Welcome back to the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Christmas and New Years might be over, but the longest winter ever trudges on. There’s still snow on the ground, and we reconvene with the Guidices who are eating cavatelli. Because the pasta choices of the Guidi are very integral to the plot? A moment later, we crack the case – they’ve made the cavatelli for purposes of a home photo shoot Teresa’s cookbook.
We just had to rent the tables. And the chairs. And the silverware.
Somehow, the bankruptcy courts let them keep this one.
Of course, Milania is yelling and screaming her head off through the whole thing. And of course I would have it no other way! The little baby is busy ripping her baby scrunchy headband off her head. Gia and the milkman’s kid are rolling their eyes out of their sockets. Sorry, but when you’re got a four year old rolling their eyes, you’ve might want to re-evaluate your parenting skills.
Brown Smurf, in a bid for father of the year, yells at Milania to shut up before he hits her. Teresa sits there, perched happily on a cloud of zebra-print delusion telling us how great the photo shoot is because it shows what an “incredible” family they are. The drama continues past the rented kitchen table and on to the kitchen island, the one part of the kitchen that was not repossessed, as it is cemented to the floor.
Of course, the kitchen island is just another new setting for Milania to lose her mind. Teresa is trying to get her and the milkman’s kid to toss some dough. The milkman’s kid at least tries, but for Milania it’s just another opportunity to scream her head off.
The editor on this shoot is named Frances Zoo Ping Chow. I’m writing it because that’s seriously one of the more exciting parts of this episode. Also, Frances seems to be a NYC bitch who has no time or patience for the Guidi. She suggests a wardrobe change to calm things down.
After new wardrobe, it’s Gia’s turn to pose with Teresa and her mother. Gia turns out to be an extraordinary sulker, and uses her advanced modeling skills to translate her disgust for her parents quite effectively. “Thanks Gia, I know that was a challenge for you,” the bitchy gay photographer yells to her after the shoot.
Hey asshole, we’ve got people buried under this kitchen, ya want to join the party?
Teresa tells us how important it is to her that this book does better than her last one. Then she tells us how much people love her and how they “relate” to her. Yes. Sadly, you were not the only one who spent all your plastic and are now sleeping on air matresses. Congrats on being the role model for the dumb and greedy everywhere.
So, on to Kathy and Rich who are having a very long talk about the virtue of their daughter Victoria. Kathy thinks it’s about time they had “the talk”, but Rich refuses to accept that his innocent daughter, who has poster sized portaits of herself all over the house decked out in a sluttly cowgirl outfit and leather could possibly be a bad girl.
Pure as the driven snow.
Rich keeps insisting that his little angel is definitely saving it for marriage, while Kathy informs us that she has “the party gene”, which is the nice way of saying – well, let’s just say I knew it.
So let’s hit up the Wicked Wolf tavern in Hoboken. Chris Manzo is expanding his career horizons behind the bar. Of course every Manzo on earth must come and visit. Tonight, it’s Jacquee, Chris and Ashley – who’s 20 and always trying to scam drinks and who they’re trying to keep away from the bars, but never mind all that.
Also along are Lauren, Albie and the gay roommate who’s trying to become the new gay sidekick, cause they didn’t really have one in the NJ cast. At first he was cute and refreshing but now he’s just annoying.
Need I say more.
Ashley informs us that the reason why she hasn’t chosen a career path yet is because there’s too much she’s good at so she can’t pick anything. Well, I’d say she’s successfully resolved that issue by doing nothing. From her vantage point of 23 mature and wise years, Lauren tells us that 20 year old Ashley reminds her of herself when she was 20.
Don’t worry, you’re parents will buy you a salon too. Then you don’t have to be good at anything except not doing what other people tell you to.
Jacquee informs us that she has recently had a visit from the police – one of Ashley’s friends rolled her car. And the knock on the door from the police shook Jacquee, so she decided to call in reinforcements – Ashley’s Dad and stepmom. Should I point out again that this little intervention to stop Ash from partying is taking place in a bar?
