This week our ladies find time between money laundering and pasta making to do some parenting, Jersey style.
I’ve got my red wine, my plastic cup and my twisty straw, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of this episode the cup is going to be irrelevant and I’m going to be sucking wine straight out of the bottle…
We start this week with with Bravo’s endorsement of public humiliation as a valid parenting tool. Over the last year, Jacqueline has been having some parenting struggles with her teenage daughter, Ashley. Luckily for Bravo, she has no problem exploring these issues with the cameras rolling. I’m sure the high school lunch room must be a wonderful experience the day after your classmates have seen your mother on TV talking about how messed up you are and how may punishments she’s doled out over the year. At least Jacqueline is feeling some guilt over Ashley. I just think that she’s just feeling it over the wrong situation. Being a single mom and having to work is unfortunate but it isn’t something to feel guilty about. But exposing Ashley’s problems on national TV, well that’s probably worth some self-torture.
The editors show us a clip of mama Manzo saying that she doesn’t think Jacqeline wants to fight the parenting fight and I can’t help wondering if Jacqueline’s little confrontation in front of the cameras was meant to prove something to mama Manzo. We also get a clip of Nina being totally supportive of Jacqueline’s mothering skills. Thanks editors, we get it. This show is gonna be the ultimate smackdown between family versus friends, with spineless ‘I-want-to-please-everyone-and-I’ll-sacrifice-my-daughter’ Jacqueline in the middle.
You’ve got to admire a mother who works as hard as Theresa does to pass on her values to her daughter’s. It’s not easy to take young girls shopping, but, if that’s what it takes to turn them into shining examples of conspicuous consumption, then Theresa is all over it. Besides, all that shopping is a great way to launder any excess money that just happens to come through her husband’s “business”.
Holy Crap, talk about material girls gone insane. Either these girls are going to land rich husbands, or they’re going to spend alot of time in church basements at debtor’s anonymous meetings. Theresa explains that she likes for ‘all of them’ to match, and by ‘all of them’ she means herself and Juicy Joe, as well, then she asks the sales lady if she carries tutus. Wow, she’s totally bringing the outre level of dress for househusbands to a whole new level.
Boy, Theresa sure can count fast. It’s like watching a bank teller on steroids. And I’ve got to give it to the store manager, not everybody would trust a three year old to work a cash register.
What more could a little girl ask for beyond an unlimited shopping allowance and her very own personal agent? Seriously, I’m pretty sure Perez Hilton would kill for a chance to be adopted by Theresa. Gia’s agent calls to say that she’s got an audition for a feature part in a movie with ‘The Rock’ Dwayne Johnson. This elicits a half hearted shriek from Gia, because a part with Barney the friendly dinosaur would have been so much cooler. It’s a damn good thing that Theresa is on top of things. A lesser mother might not have realized that an audition for a movie is going to require Gia to be able to act. But Theresa’ all over that little issue. She’s going to find the best acting coach in Jersey that money can buy and then bury them in hundred dollar bills.
Cue the serious music because we’re moving on to some real housewife drama. Shakespeare gave us the angst of the Capulets versus the Montagues, Leonard Bernstein gave us the music of the Jets versus the Sharks, and now Bravo is giving us the “reality” of the Manzo’s versus Nina Van Horn. Jaqueliine and Nina might not be quite as romantic as Romea and Juliet, but that’s not for a lack of trying on Nina’s part. She’s totally ready to die for her friend. Jacqueline on the other hand is kind of lacking in the spunk department. Seriously, I don’t remember Juliet emoting an almost palpable fear of her family. She was more like ‘Screw them!’ ‘Romeo where art thou?’ and ‘Chugalug’. Personally, I don’t see Jacqueline ‘Where art thouing?’ for anyone mama Manzo doens’t approve of. That being said, I don’t remember Romeo suffering from uneven breasts or self-esteem issues either. Sadly, Nina seems to have developed a case of both. Life after Just Shoot Me has been hard on the old girl.
