If you thought that perhaps this season of Real Housewives of New Jersey would be somehow classier or more civilized after all of our favorite broads got a chance to watch themselves on TV and gain a modicum of self-awareness, well, obviously you didn’t watch the previews. And if you did and somehow still managed to think that this season would have some sort of redeeming social value, then you were probably disappointed by last night’s second season premiere.
But if you’re like the rest of us and were rooting for more trashy backbiting, table-flipping and prostitution-whoring, then it looks like this season is going to be exactly what the doctor ordered. And by “doctor,” I mean Andy Cohen, in a fit of infinitely trashy, endlessly entertaining genius. Forget Real Housewives of New York – the bridge and tunnel crowd are here to steal their thunder.
First and foremost, we have to discuss the State of La Famiglia. Jacqueline has had the baby that looked like it was ready to fall out of her at least season’s reunion, and little Nicholas has brought the family closer together. More importantly for purposes of this show, Jacqueline’s husband doesn’t want Danielle coming around anymore and Caroline likes her again now that there’s a baby in the picture, and we all know how important it is to stay in Caroline’s good graces. She even invited her to her fancy backyard party, which we’ll discuss later.
Speaking of Caroline, she spent all of her camera time talking about her family, which was kind of cute because I still like Caroline and you can’t stop me! Her husband had lap-band surgery after a health scare and is looking svelte – so svelte, in fact, that they went to Barneys to buy him a new suit of clothes, to the tune of $9,000. In all of the hours of Real Housewives that I’ve watched in my life (and really, I’ve watched too many hours of this show to even contemplate), it’s rare that one of the women ever does anything nice for anyone but herself, and I was sure that Caroline was going to be the one trying things on when she mentioned going to Barneys. See? This is why I still like Caroline.
In stark contrast to those familial warm fuzzies, Dina apparently has no family and does nothing but putter around her darkened kitchen and make baby talk to her funny-looking cats. Her husband refused to participate last season and now her daughter is mysteriously absent, and Dina’s intro segment at the beginning of the show made her look like one of those sad cat ladies.
No mention was made of Dina’s conspicuously missing family, so let’s do what bloggers (and commenters!) do best and recklessly speculate: Teresa chimed in during the Dina-as-cat-lady footage to say that Dina had received menacing letters and phone calls, in addition to some vandalism on her property, so it seems like Bravo wants us to assume that the kid was yanked from the show as a result. I’m not sure about anyone else, but Teresa’s description of the incidents gives me a vision of Danielle standing out in Dina’s yard in the middle of the night, throwing toilet paper on her bushes and knocking over her mailbox while doing the Ramona Singer Crazy Eyes™. But perhaps that’s just me.
While we’re on the subject of Danielle, she has found God and is consulting with a priest over her issues with the Manzo family. Her interactions with said priest didn’t appear to be all that genuine, but I’m unsure at this point if Danielle is capable of having genuine interactions, so it’s hard to make heads or tails of that. During the episode, she vacillated wildly between saying she wanted to pray for the Manzos, vaguely threatening them, declaring that she didn’t care about them, and then attempting to stalk them with her daughters in the car. However, she’s looking slightly less like a plastic surgery cautionary tale this season, so hey, religion might be working out for her. Aesthetically, at least.
And then there’s Teresa, who I think is easily the star of this show, if only because she seems blissfully unaware that her life and nearly everything she says are completely and utterly ridiculous in almost every sense of the word. For example, did you know that Teresa and her daughters make red sauce from scratch in their driveway before school starts so that they’ll have enough for the whole year? Or that women that are on their periods are not allowed to make red sauce because it’ll spoil the tomatoes? Or that Teresa speaks Italian, but still doesn’t pronounce her last name correctly? We learned all of this stuff in one episode, and this is merely the beginning of the season. I wonder if Countess LuAnn is embarrassed that one of the Jersey girls speaks Italian better than she does? She’s probably ranting about it in French right now.
Anyway, because this is Real Housewives, there has to be a party wherein everyone gets together and gossips, and Caroline was our host for the latter half of the episode. She threw a thousand-dollar-per-plate benefit for the local sheriff and invited everyone but Danielle, who somehow managed to be surprised and offended that Caroline didn’t ask her to come to the party. Since she readily admits that she has not spoken to Caroline since last season’s tumultuous, tear-filled reunion in which she called Danielle “garbage,” I’m not sure why Danielle thought she was going to get to go to Caroline’s fiesta.
In a small, petty act of revenge (she is so great at those), Danielle went to get a pedicure at the salon where Dina used to do nails, apparently for the express purpose of making sure we knew that Dina used to work there. Then she proceeded to tell us that she and Dina are on good terms and send each other friendly text messages from time to time, and I’m beginning to think that maybe Danielle has brain damage. Caroline was throwing the party, not Dina, and if she’s friendly with Dina, why attempt to embarrass her?
When we got to see what was going on at the party, Danielle looked even more like a schmuck – Dina was, in fact, the only person that appeared to not actively enjoy sitting around and talking smack about Danielle. Even some lady named Kim, who earlier in the show claimed to be Danielle’s friend, was getting in on the fun and talking about what a terrible skank Danielle is.
It’s important to note, however, that this Kim person is clearly a moron because she thinks that “Posche” is a reasonable spelling approximation for “posh,” and also because she forgot to bleach the back of her head the last time that she dyed her hair. Even if she wasn’t a moron, which she is, her insults were totally upstaged by Teresa’s. She claimed that Danielle has slept with 500 or so men, likened her vagina to the Lincoln Tunnel and claimed that she puts the “‘cont’ in ‘contradiction,’” and Bravo didn’t even bleep it out. You’re going to have to use your imagination on that last one, folks – spelling is not Teresa’s strong suit, but talking about Danielle’s chacha clearly is.
When all of this was going on, where was Danielle? Attempting to drive by the party and figure out what was going on while simultaneously assuring her daughters (who were in the back seat) that she didn’t actually care about these women or that they didn’t invite her to their stupid party, of course. Danielle’s daughters are infinitely smarter and less insane than she is (even the little one, who looks like she’s approximately nine years old), so they finally talked her in to going back home instead of making an utter fool of herself at the party. I was disappointed for a moment, but then I realized that it was just gratification delayed – Danielle has enough crazy to satisfy us for the rest of the season, surely.
Speaking of which, there was almost too much crazy in this episode to fit in one recap. What of Jacqueline’s daughter, who has a 23-year-old boyfriend and was forced to have a very awkward birth control talk on television? Her stepdad was literally sharpening a knife in the background while her mom poked and prodded them about contraception, and it was so awful that even I felt the sting of vicarious humiliation. Bringing your boyfriend around your parents is hard when you’re 19, and it must be even harder when your parents are Bravolebrities that want to film the whole thing and show it on TV. Both Ashley and her boyfriend looked as if they wanted to start digging a hole right there in the kitchen floor by which to escape.
Or what about Teresa’s daughter, who doesn’t want to marry a Jewish guy because she doesn’t like the long curls that Hasidic men wear, which was adorably ignorant in the way that only a child can be (and it’s ok, because Teresa seemed appropriately mortified)? Or Caroline’s kids, who got put on poop duty in the back yard while one of them was wearing a suit? Or the fact that Danielle has a tab for clothing like most people have a tab for booze? Last night’s episode was so resplendent with ridiculous behavior and things that no one should say on television that it nearly brought a tear of joy to this blogger’s eye. And may I remind you that this is only the beginning?