Real Housewives of New Jersey
I…I don’t think I remember the first half of this episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and as such, I’m not sure I know where to begin. I’ve sat here and watched it three times, back to back. And it’s now one in the morning as I’m writing this, and no matter how hard I try to focus on the first thirty minutes of this episode, it gets wiped clean from my brain, like it was never there at all, by the giant, off-the-rails load of ridiculousness that is the last thirty minutes. Stuff happened. I’m sure it did. But then some more stuff happened, and that stuff was way more interesting than the first stuff. And now I’m completely disoriented, and the fact that it sounds like my upstairs neighbors are doing cartwheels through their apartment isn’t helping. At any rate, we’ll try to sort out all of the drama of the much-anticipated season finale after the jump.

So we start out getting to see a lot more of Teresa’s house than we did last week, and maybe I’m just jaded by all of the Atlanta McMansions I saw growing up, but it doesn’t seem as tacky as the vision of marble, granite, and onyx that I had in my head. Yeah, it’s way too big and will probably be filled with tacky furniture very, very soon, but the bones of the home seemed reasonable and I really liked the abalone-lined sink (even if it didn’t go that well with the granite counter tops, but that’s a gripe for a different blog). Maybe I’m feeling particularly sympathetic to wanting exactly what you want because I’m moving into a new apartment soon and I looked at about a thousand different places before I chose, but oh well. She has to live there and see it every day, and if it’s what she likes, then mazel tov.

Next, we get a minute or two clip about Caroline’s family’s new dog – picked out and trained by none other than disagraced ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, bizarrely enough. Apparently he’s Caroline’s husband’s best friend. He’s currently under federal investigation, but those German Shepards sure are adorable (even if they will totally kill you). I doubt it will work with the Feds, but the best way to distract me from ethics violations and IRS problems is definitely with a puppy.

Uh, let’s see…Dina retires? Yeah, that happened. She decided she wants to spend more time with her daughter as her teenage years approach and that being a career woman isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think the family vs. career conflict is one that a lot of working moms deal with, and it’s not one that’s recognized often – on TV, most moms seem to juggle both effortlessly and perfectly, and it’s just not that easy in reality. So, for a brief moment, reality TV actually had something to do with reality.

Oh, speaking of teenagers, Jacqueline finally gave her daughter that white Jeep that her husband spontaneously bought a few weeks ago. They were teetering back and forth about when to give it to her, but her grades had come up during summer school so they figured they might as well. Which is also fairly realistic, particularly in communities like that. By the time the kid is 17 she’s probably already spoiled rotten, so there’s not a whole lot of point in trying to show restraint and teach the kid a lesson at the eleventh hour and make up for a childhood’s worth of shoddy parenting. If she’s got the grades, give her the car that you already bought for her. It’s not like you can take it back.

But after that, things mostly stumbled off into the realm of the ridiculous once again, and Teresa decided to have a dinner party and invite Danielle. Because NOTHING could ever go wrong with that, right? Of course not. So she plans to have it at a fancy-pants restaurants and everyone showed up in cute little dresses and she showed up with her new buhbbies, and then they all talked inappropriately (or maybe it’s just refreshingly casual?) about boobs, even the kids.

Before the dinner party, Danielle sat down with her kids and explained to them what was in the The Book and what she did in her past life (apparently “model?”), which should have been our first clue that she was planning on starting something at the dinner party. For some reason, I was blissfully unaware of what that little snippet foretold and figured that it would be loudmouthed Dina or Teresa to pick the fight, but no. After awkwardly sharing an oyster with Goomba Joe, Danielle slapped a copy of the book on the table like a cold, dead, awkward fish. And everyone was silent for a moment, and it was the calm before the storm, because then the yelling started.

A lot of it was kind of bizarre and unintelligible, but after watching it three times (I work hard for you people), this is what I gleaned: Dina was not technically the person that showed everyone at Danielle’s salon the book. It was Caroline, and Dina was THERE when it happened, although she didn’t admit that at first. I’m not entirely convinced that this distinction matters, but whatever. It seemed important to them, or at least SOME of them. Caroline, despite coming out as the head smack-talker, was actually one of the winners of this episode. She shushed everyone else as best she could when Danielle wanted to say her piece, although it only worked for so long, and that’s more than I expected from someone that’s so insular and protective of her family.

Dina, who up until this episode had been my favorite, lost some points with me. She couldn’t seem to decide whether or not she had been a part of disseminating this information about Danielle in the first place, and changing your story repeatedly in a small group of people is only going to cause a lot of problems. If you’re going to lie, for the love of God, STICK WITH YOUR LIE. Stick with it like life depends on it. Be like OJ and pledge to find the real killer.

