After the fiasco of Danielle’s former life on last week’s Real Housewives of New Jersey, it was going to be hard to top it with this week’s episode. And they didn’t really try – this week’s episode was calmer, centered around a trip that half of the housewives took to Atlantic City (‘AC’ if you’re authentic Jersey) and Teresa’s quest for new and improved buhbbies. Gaudy casinos and breast implants – about par for the north Jersey course, don’t you think? Except it all seemed oddly reasonable, which is possibly proof that I’m now experiencing a weird sort of Stockholm syndrome with this crazy show. It has me, and if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.
The theme of this episode, even of the parts that weren’t about Teresa, was buhbbies. But, you ask, isn’t that what this entire series has been about thus far? And you would be more or less correct.
Caroline, Dina and Teresa decide they’re gonna take a little ladytrip to Atlantic City and I’m somewhat proud of them for not choosing a hotel that looked like it was covered in rhinestones and then dunked in glitter. Because, really, that kind of restraint is more than I would have expected from them, particularly in ‘AC.’ Their hotel may have taken the Japanese-modern theme a bit far, but in the grand scheme of things, it looked pretty nice. They appear to have spent more time shopping and pool-sitting than gambling, and Teresa brought enough bikinis that, in case of fire, she could have tied them end-to-end and shimmied down the side of the building to safety. But isn’t that part of her charm? She brought an equally alarming amount of clothing for the two-day trip, and when her kids called to say they missed her, she asked that her husband distract them with lip gloss. One gets the feeling, as Dina points out, that Teresa’s biggest stress in life may in fact be her bikinis, and maybe I’m just a bit jealous.
While they’re sitting poolside, Teresa receives a call from Steve (remember him? He’s Danielle’s dubiously 26-year-old boyfriend. I thought we broke up with him two episodes ago. Apparently not!) saying that he was going to bring a girl down to her house on the Jersey Shore for the weekend. A girl that is not Danielle, even though he admits that they’re still “hanging out.” Stuff like this makes me feel a little bad for Danielle, but then I realize that she’s a 45-year-old woman that’s been through many relationships in the past and should be able to read her greasy-faced douchebag of a boyfriend much better than she does. Ultimately, she seems to be purposely deluding herself in to thinking that he cares about her, despite all evidence to the contrary (my hunch is confirmed later in the episode, when she tells her kids that he has promised to continue to be involved in their lives, but we’ll get to that in a bit).
Thankfully, the next scene we cut to is of Danielle and Steve (wearing a trucker hat and an Ed Hardy t-shirt, stab me in the freakin’ face), having an inappropriately serious conversation at some cheesy diner. Danielle breaks up with him, which I thought she had already done, but whatever, and she gets all upset and tells him how much he meant to her and he looks visibly uncomfortable and maybe even a bit relieved. She rides the crazy train right back home to her two daughters, both of whom are easily more intelligent than she is, and tells them that she has ended things with Senor Shiny Face but that he sincerely wants to be involved with them in the future. Her older daughter calls shenanigans on that idea immediately, and informs her mother that this guy, like all the other ones, was just in it for sex. Holy self-awareness, batman. Danielle, LISTEN TO YOUR KID. She’s right. Somehow you managed to not mess her up. Yet. And she’s the person I really feel sorry for, not her mother.
As far as offspring goes, the kids may be just as interesting as the moms in this show. I love the way that Dina and her daughter interact – there’s a great deal of affection there in both directions, and you’ve never once heard Dina criticize her daughter’s looks like a lot of the housewives tend to do. There’s never any mention of contacts or flat-ironing or makeup or the need to stay thin. As a result, her kid looks like a normal 12-year-old, which is all but unheard of in the realm of reality television. Sure, she seems like a bit of a brat, but I’ve never seen a kid that age that didn’t. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jackie’s daughter seems royally screwed up about her appearance. They go for some kind of tacky photo shoot since her grades are improving, and they put her in a series of prom dresses and take awkward pictures of her. I don’t want to snark on a kid’s appearance (or anyone’s really – not my thing), but she’s not a model. She’s not ugly, but she’s not a model, just as 99% of us aren’t models. Somehow, she has it in her head that she is, though, or that she could be, and that doesn’t seem entirely healthy. Her mom isn’t helping by continuously insisting that her daughter is totally uncomfortable, which results in an argument and everyone leaves sort of frustrated and irritated. Which, at her age, is more or less expected.
Free of all the other drama, we’re now ready to follow Teresa’s quest for buhbbies. She goes to her consultation with Caroline, Dina and Jackie, wherein we get confirmation that both Dina and Jackie have fake buhbbies themselves. I figured Jackie did but I was undecided on Dina, since her sister’s are so ginormous and reliably real. They all talk about the subject endlessly, which I found totally reasonable since my bestie Candice and I do the exact same thing every time one of us so much as tries on a new dress. Since Teresa was about to try on some new boobs, a bit of silliness seemed to be in order.
Everyone has their own thoughts about plastic surgery, but I can understand Teresa’s desire for implants. She was just about as flat-chested as anyone I’ve ever seen and she didn’t want to look like a porn star, just be in proportion with the rest of her body. Her husband didn’t appear particularly invested in the idea of her getting them, which was nice to see, although he did encourage her to err on the side of big (I’ve heard plenty of plastic surgeons on TV give the exact same advice). She went back to the surgeon’s office later with her husband and emerged two hours later with a new set of C-cups which have yet to be unveiled to their adoring audience, but from what she was wearing post-opp, they didn’t look too big at all.
And that was that – not too much to snark on this episode, beyond Danielle’s general insanity (it was also her birthday, but that storyline was never really fleshed out, except that her friendship with Jackie is still stressed). From the previews, though, this week was merely the calm before the storm – we get all the “thick as thieves,” table-flippin’ action in next week’s season finale. I. Cannot. Wait.