'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: Three ladies flailing [Video]
God bless Albert Manzo. The guy’s not a big talker, but he is the first man on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" — the first person, I'd say, in entire Real Housewives history — to respond to a housewife’s absurd career intentions justly: with silent, open-mouthed, floor-shaking laughter.
The unlucky lady on the other end of this piquant soliloquy was this week's Kathy, whose terraced army of Thanksgiving cannoli grew in husband Rich’s mind into the advance guard of a mighty restaurant empire. For weeks we've watched the pair scout locations for their first encampment, Kathy offering stinging observations about unpleasant carpeting and questionable pizza-slinging ambience, while leaving off those incidental questions of chef de cuisine, management, business plan, budget, investors, vendors, time frame and support staff.
But while, after a private moment of giggles, head honcho Albert politely turned his incredulity into a broader, impersonal form of discouragement (he suggested that, you know, getting into the most difficult business in the world might cut down on the couple's vacation time), Melissa Gorga continued unencumbered in her dream to be the next "Britney Spears or Beyonce."
Well, as we say in the South, "God bless her heart" -- meaning, for those of you unlucky enough to have never experienced the full lexicon of these environs, "That poor, deluded fool." But if you're a deluded fool with a husband who'll build you a studio and serve wine to the two producers dragooned into listening to your furtive stabs at the upper octaves, who's to stop you?
I am, that's who. Watching Albert boisterously knee-slap at Kathy's ridiculous temerity while we were faced, at Melissa's, yet again with the scenario of a visiting team of producers forced to keep their sunglasses on in order to not similarly break down in hilarity was a breathtaking tonic. We've now sat through too many of these poker-faced Real Housewives' meetings, from RHOOC's Gretchen producing her set of "drawlings" for her tolerant handbag designers to Atlanta's Dallas Austin listening to Kim's first countrified iteration of "Tardy for the Party" and gently suggesting they might "go in another direction."
But there's another direction Bravo can go in, one I would encourage the producers to set forth on before we all lose our hearing and sit through another fashion show from which no wearable clothing will emerge.
The network, you know, has quite a few institutions already in place in the realms of singing, fashion, design and cooking. These, of course, are serious institutions for talented acolytes, meant to train and weed out the true talents from the wannabe's, where judges like Rocco Dispirito have more nuanced insight on a meatball than Teresa Guidice, and pay handsomely for skill to fry up a good one.
But the ladies, while persevering, rarely put themselves under that kind of heat. I can think, in fact, of only two instances: The first, when "Project Runway"'s Michael snapped at Sheree's raggedy "She By Sheree" shmattas, and, recently, when Rocco out-Italianed Caroline Manzo with a brief nose wrinkle.
But there's no need to dash their dreams entirely -- only their unearned sense of authority. So why not open up a sort of scholarship/internship program for the Housewives, one in which Melissa could blast with the best of them on "Platinum Hit," Kathy could cannoli it up on "Rocco's Dinner Party," Caroline could test her green feathered Christmas Tree on "Million Dollar Decorators," and whatever housewife next decides to release her sartorial expressions could try to get them into the collection of Rachel Zoe?
After all, ladies, Camp Bravo is almost over. Time to try your hand at flipping a judge's table, for once.
-- Lizzie Skurnick
follow me on twitter @lizzieskurnick