(October 17, 2011) – We have an uneasy feeling when we watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey. We could never put our finger on what the problem is until last night’s reunion. Ultimately it’s that we see one set of incidents on camera and we see how the characters react. And we know in our gut that something else is going on, but nothing ever seems to be explained, at all because half of the time the cast is lying to us and to each other. And the other half they cannot reveal anything because Andy has them all gagged, fearful that they’ll accidentally reveal information about season 4 which they are currently filming.
It does not make sense in the slightest that Caroline is seething with anger at Teresa’s ridiculous cookbook. And it does not make sense that Teresa was just joking when she wrote in Fabulicious that “Caroline’s as Italian as the Olive Garden.” Likewise it did not make sense when Caroline Manzo said last week on the Gayle King Show that she was never friends with Teresa; they were merely acquaintances. Whether or not they were merely “work friends” as one of our readers pointed out, those two women were friends on some level and Caroline is denying that. It seems like such a silly lie. And that’s part of the problem. This cast is constantly lying about everything, big and small. From bankruptcy fraud to who used which hairdresser first, no subject is worthy of an honest answer.
This show really cannot go on this way. Something, anything has to be a fact. At this point we’d be happy if they could all agree the sky is blue, but we know that is too much to ask from this particularly set of people. Kathy Wakile and Jacqueline Laurita could probably accept the veracity of a simple statement, but undoubtedly Teresa and Melissa would have a turf war about it. Then Caroline would lose her temper and scold Teresa for not admitting that Melissa was right that the sky was robin’s egg blue and not baby blue like Juicy’s eyes.
Maybe this is all the curse of season 3 when the casts of many of the housewives shows implode and begin to rip themselves to shreds as we saw in New York. Maybe after season 4, heads will roll and new ladies will fill in – like battlefield reinforcements – for those who were wounded and those who gave their lives so Andy Cohen can continue to play his misogynistic drinking games in the Bravo Clubhouse.
Until then, we know we’ll be left wondering about everything that is going on over there in Franklin Lakes. We’re pretty sure the unspoken problem stems from the cast’s trip to Punta Cana when Teresa Giudice allegedly instigated an extremely violent fist fight that resulted in several cast members being detained by the police for several days. Fists flew, limbs were broken, law suits were filed. And we’re never going to hear from this cast or this network what happened – which is ultimately fine because this cast lies incessantly and this network likes to manipulate film.
But the police officer and his cousin who contend that they were pummeled by the “classy” New Jersey housewives can pretty much write any dollar amount on a Bravo check if Bravo filmed the incident. They have the network in a very strange position. In a regular old New Jersey bar fight there is usually not a camera crew with lights and a sound engineer on hand to capture every inhumane punch and rabid kick. And the attorney who has filed the lawsuits knows it. He’s asked the courts to prevent Bravo from destroying the tapes. Bravo denies any of it was captured on camera. This is par for the course in the Garden State. No one can agree on anything there.
It almost makes us feel sorry for Bravo because they’ve completely lost control over this show and this cast. But ultimately it is Andy Cohen’s fault. He allowed this cast to be filmed for season 4 while season 3 was airing. And they filmed last night’s reunion mere hours after the huge blow up at the Posche fashion show that sent Jacqueline Laurita straight to Twitter where she babbled her head off until she came to her senses and stepped away from the keyboard. But the damage was done. We know there are many things going on that Bravo is not telling us. And we know we’re being lied to incessantly by both the cast and the network.
Jacqueline plays a fascinating role in the omerta that is poisoning the Real Housewives of New Jersey. We don’t think she intends to. We think she just knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong. We think she was raised to value the truth and to stand up for injustice. But we think she gets tricked by other people to keep quiet about many things that would harm her in-laws and fellow cast mates. But then her impulsive nature gets the best of her and she erupts again when she sees lies flying off of everyone’s lips.
