joe a “little bitch,” which is the worst thing you could possibly call someone in New Jersey. It is, in fact, a hate crime. That is enshrined in the state constitution, which was written in 2011 by Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. Jennifer is at least honest enough to say that she called Joe “crooked” because she was angry at something Melissa posted and wanted to retaliate in a way that hurt. Mission accomplished, but insight without action is sort of like sex without procreation: pretty good but ultimately non-(re)productive.
This goes into a full confrontation when Melissa gets up from her seat, Jennifer grabs her wrist, and the two need to be separated. At stake? The very fate of Melissa’s pink party the next day. Will it survive? We sure hope not. Melissa and her friends accuse Jennifer of grabbing her wrist. Jennifer and her Suicide Squad (Teresa is King Shark) say Melissa charged her and Jennifer defended herself. We have gone back to the slo-mo footage and decided it is too close to call. However, as usual, Jennifer started this with empty name-calling and misdirected rage. Winner: Melissa
Margaret vs. Jennifer
In the fight between Teresa and Margaret, which we’ll get to later in tonight’s lineup, Teresa accuses Margaret of going after Jennifer, which she denies. Jennifer says that by telling everyone that Bill cheated on her, Margaret did something cruel to her. Margaret says, once again, that Jennifer was mean to her about her own history of infidelity when she forgave Bill, the man she’s married to. I see Margaret’s point, but I still don’t feel it in my bibbidi-bones. Jen can still love her man and hate cheating. That is possible. Jen says that she was only critiquing things Margaret said publicly while Margaret went digging for dirt on her, which is true. Also, it didn’t come up organically; it seems like Marge was just looking for an excuse to use her Bill ammo. Winner: Jennifer
Jackie vs. Jennifer
Jen says she didn’t go digging for information about Marge cheating, but she did go digging for information on Jackie’s husband, Evan, which shows she’s as much of a hypocrite as her mentor King Shark. When Jen’s treatment of Evan comes up again and Jen doesn’t seem sorry at all, Jackie says that she’s done with Jen and that she’s an asshole. This is after Jackie was very close to her because she could sympathize with everyone talking about their cheating husbands. Jennifer accuses Jackie of being two-faced and turning on her so quickly. This was, perhaps, the fastest about-face in Housewives history, but we still have to declare a champion. Winner: Jackie
Teresa vs. Margaret
Ladies and gentlemen, do I even need to tell you? Do I even need to tell you? No, I do not, but strap in and strap on since it is literally my job. Teresa is angry that everyone wants to talk about Luis’s weird video (where he’s shirtless on a beach proposing to someone) that was posted on Reddit and made the gossip rounds last summer when the show was filming. When Luis, a reality-television novice, asks Teresa why this is coming up now, Teresa, a reality-television icon (I loathe her, but it’s true), says, “Because Margaret brought it up at my party.”
That is not how this works. The video came up because Teresa is a public figure who has been getting tabloids to pay her for photos and exclusives for more than a decade. She made herself into someone the press loves, and they went digging for a story and found one. It came up because everyone saw it, and it’s weird. Margaret is the one doing Teresa a favor by getting Luis to talk about it so that the story isn’t just in the tabloids but that they can explain it and own the narrative.
Teresa sees this as “talking shit” and gossiping. When Luis and Teresa finally decide to sit down with the gang and talk about it, Teresa acts like Margaret is the one with this big problem with the video and hates her man and wants their relationship to end. Margaret repeatedly says this is not true, but Teresa and logic are about as compatible as burritos and bottoming. Winner: Duh
Teresa vs. Producers
The fight with Margaret and the rest of the women over Luis’s video is really a proxy war between Teresa and the brave champions who risk life and limb every day on the ground: the producers. She doesn’t think that Luis should have to address the video because … I don’t know, she’s stupid. Melissa says she’s being protective of him and that he’s new to “all this,” meaning the show. I don’t know that’s it. I think that this is a power move. Teresa is saying, in effect, “This is my show, and we will only talk about what I want to talk about.”
