Because I had to wait a few days for a repeat to catch the third season premiere of Real Housewives of New Jersey, I thought that all the hype I was hearing would make the actual show anticlimactic. Thankfully, I was wrong; that was 90 minutes of pure, unbridled, off-the-rails insanity that we haven’t seen since the last time our dear, sweet Teresa flipped a table.

So here we have it, the longest recap I’ve ever written about one of the best episodes of reality television in recent memory. You guys didn’t warn me that we were going to get Lizzie Grubman and a full-on riot at a christening in a single episode. If I had known, I would have put on my helmet.

Well. Bravo decided not to waste any time after last season, which was full of ass-dragging and manufactured Danielle drama, and I couldn’t be happier. And also sadder, for humanity, but mostly happier. Naturally the fight centered around Teresa, because all physical altercations in the annals of Housewifery start with that heinous hosebeast. Even the ones in other cities; somewhere in the background, Teresa is creeping around, injecting people with steroids to make them rage harder at each other. Look closely next time, you might even be able to spot the bad black wig.

But back to the conflict at hand, which happened at her brother’s baby’s christening, as all the classy fights do. Teresa doesn’t get along with her brother’s wife, newly minted Housewife Melissa, and when she approached their table to offer congratulations to the new parents, things went awry for seemingly no reason (which is always the reason that things go awry on this show.) Teresa, as it turns out, is not the only one in the family with violent table manners – after only a few words exchanged, her brother started beating on the table and then got up, at which point he was restrained. That family must have to have constant supervision at meals, just in case someone decides to tackle his or her sibling and needs to be held back.

We then jumped to some footage filmed a week prior, which struck me as a new thing for Real Housewives. The show is always presented as being completely chronological, even though you can tell that it’s not if you’re paying close attention, and that should have been the first indication to you that the episode was going to be epic. Actually, I take that back. The physical altercation within the first three minutes should have been the first indication. This should have been the second.

The flashback started slowly with Teresa hitting all of her bankruptcy and cookbook talking points like a trained monkey, but not even her carefully rehearsed cautious optimism could cover the fact that Joe is now slinging slices of pizza at a joint in a strip mall. We’re lead to believe that he owns the place, but we were also lead to believe that he owned a successful construction business, so pardon me if I take it with a grain of salt.

Next up was Caroline and her family, who were visiting Albie and Chris’s brand new apartment. Yes, that’s right, they managed to cut the umbilical cord and find a place with two bedrooms and a view of the city, and it looked a good bit like the first apartment I ever had. Except I was 19 at the time, because I had parents who didn’t stunt my emotional growth by guilting me into staying around the house just to avoid the necessity of admitting that their kids were grown. Don’t get me wrong, I like Caroline just fine, but enough already.

In moving news of a far less fraught variety, Jacqueline’s weave-tugging daughter Ashley is still out of the house and now has a PR internship in the city with…Lizzie Grubman. Yes, she of Mercedes-SUV-into-a-Hamptons-nightclub eternal infamy. Ashley is an “intern,” in that special way that only a daughter of a reality TV star who doesn’t go to college and is working in the office of another reality TV fameball can be an “intern,” and mom visited her at work to take a lap around the office with the cameras. I’m sure that was to Lizzie’s eternal delight.

Unfortunately, Ashley didn’t love it as much. Well, it was unfortunate for her, anyway. She mentioned to her mom that she wanted to move to the city to work instead of commuting every day, to which her mom responded with little enthusiasm and an inquiry about how she planned to pay for it. (It looks like even Real Housechildren take unpaid internships these days.) When confronted with the fact that Manhattan is, like, totally expensive and she might have to get a job that actually pays her to do things, Ashley burst in to tears and ran away, her fameball boss trailing right behind her for maximum camera exposure. Moms are just so mean you guys.

I thought we could use a little musical interlude. 90-minute episodes make these recaps kind of a long haul.

Next, we found out where Ashley gets her massive penchant for hissy fits – her mother! The two of them met up with Jacqueline’s husband at a diner to talk things over, and it came up that Ashley has been missing work and coming in late because getting to New York City from New Jersey is just so hard, you guys. Never mind the thousands of people who do it every day for work – it’s tricky! You have to get up early! And, I mean, that’s totally a drag. No one likes to do that. Least of all Ashley, who doesn’t like to do anything but pout and fight with her mom and have an overinflated sense of her own intellect and attractiveness.