If you read the cast tweets, you know that Jacqueline has told us that she cannot be a part of this “charade” of a show any longer. She’s said it has made her physically and emotionally sick. She’s told us after the Posche fashion show that she would not attend the taping of the reunion. When she came to her senses a few days later, she told us she cannot tell us anything more until season 4 airs. But then she took to Twitter again last night, – while the reunion was airing – and essentially narrated the entire conversation, calling Teresa an insincere liar from start to finish, as you can see here:
If we were on this show, we wouldn’t have gone to the reunion either. And our brattier, irrational side almost wants to protest Jacqueline’s privileged status. We hear ourselves saying, ‘If Jacqueline didn’t have to go to the reunion why did we?’ But the truth is, just like us, she simply could not resist. And while she may not have been in Red Bank, New Jersey’s Count Basie Theater physically, she was very much there in spirit.
Perhaps it is fitting that we sometimes think the Real Housewives shows in general – and New Jersey in particular – are a bonafide addiction. We have never actually liked the Franklin Lakes crowd. They’re too coarse. They’re too crude. They’re too violent. And frankly, they’re not that interesting. Their lives are simply boring. But we tune in every week hoping that this time it will be different, just as a drug addict hopes that the next high will have a different outcome. We say this is fitting because there is a recovery motto that says “you are only as sick as your secrets.” No sentence could better explain the problem with the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
With the possible exception of Kathy and Jacqueline, they lie incessantly about ridiculous things, while trying to hide fishy, almost sinister truths. We have yet to meet or read the words of a solitary person who cares even in the slightest whether or not Melissa Gorga was ever a stripper. It is not even remotely interesting if she was or if she was not. She has a great body and a pretty face and she probably could have made alot of money doing it. But frankly it is boring.
What is not boring is the accusation that she was feeding information to Danielle Staub about Teresa. What is not boring is the idea that she promised the producers that she would amp up the drama by attacking Teresa on camera. We doubt we’ll ever know what Melissa said to the producers, but we do think we will hear about how Danielle knew Teresa was not an ideal aunt to Melissa’s children. We do not think Melissa will be able to hide that for much longer.
We think it is pretty obvious that Melissa wants a lot of attention. Not like the regular “aren’t I pretty?” attention. No, that would not be enough for Melissa. She wants worldwide fame kind of attention. And she wants it pretty badly. We’re not sure if she would throw her husband’s family under the bus to get it, but it wouldn’t surprise us.
Throughout the season we have wondered about Melissa’s song On Display, which when you get right down to it, is an anthem to narcissism. We have no idea when she wrote it, but we are 100% positive that when she did, she was not at all on display. She was a garden variety housewife and mother in Northern, New Jersey. If she wrote this song after she was on the show and a staple of supermarket weeklies, you could make a case that Melissa is troubled by being hunted by the paparazzi. But if you consider the fact that she wrote the song before anyone outside of her tiny circle knew her name, you have to wonder if she is actually fantasizing about what it’d be like to famous. Then the line, “slander my name in all the papers that’s what you wanna do But you keep watching I’ll keep glowing that’s what I’ll do for you,” practically defines the core of narcissism: any attention, good or bad, is better than anonymity.
I can feel the weight of the world pushing down on me
I can feel every one’s eyes watching me
I can feel the heat of the spotlight shine on me
And I can feel the pressure on my body
Got me feeling all these feelings and it’s driving me insane
Paparazzi watching me do my thing
Cause I’m on display, on display, on display
Each and every day, every day, every day
Everybody’s waiting on me to fall
Everybody’s waiting on me to crawl but they can keep on
(Waiting on me, Waiting on me, Waiting on me to fall) 4X
I know you’re gonna try to bring me, bring me down
But I’m a fighter, I’m a tiger I can figure it out
Slander my name in all the papers that’s what you wanna do
But you keep watching I’ll keep glowing that’s what I’ll do for you
Got me feeling all these feelings and it’s driving me insane
Paparazzi watching me do my thing
We haven’t the slightest idea why Teresa is angry with Melissa. Again, Teresa says one thing and Melissa denies it, offering a different explanation which, of course, Teresa says is not true. Chances are they are both lying and it all comes down to a simple truth: Both of these women need to be the center of attention and neither will share the spotlight or duck away for even one second. They need it. It feeds their sense of self. And without all of the attention all of the time, they are simply starved animals, clawing for a bite to eat. And they’re both professional victims who want to believe they are being attacked, while the truth is they are both working full time to make the other look like an ass. And it worked.