Ash is super happy to see her Dad and her stepmom. She hugs them a lot. They seem really sweet. Everyone’s hugging and emotional and then her Dad tells her that she has some ‘splainin to do. Ashley immediately informs everyone that she simply hasn’t got the time for long lectures. Her punishment is being ordered to brunch the next day.
I’ll have the eggs benedict with my tough love, thanks.
Dad and stepmom leave her with some lame platitudes about how they love her and want to guide her in the right direction. Seriously, at this point every single person in the cast – past, present and recurring has tried this. Preaching hasn’t seemed to help.
Well, let’s check in with Melissa. She’s usually good for something to say. But even Melissa gets the bore snore treatment today. She invites the witchy sisters over to recount the Playdate of Doom. One of the witchy sisters looks like she’s there only to instigate, and the other one just wears an insane amount of blue eyeshadow. So we get the replay of the Melissa/Teresa passive aggressive playdate. I laughed, I cried – just kidding, I got up, refilled my Diet Coke and sent a text.
The one interesting thing Melissa does is lie. She says that when Teresa saw the recording studio, she said that her brother only built it because he’ll do anything for money. I think anyone who builds a recording studio in their basement for their wife who refuses to sing in public is probably not expecting a profit. But besides that, Teresa actually said that he only built it for her to keep her home. For some reason, Mel doesn’t tell the witches that part, though.
We are here to listen to this story in an unbiased, non-judgmental way.
Then we hear a story about a medium. Some cousins talked to a medium who talked to Melissa’s Dad who wanted to pass along the message that Melissa’s going to be a staaaaah. Melissa predictably gets “the chills”. “He was the first one to know you would be a star,” the witchy sisters sob. One Bravo camera and you’re a star?
Well, what’s going on the with the Manzos? Laundry, of course. Always a household activity going on at the Manzos. But actually, it’s Caroline’s own personal clothing drive because she’s lost a bunch of weight. And it’s not easy to lose weight “in her world”, she tell us. Yeah. Yours and everyone else’s.
Enter Lauren, who tells us that she just cleaned her closet too. Riveting. Tell us more. So she complains about fad diets where she loses and gains, and honey I understand. Deeply. But I don’t think it’s nice for you to suck up time that could be spent on a Gorga/Giudice brawl on your weight loss issues. Call Jenny Craig. I’m being serious. She’s my best friend and I swear by her.
But Lauren tells us that she doesn’t think she’ll ever feel good about how she looks and Caroline cries and consults her fortune cookie handbook and tells her “Beauty is on the inside!” Then she says something about Lauren carrying 8 pounds in a 5 pound bag. I’m not sure what that means. I think it was just a nice way of saying she’s fat.
So boring, I know. I’m sorry. I feel responsible, like somehow when I took over recapping this it suddenly got dull. What have I done? What have I done?
Okay, well it’s probably not about me, so let’s get back to Ashley. She’s checking out pictures of her other family, and Jacquee tells us she loves how Ash respects her Texas Dad, but it also bothers her when she’s “put in all the work”.
Are you sure you want to be taking credit for that?
And we see the results of all her hard work as she asks Ash if she’s going out that night. The answer is no until Jacquee asks her to babysit, and then suddenly Ash has plans. And what better time then to bring up everyone’s favorite topic, What’s Ashley Doing With Her Life. She doesn’t want to go to school. And she doesn’t want to work. She does, however, want to move to California, where no one works, rent is free and we all just ride around on magic red carpets all day long.
“Do you have a job?” is Jacquee’s first question.
“Well, obviously I’d be working there,” replies Ash. I wonder what she thinks “obviously” means. Jacquee tells her to be realistic – she’s not paying rent and she has family nearby. Things won’t be so easy without that. “Well, I like to learn on my own,” says Ash defiantly.
I will learn how to get you to pay my rent in LA.
Ash tells us that she just wants to focus on herself and not hear parents telling her what to do. Yeah, that get a job crap is always such a downer. She wants a fresh start away from “toxic people” she says. Better fumigate that car Chris bought you, then. It might have some leftover spoiled toxins in it.
Let’s catch up with Kathy and her virginal daughter. They’re winter formal shopping, and Kathy is adorably obsessed with finding her daughter a dress that sends “the right message” so she can attract the “right suiters”. Victoria prances out in a skintight mermaid gown with approximately seven different shades of blue sequin.