And anything Jacqueline says to her when she’s in one of Those Moods just makes it worse, as we all know from watching two previous season of this god-forsaken show. Chris, on the other hand, is pretty good at calming Ashley down while still making sure that she realizes he’s right. The only problem with that, of course, is that Jacqueline doesn’t get to have her daily required screaming match with her daughter, so she got up and marched out of the diner, headed to god knows where. Maybe to Lizzie Grubman’s office to see if she could get an internship.

Or maybe she walked her ass all the way back to New Jersey, because we then saw Jacqueline sitting down in the park to talk Family Business with Teresa. Oh, right, that fight at the beginning of the episode, which happened a thousand words and one YouTube video ago. Right. I kind of forgot. Apparently Teresa’s brother’s marriage is fairly recent and they were close until he got married to Melissa, at which point things starting unraveling.

Which means that it’s time for our official introduction to our new Housewife. Melissa’s husband Joe is Teresa’s brother (not to be confused with Juicy Joe, Teresa’s husband), and he’s a real estate developer who built the original Conference Center Home of the Future for his wife, which Teresa then tried to best with her own conference center. Thankfully, we’ve never seen Teresa’s Joe offer to lotion his wife’s butt, which was one of the first scenes that we saw between Melissa and her husband. That gagging sound you hear in the background is me.

I continued to gag while the couple talked about their marriage, which is sort of like that of Alexis and Earth Jesus in Orange County, except instead of basing the inequality on a fundamental misreading of the Bible and trying to couch it in personal choice, Melissa and Joe simply base their “traditional” relationship on backward beliefs about a woman’s place that don’t seem to have anything in particular to do with misguided religious beliefs so much as plain old ignorance and sexism. And unlike Alexis, Melissa seems perfectly ecstatic to participate and play her secondary role. Give her a season in the spotlight, she’ll be wanting to leave the house unaccompanied in no time.

Kathy, our other new Housewife for the season, showed up to eat lunch and gossip with Melissa and Nonjuicy Joe. Kathy is Teresa’s and Nonjuicy Joe’s first cousin and apparently she’s not thrilled with how Teresa’s behaving herself either. It’s family, you guys. Family. Family is the most important thing, and Teresa’s getting a little uppity and a little too close with people who aren’t her family. First the Manzos got to play the family game for two season, now it’s Teresa’s turn.

After that brief meeting to establish Kathy’s disproval, we retired back to her house to meet her husband, who scandalized the family by being Lebanese instead of Italian. It’s no matter, though, because he has all of the Italian stereotypes down perfectly, including the open shirt with the gold chain. It’s like he took a class in Guidodom. I think The Situation taught it. Their family is clearly intended to be the quirky one – Kathy rides a bike and everything, y’all.

We then found ourselves back at the Manzo’s house for Sunday dinner, because Caroline’s house is sort of like the Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Instead of the traditional Italian meal, the family decided to take a crack at Southern food and wax philosophical about whether or not Southerners know how to cook pasta. (Some of us do. It’s not that complicated.) Chris also debuted something he called the Cajun voice, which sort of sounded like Billy Bob Thornton’s character in Sling Blade and might have been offensive if it hadn’t been so out of left field compared most mock Southern accents. Safe to say that Little Crittopher has never been south of the Mason-Dixon line, methinks. And that’s just as well, it’s best to keep people like the ones on this show contained in a single area. The South has its own Real Housewives to deal with.

And then, finally, it was on the to The Great Christening Smackdown of 2011. Or, more accurately, on to the preparations for the christening. Melissa and her sisters sipped champagne and had their hair done like they were getting ready for a wedding while Teresa and Joe chased their 18 children around the house and tried not to crap themselves. Literally. I don’t even want to go further into that story line, but suffice it to say that Teresa had to leave without Joe, who was tinkering around in the garage because apparently that helps when you get the runs. I had no idea. More likely, Joe just didn’t want to go; my mom once ducked out of a trip to see my grandmother because her tooth hurt.

And so Teresa showed up late and with only two of her half dozen children in tow, which enraged her brother and sister-in-law because it was just so freakin’ disrespectful. Personally, I’m of the opinion that taking a dump in a church pew would have been more disrespectful, but that’s just me. Melissa had put on her best polyester minidress and polyester clip-in hair extensions for the occasion, and she wanted everyone there to see her, dammit. Oh, and the baby. Right. That kid.

When Joe finally did show up, he declined to take a shot at the bar with the other Joe, which is apparently a major yankee faux pas. Can’t we just chug some booze to commemorate the day that we gave little junior a shot at not burning in hell for all eternity? Is that so much to ask, Juicy Joe? Just one little shot in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Jose Cuervo? Alright, apparently it is. Just more evidence that Joe and Teresa hate Jesus and their family.