But I’m still not convinced that Caroline or Dina or whoever did anything wrong in the first place. They weren’t making up lies about Danielle. The things they said were published in a book that was carried on and in their local libraries, for pete’s sake. And if I was to stumble on some information that salacious about someone I didn’t even like, the FIRST thing I would do is be on the phone to my best friend talking about it. Heck, even if it was in the middle of the night. I’d call her and wake her up, and she would do the same thing to me. And then they blabbed about it to their hair stylists, and doesn’t everyone gossip with the girl that does their hair? Maybe I’m just a bad person or maybe my friends are just particularly drama-prone, but I can’t imagine us keeping quiet if we found out that someone we knew was an ex-stripper with a criminal record.

I was hoping that Danielle would take this opportunity to put the whole ordeal behind her and move towards civility with Jacqueline’s family in order to retain her friendship, because that would have been the wise thing to do. But we know that didn’t happen, and when the finger-pointing was going full-force, Jacqueline did something I never expected – she stood up for Danielle. Apparently she was aware all along that Dina was in on the effort to spread the gossip, even if it was spearheaded by Caroline, and Jacqueline called her out in front of everyone when she tried to lie and said she had nothing to do with it. Suddenly, out of nowhere, our girl Jackie has a backbone and and is standing up to her in-laws because she knows what the truth is. Wow.

And for a second, it looked like things were going to wind down…but then Teresa woke up from whatever nap she was taking and made a hardly intelligible point about why or why not Danielle’s ex husband would have written the book in the first place if the stuff in it wasn’t true. I get what she was going for, but not everything is true just because it’s written in a book. Remember James Frey and the Oprah Book Club debacle? Sometimes us writers aren’t entirely truthful, particularly in “memoir” format. Danielle did not take kindly to that at all and snapped at her in a really condescending way and things got UGLY. Tables were flipped, names were called that I’m not allowed to repeat here, and Teresa had to be restrained by several people.

Not that I can entirely blame her – it seems like Danielle has dismissed her as an idiot for a while now, and from what I’ve seen, she’s not entirely qualified to be making that call. I doubt she’s the first one to do it to Teresa, and when someone’s coming to your dinner party and doing it in front of your friends and family, it might be time to start breaking things and making a scene. The frustration seemed pent-up, to say the very least. And then the Lauritas came through for us again – Jacqueline’s husband made everyone STFU and reminded them that this is all just petty crap blown out of proportion by some bored housewives. And that’s exactly what it is.

After that, people started to get the heck out of dodge, and we got the final update on all the girls. Both Teresa and Jacqueline got pregnant after filming and Jacqueline has already given birth. Dina has stayed retired to look after Lexi and has yet to encounter Danielle at their salon. Caroline is still Caroline and would probably cut you. No news there. I came out of the episode with a renewed respect for Jacqueline and Caroline and less affection for Dina than I had had for most of the season. My opinion about Danielle is mostly unchanged – she still seems kind of dim and sad – as is my fairly positive opinion of Teresa.

As with all Bravo shows, this isn’t really the finale – we’ve got a “director’s cut” and a reunion coming up next Tuesday, and you better believe I’ll be here for that. If past Real Housewives series have taught us anything, it’s that the reunions are always the best part anyway.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Otter

    I LOVED when Danielle placed that book on the table. That is exactly what Caroline/Dina/Terri should have done when they “discovered” the book — brought it to Danielle’s house, placed it on the table and discussed. Instead, they trot off to spread it around the hair salon.

    As for Miss Trashy Teresa — Queen of All Jersey Stereotypes, she is an idiot. Love that Danielle called her out on it. The entire episode showed Teresa’s character. Stomping around like a field hand through her ugly mansion where so much was paid for in CASH (Hmmmm, maybe that should be investigated? Oh wait, there are already many books and tv shows about these types of wise guys). She wants to have her children removed from the room when the drama starts with Danielle at the dinner party, but, she keeps them in the room when she brags about her active sex life and carrying on over eating oysters like it was the meal scene from the film Tom Jones (Google it kiddos). Yes, Teresa is the height of class and decorum, throwing over tables, cussing like a savage, threatening violence. All while Danielle stands there in her glory, having exposed them all. Nobody will need to write a book about these b*tches to expose them, because Danielle did it for us.

    Ah, and Teresa says that her rampage is because she was disrespected. Was she respectful when she started destroying the restaurant’s property? Who does she think cleans up her mess. She doesn’t know what respect means.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on Caroline and her family relationship with the NY cops. She and her family probably all carry those special “friends of the police” cards in their wallets. It is a must have accessory for half of Long Island/NJ crew. ESPECIALLY, if you work in the restaurant business and sell booze.

    As mentioned in — the only true and classy lady on that show was Grandma Wrinkle. That pussy rocks!

