RHNJ: “Nobody wants a beige Louis Vuitton.”

August 1st, 2011

How is it still Christmas on Real Housewives of New Jersey? Haven’t we had Christmas for two weeks already, and then last night we had it again? If Bravo can get three episodes out of it, does this mean that every season of Real Housewives is going to have to be filmed over the holidays? I think that’s probably what it means.

At this point, I’m all out of fresh and interesting things to say about Christmas and Housewives, so let’s just get on with the recappy part of this recap, shall we? The sooner we begin, the sooner we can all go back to pretending we don’t watch this show anymore.

Ok, so here’s the deal. My TV-watching situation was screwed up for the first 15 minutes of the show last night, and then Bravo decided to air a Rocco’s Dinner Party (don’t even get me started on how much I hate that show) repeat right after Watch What Happens Live instead of the traditional re-airing of the night’s Housewives episode. As a result, I couldn’t be more clueless about what happened in the first 15 minutes of the show, but based on everything else, it didn’t seem too integral to the plot. If you’d like to fill me in, feel free to do so in the comments, but the recap is going to start at the 15 minute mark.

Even though I thought we were done with the holidays, the Jersey housewives had Christmas in July last night. I think that you can tell a lot about a person by how he or she celebrates the holidays with family. At my parents’ house, the celebrations are never too elaborate, too expensive or too serious, which is exactly how we are as people. Our cast members did a great job proving my theory. Even greater than I expected, quite honestly.

My cable cut back in just as Ashley was giggling about how she hadn’t bothered to get anything for Jacqueline or Chris for Christmas, and it was as if the universe was purposefully trying to piss me off. The rest of the family was perfectly adorable – opening reasonable and nicely wrapped gifts, exuding Christmas cheer, looking happy. And then Ashley came along to take a giant bratty dump on the entire thing, because she is the worst person in the world. That’s not just my opinion; at this point, it’s a non-disputable fact.

She said that she hadn’t bought anything for her mom or stepdad because she had spent so much money on her car, which not only ignores the fact that they, too, spent a great deal of money insuring that she’d be able to get the car, but that not all Christmas presents cost money. As Jacqueline suggested, a scrapbook would have been nice. And all you need for a scrapbook is a binder, some construction paper and a glue stick! But Ashley can’t even be bothered to go drop $10 at Target to show a little gratitude to her parents, so she spent the $10 at Jamba Juice instead. She totally can’t be without her smoothies, you guys. Can we shoot her into the sun? Throw her into a volcano? Drop a piano on her like the do in cartoons? Something? ANYTHING?

Speaking of people who need to be eliminated, we visited Melissa next. Melissa is one of those people who treats Christmas like she’s on The Price is Right and she just won the Showcase Showdown. She gets a Louis Vuitton suitcase! And a Rolex! And some bedazzled shoes! AND A NEW RECORDING STUDIO! COME ON DOWN, MELISSA! It just wouldn’t be right to celebrate Jesus’s birthday (which she keeps reminding us is the real meaning of Christmas) without a bunch of overpriced, questionably tasteful stuff from her awful husband. Not to mention the actual cage (err, recording studio) that he built her in the basement. And to think, all he requested in return was a blowjob. That selfless, selfless man.

Our next stop was Teresa’s house, which was host to a celebration that was completely awful in a different way. The gifts were less expensive and the whole thing seemed like less of a game show, which was nice, but we had to spend the entire scene looking at Juicy Joe’s bare torso, the extended sight of which may have given me brain damage. You can’t unsee that, kids. You also can’t unhear poor Gia retching in the bathroom after gifts were opened, something that Bravo should be downright ashamed of itself for including in the episode. Not that Bravo shouldn’t be ashamed of this entire mess, but that part especially. It’s going to be a miracle if that girl manages to stay off the pole.

Everything about Christmas at Teresa’s house was kind of depressing. Juicy couldn’t be bothered to get up off the couch to film the kids opening presents (no wonder his business failed, he’s the lazies lump of worthlessness on the face of the planet), the coat he got Teresa was ugly, she seemed to be holding out hope that there would be a diamond hiding for her somewhere despite the fact that she and her husband are millions upon millions of dollars in debt and can’t even afford to finish furnishing their giant conference center of a home. And not only was it depressing, but it was slightly infuriating. Don’t these people understand that they are the reason that they’re in this mess? I feel like someone needs to sit down and have a long talk with Teresa, but it probably wouldn’t do any good. I’m still not totally convinced that Teresa understands words that are longer than four or five letters.

Christmas at Kathy’s house, meanwhile, was a little more upbeat. Her kids had pooled their allowances to buy her a laptop to start her catering business, and they presented it to her with a cute little speech that made her tear up. And perhaps I’m just a little too cynical, but the entire thing seemed like a setup. Do kids nowadays get allowances big enough to buy computers? Wouldn’t Kathy already have a computer like everyone else in America? Did anyone else assume that the package was going to contain a monogrammed chef jacket? I was 100% sure that’s what it would be.

Which is not to say that I don’t think Kathy’s kids are great. They seem like genuinely well-adjusted, thoughtful people. But absent the Teresa-centric drama, Kathy doesn’t even have enough of a storyline to make a three-minute Christmas scene entertaining without what seemed like a total fabrication. I’m sure that a certain percentage of every episode is fake, but Kathy’s Christmas struck me as particularly far-fetched. But I guess that’s ok, because I like Kathy’s kids and I’m sure they enjoyed “giving” their mom such a nice present.

And then, of course, the Manzos came along and blew everyone else out of the water because they’re the nicest and best and most adorable family on television. They all opened their family bracelets the night before Christmas and Lauren got really emotional, as she is wont to do. Has she taken a pregnancy test lately? Because her hormones seem totally out of whack. She might want to consider it. Other than that, I have no jokes, because the Manzos are too functional to provide me with much material.

On Christmas morning, Lauren was with Vito’s family and Chris and Albie where…cuddling in Hoboken? I have no idea. But Caroline and Albert were by themselves, so they got in the car to go for a drive and Albert took Caroline to the spot where he had nervously proposed decades earlier, got down on one knee, and presented her with a re-set engagement ring. Not only was it adorable, but it seemed totally genuine. I was a little verklempt.

In the spirit of fairness to the other cast members, the Manzos did get a little embarrassing on Christmas night, when the entire crew packed into a limo and headed into New York to see Alexa Ray Joel perform at what appeared to be some sort of benefit. Albie met her a few weeks prior, you see, and he has a bit of a crush. Caroline has an even bigger crush, because the thought of marrying one of her kids into entertainment royalty (sort of, I guess?) is the dream of every reality television mom.

Caroline is a lot of things, but subtle isn’t one of them, so she fawned over Alexa when she came to say hi and she talked so much that Albie, who is somehow struck dumb in the presence of an attractive woman, couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Chris didn’t help, but that’s the reason that Chris is secretly my favorite person on this entire show. (Besides Gay Roommate Greg, of course. He and his Mariah Carey albums are still my #1.) He’s the archetypal little brother, and they couldn’t have gotten a better person for the role if they had actually put out a casting call.

Anyway, the whole Alexa Ray Joel thing ended the episode of a pretty awkward note. Caroline kept comparing her family to Alexa’s, and although she and Albert seem like good parents and they’re certainly affluent, there are oceans of difference between normal but affluent suburban parents and being the spawn of Christy Brinkley and Billy Joel. Trying to make that comparison would make anyone look like a striver, but making the comparison while trying to pimp out your son to a famous couple’s daughter only made it that much worse.

Like I said, it was nice of Caroline to do something to make her family look a little more human. I’m sure all the other housewives appreciated it.

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