It’s all kind of sad when she tells us that after her divorce, Jacqueline is the only person she’s let in and become close with. Unfortunately, Jacqueline is pretty much owned body and soul by the Manzo family, and the Manzo family doesn’t approve of our Nina. Specifically, Diva Dina really doesn’t approve of Nina, which brings us back to Romeo and our really spineless Juliet who’s more about whining that she doesn’t want to be caught between family and friends than she’s about swearing oaths undying loyalty. Nina says reasonably, and creatively, that “if you have an issue with somebody you should take it up with the issuer.” Unfortunately, that would involve things like individual responsibility, honesty and straightforwardness, and that’s not how the Manzo family rolls. Why waste time on those things when bullying, threats, and cement shoes work just as well?
Theresa has moved on from spending money on clothes to making sure her money is being well spent on her dream house. I’m guessing that she’s going to get her money’s worth in the house’s weight alone. It sounds like every available surface is going to be covered with marble, granite or onyx, kind of like a really upscale hotel bathroom. Just to add a little suspense to the project, Theresa announces that she wants her house to be finished in three weeks. If there’s one defining feature about Theresa, it’s that she wants. Everything. Now. I sure as hell hope her contractors watched Silex’ fast track renovation, because they’re going to need the encouragement. Personally, I’m a little old for drinking games, but everytime the words “I want” come out of Theresa or her offspring’s cute little mouths, I think it’s probably worth a good gulp or two.
The day of CJ’s birthday arrives and I LOVE the cupcakes:
CJs birthday party is going to be a carnival complete with pony rides, petting zoo, bouncy slide, moon bounce, clown ears, and carnival games. The kid is clearly in danger of being under-stimulated. Seriously, if you give a kid a carnival for his sixth birthday, what are you going to give him when he turns 18? A day at Heidi Fleiss’ house? Jacqueline is looking a tad bit stressed, and who wouldn’t be. Putting on a carnival in your back yard isn’t the easiest thing to coordinate. It’s a good thing she married into a tight loyal family, because you just know those women are going to be showing up to help. Or not. On the other hand, Nina Van Horn just loves pitching in, which is good and bad. Good because Jacqueline needs the help, and bad because Nina is pretty much ready to move in and play daddy to Jacqueline’s kids.
Nina’s oldest daughter mentions that she heard that Ashley was going to invite a bunch of her teenage friends to CJ’s birthday party. That’s nice. Ashley’s reputation hasn’t been nearly trashed enough this episode. Jacqueline almost staggers under the news. I’m guessing that Mama Manzo isn’t going to approve of drunken teenagers monopolizing the moon bounce and vomiting wine spritzers everywhere. While Jacqueline is panicking, Nina is just about bursting over the opportunity to display her daddy skills. She doesn’t want Jacqueline to worry her pretty little head and really large breasts about a thing. Nina Van Horn is there and she’s going to go talk to Ashley herself. Jacqueline pulls herself together and determines that since she’s Ashley’s mother she should be the one to talk to her, but Nina can come along if she wants. After all, confronting your daughter over what amounts to a rumor with an audience and a camera crew in tow is bound to go really well. Jacqueline pounds on Ashley’s door and screams. Ashley is dressing and not about to come to the door in a state of undress, which is kind of a relief. Finally, somebody who’s not a total exhibitionist. The door stays shut and Jacqueline yells, Ashley yells back, and Nina continuing to butt in.
Mama Manzo interviews that Nina and Jacqueline’s relationship sometimes bothers her because Nina comes on strong and Jacqueline doesn’t know how to say no. On the other hand, when the Manzos bully Jacqueline and she doesn’t know how to say “no”, everything works out just fine. So, really, nobody should be surprised that their solution is to get rid on Nina.
CJ rode his first pony and he’s not bawling his eyes out, so the carnival seems to be a success. What more could a mother want? Oh yeah, adult guests that pretend to be civilized. Diva Dina arrives and gives Jacqueline a careful A-frame hug. Nina immediately sees her, and runs up to Jacqueline to ask if it’s okay to try and patch things up with the Diva. After the unpleasant fight with Ashley, the last thing Jacqueline wants is more fighting, but, since it’s seems to be a physical impossibility for her to verbalize the word “no”, she goes with the easier ‘Absolutely! Yes! For sure!’ answer. Sadly, Nina doesn’t need half that much encouragement. She scampers up to the Diva and throws herself at her like she ‘s a long lost bestie from the days of slumber parties and pillow talk.