Caroline Manzo has had an interesting season. While she definitely succeeded in changing her own image, from a jacked up, proclamation-spewing Momma bear to a lighthearted advice giver, who could actually apologize to another person, as she did to Kathy, she definitely lost lots of points during the reunion. We think she did plenty of her own lying last night, too. But again we’re never going to know what is true about the things that matter.
We do not believe even for one second that Teresa poisoned Caroline’s relationship with her sister, Dina. Teresa is not that powerful. No one is. Only Caroline could have done something to alienate her sister. We have no idea what it was and frankly we only slightly care to know. Siblings squabble. When it comes time to give someone a kidney, chances are they’ll both be wheeled into operating rooms and they’ll live to squabble some more.
The rumor is that Dina is angry that Caroline and Jacqueline did not honor Dina’s request to strike in protests when Dina was let go from the Housewives. This doesn’t ring true to us because in that case, she’d also be annoyed with Teresa. Just guessing, we think Caroline lorded her power over Dina one time too many and Dina decided she needed a break from her controlling older sister, who probably acts like Dina owes her her life for introducing Dina to her husband, Tommy who has lots of cash.
But judging from Dina’s televised wedding, Tommy is no prize. We have no idea if he is gay, as is rumored, but one thing Dina did tell us in that video is that Tommy cheats on her and is never home. To us it sounds like Jill vs. Bethenny, Round 2. As you know Jill thought Bethenny owed all of her success to Jill. Whatever! Who really cares, ultimately? Dina’s zen routine and hairless cat are just not worthy of being filmed. And neither are we. It’s no crime.
The only person on this show who is consistently shown looking good is Kathy Wakile. Some say she is boring, and perhaps she is, but we like her. She’s a nice lady. She loves her husband, adores her kids, likes to bake, isn’t a narcissist, can let others get attention, has self-control. She’s a lovely person and a very good mother in our book.
We have always loved Jacqueline because she likes to have fun. We like that. We’ve heard every rumor in the book about her, but we couldn’t care less if they are true. She wants to have fun. Her biggest problem is she like drama too much and she sometimes acts impulsively, but so do we. We get it.
Jacqueline is also the one shining hope that we will ever hear the truth about anything. Like us, Jacqueline clings to the truth, like it is a life raft. She knows it matters and she’s willing to risk a lot to protect it. We saw that in last year’s reunion when she called Dina a liar for denying she ever had her hands on the book that the Manzos dug up to defame Danielle on international television. Of course, we believe the Manzos dug that book up from their mail box in a package that was sent to them by the producers, but Caroline and her sister used it to embarrass Danielle. And it didn’t work with us. We do not think badly of Danielle that when she was young and stupid she got herself into a lot of trouble. So did we. We did plenty of irrational things when we were in our 20s. We hung out with imbeciles and placed ourselves in plenty of dangerous situations. And we are not bad people, not even slightly. We were just lucky not to get hurt during the follies of our youth.
Having said that, Dina definitely touched that book. Jacqueline was right. The Manzo girls just manipulated her into believing that because the book was not in Dina’s possession, that she did not have a hand in using it to embarrass Danielle. In her gut, Jacqueline knows she was right: Dina is a liar. But Jacqueline wants to make peace with her in-laws and let it go. Still she knows the truth. And she respects it, unlike most of her colleagues. And it’s a sad scene over there in Franklin Lakes. Someone needs to open the windows and air out all the lies. Because omerta is poisoning the Real Housewives of New Jersey.