Following last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, I got into a conversation on Twitter about whether or not Real Housewives has run its course, as possibly indicated by the string of boring episodes we’ve seen lately. And maybe it has, or maybe this is just a normal summer slump, where all television goes to die a long, unentertaining death. It’s hard to say yet.

I still think that the Beverly Hills cast has a couple more good seasons in it, at the very least, and our Jersey broads have a way of being fun to watch even when what they’re doing is boring. When I think back on last night’s episode, I remember it as being more fun than it probably seemed while I was watching it, for some reason. Anyway, let’s have a recap.

We started with Jacqueline and Ashley, and as always, Ashley knew everything. I’m not sure exactly what went on because my connection to watch the show online kept freezing, but I’m assuming that the end-of-episode party was announced, followed by Ashley lecturing Jacqueline about not getting over-involved in other people’s problems. And although she was probably right in principle, she’s Ashley and she wouldn’t know “respectful” if it poked her in the eye, so she’s wrong.

Over at the Manzo residence, the entire family plus Albie’s gay “roommate” was getting the house ready for Christmas. The gay “roommate” (don’t half of you people think that Albie is secretly gay?) was talking about feathered Christmas trees and Albie was complaining that he listens to too much Mariah, and combined, those two things made me think he would actually be the best roommate ever. Who wouldn’t want to decorate a feathered tree with her gay roomie while Mariah’s Christmas album played in the background and his little dog tried to kill an ornament on the ground? Is there something wrong with me? Because sign me up for that.

At Melissa’s house, it was time for her and Nonjuicy to meet with a team of producers that Bravo got through Central Casting who were paid to show up and tell Melissa she could sing. And Melissa is not a completely awful singer, sure. She’s not an embarrassingly delusional American Idol tryout reject. (Oh, she’s embarrassingly delusional, just not about that.) But she’s not anywhere near good enoguh to think that she can get famous in her 30s with three kids and Guido Napoleon for a husband. She’s not William Hung, but she’s definitely not Susan Boyle, either.

Despite that, the music producers did as the show producers told them to do and said she could sing, and after hearing that, Nonjuicy had a momentary panic when he considered that the rest of the Melissa-can-sing plot line might mean that she has to spend more than her allotted hour per day outside of the house. He proposed that instead of her leaving the house to record songs, he’d just build her a dungeon…err, recording studio in the basement, and upon hearing that, Melissa thanked Jesus for the bounty that he had given her. And by “bounty,” I mean her fake tan and reality show.

Over at Teresa’s, on the other hand, Juicy was fixing dinner with the Slap Chop and then he and Teresa had a romantic living room picnic with a candle and a sheet on the floor. I suspect that they had a picnic because their dining room table had been repossessed, but Teresa said that she knows the truth about the family’s business deals and Juicy’s old partner. And hey, as long as Teresa knows the truth, I guess we have to believe her. Teresa would never allow herself to be misinformed about her family’s financial affairs. Oh wait…

Meanwhile, Kathy and her husband were still talking the crazy talk about buying a restaurant. They wanted belly dancers and hookahs and a “couples” (I’m using a lot of scarequotes so far, aren’t I? This set of Housewives is particularly delusional, even relative to the others.) vibe, and for a moment, it looked as though Kathy might have understood exactly what a stupid idea it was to buy a huge restaurant space just because you like to cook. But that was a reasonable thought, and reasonable thoughts die quick, excruciating deaths on Real Housewives, so she quickly got re-excited about the whole moronic venture.

Back at Melissa’s house, Nonjuicy had set about building a recording studio with special windows so he could spy on his wife and make sure she wasn’t misbehaving or looking any other men in the eye or anything. When she came downstairs to check his progress, Melissa announced that she wanted the studio to be gold, which tells you more or less everything that you need to know about her as a person. And don’t recording studios require very specific construction standards? Aren’t there people who specialize in building studios? It’s not just average work, and I’m pretty sure that Nonjuicy has absolutely zero knowledge of acoustics. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Nonjuicy still thinks that there’s a little man who lives inside the refrigerator who turns out the light when you close the door.