“It’s a little grown up,” comments Kathy, “do you know what people will think? Sexy!” she finishes in a furious whisper. I’m sorry, where was Kathy when this chick was posing for posters in her Daisy Duke and S&M costumes? But she doesn’t want boys to get the wrong idea, and warns Vic to never feel pressured to enter into any physical relationship. “I know,” Vic replies offhandedly, mentally scheduling her bikini wax.
And then it’s time to make some money in the Gorga’s basement recording studio. Some guy named K-Mack walks in with his entourage. They are impressed with the setup. They say it’s nicer than some of the places they normally record in. We meet some writer named Ellis and hello what happened to the first writer, Anthony? Did he not connect with the deep meaning of being on display, on display, on display?
Joe comes to the studio – come on, you didn’t think he was gonna lock his wife in a basement with three black guys, although I think it would be a hell of a show if he did. He says that it’s a good picture, but the guys are ugly. Melissa chimes in with an unfinished, “Once you go black…”
You are so not getting locked in the basement with three black guys.
Joe reminds us that he put a lot of time and money into this soundproof jail and he doesn’t want to hear, “I’m tired, I don’t wanna do it.” She better sing, he warns.
Or there’s still space under my sister’s kitchen island.
So Melissa hops into the studio and gets her headphones all arranged in her hair, and the music stars and seasoned pro Mel stands there and says…”What are we doin’?” Why, baking a pie, of course. What else would one be doing in a recording studio?
They tell her to sing, and so finally she sings. It’s not good. K-Mack immediately has his head in his hands. “Does that sound crazy horrible?” she asks. “It just sounded crazy,” K-Mack says bluntly. Joe yells at her to “sex it up!”. One of the entourage mindlessly tells them that “time is money”.
Too much time and too much money.
But then they get to the chorus, and it gets better. They tell her she nailed it, she thanks Jesus about 100 times and crosses herself. What, no ice sculpture for the occasion? While Mel is busy congratulating herself, K-Mack thanks Joe.
And now, for the best part of the recap – the link to On Display. I am highly ashamed to admit that I love it. I downloaded it. It’s the new Tardy for the Party. Yes, it sounds like it was recorded in someone’s basement, and it’s a little strange that she’s singing about the paparzzi and the perils of being famous before she’s actually famous, but I still love it.
The next stop on the Franklin Lakes Bore Tour ’11 is Powerhouse Gym, a NJ staple. I worked out there in high school. It’s the kind of place where Joey Buttafuoco pants never go out of fashion. They’re there to kickbox because Lauren’s New Years resolution was to lose weight. Heaven forbid she should work out alone – naturally, the whole family has come along for kickboxing. Yes, annoying gay sidekick too.
And this workout scene goes on forever. It even stretches into the stupid Bravo ‘we’re back but we’re not back’ thirty second segment. I have a sinking feeling. I’m getting flashbacks to this exact scene in the Manzo’s basement back in Season One. I remember it distinctly because it was this half hour in the Manzo’s basement that made me change the channel on them for the rest of the season. Someone needs to get the Brown Smurf drunk and insulting Melissa. Immediately if not sooner. This show is starting to hemmorage boredom.
So let’s head to the Double Crown restaurant for more excitement as Jacquee, Chris, Ashley’s Dad and stepmom sit at a table. Ashley is, of course, late. Well, they can keep on waitin’ on her, waitin’ on her, waitin’ on her.
Well, the parents all agree that Ashley might be depressed, and she should only go out on Friday and Saturday nights. They laugh about her being late to her own intervention and Dad jokes that they may as well just tell her “Thanks for being late, we’re already worked out all the details.” Sounds amazing to me, if we get to avoid what comes next.
But we don’t. We do hear more about the move to Cali though. Apparantly, Ash texted Dad telling him she was going. Not whether he liked it or not, but whether he “paid for it or not”. I’m dying to see how that one works. Dad, who is very likable, complains about how she couldn’t even pass one community college class.
Because I was too good at all of them. I couldn’t pick one to pass.
