‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ recap: Sisters-in-law, guns and money
It’s the wife who makes it, and the wife who breaks it.
Well, as long as it’s not the wife who kills it, spikes it, sticks an apple in its mouth, roasts it over a fire all day, then hacks it splayed full-body right in the house for the guests to eat, is what the viewer will come away thinking after this episode of "RHONJ," in which the bloody overkill goes from Jacqueline’s living room to a shoot-’em-up in the Catskills to a yak that deserved a more dignified end than as Teresa’s ottoman-sized winter boots.
But to the first faceoff: Teresa and Melissa. We’ve been waiting for this fight for the entire season, mainly so we can finally figure out what caused the family to split up in the first place. Sporting the spoils of some recent we-paid-retail Bloomingdale's hunts, Teresa, attired in leather, and Melissa, lost in a vast bomb of fur, were nonetheless slim pickins, info-wise. (“Show me love and I’ll show you love!” “That’s what I’ve been trying to say!” "That's what I've been saying!") Behind the scenes, we learned that (A) Teresa objected to Melissa using her photographer for the kids, and (B) Melissa stormed out of her future in-laws' house when Joe got a text from another woman. So far: team Melissa.
But we also got a trip to upstate New York that gave us a nice dose of insight into the Giudice clan, which apparently consists solely of Joe’s father, keeping a redoubt in the Catskills with a ratty shirt, 27 acres and approximately 6,847 guns. The Manzos on both sides were present, and, after a pig roast, a pizza cook-off, a shopping trip to the cute shops of the local town and way too many rounds of artillery and vodka, we headed back to NYC, where Melissa’s youngest had a two-minute walk-on in a basement ballroom dancing Christmas show and finally got some time with her in-laws. (Verdict: Antonia’s no Gia, but she’s getting there.)
Now, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for the absurd bounty of material, but I’m starting to become impatient with Bravo’s producers, who seem to think that they can just haul the women around from singing to shopping to shooting, and we won’t think they’ve jumped the gun. The other housewife franchises' fashion shows, weddings and charity benefits may be ludicrously trumped up, but at least we get to see some ugly bespoke and teetering heels for our troubles. I never thought these words would emerge from my keyboard, but at least those other women are doing some work.
But this season on "Jersey," the only genuine things our ladies have come up with, it seems, are a pig's eye full of hilarious malapropisms, which always carry the additional benefit of being more true than the real-world word anyway. This show was a doozy: Teresa commented she and her crew “enraided” the local bar, Jacqueline remarked they were heading up to the Catskills to “unravel” and then Teresa (again!) reached for “cookie crumbles” and could only get so far as “ball drops” and “ball bounces.” (Well, if I were her, I would lay off the cookie talk anyway.)
So, while it makes me feel like a trussed, rotisseried pig to say it, I think I’m missing Danielle this season. Here’s the deal: Arduously, to have an interesting group didactic, you need a dark force. Like, some animal infant — a black sheep in the henhouse or something. If everyone is relegated to everyone else, there’s no contradiction. Because whatever you do, in families, blood is thicker than thieves.
That’s just the way the cookie sprinkles.
— Lizzie Skurnick
follow me on twitter @lizzieskurnick