Over at the Manzo Bachelor Pad, Lauren and Jacqueline had come to visit so that Lauren could whine and cry that her brothers never include her anymore. But speaking of bachelors, can we talk about the gay roommate again? It kind of surprised me, in a good way. I didn’t expect Albie and Chris to be the sort of young guys who would think it was awesome to have a gay roommate, let alone freely admit to it and include him often on television, for fear of starting gay rumors about themselves. I automatically expect all the men on this particular branch of Real Housewives to be intollerant, ignorant muscleheads with sloped foreheads who would be publicly terrified (although perhaps secretly curious) about living with a gay guy. Good on Albie and Chris for not having that reaction, and good on Caroline for raising enlightened sons.

Also, can we talk about Lauren for a second? Maybe I’m being insensitive, but her amount of emotional anguish over her brothers moving out seemed really over the top to me. Adults grow up and move out, she has a serious boyfriend who everyone thinks she’s going to marry and she certainly has friends of her own. So what if her brothers have an apartment and occasionally have a friend or two over for dinner without sending her an engraved invitation to join them? And why waste the time that you do get to spend with them complaining that you don’t spend enough time with them? Those are the friends who don’t get invited back very much. Just saying.

While I’m being unsympathetic, let’s talk about Kim G., shall we? Jacqueline went over to her house to catch up because they’re neighbors and the producers asked her to (just guessing), and when she got there, Kim G. announced that she had had a “brain tumor,” made Jacqueline feel her skull (based on Jacqueline’s facial expression, she didn’t feel anything) and then launched into some ridiculous cell phone-reading about Teresa’s finances. It’s nice to know that even through a mortal health crisis, Kim G. was still able to keep up with Teresa’s new car purchases. And if she had a brain tumor removed or cancer treatments, would they have shaved her head or she would have lost all her hair? Again, just saying.

Anyway, Jacqueline must have grown a backbone on the way over to Kim G.’s house, or maybe she found an extra one laying on the sidewalk, I don’t know. Either way, she told Kim to sit down, shut up and stop talking smack about Teresa because it didn’t concern her in the least. Jacqueline even decline to hear the rest of the dirt that Kim wanted to read to her, much to Kim’s obvious disappointment. “You don’t even want to hear the rest of it?” There was perhaps a fraction of a moment’s hesitation, but Jacqueline declined, screamed some swear words and left. Just like any good friend would do.

Elsewhere, Kathy and Rich went to visit Caroline’s husband to talk about the restaurant business and seek his advice on their possible new ventures, and his advice was thus: Don’t do it, it’ll ruin your life, you will be unhappy and probably fail. Ok, so the phrasing was mine, but that was the gist of it, right? Albert told them what we’ve all been yelling at our screens since they hatched this plan, and because they seem to be some of the more rational of the cast members, they actually seemed to believe him. Which is great, because I don’t want to have to sit through some storyline next season about how running a restaurant is, like, totally difficult and then watch them get all their centerpieces repossessed or something.

It was finally time for a party because no Real Housewives episode can exist without a party. Teresa and her husband had just come fresh from trying to start a fistfight with a lawyer in court, and Melissa and Nonjuicy were also invited to the party, so…that’s fun. There was also an eight-foot-tall dude there who was actually too tall to get his face in the same frame as everyone else’s, and I’m assuming he was there to catch the tables if Teresa were to start throwing them.

Everyone milled around and chatted while getting drunk, and things were only medium offensive. Nonjuicy referred to his wife as a “thing,” the kids talked about stripper poles, everyone dared Nonjuicy and Jacqueline to switch outfits. None of these people have anything even vaguely intellectual or timely to talk about, so these are the things they discuss when they get together. This is what happens when you can’t read, kids. Do your homework.

Nonjuicy took the bet and came out in the tights and camisole, and everyone was laughing until Lauren started talking about missing her brothers and not having sisters, which OF COURSE meant that Teresa couldn’t resist bringing up that she was really close with her brother before he got married, and afterward, she had no more brother. Teresa doesn’t have an ounce of restraint in her body (as if her outfit left any question about that) but she’s mostly seemed to be on the right side of this fight, except for this time. She was absolutely the person who started the discussion when it didn’t need to be rehashed, and good for Melissa for not dumping a glass of wine on her weave.

Instead, Melissa passive-aggressively invited everyone else at Jacqueline’s party to her party the next week while doing her best to ignore Teresa’s and Juicy’s questions about when it would be. She eventually answered them but was pretty effective at shutting them out of most of the conversation, which is exactly what you should do with people who can’t be trusted to talk. The problem is, though, that none of these people can be trusted to talk.

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