And so, it was over.

The second season of Real Houswives of New Jersey…well, it put us out of our misery last night. I was going to say that it came to a screeching halt, but that would imply that something exciting happened in the four months during which we were forced to endure this pseudo-reality tragicomedy on a weekly basis, and that would be a wholly inaccurate portrayal of what was foisted upon us by Andy Cohen and his Bravolebrity henchmen.

Danielle and Caroline sat down to have a chit-chat where nothing got thrown and no one was injured and no tables were flipped and no prostitution whores were named, which is probably a fitting end to the season that wasn’t.

Things started just like they always do. Teresa was cooking, people were coming over, Caroline forgot to bring the wine. Cheek-kisses and hugs all around. For a moment, it was possible to believe that these people are normal and fun and reasonable. The food looked good! But then the subject of Danielle came up, and we were all reminded that this show is a black hole of inanity and awfulness.

Danielle was still pressing charges against Ashley, of course. As Caroline, Jacqueline, Teresa and their families discussed the situation, Caroline came up with the brilliant (in the strictly reality-television definition of the word) idea of having a sit-down with Danielle to bury the issue and get it out of everyone’s lives for good.

I’m not sure how Caroline thought all of this would go, but by my count, hers was the third proposed Danielle sit-down of the season. First Dina’s ghost whisperer or whatever told her to talk to Danielle, and then Dina left the show. Then Kim G. thought they should clear the air, and we haven’t seen Kim G. since that episode. My personal theory is that being too close to Danielle turns you to stone, Medusa-style (it has something to do with her eyebrows…), at which point her dinner companions have to be loaded onto handtrucks and wheeled out of New Jersey. Like I said, it’s just a personal theory.

Caroline texted Danielle to set up the meeting right then and there, and in a feat of a producer setup if there ever was one, cameras were conveniently available to tape Danielle receiving it while in the company of her two daughters. When it became clear that the text was requesting an in-person meeting, Christine and Jillian looked justifiably terrified and told their mother that it was a bad idea, thus proving for the 89,345th time this season that they are indeed smarter than the woman who bore them.

Unbowed by the logic and wisdom of her daughters, Danielle puffed up her chest and agreed to the meeting of the matriarchs, which is clearly a word that Danielle had just learned that day. Great. This isn’t going to end badly at all. Her daughters, for their part, seemed relatively unimpressed by the word “matriarch” or Danielle’s ability to use it in a complete sentence. I wonder if she can spell it.

Speaking of dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, Jacqueline promised Caroline that she’d tell Ashley to stay away from Danielle if Caroline asked to have the charges dropped when she met with Danielle. Ashley, predictably, didn’t seem enthusiastic about cooperating or avoiding the subject of Danielle in the future. If we ever needed an indication that she is in fact a complete moron, this conversation did it. Can Ashley really not shut up about some old broad in exchange for the end of her legal troubles?

As always happens at this point in the episode, Danielle got together with Danny The Ex-Con (because he’s the only person who will still talk to her besides her own children) to get up on her high horse and try to make her nonexistent persecution into a feminist issue. Admittedly, I think Danielle is correct in saying that the Manzos just need to ignore her and move on, but assuming that any of this, on either side, is a reflection of how anyone would handle the situation in objective reality is naive at best. This isn’t objective reality, it’s a planned and produced show, and the narrative arc of the season needed a bombastic resolution. I would be genuinely surprised if any of this was Caroline’s idea, and there aren’t many things that could surprise me about this show anymore.

Anyway, back to things that aren’t surprising: Danielle called her energist (which my spellcheck doesn’t recognize as a real word, and I tend to believe it) before the meeting (on her iPhone with a gold plastic case, god help us all) to center her and make sure that she’s dignified and full of love, which can apparently be done via speakerphone now. There’s an app for that. What there’s not an app for, clearly, is armed guards – she brought the real thing.

While Caroline and Danielle were getting ready to sort things out in a private room at one restaurant, the rest of the gang was at some other restaurant, discussing Danielle. When Ashley complained that she didn’t want to hear about or talk about Danielle anymore, Jacqueline snapped at her to control her mouth. Apparently she forgot that she had already told Ashley that she was to never, ever speak of Danielle again or to participate in any conversation about her. Details, details.

Caroline’s daughter Lauren, one of the more well-adjusted children on any of the Housewives franchises, managed to talk Ashley off the ledge and bring that dinner back to normal. Well, as normal as a dinner with a bunch of Real Housewives ever gets, which is probably a subject that merits further contemplation. If you could have dinner with this group, would you? The food usually looks great, I’ll give them that.

