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TV Recap: The Real Housewives of New Jersey-Mama Knows Best
Last week began the new Housewives series, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and man oh man, this is going to be an epic journey. These women are an entirely new breed of housewife. Being born and bred in NJ myself, I was a little annoyed when I first saw how stereotypically "Jersey" these women were. The intro for the show mimics the intro for The Sopranos, Garden State Parkway signs leading to the Lincoln Tunnel, toll booths the works, and the typical Jersey Italian family that the show focuses on was sure to pigeonhole "Jersey Girls" to the aerosol hairspray using, Bon Jovi loving, club clothes wearing trash bags that they're already typically thought to be.
We don't all have bad highlights and an affinity for bad 80s hair bands! But after giving the show a chance I realized that yes, these women are complete stereotypes BUT sometimes stereotypes are there for a reason. These women are NJ, at least the northern half. There are plenty of beautiful places to live in NJ that don't consist of over embellished mansions and mafia ties, but let's get real, this is television. It's got to be interesting and if interesting means big "bubbies," stage mothers, inter-familial marriages, and stalker friends then Momma I'm coming home!
Since I didn't get to recap last weeks premiere episode let me just give a brief rundown of who's who and what happened.
First we have Teresa Giuidice (the last name, I kid you not). According to her bio "Teresa Giudice is a true Jersey girl born and raised. Her parents emigrated from Italy and raised both Teresa and her brother Giuseppe in an Italian Catholic home. She grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, where she met her husband, Joe. Joe, an entrepreneur, owns several successful businesses throughout New Jersey and Teresa spends most of her time raising their three beautiful daughters Gia, Gabriella, and Milania." Teresa is a big fan of shopping and paying for everything in cash. She also gets skeeved out buy other peopleís homes so she had to build her dream home from scratch, and paid for it in cash I assume. Is this a paper trail thing?
Next is Jacqueline Laurita "a former cosmetologist in Las Vegas turned full-time stay-at-home New Jersey mom. Her husband Chris, brother of Caroline and Dina Manzo, owns several wholesale apparel businesses and the couple has been together for more than 13 years. They have a six-year old son, CJ, and Jacqueline has a teenage daughter, Ashley, from a previous marriage." Jacqueline is the kindest and most genuine of the bunch but she may be too much of a push over to stand up to the other big personalities. Jacqueline feared moving to the "armpit of America" but then her husband gave her a mansion and she changed her mind. How does someone from Vegas get the right to make fun of NJ?
Then there are Dina and Caroline Manzo. Both have the same last names because they are married to brothers. Sister wives! *ahem GROSS ahem* "Dina Manzo is a family woman, a business owner, and the founder of the charitable organization Project Ladybug. She balances a career as an interior designer and owner of a successful event planning company with being a loving wife to her husband Tommy and mother to her teenage daughter, Alexia." Alexia is from Dina's first marriage, there was period of time when she was a single mother and other women looked at her is if she were a whore, probably also because she's definitely the hottest of the bunch.
Caroline, described as "The epitome of a strong New Jersey woman" whatever that means "is a devoted wife and mother of three, who always puts her family first while making time for her career. Married for more than 25 years, her husband Albert runs a very successful catering facility, The Brownstone. The business has been with the family for over 30 years and is one of the premiere event spaces in New Jersey. Caroline tries to instill the value of both book smarts and street smarts in her children. Her oldest son, Albie, is studying to be a lawyer and her son Christopher is a young entrepreneur, while her daughter Lauren is dedicated to helping the family business."
Caroline and Dina are best friends and their husbands work together running the Brownstone, but oddly Dina's husband is never around and she says since being married they've only seen each other for about two weeks. Why would running a catering hall in NJ keep you out of the country for most of the year? And why does Dina find it so important to keep herself looking like her husband's hot girlfriend when she's his wife? Very important questions that need answering.
And finally there is Danielle Staub. I was going to quote the bio that BravoTV.com has posted for Danielle just as I did for the other women but so far none of it seems to be true. For example, it says, "Known for being brutally honest, Danielle enjoys pushing peopleís buttons and doesnít apologize for it." From what I've seen so far she's apologized a bunch of times and kissed asses to get some attention to ease the pain of her sad desperation. But maybe I'm judging too quickly?
So now that we know who is who let's get into what happened this week. We begin with Jacqueline and her daughter Ashley who looks basically the same age as her. Not sure if that's good for Jacqueline or bad for Ashley, but I'm pretty sure it's the former. Ashley's grades have dropped this year and Jacqueline is trying to help her get them back up. She thinks it's her fault because she wasn't there for her when she was younger because she was a single mother and then when she got married and rich she spoiled her. Her sisters-in-law think Jacqueline isn't strict enough with Ashely so to prove how tough she is she closes Ashely's computer when she's talking to someone on Facebook. WAY to go terminator.
The Giudice girls are shopping, they go shopping a few times a week. Teresa sees nothing wrong with this because she likes to have matching outfits so spoiling them rotten is worth the color scheme. My heart goes out to the poor store owner who has to deal with these maniac children tearing up the place. When I used to work in retail we'd often get these housewives who would bring their children into the store and expect you to take care of them, like an unpaid babysitter, while they got a break for an hour or two. They were the BEST! (for murdering) While in the store, Teresa gets a phone call from her daughter Gia's talent agent. She's going to audition for a lead role in a movie starring The Rock Duane Johnson. Gia got the audition without knowing how to act... sooo the logical thing to do now is find an acting coach.