  • JenG

    Great take on the show! If Danielle had only left that book at home. It was very tacky of her to start a fight at Teresa’s dinner. I too have a new found respect for Jacqueline and I think Caroline is great, she has a backbone and can back it up! It was good to see Jacqueline’s husband stand up for this wife even against Caroline, I hope he doesn’t go missing.

  • Jean

    Who would bring a book to the dinner party? I think that Danielle has done way too many drugs in her lifetime! Also , she admitted that she did strip and then denied it at the dinner. Who doesn’t know that they kidnapped and were toturing a child in your boyfriend’s house? And wouldn’t the boyfriend stand out and say that she had no clue about it? OR maybe the kidnapped kid?
    As much as I think the family found and spread the word..wouldn’t you want to know if she was in your neighborhood? We do have a sex offender registry…but not a child kidnapper registry?

  • Sarah

    These recaps of the shows are priceless. I love this show and I was suprised Caroline didnt stand up and cut Danielle and then go back to eating.

  • LDJ

    Enjoyed ur recap of the finale but there was something that struck me just a little….

    You stated….”when the finger-pointing was going full-force, Jacqueline did something I never expected – she stood up for Danielle.”
    I wouldn’t say Jacqueline actually stood up for Danielle. I think she told the truth and I would’ve done the same. Dina threw herself under the bus. Yes, her and Jacqueline r sister-n-laws, but just because their family doesn’t mean she has to lie for her. Their all adults. They all know who started what. So I applaud Jacqueline for doing what she did, ’cause if she would’ve lied for Dina, that would’ve cause more drama.

    Anyhoo, Teresa, smh, she’s just as ditsy as Danielle but she did make a point when she told Danielle, there had to be more to the story for her being frustrated over the book besides the fact that her name was changed and she was arrested! Yes! Valid point! So y were u arrested Danielle? Caroline, gotta luv her, she looks like she don’t take no crap, she handled herself maturely, but I don’t think she started the rumor. I think Dina did. If you look back, when Caroline claimed that she got the copy of the book and put the word out, Dina face fell to the floor and right there, you knew Caroline was taking the bait for Dina, CRAZY!!!! As far as Danielle, I applaud her for standing up to those ladies and letting them know how she felt. That was so smoove how she brought that book out of nowhere and noone saw it coming. CLASSIC!!!!! Though it wasn’t the time and place, once again, Danielle put the spotlight back on herself, which I wish she would stop doing, and just focus on herself and raise her girls the right way so they won’t go through the hell that she once and still is going through.

    Can’t wait for the reunion and the outtakes!!!

  • Shan

    Caroline is one tough momma! And you’re so right – I can’t remember the first half either!
    What on earth do you think the director’s cut is going to show?


  • @LDJ I took it as her standing up for Danielle because up until that point, she had known the truth and kept it quiet for the benefit of her family. But when she saw Danielle attacked publicly, she spoke up. If Jacqueline had only been trying to make sure the truth was known, she would have done it a long time go.

  • Marti

    I found Dina’s wedding with Tommy. (Caroline’s brother) Man, this guy treats Dina like crap. There is no way she is happy with him, no matter how much money he has. I can’t believe she married this guy, he is so abusive.
    I am really scared for her..

    No wonder she has looked like she has been medicating..and is always so depressed. This guy is a true asshole.

  • Marti

    Here is another tape of Dina and Tommy. This guy makes my skin crawl…He looks evil….Gotti style.
    Does anyone else get that bad vibe?

    I would love for you to write up this wedding….after reviewing both tapes. ‘

  • Sher

    Wow, this show does not disappoint. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Danielle had laid a gun on top of “the Book”. Thank God she didn’t. I do find her children sad.

  • KathyB

    I am still trying to understand exactly WHY Theresa went batsh** crazy just virtually out of the blue? She was quiet and not saying much then suddenly she explodes! Kudos to Danielle for going into that fire and coming out intact. Kudos to Jacqueline for standing up for herself and speaking her mind without being “guided” by the Sisters of Manzo. Kudos to Christopher for being the calm Manzo.

    Theresa needs medication, Dina needs therapy.

  • Marti

    Tersea went nuts because Danielle spoke to her in a very condescending manner and talked to her like she was an idiot. Told her to Pay attention. Tersea was pissed, you could see her veins in her neck, all popped out….and dangerous looking. Funny that the last write up on this show was “”Bluging veins”.


    Steve claims he has a SEX TAPE with Danielle….I kinda doubt it…but here you are..

  • ryan

    All of the women on this show are trash except Jacqueline. The Manzo family money is dirty, here comes the IRS!

  • Janinevs

    Does anyone else think Theresa was wasted, as in really drunk? She was really slow in reacting to the condescending way Danielle talked to her and there was some definite slurring.