Over at the Manzos’ house, things were a little closer to functional. The clan sat down to a meal of chicken-fried steak, chili, biscuits and cobbler, which is a little more Texas than it is traditionally southern, but I’ll give them a pass because they clearly had no idea what they were doing. My mom would have passed out at the sight of the black bottoms on those biscuits. While everyone ate, Caroline lamented the loss of her two sons to the apartment complex down the block and simultaneously pressured her daughter’s boyfriend to get her out of the house as well. Never mind Albie and Chris, let’s make sure Lauren’s married off as soon as possible. And pass the cobbler, please.

Back at the christening, more people had gathered around to tut about Teresa and Joe and the way they conduct themselves, but the more Teresa’s brother talked, the more it seemed like Joe might be the real problem. As Nonjuicy Joe accurately pointed out, Juicy Joe doesn’t like it work. Instead, he just likes to hang out and drink and talk shit, and although I can’t verify that last part, it does have that ring of truthiness to it. And if Teresa follows him around blindly, which she seems to based on her lack of knowledge about the family’s dire financial situation, then I could see how that would bother all of the people who realize that he’s a slack-jawed deadbeat. I’d call him a neanderthal, but that seems insulting to neanderthals.

After everyone had gotten good and liquored up, the entire group took to the dance floor to wiggle around embarrassingly for the cameras. When it came time, Nonjuicy Joe wouldn’t wiggle with Teresa, his very own inappropriately dressed sister, so she went and stole his baby and had a “special dance” with Juicy Joe. At some point, an anonymous woman came and rescued the child from being a literal pawn in the ongoing familial fight, which brought us back to the point where we started the episode.

For some reason, I had assumed that the fight ended where the clip was cut the start the show, and I was wrong. Oh god, I was so wrong. After Juicy Joe lunged into the confrontation, things devolved into what appeared to be a full-on riot with dozens of participants. At some point, the Bravo cameraman dropped the camera altogether, perhaps because he had been knocked to the ground, it was hard to tell. If he was one the ground, he certainly had some company down there; a bunch of anonymous men in suits took what was a small argument as an opportunity to have a barroom brawl, and brawl they did.

There was much yelling and screaming and gnashing of teeth, and the scene went on longer than I had ever guessed possible. Women tried to pull their men off of each other with little luck, men cried and everyone nearly killed Teresa’s dad, who somehow ended up in the bathroom, hollering about how he didn’t want anyone to bring him any water. A crowd escorted Nonjuicy Joe away from the scene through the bowels of the event space while he wailed in Italian about his father, and I was honestly surprised that no one got capped or cut or anything. I had always been under the impression that this particular brand of northerner took great pride in arming themselves, just like a certain (and completely different) type of southerner does. Did Bravo make everyone go through a metal detector to enter the party so that they could get insurance to shoot that day?

Did anyone see where they put the baby? Anybody?

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Karen

    LOVE IT!! What a GREAT re-cap! I thought someone had yelled “he has a gun”!!! I was actually expecting to hear some gunshots!!!! OMG this was trash at it’s FINEST!!! lolololol

    Cannot wait to read your re-caps!

  • KH

    “Joe, who was tinkering around in the garage because apparently that helps when you get the runs.” ….. “Personally, I’m of the opinion that taking a dump in a church pew would have been more disrespectful, but that’s just me.”
    LMFAO, potty humor has never been funnier. I just laughed so hard at work at your whole recap my office officially thinks I’m nuts. No, just Amanda Mull’s recaps…

  • suz

    Amanda…how’s it going in NYC? Thanks for the great recap. Now, I guess I’ll have to focus and watch this hot mess of a show. As predictable as ever, at the beginning of every new RHW season, I vow not to watch,…and then you lure me in once again with your amusing recaps. Here we go…….

    • It’s going so well in NYC! it’s only been a couple days, but I love it already.

      • AD

        Welcome to NYC! I moved here a few weeks ago, it’s an amazing place. Very funny recap-thanks! Didn’t get to watch the whole thing, just parts of show. I kind of feel bad for Teresa and her husband.

  • Danielle

    I couldn’t wait for your recap on this episode! And you didn’t disappoint! I waited anxiously for RHNJ, the other housewives shows are getting a little boring (bring back RHBH quick please!) but this episode was a doozy, and if it’s any indication of what is to come we’re in for a bumpy ride, and I can’t wait!! I love how everyone on this show are just so guido, I am italian, and I do believe italians do everything better!! finally, something I can feel guilty about watching!

  • Joani

    Maybe Juicy Joe didn’t drink because he had to go into some kind of program having to do with his DUI’s. It wouldn’t be too smart to show him taking shots on tv.(although I’m sure he didn’t think of that because he is not very intelligent.)