Across town, at the dinner being held in a padded cell with no windows and steel doors, guards stalked the perimeter in full riot gear, clutching their AK-47s nervously and fretting about the carnage that would surely be ensuing inside. Things started calmly, with Caroline explaining why she felt she needed to talk to Danielle face-to-face and what she hoped could come out of the meeting. And then, Caroline mentioned Ashley and something snapped inside of Danielle’s brain. You could see it on her face.

Danielle, perhaps justifiably, wants to see Ashley punished for assaulting her. After that, there was some overdubbed dialogue and Danielle used the word “matriarch” again and nothing constructive happened. After a series of ad hominem claims from Danielle about the persecution that she’s endured, Caroline asked her several times for specific instances in which her family has attacked her in any way, and each time Danielle changed the subject or rolled her eyes or answered her with another question after an uncomfortable, clearly panicked silence. There had been a few telling moments in this episode so far, but that awkward exchange was easily the most interesting.

It was kind of startling to see such a clear-cut conversation between the two sides of this series-long battle. Mostly all we’ve seen has been Danielle complaining to her daughters or her prison buddies or her small, terrified dogs and the Manzos kvetching among themselves, but to see the two meet and actually trade sentences (as opposed to the normal profanity-laced heckling while a third party tries to restrain them) was…kind of epic. Epic in a way that this show hasn’t been in a long, long time. Unfortunately, it only lasted for about half a second.

When things devolved into personal insults about clown hair and indicted friends and whether or not Danielle is garbage (probably not an unfair designation, considering), Danielle got up and walked out so that she could call Joe a drunk and Jacqueline a psycho and Teresa’s daughters whores from the safety of the building’s exterior and in the company of giant men. She’d rather say nasty things straight to the camera than to the faces of the people she’s talking about, because ultimately, it’s only the camera whose opinion matters to Danielle.

Afterward, Danielle and Caroline both went back to their families and told them that it was over. On both sides, there seemed to be a sense of finality that lent credence to the rumors that this is Danielle’s last season. As I mentioned in the comments last week, I think that would be for the best – Danielle’s presence means that the show can’t change, and we seem to all agree that it’s gotten stale as it is. The only option seems to be to get rid of her, add a few new housewives to shake things up, and go confidently in a completely different direction. With Danielle thrown out of the Manzo family’s social realm (hopefully for good), it appears as though that’s exactly what will happen. Will you still watch the show if it comes back for another season?

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Laura

    Thank goodness this season is over. Now we just have to endure the reunion shows. I have to admit I have not been watching, but just reading your recaps. I may watch again since Danielle is not going to be on next season, but may just read your recaps first to see if the show has in fact changed.

  • A

    Please, for the love of Bravo, do NOT bring Danielle back. I’m begging you Andy Cohen. Begging. If I have to listen to/watch another one of her overly dramatic (insane and delusional X 100) monologues I will throw up on my DVR. She has no redeeming qualities and she is just painful to watch. I don’t think I will be able to sit through the reunion shows.

  • Marianna

    While I was cleaning last night and listening to the show in the background, I had a revelation. I think I now know what HELL is. If you are evil and condemned to all eternity to suffer damnation, you will be forced to live with all the awful women of the HOUSEWIVES franchise and never escape them. You can jump in your car and drive far away, but they will track you down and drag you back! If that concept doesn’t shake you to your core, I fear for your soul!!

  • Laura

    NO WAY, we don’t need another season of this show.

  • gpc

    All that I got out of last night’s episode is that Ashley is a MORON (like you said Amanda), albeit, an overindulged, immature MORON and that Caroline carried a Birkin out to her meeting with Danielle – give me a break…

    • erin

      Between Ashley & Danielle; I can’t stand this show.
      Every time Ashley opens her mouth, I secretly hope someone will hit her over the head with a pot.
      Why a pot? Dunno, just seems fitting. Anybody else ?

  • Jo Marie

    Of course I will watch another season of NJHW! I think Teresa’s story is just beginning. There is such opportunity for the large dramatic arch here. Hubris and Pathos. Love straining under the weight of fortune… was Joe’s “accident” a botched suicide attempt? Teresa as grieving Widow? (Grass or otherwise) This is the stuff of true tragedy. This story could live forever.

