I have finally figured out what separates The Real Housewives of New Jersey from the other cities on The Real Housewives radar. Food. There is so much food at all times. On The Real Housewives of New York City it seems that eating is done by appointment. On The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills eating seems forbidden. On The Real Housewives of New Jersey there is food everywhere at all times and every one eats it like they have nine rectums.
We start the show at Teresa’s house where there is plenty of food (thankfully no lamb heads with tubes or baked doberman fish) being eaten as the family poses for a cookbook photo shoot. We see Teresa feeding Audriana meatballs. This begs the question: Are you supposed to feed a one-year-old meatballs? If that’s what makes the Giudice children so beautiful, then make sure you give her seconds. After re-watching last week’s episode and reading Teresa’s blog, I still can’t figure out why she’s been so negative. Teresa should feel amazing. She is on top of the world. She has beautiful children, a cookbook on the New York Times bestseller list, and a husband that can do the splits. I wrote two books and neither of them made the New York Times bestseller list. For my third book, I think I’m going to sneak in a couple recipes for turkey gravy. I should probably also learn to do the splits, although I’m not sure how that would help sell books.
Anyway -- As the family sits around the table, the kids are super restless and Joe Giudice looks like he’s about to take a bite out of the kitchen counter. I haven’t seen a photo shoot this uncomfortable since Star 80. At one point things get so out of hand the baby’s headband falls off. It’s a mad house. Babies need headbands to keep the sweat out of their eyes when they’re eating meatballs. I never eat meatballs without my headband. In her interview, Teresa explains her popularity to us. She says that people can relate to her because, “People can, like, relate to me because I am really real.” Really. When the photo shoot is over, the photographer (they tried to get Jurgen Teller but he wasn’t available) says, “Thank you, Gia, I know that was challenging for you.” Was that a dig? Is this man insane? Am I the only one that noticed he sounded like Tim Gunn? Did I really see someone on screen named Frances Soo Ping Chow? So many questions! I think I have a fever. Do you think Frances gets upset when people at work mess up her name. “Everyone, this is Frances Ping Soo Chow.” “SOO PING! SOO PING! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE BEEN THROUGH THIS?!”
Over at the Wakile house, Richie and Kathy are having a discussion about when would be the proper time to give Victoria “the talk.” Kathy is ready to do it now, but Richie doesn’t see the reason to rush it. He even says, “She’s only sixteen years old!” That’s right, Richie. Be firm and hold your ground. Give Victoria “the talk” when she comes home from college. The discussion between Richie and Kathy is far more uncomfortable than the conversation ever could have been with Victoria. Richie thinks that she doesn’t need any talk, because he says that whenever she gets in that situation she will picture Richie’s face over the face of the person she’s with. This actually works. But that’s me, I see Richie’s face everywhere, on my wife, on tortillas, on tile floors, and sometimes on Richie himself. In case you’re wondering, yes, I saw everything that happened. The problem is, Victoria is sixteen-years-old and with her underage status about seven jokes just flew out the window. Later in the episode, Victoria is trying on dresses for her junior formal and every dress that she tries on Kathy thinks is too sexy. This was a funny scene, because you know Kathy is hoping Victoria hits the prom circuit wearing a couple of parkas and a wet suit.
In Hoboken we see Christopher Manzo working as a bartender. You just cannot stop a Manzo from working hard. Jacqueline, Chris, Lauren, Albie, Greg, and Ashley all come in to visit Chris. They all do shots while Ashley plays with her hair. As I watched I was hoping Albie and Ashley would trade hats. I’d love to see Ashley in a baseball hat. More so, I would love to see Albie rolling through Manhattan with Alexa Rae Joel on his arm and a potholder on his head. That’s how you boss a move through the boroughs. I almost got my wish. Albie and Christopher’s roommate, Greg (We need more Greg!), puts Ashley’s potholder on his head and does an Ashley impression, which basically consists of saying, “You guys,” a lot. When Greg wears the oven mitt on his head, he actually looks pretty cool. He resembles a stoned French guy.
Ashley’s dad surprises her and sits down next to her at the bar. The first thing I noticed was that this man is a giant. He makes Big Chris look like Emanuel Lewis. The second thing I noticed was that Ashley’s dad looked alarmingly like UFC president Dana White. The third and maybe the most important thing I noticed about Ashley’s dad is that he has a scar running across the back of his head that stretches form ear to ear. That isn’t the kind of scar that comes with a funny story. I truly hope the man is okay. To further prove what incredible parents they are, Chris and Jacqueline are the ones who hug Ashley’s dad and stepmom hello in the parking lot and walk them into the bar. As luck (for the viewers) would have it, Ashley’s dad and stepmom aren’t in town from Texas on a social visit. They came to New Jersey in the dead of winter to sit down with Ashley, Jacqueline, and Chris to have a sort of intervention for Ashley. For what? Lazy pills and bottle after bottle of self-entitlement? Whoa! “Ashley, you behaving like a creepy drippy person has affected my life negatively in the following ways.” This family means business.
The following day, as snow falls on New Jersey, the pot stirring continues in Melissa Gorga’s kitchen. Her sisters Lysa and Kim (another Kim!) are there, and Melissa is back to doing her Teresa/Urkel impression. To be fair, Teresa was so negative the last time they were together that I will cut Melissa some slack. Lysa and Kim tell Melissa that they went to a medium, who said that her father was looking down on her and told her she is going to be successful. This makes Melissa cry and then in her interview she explains to us that she has never spoken to a “median.” Neither have I considering a median is the cement barrier that runs across a highway. If Melissa does ever decide to speak to a median, I hope it’s when the roads are closed. I wouldn’t want her to get run over by Ashley in her new Jeep. I love how Lysa and Kim mention that they saw a medium so flippantly, like it was just something they do on Thursdays and Mondays after the gym. Jacqueline went to a psychic earlier in the year and now Kim and Lysa are dropping in on the medium. Am I missing something? Do most people do this? Does most of New Jersey grab a couple of pops at the Verona Inn and then stop in for a quick visit to the medium to check in with the after life? I can’t think of that many people I want to talk to that are alive. I can’t imagine letting the dead into my instant message rotation.
