Last night marked week 14 in the interminable death march that is the second season of Real Housewives of New Jersey, and my body is starting to show signs of fatigue. My eyes are glassy; my skin, jaundiced. I can’t do anything with my hair, not even with a GHD flat iron. During commercial breaks, I vacillate wildly between crying and hysterical laughter. I think I’m developing a sinus infection. Some of the residual Jersey dust got in my nose.
The housewives, for their part, have decided to make this a two-front war and invaded Italy last night. I’m not sure how they plan to win, but I think it probably involves shaming the Italians into submission for having, at some point in the past, produced people that eventually produced all of them. Between this show and Jersey Shore, I feel kind of bad for Italians right now. And for myself. For having to watch this. Someone cue up the sad violins.
As has become traditional, the show started at Teresa’s conference center/house, but unfortunately, it was not to do cute family stuff. This time it was to mention the car accident (DUI? DUI.) that Joe had recently been in. Joe claimed that yawning caused him to hit a bunch of trees and flip his car, but whatever happened, at least no one was hurt, considering the rather gruesome accident photos. Joe also insists that alcohol became an issue in the arrest because he drank some scotch after the accident. Because he had wrecked in front of a friend’s house, and it seemed like a good time for cocktails. Right. I don’t think that’s true, but, well, if it is…he’s the dumbest person on the face of the planet. No contest. Give him the crown. Or the dunce cap. Whatever. Give him some kind of hat for dumb people.
Simultaneously Danielle and Danny The Ex-Con (Who has an iPhone. I didn’t see that coming.) had gotten together to discuss the accident and feign concern over Joe’s health. Once Danielle was done with that little charade, she called Joe disgusting and made fun of his Maserati. Love and light! And, oh yeah, she’d like to remind us all that she was richer than god back when she was married. In case we doubted or forgot. For better or for worse, this was the last of Danielle for the evening (and it was kind of for worse – this episode was tragically boring.)
Later when just Teresa, Caroline and Jacqueline met up to talk about the DUI, things got a little more real – Teresa admitted to some stress and tension in the family after the accident, and they all decided that a lavish trip to Italy was the right thing to do to celebrate Joe’s DUI and their financial problems. Caroline and Jacqueline had to work a little to convince their husbands to go, and Albert temporarily refused to participate if children were present. Apparently no one warned Teresa that leaving the kids at home was part of the rules, because at first she told her kids that they weren’t going, but when they all dissolved into crying fits she told them the truth. Apparently the joke’s on Albert.
Not only were the kids (all 42 of them) going to Italy, but so were the grandparents. Twenty people in total made the jaunt, and the thought of travelling to a different continent with that many family members made me actively nervous for the entire episode. Before the party bus to the airport even left, enormous vases were shattering and kids were crawling into furniture and I wanted to crawl under my bed and hide. I felt bad for the other people on that plane.
Somehow, though, the entire crew made it to Europe without causing an incident requiring FAA intervention, and for a little while at least, they all managed to be less disrespectful and less stereotypically American than Vicki Gunvalson when she went to Italy for Real Housewives of Orange County. Even taking into account that Jacqueline was mad because the gondoliers didn’t sing like the ones at the Venetian Hotel. Even then. Still better than Vicki.
As soon as they got off the boats, though, Teresa’s internal shopping GPS kicked in and she sprinted toward the Chanel boutique. Nevermind that Chanel is a French company with a huge flagship in Manhattan – she had to go to the one in ITALY. Luckily for Joe’s wallet, Chanel was closed for lunch and Teresa went into the nearest open boutique to buy something. ANYTHING. Green ring. Whatever. When she gets home, she’ll tell people she bought it next to Chanel in Italy.
After a day in Venice, the entire group boarded a cruise ship to…I don’t know. I don’t remember where they were going. Someplace else in Italy. Does it really matter? The cruise ship made Caroline nervous enough to talk about herself in the third person, and I have to agree. The idea of getting on a cruise ship makes me feel a little like a hamster too, so much so that I’ve never been on one despite the urgings of several friends. A cruise ship with a bunch of poorly behaved small children? Even less fun.
The first order of business on the cruise ship, of course, was making sure that Teresa and Joe could pawn off their four kids on someone so that they could have sex. Naturally they chose Caroline and Albert, who didn’t want to bring kids in the first place. How thoughtful. Apparently they had the kids for quite a while, because not only did they feed the kids breakfast, but Caroline and Albert also wandered around the ship trying to find kid-appropriate activities for what seemed like more time than was necessary. Albert was kind of cute with the kids, but Caroline was clearly not amused. I wouldn’t have been either, she already raised hers.
The next time we saw Teresa, she was boozing and eating vaguely penis-shaped chocolate with Jacqueline, and then riding the elevator up and down while Jacqueline wiggled her butt for everyone on the cruise ship to see. Drunk adults always kind of worry me. This is why. Naturally, the next morning, Jacqueline’s head was ready to explode. A hangover is bad enough, but a hangover when you have small children has to be a special kind of punishment.
Speaking of special punishments: large, sit-down dinners with lots of small children! Luckily, instead of causing havoc at Milania’s birthday dinner, they just all fell asleep. Before the cake even got there! Teresa wasn’t concerned that the kids were so tired or relieved that they weren’t yelling and screaming and standing on chairs, though, she was merely upset that she wouldn’t get to see Milania blow out her candles. Teresa’s kids have been repeatedly shown being disruptive and sometimes destructive in public, but it’s when they’re exhausted and fall asleep that she’s upset. Just, you know, pointing that you.
After all the kids were awoken, we were reminded that Jacqueline hadn’t managed to show up to dinner because she was still hung over from the night before. And then everyone at dinner said nice things about her. Well.
At that point, even the camera crew got bored and the show just ended. There wasn’t really any warning, or any resolution that normally happens at the end of a narrative arc. That’s because there wasn’t an arc – it was more of a narrative flatline the buzzed on for the entire episode and then suddenly stopped when the nurse had the good sense to unplug the machine. It looks as though we’ll be strung along for two more weeks before we’re put out of our collective misery for good, but at least the finale has been scheduled and we’re all ready to go into the light.