RHNJ: “I know he loves me, but right now he doesn’t like me.”

July 25th, 2011

You guys, I’m kind of irritated that last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey even happened. First of all, the Manzos are too functional and nice and happy to be degrading themselves on reality TV. Second, Teresa and Melissa are making me start to go cross-eyed, and I’m no longer certain that I can tell one from the other.

Ashley also made an appearance with more of her super-annoying whining about her stepdad and how he’s trying to buy her love, even though she has yet to explain why she didn’t decline the new car he bought her if she’s so opposed to him buying her things. It was exasperation and boredom all around last night, and that’s no way to celebrate the tiny baby Jesus’s birthday.

We started the episode just where we had left off last week – Melissa had just finished pushing some lawyer out the front door of her Christmas party at Teresa’s request. She had been given the heave-ho over the vociferous objections of Kim G, who had brought her to the party in the first place, despite being well aware that Teresa would be there filming for Real Housewives at the party and Monica was in a lawsuit with Teresa and therefore shouldn’t be in contact with her socially.

Since Melissa hadn’t read her mind and kicked Kim G out as well, Teresa and Juicy decided to leave, which involved a great deal of standing around in the front yard, for some reason. Maybe waiting for a valet? Do people outside of Los Angeles have private valets at their parties? Anyway, it was good that Teresa stuck around to see the show, because back inside, Kim G was huddled with Kathy and an unidentified third person, talking smack about Teresa loudly enough that Caroline could hear the entire thing in the neighboring group of people.

Naturally, Caroline confronted Kim G and told her that she knew she had come to cause problems and that she was a lowlife, because those are inalienable facts that we all know about Kim G. They huffed and puffed at each other for about thirty seconds about respect levels and tones of voice before both of Caroline’s sons and her husband came to throw Kim out of the house, which was in stark contrast to Juicy Joe, who likely would have grabbed some popcorn and watched from the sidelines if his wife were about to get in an altercation.

Chris tried to have a serious talk with Kim in the driveway because he and her son are still best friends, but Albie was keyed up because he was trying to protect his mother and Kim’s bodyguard (huge, nasty eye roll implied) was protesting and Teresa and Juicy were standing in the yard and giggling about sex toys like the barely evolved humans that they are. So instead of getting to make his little speech about how much his friend means to him, Christopher got enveloped in the roving circus that is a Teresa-Caroline-Kim G three-way fight.

Once Kim’s chauffer had been located and she was safely tucked into her car to be taken back to the circle of hell that she came from, all of the Manzos and Lauritas got together for an impromptu family meeting in a private room in Melissa’s house to discuss how to deal with the Kim G issue as a united front. And for some reason, I found the scene totally endearing. I want to hang out with the Manzos. I bet the food is good and they’d be a lot of fun.

We eventually left the party and momentarily joined Kathy and her mom for some reason that still is not entirely clear. They cooked and talked about her mom’s feud with her brother, who I believe is Teresa’s dad? Apparently feuds are something that this family just does? I couldn’t really figure out what the purpose of this scene was, but hey, whatever. It’s probably best not to look for any kind of purpose in Real Housewives, even if it’s merely surface-level.

Meanwhile, Caroline was doing her whole radio thing again. The subject of the chat this week was divorce, and the producers set it up so that Jacqueline’s husband would call in and ask Caroline about how to best foster a positive relationship between a stepparent and stepchild. Caroline got a little weepy and told him he was doing the best he could, which was very sweet if a bit contrived. The unfortunate thing is that the Manzos being wonderful and sweet and heart-warmingly normal doesn’t give me a whole lot of material.

After radio time was over, the holidays got going in earnest. All of the Manzos and Lauritas got together for Christmas Eve dinner at Caroline’s house, where Caroline was roasting peppers over an open gas flame in her pajamas and Chistopher was asking about the story of Santa and Mama Laurita came over with the family’s traditional olive sauce for Christmas Eve dinner. It was the picture of functional and happiness, and the kind of celebration that we’d all want to attend. Until Ashley showed up, at least.

Ashley was still (STILL.) bitching about how Chris isn’t her real dad, despite parenting her from the time that she was a little kid. Her New Year’s resolution is for Chris to like her, because apparently no one has ever explained to her that you can’t resolve for other people to do things or feel a certain way or not be irritated with you. What you can do is resolve to change your own behavior, but just like you’d expect, Ashley had a problem putting the words together in such a way that would indicate that, even in the smallest way, she might actually be the source of the problem. She might be the reason people don’t like her. What a novel idea! Never mind the fact that Chris obviously loves her and has provided for her for basically her entire life, not to mention buying her two new cars – Ashley would really like it if he’d also put up with all of her bad behavior with a wink and a smile.


At Teresa’s house, the Gorgas had arrived to celebrate and before everyone could even get all the way into the house, Teresa was already complaining that Melissa’s cocktail dress was too revealing. That wouldn’t be interesting or worthy of mention if Teresa had not been wearing the world’s shortest sequined minidress to celebrate the Baby Jesus’s birthday. Apparently Baby Jesus is ok with a lot of middle-aged lady thigh and maybe a little bit of vagina if Teresa’s not careful, but a strapless cocktail dress is beyond the pale.

Speaking of outfits, Teresa had dressed each of her daughters in forty pounds of tulle each, mostly so that they’d all just bounce off each other when Milania (the medium-sized violent one) tried to kill everybody. And as it turns out, rendering them all soft and immobile was a pretty good scheme, because I don’t think anyone cried and they all saw grandma dressed up as Santa and everyone was happy. Well, except for Milania, who knew it was grandma the entire time. The little mean one is smart, too. Mean and smart is a dangerous combination, you guys. She’ll definitely be a cast member when Bravo brings Real Housewives back as a nostalgia piece in 2050.

I’m sure there was some subtle ridiculousness that happened during the Christmas Even dinners that I didn’t notice, but I had a hell of a time concentrating on the last half of this episode. I tried three separate times to sit and watch and notice the small stuff and still…nada. The Manzos, as a family, are delightful, but that doesn’t make for great recapping material. The Gorgas and Giudices are deplorable, but they were deplorable in ways with which we’re all well-acquainted at this point in our viewership.

They made lots of seafood for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, someone at school gave Gia a ring, there were a bunch of random family members there that we had never seen before and whose names I don’t remember. Melissa told her kids that Jesus was 89 because it’s tough to explain that sort of thing to kids once you’ve told them that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday. Christmas Eve, incidentally, is my birthday. Which means nothing at all in the context of this recap, but I thought I might share anyway. There’s nothing else to talk about, after all.

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