    • Ashley

      The one time that Juicy Joe did the right thing and didn’t drink (probably for the first time in his life) and he gets in trouble for it. I thought that the whole fight was Melissa and Melissa’s Joe’s fault. They came across as really, really awful and completely ridiculous. They were ridiculing Teresa and Joe for behavior that they participate in. Plus, it seems like they have a problem with Teresa becoming close with Caroline and Jaqcueline. Why can’t any of these people have non-family friends?

      • adrienne z

        he probably didn’t drink because he didn’t feel good. i wouldn’t drink either if I just got done emptying my bowels in the bathroom

  • katieax

    Amanda you did an awesome recap once again!
    Ok, why was non-Juicy Joe yelling at his mother?
    That was very very bad?
    I sense that non-Juicy was right about Juicy not enjoying work.
    Did anyone else get vertigo from watching the fight scene.

  • hockey mom

    Amanda – I love your recaps. I don’t even bother (can’t stand) to watch these RH shows anymore – I just look forward to the posts. Keep em coming

  • Ellen

    Did anyone else get the impression that the “fight scene” might have been scripted? I mean it was the season premier, and I heard it had the most viewers…..EVER…..of any RH franchise premier. Methinks there may have been a special viewing of “The Godfather” for the cast just prior to the show. Just sayin’

  • Ruthie

    What broke my heart during the “skirmish” was the fear and confusion among the young children. Can you imagine being a child and being exposed to that mess of people??

    • Kjon

      Wow, good point. Look at Ashley, she actually seemed confused as to why she was in legal trouble after that weave-yanking incident. She could be incredibly stupid/entitled but something tells me that at some point in her youth she found out it was “ok” to turn to violence during confrontation. Monkey see, monkey do.

    • kate w.

      I noticed that, behaving that way around children boarders on abusive…love how they seemed most concerned with who started the fight, and screaming about how they were going to kill each other than they were about making sure their children were out of harm’s way.

    • Yeah, the number of kids there when the adults were acting that way was so unacceptable. They care more about settling a petty score than keeping their kids safe or setting even a mediocre example.

  • Courtney

    Not sure where they put the baby but I can guarantee that it wasn’t in a corner. And there’s my Dirty Dancing reference for the day.

    Great recap! Hope you’re enjoying the new apartment!!

  • JessB

    Beautiful, just beautiful. You have to never miss another episode again so we don’t have to wait for the recap…I’ve been dying of anticipation! I think we should all play drinking games based on every incorrect usage of the English language such as work ethnic or worth ethic…we’ll be bombed by the end of each episode. Also, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I hear that someone is being welcomed into God’s heavenly kingdom (or however she put it), I think they’ve died not been baptized. Praise Jesus!!

  • Hannah

    first off i couldn’t get over her continually talking about some praise Jesus, and then showing her in her weave and tight short dress like she was going to the club! and they were all taking shots back like they were 18 year old college kids! they treated the baby dedication like it was the kid’s wedding!!
    one good thing melissa’s got going for her is her teresa impressions! shes got her voice spot on!!!!

    and my favorite part was nonjuicy joe (hilarious!!) and teresa’s dad at the fight. they said he has heart issues and when someone shoved him (and everyone yelled that to the guy), their dad proceeds to know like 3 guys agains that glass wall!! old italian man has still got it!!! it made my mouth drop!
    also, i got a feeling that their cousin kathy will be the version of rhony’s jill — all in everyone’s business when it’s not hers to be in!

    • Hannah

      correction: he KNOCKED them against the wall! not know** lol

  • Chicky

    I think Richie Wakile (Kathy’s husband) is my new fave RHO husband. He seems very entertaining.

  • Mochababe73

    I thought that you had topped yourself with Earth Jesus, but you did it!
    The Great Christening Smackdown of 2011
    Nonjuicy Joe
    I’m of the opinion that taking a dump in a church pew would have been more disrespectful
    I must say that this episode had my full attention, and I loved every minute of it including spoiled Ashley.
    Truth be told, if they had just focused on the Brawl to End It All, it would have only been an hour show. I wasn’t so interested in the Manzos. I just wanted them to get on with it.
    I don’t know how he figured that Juicy Joe was just going to stand there and listen to a man, any man, call his wife garbage.
    What did you think of the picture of Juicy, NonJuicy, and Dad. They looked like the mob.
    I can’t wait to see what the next episode brings. But after this one, the rest will just be anticlimatic.

    • Ashley

      From the cameras, though, it didn’t really seem like Juicy Joe was in the fight too much, after the first initial throw. He seemed to stay out of it.

