'Real Housewives of New Jersey' reunion recap: Judging Andy
"Poll Question: Was Andy too hard on Teresa at the reunion?"
Now, I know I’ve now been an LRHR -- Licensed Real Housewife Recapper -- for a few months over here, so it’s not like I just fell off the Blahnik truck. Still, receiving a text from one of the heads of the Bravo network while he was still on TV right in front of me in a big chair asking for me to vote if he was being too harsh on the person I was watching him talk to right there on the TV in his big chair about the show I write about may have brought things to a meta-level way above my pay grade.
Still -- I'm going to do my best. Was Andy Cohen too harsh on Teresa at the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion was the question of the evening, though I guess it depends on your meaning of harsh. If relaying viewer questions about whether husband Joe has a drinking problem, prodding Teresa about holding Melissa and Joe to a higher standard than her own husband, or correcting her pronunciation with menacing sibilance (“Distan.” “Are you trying to say ‘distanced’?” “Yeah, distan.” “DISTANCCCCCCCCCCED!”) is too harsh, then he was too harsh.
But if telling her it was unacceptable that husband Joe still drops the F-word (“Tons of our friends are gay!”), gently explaining that “you find it hard to hear people though things have been explained to you several times,” or simply making sure she didn’t accidentally unseat Kathy from their shared couch with her volcanic displays of illogic was actually, as Andy himself might say, a mitzvah.
Despite Andy’s worries, it wasn’t the women ganging up on Teresa, or him being harsh. It was Teresa herself, eye-rolling, earsplitting, and, uh, distaning, that showed us what stuff she's made of.
And so did the show itself, which, by the miracle of montage, finally seemed to be able to stick the series into coherent narratives. There was the montage about how randy they all are in Jersey, of course, then the montage about Jacqueline and her trials with Ashley, a montage about Teresa’s competitiveness with Melissa, even a montage about Kathy’s culinary creations, which allowed me to see that she had, in fact, gathered her army of cannoli under ONE GRAND CANNOLI SHELL, something I’d missed on the first go-round. (No pun intended.)
And it’s a good thing, because much else in the show was the kind of rhetoric generally heard on the playground. “It’s none of your business!” “You shut up.” “You shut up!” “Be quiet!” “You’re evil.” “You’re a bad cousin.” “Oh, I’m bad. We’re bad. Everybody’s bad!” Then, finally, the words NONE of us want to hear at the sleepover -- Caroline Manzo’s repeated plea: “I would like to leave.”
Still, @BravoAndy’s ruthless digging did uncover the secret we’ve waited to hear the entire season -- what actually broke the Joes up, thus inciting a split between the Gorga and Giudice clans.
No, it wasn’t the best bikinis, the most money, or the shooting-est Catskill retreat. Apparently, Joe Giudice, formerly Joe Gorga’s mentor, came to his first construction project and repeatedly mocked him in front of friends and family for how poorly it was built, then continued to deride his charge as he rose, then surpassed him, in success. Yes -- that kind of behavior’s not going to get you put in a freezer, permanently. But in Jersey, it’s good for a few years of the cold shoulder.
Oh, and that poll? For those who missed “Watch What Happens Live” -- and thus missed the genius of Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos acting out scenes from the season, to be watched IMMEDIATELY -- for the record, it was 39% yes, 61% no.
I think you know what side this LRHR’s on.
-- Lizzie Skurnick
Photo: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast. Credit: Bravo