Nina apologizes for whatever crime Dina thinks she committed in the past, but the Diva isn’t buying it. It might have worked better if Nina had dropped to her knees and kissed the Diva’s ring, because I’m thinking Diva Dina doesn’t really like to be touched.
Nina tells Dina how beautiful she looks and what great breasts she has, which is a little personal but at least she’s trying. Sadly, all of this effort is wasted. The Diva just wants to get inside the house and find a private room so she can pull that stick out out of her tuchus.
You know, it’s got to be hard being the Diva. Everybody either wants to be her, or do her. All that attention is bound to make a person slightly paranoid, which probably accounts for the Diva thinking that Nina wants to skin her and wear her like last year’s Versace. Of course, comparing her hide to Versace might be a bit delusional. Personally, I’m thinking more along the lines of a cheap knockoff.
Over at the Manzo headquarters, Mama Manzo keeps an open door policy, so when she cooks, she cooks a lot. I can totally relate. While I’m writing this, I have an enormous pot of brisket on the stove to feed my family and whichever of my son’s friends decide to appear for dinner.
Christopher is busy contemplating how people know that their perceptions of colors is the same as other peoples. Or at least that’s what I think he’s contemplating. His actual question is: “How do you know that my red isn’t your blue?” Amazingly enough, this conversation isn’t taking place in the wee hours of the night admist plumes of pot smoke, while a bunch of pimply faced teenagers stare at the stars; it’s taking place at Mama Manzo’s dinner table, and nobody is that interested. It’s abundantly clear that I’ve totally underrated Christopher. He’s not just an idiot with a faux hawk, he’s a misunderstood, really deep, idiot with a faux hawk.
Tonight the main focus of interest is Mama Manzo’s, mini me daughter, Lauren. Specifically, her ambition to become a mother/housewife. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that, while she waits for a husband/father to materialize, Lauren is perfectly content to stay at home and work at the Brownstone. Mama Manzo and Santa Albert have a different plan for their lovely, if somewhat limited, daughter. They want her to go to beauty school. If it wasn’t for being worried that her hands would hurt all the time, Lauren could really like the idea of beauty school. And then, of course, there’s the little issue that Lauren doesn’t really like touching people. Unfortunately, it does seem like touching people would be an integral component of both working as a beautician and getting pregnant. But, hey, she can always get a job as a toll booth operator.
Theresa is taking Gia to see an acting coach with the best credentials ever. Lisa Regina had an actual role in the Sopranos, which is totally up there with being written about in the Bible. For this event, Gia is dressed in a pink sequinned jacket and looks like she’s about to perform with Jazzy Jazzettes Baton Twirling troupe. I would kill to see what Theresa has Juicy Joe wearing today. Gia is definitely excited, cute and smiley, and therein lies the problem; she never stops smiling. Even when she’s sad, Gia smiles.
It’s afternoon and mama and Santa Manzo are getting ready to sit Lauren down to decide her future. Santa starts out by stating that it’s been two years since Lauren graduated from high school and since then all she’s done is take root in the house like a plant. He want’s her to go to beauty school. Mama Manzo is a little more ambitious. She doesn’t want Lauren to just do makeup, she wants her to eventually own a spa. Santa’s not too sure about the whole spa thing. After all, he’s Santa and he knows who’s naughty or nice, or smart or stupid. And, while his daughter might have a lot of common sense, Santa doesn’t think she’s exactly smart. Maybe this year he’ll bring her some brains for Christmas, instead of lumps of coal. Lauren giggles and agrees to the beauty school plan because, really, she has no idea what they’re talking about, but they’re smiling so it can’t be too bad. Mama Manzo has a moment of remorse, and wants to know if Lauren is really interested in beauty school, but Santa isn’t worried. After all “the Manzo family is a dictatorship not a democracy”. Santa should have saved his breath and used smaller words like “yes” or “no”. The whole “dictatorship/democracy” thing is way beyond Lauren’s capabilities. She’s not quite sure what those words mean, but Santa’s looking serious so she’s pretty sure they’re a bad thing.