Ashley tells Jacqueline that she wants to move to California. At this point I’m surprised Jacqueline didn’t pull a Greyhound bus ticket out of one of the kitchen drawers. Ashley asks her mom, “What part of me isn’t being realistic?” Oh, Ashley. I said I wasn’t going to make fun of you anymore, but you keep taking it up a notch. Ashley tells the camera in her interview, “In California I can just focus on me.” Yes, that’s right, Ashley. You need to get away from this toxic environment. You don’t deserve to get two free cars and to live rent-free and to have free clothes and to not pay any bills. No one can treat you that way. You need to call Amnesty International or Bono to see if they can bust you out of your third world mansion.
Later in the show in a Franklin Lakes gym, the Manzos are training with Salvatore. He is Chris and Albie’s kickboxing trainer. Do you see the difference in personalities here? We see Christopher tending bar and we see Ashley sitting at the bar playing with her hair. We see Ashley sitting on her ass in the kitchen, and then we see the Manzos AND Jacqueline in a kickboxing class. Lauren brought Caroline along to kickboxing class for motivation. The big problem is that Momma Manzo ain’t getting down and doin’ twenty for nobody. She isn’t into the whole working out thing. It’s like she’s saying, “I just got a ten karat ring, I ain’t doing no freakin’ push ups.” Since Caroline has been the most motivating person on the show so far, I was very surprised that she didn’t roll up her sleeves and put Salvatore in the Manzo death grip. If I ever go exercising with anyone on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ I am going to go with Greg. (We need more Greg!) I love any guy that wears dolphin shorts and during sit-ups let’s you see his balls. Caroline has to stop mid “work out” because she is about to puke. Salvatore the trainer tells her to grab some orange juice to make her stomach feel better. Orange juice for nausea? If that doesn’t work do you move right to ketchup and vinegar? This kick boxer ain’t no doctor.I got a knot in my stomach when I saw Chris, Jacqueline, Jodi, and Matt seated in a booth at a restaurant together waiting for Ashley. This can’t possibly end well. I just can’t believe that Ashley is the type of person to turn this thing around and say, “You know what? You guys are right. I stink!” I am super nervous for Jacqueline, because she has the patience of Job and I fear this might be her breaking point. On a side note: If you’re going to have an intervention to tell someone they are partying too much, maybe don’t have five half empty bloody marys on the table when they show up. Seemed to me to be a bit of a mixed message. Maybe everyone could have just ordered a Fresca.
For months I have been saying that Ashley has great parents. I was wrong. Ashley has AMAZING parents! All four of them are damn cool people. You can’t even get Teresa and Kathy to sit at the same table, but Ashley is at a restaurant with two- stepparents. This is such an incredible example of how great Jacqueline must be. During the meal, Ashley lays out her plan for all four of her parents. She is going to move to California and go to beauty school. Chris once again tries to explain the concept of money to Ashley, but it falls on deaf ears. Ashley’s dad Matt steps up and gives Ashley a motivational speech that could have gotten Caroline to do push ups. It’s all to no avail. Ashley thinks every one is ganging up on her and eventually drops the atom bomb of the show. She looks at Jacqueline and says, “I’m twenty and I don’t have a baby.” This almost made me puke. The disrespect that Ashley has shown her mother has been awful, but this sentence was one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. Once the mushroom cloud cleared I realized how freaking stupid this sentence was. Ashley cheap shots her mother for having a baby at twenty years old. Ashley WAS THAT BABY, so in essence Ashley is calling herself a bad life choice.
Finally, but sadly, Jacqueline hits her limit and says what ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ fans have been thinking for two tears: “Honestly, she’s the most disrespectful brat I have ever seen in my life. You don’t appreciate a God damn thing anyone does for you!” I know that Jacqueline is reading this. Jacqueline, please know that from the bottom of all of our hearts, we appreciate you. You are an incredible woman and a great mother. I’m sorry you had to reach this point. I didn’t find it funny, and I didn’t find it entertaining. I just found it heartbreaking, and I’m sorry.
As Ashley continues to talk to the rest of the table, we see Jacqueline sitting by herself somewhere in the restaurant crying her eyes out. It’s terrible to see. Since I have been watching, she has been a caring mom at worst. An incredible mom at best. Asking your child questions like, “Have you thought about school?” and “Any luck finding a job?” is par for the course and shouldn’t be met with angry words or defensive tears. Jacqueline looks up at Chris and says, “I’m done.” Chris responds simply, “I’m done too.” We all are. It’s draining to watch Ashley behave this way week after week. It has gotten very, very old. Ashley says she is going to move to Los Angeles. This is a perfect move for her and her parents. Los Angeles may be the only lady that cares about things less than Ashley. Day after day, the ocean, the mountains, and the palm trees shrug their shoulders at the hundreds of starlets that step off of the airplanes to start over. Every day, girls with hundreds of hours of acting experience and thousands of pages of manuscripts come to Los Angeles to make a name for themselves. Ashley is just bringing Ashley. Los Angeles, like Ashley, simply won’t care.
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