The BEST acting coach in ALL of NJ! Teresa feels really good about putting Gia in the entertainment business because she wants to do anything to make her little girl happy. Which is smart since most seven-year-olds know what's best for them, just ask Drew Barrymore or Corey Haim or Danny Bonaduce or Gary Coleman. Look how great their childhoods turned out! It comes time to pay for all the clothing Teresa bought and HERE comes the cash. This woman keeps hundreds of thousands of dollars in purse at any given time. The money is flowing like Niagara and the store owner doesn't seem to flinch. She understands how these women work I suppose.
Danielle and Jacqueline meet for lunch at an oddly placed table outside a restaurant that clearly has not outside seating. Danielle wants to know how she can fit in with the rest of the group, or more so with Jacqueline's sister's-in-law, Caroline and Dina, or maybe just with Dina. Apparently there are 11 siblings in this good old fashioned Italian family and Dina is the youngest of all of them, to which Danielle pretends she doesn't know but you KNOW she is stalking this woman so she knows every tiny detail. Quit your pretending Danielle! You mean well but you are the most insecure creature I've ever witnessed. Move on and stop using poor Jacqueline to get to Dina so you can make a hair doll of her. Danielle hopes to smooth things over with Dina at Jacqueline's son's birthday party.
The day of the birthday party comes, which we already saw glimpses of last week, and it's ridic. It's a carnival theme complete with Michael Jackson and Bubbles. Danielle comes early to "help out" with the party and by help out I mean cause drama between Jacqueline and her daughter and creep out Dina for as long as possible. Danielle's daughter tattled on Ashely by telling them that she invited a bunch of friends to come to the kiddy birthday party. Danielle thinks itís a good idea if she and Jacqueline confront Ashley together about this. Why she wants to go tag team her friends' daughter is beyond me. I think Ashely just got her first three-way-calling-attack from 40-year-old women.
After warming up by jumping on a 17-year-old about something that was none of her business, Danielle decides she wants to do what she came to the party to do, murder, I mean talk to Dina. Jacqueline hesitantly says it's fine if she talks to Dina but she knows this is going to be bad news. Danielle is DYING for the approval of Dina like she has some unrequited crush on her. She pounces on Dina and grabs her around the neck, apologizes for whatever fight they had at one time and immediately starts staring at Dina's chest.
She tells her how beautiful she looks and then asks if she can borrow her bubbies because they're friends. Are friends all you want to be Danielle? As Danielle hugs Dina over and over, Dina's face cringes and twists with every, "we're good" she manages to push out. She wonders if Danielle is sane and pictures herself living in her basement putting lotion on her skin, "The girl is freaking obsessed with me. Does she want to be more or skin me and wear me like last yearís Versace?" Danielle predicts their friendship will be going places after that apology, "we might become really, really tight." Does Dina think they'll be close? "We will never be friends." I'm starting to like Dina.
Caroline, the matriarch of the families, is trying to get her daughter Lauren to go to beauty school. They have a family meeting and decide this is the best thing for her because she is, as her father says, stupid. Lauren thinks it's hilarious that her father thinks she's dumb and that she doesn't understand what the words democracy or dictatorship mean. Lauren, you better get a dictionary.
Jacqueline and her husband are trying to have a third child but Jacqueline keeps having miscarriages. The poor girl has had four miscarriages since trying to conceive again and she's very upset about it. Jacqueline seems to be a very kind and genuine person which makes me wonder why she's on this show, but I like the balance of genuinely sweet and genuinely insane characters so keep the others looking bad Jacqueline!
Dina needs an assistant for her event planning business but also for her everyday life. She hires a young fellow who is willing to do anything to keep her happy. ANYTHING. Her interview consists of testing what he will and will not do for her. Will he wash her hairless cat? Check. Will he wash her cars? Check. Will he buy her tampons? Check, as long as they're not Maxi Pads. Will he take another form of payment if she's short on cash? Ummm Mrs. Robinson, he's like 15. Don't be a creep.
The reason Dina needs an assistant is because she was working on a charity event and she needed some extra help. The event is stressing her out and when Dina is in work mode she is in "bitch mode." Jacqueline really seems to fear Dina when she is like this, but she seems to always fear her so this makes it extra scary for her.
Danielle has a date coming over who is a mere 26 to her 45 years of age. This seems to bother people that the age difference is so big but it doesn't matter because he looks to be about 50. Danielle goes out with this old young man and leaves her daughters home alone. She has an open relationship with her daughters so she's fine with them knowing all of her young creepster suitors. Teresa knows this guy because he's a friend of her husband. According to Teresa this guy is not dating Danielle at all but is merely stopping by on occasion for his quickie BJ.
I hope her poor daughters do not have to bear witness to those events because that is something that will cause a person to get stigmata. Danielle, decked out in a polka dot-mini dress, goes to a nice restaurant with this lover friend and immediately asks him if he wants to sneak into the bathroom with her. He wipes his mouth and tells her to finish eating and oops I just vomited.
Next Week: We finally get to find out what these rumors that have been going around are. Danielle feels that Dina doesn't like her because she "knows... way... too... much... about her." Could this be the kidnapping's and Colombian cartel's we've been getting wind of? Ohhh me hopes so!
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