Over at the Van Horn household, Nina is on the phone to her ex, begging for her settlement. You’ve got to give the woman credit. Seriously, showing this segment on the show is pretty much tantamount to renting billboard space on the Jersey turnpike to advertise what an asshole her ex-husband is.
Jacqueline is on her way to the OB/Gyn, with her firstborn daughter, Ashley, tucked into the backseat. Jacqueline is 38 and she’s trying to have another child, but she’s had four miscarriages in a row. That. Totally. Sucks. I don’t blame her for wearing a fertility bracelet. Hell, if I had miscarried that many times, you could have talked me into walking around naked with frog urine rubbed over my belly. Luckily, the only uterine activity I look forward to nowadays is the eventual onset of menopause.
Of course, Nina has to be involved in this situation somewhere. If she can’t be the baby daddy, she can at least refer Nina to a good doctor. It sounds like the miscarriages have been hard on Jacqueline. Sadly, she’s one of those women who tend to show right away, so she goes straight into maternity clothes and switches into pregnancy mode, which probably makes it harder than if you just bloat a little.
Poor Ashley is trying to make her mother feel better, but this situation is totally beyond her range of experience. And, seriously, Jacqueline needs to make up her mind. Either Ashley is her bff/confidant or she’s her daughter. But then it just gets totally weird. Jacqueline asks if Ashley minds waiting in the car because she wants privacy in the doctor’s office, which is totally understandable. What’s not understandable is that Jacqueline apparently has no trouble with being accompanied by a camera crew of virtual strangers. Well at least Ashley got to see what she missed along with the rest of us.
Diva Dina is a busy woman, with a MIA husband. She’s interviewing a young man to either hire him as an assistant or as a boy toy, but it’s kind of hard to tell which. Either way the boundaries are definitely blurry. When was the last time you went for a job interview and your prospective employer offered you a drink.
To clarify what the job actually entails, the Diva explains that she needs help for events and a
slow right hand man for everyday life.
Dina has a pretty concise list of work requirements to cover. Her boy toy has to feel comfortable washing cats and cars; engaging in minor illegal activities; buying tampons; putting up with the Diva being a total bitch; and most importantly being comfortable taking occasional payments in trade.
Most girls get plain old Barbie dolls to play dress up with. Nina’s daughters are luckier than most; they get a supersized living Barbie doll to dress.
Nina’s date is a 26 year old guy who models his wardrobe after John Gotti and likes to date older women.
Holy cow! I’ve been married for a while, but dating rules seem to have changed since I was out there.
Tonight is the big Ladybug foundation event and the Diva is in full force bitch mode. Seriously, people are running around frantically working, not because the event is so important to them, but because the Diva might lose her shit. Little Christopher is working his job as head valet and warns his staff not to have any lost keys, cars crashes, or people waiting for more than five minutes, because it’s going to be their asses if the Diva gets upset. The serious expressions on the three men’s faces when they nod back at him speaks volumes for for the fear this woman inspires.
Jacqueline has no desire to put herself in the Diva’s path of terror, so her game plan for the night involves offering Ashley up as a human sacrifice, and then avoiding the Diva at all costs. Sadly, Ashley isn’t cooperating in her role. Instead of working her ass off to make the Diva happy, she’s busy changing her clothes again, and again. Poor Jacqueline, she thought she was just there to eat, drink and avoid the Diva and here she is chasing down her unrepentant kid and being bullied into helping. For God’s sake lady, life would be so much easier if you just said No!
Well, Gasmi, that’s it for this week. I’m dying to see the episode with all the drug cartel rumors, it should be a doozie. I’ve got to say that I’m really enjoying the Jersey woman. Of course, I may turn into a wino before the season’s over, but them’s the breaks…