They do a little more Ash-bashing, and then finally she strolls in “looking like Lindsay Lohan” says Jacquee, which probably wasn’t a compliment. Everyone orders breakfast, and Ash, who’s no doubt been out all night orders a steak. Jacquee jumps right into it, asking Ash what she sees in her future.
Well, the future now includes makeup school. But Lauren, with her volumes of experience, advised her to go to full on beauty school. So much talk about makeup, and these ladies have the worst makeup ever. Even the Jerseylicious girls look better. At least they blend. So for some reason, Ash has beauty school and California logically connected in her mind.
Chris says that it will cost money that she doesn’t have. Ash says she has money for a place, but not for school. Chris says she needs to work towards that. Then he tells her, “Let’s call it what it is – you don’t get out of bed every morning and go to work.” Ashley looks offended. “Love you,” interjects Real Dad.
That annoys me. Why is Chris, who’s not her parent, getting stuck with the actual parenting? Then Chris asks her what her goals are, so he can help her figure out a plan. Ash refuses, arguing that anything she says is going to get shot down anyway. So, there’s a lot more trying to pound sense into Ash’s putty head, they tell her how lucky she is to have family that cares about her, and then she complains about her unpaid job designing t-shirts for Lauren Manzo’s makeup empire.
Then, and this is the best, she tells us how “beyond sick of it” she is. Nothing is good enough for her four parents. Not her internship. Not her job. Apparently, the hours weren’t good enough. 10-2, she complains. Yes, seriously, she complains that they didn’t think working from 10-2 was real jobb-y enough.
They start complaining about how they’re all tired of giving and getting nothing back. Chris brings up the free car, and how everyone gives him a hard time over it. Then he flat out tells her that if it’s not about her, she doesn’t give a shit. I am in love with Chris right now. Then it gets sad. Jacquee says that she thinks Ash looks at her like she’s a big loser.
And Ash’s response is the oft-previewed, “Well, I’m 20 and I don’t have a kid.” “Oh my gosh,” says the stepmom. I’m not shocked cause I saw the previews, but the look on Jacquee’s face makes me want to cry. She should have slapped her for that, but Jacquee just stands up for herself and tells the brat that maybe she did have a kid at 20, but she also was a responsible person.
Ash tells her she’s missing the point, and then somehow brings up the other two little boys and says that Jacquee chose to have them…and suddenly, I get it. Ash was an accident. I mean, this isn’t new information, but I think it’s the root of her problem. And then I start to feel bad for her. To be surrounded by that much love and still somehow feel unwanted. Where’s Dr. Drew to exploit this moment?
Finally Jacquee snaps and tells her to stop acting like it’s a chore to help them in the house because “we’re helping you, get it?” she ends sarcastically. And then Ash starts crying. Real Dad tells her she has to get the chip off her shoulder and that he doesn’t get the anger towards her Mom. Chris tells her to listen to her father.
Then Jacquee says Ash is the most disrespectful brat she’s ever seen in her life and to get out of her house because she doesn’t need to be living with someone who feels that way about her. Poor Jacquee. Stuck being the most boring person alive, and now this. Jacquee goes outside and shakes with gut-wrenching sobs. I’m not being dramatic, it’s terrible to watch. She sobs that she feels like she did everything wrong and her intentions weren’t that.
Inside, Ash is complaining that she looks like “the bitch” because Jacquee stormed off. “The second she decided to keep me was the second she decided to have that responsibility so it should’t be held against me,” Ash defends herself. Chris says Jacquee feels like Ash hates her for having her at a young age.
Then he goes outside to comfort Jacquee, who’s still sobbing. “I’m done,” she tells him. “I’m done too,” Chris replies, then tells her she has to let Real Dad handle it now. Inside, Real Dad is saying that he would have slapped her if she spoke to him like that. Well, nice sentiment, but not slapping her when she spoke to Jacquee like that only sent her the message that it was totally okay.
On the bright side, this is the best I have ever seen you look.
Well, this was disturbing. Unfortunately, it looks like there’s more of it next week, but then it looks like we’re rewarded with some tasting party where Teresa unleashes her inner Milania on Melissa.
Until then, I will be on display, on display, on display right here.