When the producers finally coax her and Luis to the party, Teresa keeps telling Luis that he doesn’t need to talk about it, that his past doesn’t matter to her, and that the video should be considered off-limits because Luis didn’t sign up for it. Sorry, but by dating Teresa, a public figure, he did for sure sign up for this. (I also bet he cashed the check that Bravo pays all of the husbands on RHONJ.) I’m even fine with her telling everyone that she doesn’t care what happened BT, Before Teresa — to steal the Countess’s phrasing of BL, Before Lu. But to think she can ignore something that was unearthed by the internet and everyone has opinions on is insanity. She knows how this game works. She tried to flex her muscle, and she failed. Winner: Decency, intelligence, integrity, and everyone with a profile on StaffMeUp
Teresa vs. Reason
I swear I’m going to let up on her in a minute, but has Teresa learned nothing over her career as a reality-television professional? Ignoring the video is going to make it worse. Not talking about it will make everyone talk about it more and make it worse. Saying that it shouldn’t be addressed and it isn’t a problem will turn it into a problem and make it worse. Not letting Luis address the topic in his own words will make it worse. And saying you hate people who gossip? Do we need to start with Cop Without a Badge and go down the list of all the gossiping and awful shit she has done over the years?
No, we don’t. We can just stop at what she did to Evan last year by spreading a rumor and forcing Jackie to spend umpteen episodes defending something she pulled out of her makeup person’s face-crack. (That’s like a butt-crack, but on your face.) Jackie says Teresa told her to stick up for her man, but she flees the scene before sticking up for hers. Melissa also points out that by Teresa’s logic, talking about Evan wasn’t digging but asking about a video that is free and accessible on the internet is digging. Yeah. That makes no sense. As Melissa says… Winner: Facts
Luis vs. Women
Before we can even get to what he says, can we talk about how he says it and the bald-faced contempt he has for everyone with two X chromosomes on Jen’s patio? He keeps telling Teresa that if she doesn’t let him talk, he’s going to leave because if he doesn’t leave she won’t learn. What is he? Caesar Milan the Housewife Whisperer? Then he tells her she has two ears one mouth (pointing to each), and that’s why she should listen more than she talks. He also tells Marge, “Not on your best day am I intimidated by you.” Dude, she’s not trying to intimidate you. She’s trying to help you but letting you talk about this crazy-ass video. When Margaret verbally agrees with him, again to help him, he says, “I can speak for myself.” Winner: Insane camps where you beat up shirtless dudes on the beach because you can’t have a healthy relationship with a woman
Luis vs. Reality
Luis finally explains the video and says that he went to his friend’s retreat because he couldn’t be honest with a woman and tell her that it was over. He was hurting her feelings, and he needed to be a big enough person to do that. He broke up with her through this video [dot, dot, dot] by proposing to her? By talking about their future? How is he going to be better for her? Um, no. Winner: r/BravoRealHousewives
Jennifer vs. Bill
When Melissa and Jen are about to come to fisticuffs, Bill is in the corner rocking a Tommy Bahama shirt and nursing a Macallan, trying to stay out of it. The next morning, Jennifer is upset he didn’t defend her. Um, didn’t she just get mad at Joe Gorga for getting into the women’s business? Also, he’s trying to deal with everyone in the country knowing about his infidelity. Our man could use a break so Winner: Bill
Dolores vs. #TeamMelissa: Dolores says that Melissa, Jackie, and Margaret always team up on Jennifer whenever there is an argument. She doesn’t like that. Well, maybe if Jennifer weren’t always so wrong and indefensible, the sane women on the cast wouldn’t always be coming after her. In the immortal words of Heather Dubrow, “If everyone says you’re dead, it’s time to lie down.” Winner: Heather Dubrow
Evan vs. Shirts
We were treated to yet more footage of shirtless Evan. May he make shirts so angry that they refuse to cover his body for the rest of eternity. Winner: H-word on main gays
Traci vs. Obscurity
Someone had a talk with Traci that she needed to start speaking up and having some opinions. I love anyone who will stand up to Teresa and point out her hypocrisy of demanding blind allegiance from her brother and sister-in-law but not giving it to them, but she is not the one. Winner: Obscurity
Melissa vs. Teresa: If we’re being honest here, this whole show is really a Cold War between two branches of the Gorga family tree. Melissa has Jackie and Margaret, Teresa has Dolores and Jennifer, and they are each attacking the other while Teresa and Melissa pretend like they’re still friends and don’t absolutely loathe and detest each other and are just waiting for one to get kicked off the show so that she can declare absolute victory. Winner: All of us