    • Kate M

      That pic was straight out of Goodfellas or The Godfather!

  • Laura

    Amanda, this is one of your best recaps ever. I don’t watch this show anymore mostly because I can’t stand Teresa, she’s so annoying. Great job on making this show look decent. your recaps are even better than the show.

  • Nancy from SB

    Amanda! I know you just moved and all, but I can’t believe you didn’t mention THE funniest line of the entire show! One of the new women said that someone had “a good work ETHNIC”!

    Minutes later, MonJuicyJoe (?) said something about “a good WORTH Ethic”!

    What a bunch of low-class dumbells!

    • I actually wanted to mention that, but it’s a bit difficult to work in something like that with the narrative of the recap. I was trying to figure out how to do it, but then I realized I already had about a thousand words of recap and over an hour worth of show left to watch and decided to plow ahead. When Bravo does these 90 minute episodes, it throws my whole mojo off.

  • JenG

    Bravo Amanda Bravo!

  • PhotoGirl

    Excellent recap, Amanda!
    Just when I thought I was out, you pulled me back in. ;)

  • adrienne z

    This is my favorite sentence: Ashley, who doesn’t like to do anything but pout and fight with her mom and have an overinflated sense of her own intellect and attractiveness.

    En Pointe!!! I have nothing but contempt for that conceited brat!

  • Californiahousewife

    GREAT recap. I agree, can’t wait for RHBH, but this group is a close second. RHNY are all playing to the cameras. Such a bore. GREAT season opener. This shows the power of gossip just stirring the pot, stirring the pot, add booze and blam-oh. I am on Team Teresa, that Melissa is completely full of herself. Very competitive with Teresa and of course Teresa isn’t going to take anything off that sunset palette eyeshadow queen Melissa. I hope the brother and sister can mend ways and be…what is the word? fammmillly.

  • Manuela

    Fantastic job as always, Amanda. And I’m so glad your move is going well so far!

    Ashley is an embarrassment to herself and her family. And boyfriend and neighbors. I was literally slack-jawed with shock that she ran from the room sobbing at her place of employment. I have no words. Only on reality TV would that not unburden someone from her job/internship. Ashley has succeeded in demonstrating she’s just as pathetic now as in seasons past: just WOW!

  • bisbee

    Amanda, you’ve outdone yourself! That NYC air must be doing something for you!

    I have to go back and watch the brawl again…if I can make myself do it! Nonjuicy Joe (thank you for that – it’s priceless!) has some MAJOR problems – he’s like a little boy jealous of his father’s attention being paid to another child! Not that I’d want to give Juicy Joe any credit, but what kind of man is going to stand by silently while another man calls his wife garbage (even if that other man is the wife’s brother)? I gave him credit for not getting further involved in the brawl…and I don’t understand the mentality of the other men who seemed to jump headlong into it like some drunk fraternity brothers!

    Looking forward to more of your recaps, now originating from my home town! I’ll be coming up to visit next weekend…I miss NYC!

  • Chicky

    Amanda have you seen Caroline’s “handbag line”? She has lent her name to Kristino bags. Check out the awkward video in the following link:

    • Lorie

      Have we ever actually seen Caroline with a purse on the show? Seems like an odd thing for her to do, but if some of the money is going to Best Friends and Autism Speaks then I’m all for it.

  • Laura

    Amanda, I love you. :) I literally almost feel off my chair reading this. You’re gonna have to start putting a disclaimer: reading this recap may cause injury.

  • KaylaNiche

    I was in a stupor after watching this show. The Italians create drama like no other!! I loved it!!! Love your recap too, Amanda! “Nonjuicy Joe” is hilarious!

  • kate w.

    Also…did anyone notice..the toe kissing scene between melissa and non-juicy joe…there are no words to describe how heinous that was….

  • mirna

    I heard all the tension between the siblings was because Teresa didnt want her brother to do the show. Who really knows with these people. Maybe its because her brother is richer and her sis-in-law is younger and she doesnt wanna share the spotlight. So sad these people would act like animals infront of all those kids. WOW!

  • Amy A

    “Can’t we just chug some booze to commemorate the day that we gave little junior a shot at not burning in hell for all eternity? Is that so much to ask, Juicy Joe? Just one little shot in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Jose Cuervo? ” LOVES THIS!

  • deejah

    Watching RHNJ always makes me think the color balance on my tv is off. Too much orange.

  • c.c.

    Jacqueline needs to lay off the botox. It made her look a little crazy when she was trying to have a talk with her daughter and her face didn’t move.

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