    • I agree that this series could be really entertaining again if they get rid of Danielle and focus elsewhere. I’d voluntarily watch again if they made that happen. Otherwise, I’d only be watching for work purposes.

  • suz

    I kinda’ watched the show last night….dipping in and out…..just to make sure I would have a reference for your final recap….but it was so-o-o boring, I had a hard time staying with it. That said, I did watch the “sit-down” and I have to give Carolinge credit for her amazing self restraint. If I had been sitting across the table from that evil, delusional and provocative witch, I’m pretty sure I’d have leapt across and tried to beat her senseless. And, what’s with the body guards? Also….for the life of me, I can’t figure out what Derek, who seems reasonably together, is still doing with Ashley who is so entirely clueless.
    I’m not sure I’ll watch it next season….(well, I barely watched it this season….just enough to read the recaps)…..unless they go an entirely different direction. I think these people are just too vapid, boring and inbred to be interesting….and, no, I would not want to sit down to a meal with them. I’d rather eat Stouffer’s frozen and stare at the ceiling.

    • I give Caroline a lot of credit too, but I’ve always liked her quite a bit. She’s definitely the most mature and probably the most intelligent of the entire crew, and she showed a good bit of class last night in the midst of a nasty situation. She seems like she’d be a tolerable person to be around.

  • Ally

    Watching this episode, I found myself calling names at the television because of the crap that came out of Danielle’s mouth, like when she said something along the lines of, I am not scared, these guys walk with guns < REALLY! that's what and where is mind is at, it is insane. Danielle was just spewing bs out of her mouth the entire episode! I can't wait for the reunion…did anyone see the little glimpse? Where Jacqueline and Theresa was almost going to kill Danielle lol.

    • erin

      Looked like Theresa pushed Andy Cohen in the reunion preview I saw. Shoved him back down into his chair ?!?
      Hope not.
      Bankrupt B**ch will get her a$$ kicked for that crap.

  • Misty

    I feel so sorry for Danielle’s daughters. Why doesn’t their daddy rescue them from that nut case? Ashley is just like Danielle and should live with her.

    • JenG

      Good one!

  • pg1908

    I think we all agree that last nights episode fizzled at best. I felt like I had to watch because I invested so much (too much) time over the past few months that I had to see how they would bring resolution to this overplayed story line….Danielle vs. Manzo. The best part of the show was the clip from the reunion episode where Teresa pushes Andy back down in his chair in order to get to Danielle….love it!

    Amanda is it true you’re not recapping the reunion shows? For the love of all things good, please recap at least the second show (because surely that will be the episode where alleged “push-down” happens). Would love to hear your thoughts on it. LOL at the Ak47 – because that’s the only thing that can take out a Christian Louboutin wearing, Hermes toting Manzo!

    • I had originally said that I would be recapping the reunion (and for most seasons, I generally don’t), but this one looks like it actually might be worth it. I’ll probably do one recap for the whole thing on the Tuesday after the second segment airs. I agree that the first part will probably just be a bunch of nothing – the first half of a two-parter usually is.

      Although I fear that I may be falling into Andy Cohen’s nefarious trap by agreeing to this, and perhaps the only good parts of the reunion were what we saw in the preview…

  • Jo Marie

    Oh and I think I would enjoy dinner with the clan Manzo. I doubt I’d have much to offer to the conversation, at least until I felt certain I had gained Caroline’s approval, but they’re a lively group and as you say, the food looks really good.

  • Chellie

    Did anyone see this video of Danielle – I can’t even begin to comment.
    http://www.popeater.com/2010/08/24/danielle-staub-real-close-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/

    • adrienne

      Thanks so much for the link! I love watching #@!%Sholes self-destruct! What the hell was that???? Caroline was right – Danielle IS a clown!

  • Amy

    Im happy its over! No more Danielle vs the world hoop-la. They would have to put some interesting additions for me to watch again. And please god, not Kim G. I dont like her either. Im excited for the new Housewives of Atlanta,.. I have yet to be fully hooked to RH of D.C. ,.. though due to Jersey Ladies was the reason i even began to watch the series to begin with,… so odds are,.. ill probably watch just because lol Despite what i said earlier.

  • Californiahousewife

    I think you’re all a pack of liars and are glued to the show every week! and then you write about it! come on, get over yourselves already! this is total entertainment, interesting and the show down between Caroline and Danielle–what do you want? Have you ever seen a movie with more “real” dialogue? more intensity? rarely, especially on TV. I loved the whole show from start to finish and you’ll all be here next season tippy taping out how you barely made it through but had to watch. I can not wait until next season…just to see the fashion alone! it’s fabulous!

