'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: Detaché case
"If I don’t bring it tonight, it’s over!"
I can think of a lot of contexts in which that sentence would make sense. Obama psyching himself up for his big economy speech. A teeny Nadia Comaneci, preparing for her floor routine, representing Romania at the 1976 Olympics. Even, to be enormously generous, Dancing With the Stars’ Bristol Palin, each fateful night she hoped her fans would overcome her gams.
Where the sentence seems to be a bit of a misreading of the circumstances, however, is in speaker Melissa’s Gorga’s case. She, as it happens, was referring to her four-minute lip-synching performance of her (hit?) song, "On Display," at a launch party for the Manzo boys’ client BLK Water, which took place in a basement club with an audience mostly of family — not unlike, you will recall, her toddler daughter’s debut as a ballroom dancer, where the girl was briefly lifted by an adult classmate, then deposited back on the floor, to wild applause.
But last night’s "Real Housewives of New Jersey" was a veritable deluge of delusion, from Teresa’s pilgrimage to the meat-packing region of Punta Cana in search of "spices" for, we presume, the "ingredientses" of her sequel to Skinny Italian, to Caroline’s proud comment at the BLK Water party—"Tonight my sons take the world by storm!" — to the Manzo boys dubbing Melissa Gorga an "intellect" because she finally remembered Joe Biden was the vice-president of the United States. (To be fair, I briefly forgot about Stockholm the other day. Relevance? A toss-up.)
But let’s begin with Teresa’s visit to a local district of Punta Cana, where she revealed herself to be, unsurprisingly, far more comfortable with carnage than her fellow castmates. While they ran screaming in Gucci heels away from the fly-covered heads of cattle and moldering carcasses of chickens, Teresa lifted the latter up proudly and chased the girls, finally acknowledging that she knew raw chickens carried semolina. ("Salmonella!" Melissa laughed. Maybe she is the intellect.)
But Melissa also has a thing for animals — could the fur-clad sisters-in-law be any different? — declaring that at her debut she wanted to “wear the snake wrapped around me like Britney!” and inquiring if live tigers would be out of place at the club. "You know, Siegfried and Roy had tigers for ten years, and it didn’t work out for them," Chris Manzo cautioned her, sagely.
In fact, I am increasingly counting on the Manzos to bring a note of sanity to the show, even if young Albie and Chris’s debut in the working world is marketing water that looks like raw sewage. (Melissa’s African American music producer did note, with gracious enthusiasm, that Black Water "would do well in my community!")
But, as ever, it’s Albert Manzo -- who scrolled through his BlackBerry messages on the Punta Cana beach and reminded Joe Giudice that making payroll at his new venture was something to consider -- who remains my favorite avatar of Truth. "Being in Hell without you people would be a vacation," he quipped as they left their Punta Cana suites. Now that’s a statement the audience can understand.
-- Lizzie Skurnick
Photo: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast. Credit: Bravo