First, a small programming note: I know I said I was going to recap the Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion, but that was before I knew that Bravo was going to run new episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey on the same nights as both parts. As a result, I can only do one, and priority goes to Jersey because it’s still in its regular season. Also, because the reunion was boring as hell last night.
Not that Real Housewives of New Jersey was really much better. Teresa and Nonjuicy still aren’t getting along. Melissa’s still the one getting blamed. Caroline still has empty nest syndrome. Melissa wants to be a singer. Ashley is still the most loathsome spawn in the Real Housewives universe. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
We started with Melissa and Nonjuicy, who were “casually” hanging out with their kids while Melissa was hanging up some clothes and just happened to be “casually” singing “Amazing Grace” with the wrong words. Seriously. I’ve never been to church a day in my life, and even I can sing “Amazing Grace” with the right words. It’s not “wench.” No one saved any wenches. WRETCH. Grace saves wretches. Could a wench also be a wretch? Possibly; I don’t think that the two concepts are mutually exclusive. But that doesn’t mean Melissa gets to change the words. Not to mention that her singing voice is totally average and would make Simon Cowell roll his eyes. MORE ON THAT LATER.
Over at Caroline’s, she was watching her husband play golf and lamenting the loss of her kids. Wait, that makes them sound like they died – they just moved to Hoboken. Which is maybe sort of similar to dying? I don’t know, I’ve never been to Hoboken. Caroline says that because she misses the laundry and the cooking and the laughter that her sons brought to her house, she’s going to work harder on her blog instead. If I were her, I’d just order takeout and watch Party Down on Netflix Instant all day while enjoying the fact that I have to do precisely nothing except be on a silly reality TV show and make sure my husband has clean underwear. But maybe that’s just me.
Meanwhile, over at Jacqueline’s house, Ashley was getting a car. Her second care, if I remember correctly. She thought she deserved the new car so she could have a paying job in addition to her internship and because she’s never been to rehab. Are we giving out extra credit for not going to rehab now? I’ve never been to rehab. I’d settle for a free monthly MetroCard. And what happens if I make it to 30 without going to rehab? Does that mean that someone’s going to buy me an apartment? Because apparently that’s how things work in Ashley’s world, so it’s only fair if it’s the same for me. Ashley is all about fairness, after all. She says so all the time.
The next scene involved Teresa and one of her kids in some capacity, but I was too blinded by Ashley’s nearly unbounded someness to pay attention to it, so…talk amongst yourselves.
Next up was Kathy, who wanted to renegotiate her kids’ contracts. And while it seems reasonable to discuss expectations and make sure everyone’s on the same page about how the kids are supposed to act, actually writing it out and signing a contract seems like an exercise from group therapy that someone took a little too seriously. But the whole interaction was actually kind of…what’s the word…nice? Normal? Wholesome? Demonstrative of good parenting and communication skills? The kids clearly trust and respect Kathy and her husband and they seem to know their kids pretty well, which was a combination that we’ve rarely seen on Real Housewives. Plus both of the kids seem to be smart and funny. Is this some sort of parallel Housewives universe? They even managed to tackle underage drinking with a modicum of maturity and calmness. I have no snark.
We then joined Melissa and her sisters, who were going shopping for fur coats and sequined dresses because that’s apparently all that anyone in New Jersey wears, ever, if this show and Mob Wives are to be believed. And those shows are obviously gospel truth, why wouldn’t we believe them as such? Anyway, Melissa told us a little more about her ambitions to be a singer, which she really should have explored 10 years and three kids ago. I’m pretty sure she’s passed the American Idol cutoff age, but we all know that Bravo will help absolutely anyone release a single so long as it gives Andy Cohen something to talk about on Gay Uncle in the Basement, so it appears as though we’ll have to indulge Melissa for the rest of the season.
Over at Teresa’s house, an unexpected phone call came in – from Nonjuicy. He wanted to come to one of Gia’s gymnastics meets and promised he’d be there, even though Teresa told him that it wouldn’t be an appropriate place to talk, and everyone seemed cautiously optimistic and set themselves up for emotional failure. Yay! Nonjuicy was coming! Because his presence is so valued!
Our next jaunt was to the Jeep dealership to buy a spoiled rotten teenager her second new car, and she was just as ungrateful and annoying this time around. She didn’t want her parents to retain a key, despite the fact that they were paying for it, and she threatened to walk out of the dealership if they did. Naturally, her parents didn’t call her bluff and they bought the car anyway. My parents would have absolutely hauled my ass out of there, which is why I’m 25 years old, full-time employed and college educated with an apartment in Manhattan. My parents actually parented, as I’m assuming most of yours did as well. Ashley will be living at home when she’s my age. Unless her parents have rented an apartment for her by then, which they probably will have. Parenting: You’re doing it wrong.
Next up was Melissa again, who met with her songwriter to practice in a room that had gold more leaf in it than I thought was legally allowable. Melissa’s voice still was not great, but the songwriter was kind of cute in a New Jersey guido way and his voice was a tad better, so whatever. At this point in the episode that I was so bored that my snark started to falter and I was simply glad that we weren’t continuing to talk about Nonjuicy and his problems with Teresa.
Elsewhere, Caroline revealed that she would be meeting with a local radio station to see about getting a show about parenting and families. Not a half-bad idea, right? Caroline does well with talking. She’s a better talker than any of the other Real Housewives of New Jersey, certainly, and her kids are pleasant, intelligent and mostly independent. So she seems just about as qualified as anyone to be on the radio. Plus, she’s not singing. She’s not singing! So I look at this as a net win for the audience.
Before we could see her actual interview, though, we had to depart to Gia’s gymnastics tournament, where Nonjuicy was a no-show so far and Teresa and Gia were both disappointed. Juicy, for his part, didn’t seem to miss his brother-in-law (or seem to be particularly excited to be at a gymnastics meet). Would Nonjuicy come? Would he a complete no-show? No one knew! Chaos! High drama!
And we didn’t get to find out immediately, because first Caroline had to drive to Trenton for her radio interview. Trenton is apparently the middle of nowhere, and when she got there, she admitted that she had no radio experience at all and didn’t know if her show would take off. They gave her a sample question about Facebook and she gave sample advice about how Facebook can only break a marriage that’s already broken, and they seemed impressed! I would like to have a radio show too, please. I’m pretty sure I could come up with those answers.
Back at the gymnastics meet, Melissa and Nonjuicy were exceptionally late but still showed up, even though Gia already had her disappointed face on by the time they got there. Melissa didn’t care because Teresa is always late, but it seems pretty crappy to not care about disappointing your eight(ish?)-year-old niece just because you’re not a particular fan of her mother or her habits. The kid is a separate person, in case they didn’t remember, and passive-aggressively using a kid as a pawn to get back at your relatives is how your kids eventually end up on the pole. I don’t think that any of us want that for Gia. Clear heels aren’t a good look.
When Melissa and Nonjuicy got home, they had a fight about what a big baby Nonjuicy is being. Melissa rightly believes that he lets Teresa and his parents think that the split is her fault, when in fact she takes everyone’s crap and consistently encourages Nonjuicy to talk to his sister and brother-in-law and set things right. Nonjuicy seems perfectly content to let her take the heat and allow himself to look like the victim, and who knows, maybe it actually is her fault. But from everything we’ve seen, that doesn’t appear to be the case. For a man who prides himself so thoroughly on his manliness, it’s pretty cowardly to let your wife take the heat without lifting a finger.