    • adrienne

      I’ll watch it too no matter what! Was rarely bored, but always on the edge waiting for the “good stuff” to happen! I just can’t imagine what there will be to watch without the drama queen around. Although I do like to watch the Danielle train wreck, I don’t think I could handle an entire show based solely around her life. It would be too Jerry Springer.

  • Handbag Lover

    Thank God this is over, on to the reuinon. I truly LOVED how Caroline handled her business. Her swagger was SICK! Danielle was lying and could not even answer her when she spoke because she had nothing to say and you could tell in her eyes.

    I am truly glad this season is over and I can’t wait till the RHOA come back!

    Great Recap and images as always. :)

  • arlene

    I watched this last episode but erased most of the prior episodes as I could not stand the whole Danielle mess. I will definitely give it a try next season with a new cast, as I am a housewives addict. [this is second to my purse addicition, that is why I love this blog!]
    As usual your recap made my laugh. THANKS AND KEEP UP THE GREAT RECAPS!!!

  • Amy

    I just saw the previews of the reunion show 1) when did Jacqueline get skinny? 2) totally gonna watch it, it even more explosive than the table flipping!

  • Matthew

    Well, thank God that season is over. Worst season in Housewives history.

    I will watch again if Danielle is indeed gone. If they bring in two entirely new people who are dramatic but not dangerous.

    I really don’t like Teresa that much. Her eyes are too far apart.

  • JenG

    I will not watch even if they get rid of Danielle. I didn’t like the NJ version from the beginning. If you recap it next season, I will come to Purseblog to read what happened instead of watching it. I started watching Project Runway when it started, so I will find something else to watch instead of the RHONJ. Great recap!

  • mochababe73

    Danielle’s silence really did speak volumes. She knows that other than the book, the group had done nothing to her. She, if what the others say is true, has been spreading all types of ugliness, rumors, and lies about them. Danielle is still angry that they brought out her past and can’t get over it. Danielle doesn’t take the advice of her daughters or the priest. Talk about the ultimate knucklehead. And then, bringing gun-carrying bodyguards and hanging out with people of questionable reputation was probably the last straw for Bravo. Only then did they realize that this woman is certifiably psycho. I have never in my life seen someone that thinks that everyone is out to get her. I think that Danielle is too old and too damaged to change. I just hope that her daughters do not suffer any ill-effects from being raised by her. These girls are thriving not because of what she does but in spite of what she does.
    As far as “the clan” goes, Ashley needs to be put out completely. She is the most immature 19 year old that I have ever met. I don’t think that her boyfriend is going to stick around for the long haul. He’s going to meet someone eventually that has what he wishes Ashley had-a brain and some maturity. If I were Jacqueline, I would evict her from my home-legally. Give her a 30 day eviction notice and get her out!
    Can’t wait for the reunion show. Teresa is priceless when she gets mad. I can’t wait for next season without Danielle.

  • Manuela

    I agree that Caroline’s meeting with Danielle was completely contrived by Bravo. It had to have been; this exactly the kind of futile stunt she’s been advising everyone else against for two seasons!

    Danielle has been fired from Bravo, and I for one am so glad! I’m all for the drama, but not so much for a situation where someone is going to get shot, which is where RHNJ was quickly going.

  • Barbara

    Why don’t we forget TV and read a humorous novel about coping with herpes? It’s titled “H”: A NOVEL, and it’s much more entertaining and informative than those silly housewives’ tales. Check out this unusual romantic comedy on amazon. It’s set in a dysfunctional advertising agency in Fort Lauderdale before the recession. Get the background info at http://www.barbaradinerman.com.

  • freeze-dried

    The whole NJHW season was BORING at best. I fell asleep during the jaunt to Italy. They’re all IDIOTS if you ask me. No one can penetrate Caroline’s circle. That’s reserved for family and a few very close friends. What matriach Caroline wants…matriarch Caroline gets. She’s a Bravo icon and permanent fixture. It’s like Kyle on BHHW – if Andy likes you, you’re going to stick around whether you’re fair, honest or not. The whole season was boring, boring, BORING. I wasn’t a Danielle fan, but she did bring some spice to NJ’s ever-luvin sorry episodes. No, I won’t watch again…but I’ll read this blog.

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