According to the New York Times best-selling book about the Housewives by a man who is as hung as he is handsome (which means his member is shorter than Teresa’s temper), the husbands on the Real Frank Sinatras of the PATH Train were traditionally the only husbands in the whole franchise who get a paycheck. While several people have told me it is no longer the case, the men got a stipend for the season for participating. That’s why we always saw the guys hanging out while the women are away, something the show still relies on even though they’re not pulling in any cash.
Well, we’ve never had a bro-down like the one in tonight’s episode. This is a full attrition dinner, you know, when the whole cast has to get together to air out their differences. Except this is the first time I can think of when it is just the men. And they don’t just have the dinner; we see each of them getting ready with their wives and talking about their grievances going into the dinner. We even see each of them arriving and ordering (someone needs to make Frank a Pumptini), something that’s usually reserved for the women alone.
This whole dinner gets set up when everyone is “down the Shore” at Missy G’s pink party. She initially calls it that to match Luis’s complexion, but then he shows up looking more purple than pink. It is like he is dressed as Violet Beauregarde. At the party, Joe and the rest of the “Wolf Pack” (vom) talk about how they didn’t like that Bill didn’t stick up for his wife Jennifer the night before. They want to know what was up with Bill because they all love getting him so wasted that it would get them thrown out of Rutgers for hazing. They decide to plan this dinner and invite Luis, the Eggplant Kid, along with them.
A lot can happen in a week, though. Margaret goes out to lunch with Marge Sr. and brings up the latest allegation about Luis: he’s eaten an Everlasting Gobstopper. No, it’s even worse. Just to be clear, this is not the lawsuit his ex-girlfriend filed accusing him of abusive and controlling behavior. This is also not when he got arrested for road rage. This is something posted on an anonymous gossip site (we see you, DeuxMoi) that claims he beat his ex in front of her children. It also included a letter he supposedly wrote apologizing for an awful thing, with everyone assuming that awful thing was hitting her. Oh god. How long is Teresa going to hide her poorly made-up face in the sand like she’s some kind of bikini ostrich?
When all the guys get together, Tiki Barber (who should be cast as a friend of the dudes and whose wife should be locked in a shed with Michelle, the Fox News Realtor from last season) brings up the latest allegation. They all ask Joe what he’s going to do about it, and he says he can’t say anything to Teresa because she’s so in love. They say he should talk to Luis. Um, what? Is he going to have one of those shotgun cleaning chats in his living room like he’s the sitcom father of a teenage girl who meets her first boyfriend? What good is that going to do? Someone needs to sit Teresa down and make her look at all of this stuff. I would say Gia should do it, but she has been Teresa’s caretaker and English to English translator for long enough. Let her go on helicopter rides with her adorable boyfriend. She’s earned it.
Know who has also earned some good news? Dolores. She has to break the news to her parents that she and Dr. David broke up, which doesn’t go over well. She later tells Jen that David is hanging out with everyone in her family but won’t return her texts. He says he has “Nothing to say to her.” If he wanted into Dolores’s family so bad, why not just propose already. What a waste of time that mustache-less Monopoly Man turned out to be. And then we find out her mother has to go in for a triple bypass. Someone get Dolores a glass of wine and a crudités platter with extra Ranch!
We hear about all of this in Jennifer’s basement, where Jen talks about how upset she is that she has to relive all of this stuff about Bill’s affair now that Margaret dragged it into the light. I feel a little bit bad for Jen, not going to lie, and Dolores does her best life coach talk to her about why she needs to get over the hurt of the affair rather than taking it out on the other ladies. What I don’t feel bad about is her talking to her 14-year-old daughter about it on camera. The poor kid is visibly upset but doesn’t want to betray that because her mother needs to lean on her for emotional support and to change the bandages after her latest nose job. Let the poor kid be a kid. Let her go spend a weekend in Gia’s dorm room getting wasted and learning what to wear to a sorority party. She is carrying her own trauma; she doesn’t need Jen’s too.
Our last stop before the brosefs and the broheims have their bro-dinner at the bro-steak house and talk about computer bro-gramming. We have to see Joe and Missy G’s new house, which is a ’70s relic that is a total teardown. Even worse, Swamp Thing is growing in their pool, which means it is the nexus of all realities, and little Gino better watch out or the Hulk is going to come for him one day. The scene is mostly forgettable other than the retro suburban décor that could have been shipped to a 2008 Manhattan dive bar and been right at hipster home. However, it does make me long for an HGTV show starring Joe and Melissa where they tear down houses in the suburbs and replace them with sets from Disney movies or something. I mean, they can’t be any worse than those Magnolia people who invented shiplap and cupcakes.
When all the guys are getting ready to assemble at Ventana’s, they’re discussing it in a group text, and Joe responds to everyone, “Fuck you, Bill.” No one can tell if it is a joke or not, and Bill doesn’t respond, so they have no idea if he is going to show. Luis is also expected but doesn’t turn up because it’s hard to drive your IROC Z when you have ballooned into a human blueberry.
Thanks most likely to producer intervention, Bill is the last to arrive, and all the other dudes are assembled around the table. They all ask him what he thought of Joe’s text, and he tells them he wasn’t sure if he was joking or not. Joe says he was, but he was not. That’s as obvious as his use of performance enhancements. Bill says that the night after the barbecue at their house, which we saw in the last episode, he started questioning everything.
All of the guys say they wanted this dinner with Bill to talk to him and see how he feels and get him back into the fold. What they don’t tell him is that he is walking into an ambush. There might as well have been a dozen red dots on him from sniper sites when he walks in the door because before he can even order his Cosmo with diet cranberry juice, Joe is gunning for him. Joe tells him that Jen got dirty and disgusting and crossed the line. What does he want Bill to do? Step in and tell his wife to be nice to the ladies because he wants to do one-handed chest bump hugs with the Real Pec Deck Hoggers of the Tenafly Golds?
The guys then take the same route of circular whataboutism that plagued the women just a week ago. It’s like playing The Game of Life, except every square is just a finger pointing in someone else’s direction. Joe says that Jen has gotten out of hand, calling him crooked. Bill says, “What about what Margaret did to Jen? It’s not like she went digging stuff up.” Evan says, “What about Jen went digging stuff up about me?” The real problem isn’t the hashing out of these arguments; it is Joe and Evan taking digs at Jennifer. Evan says she’s “not a good person.” They expect Bill just to sit down and have another tequila shot when they’re coming for his woman? It’s one thing when the ladies take shots at her, but one of his bros? One of the ball-having, crotch-scratching, golf-pretending, pussy-chasing, weight-lifting, seat-peeing-on guys that he loves so much. No way in hell. He is right to walk away, right into a big fat “To Be Continued,” which is sure to disappoint.
An earlier version of this recap stated that the househusbands received payment for their appearances.