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'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: I'm depressed

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I’ll end up watching the whole season because there’s no Bravo reality TV show I can resist. (Except for that one with Kelly from Destiny’s Child, where competition is the new black or you can’t wear failure after Labor Day.) But I found this first episode a little stomach-turning. Remember that MTV show Sweet 16, where horrible young men and women get C list rappers to serenade them at their strobe light birthday parties in front of a crowd of gaping, upsettingly hair-gelled teenagers? Well this series shows where those girls end up 20 years later.

After meeting the Housewives in three other cities, you’d think I’d be immune. But something about the kids on this show left me in a funk. Teresa, the real dum dum of the bunch, says her three little girls are divas and future stars. Apparently the oldest, Gia, gets an audition to be in a movie with the Rock this season. She asks the girls to strike poses and look fabulous and puts sparkle gloss on their lips despite their protestations. Dina, who I think I might grow to like this season despite myself, has a gawky 12-year-old daughter who wants permission to make her nanny wear a maid’s outfit and call her ma’am. Jacqueline, the lone softie in the mix, has a 17-year-old daughter who says proudly that her Mom is cool and hip, you know, like Amy Poehler in Mean Girls

Mothers pride themselves on their daughters thinking of them as sisters, and coo over their grown sons acting like 8-year-olds. I will say this for the other Housewives. Their kids seem genuinely well-adjusted. (Well, maybe not Tamra’s bonehead son.) LuAnn’s kids, Jill’s daughter, Nene’s son, even Ramona’s eye-rolling daughter. I don’t fear for the human race when I hear them talk. But then last night there was this depressing exchange of dialogue between Caroline’s sons:

Albie (the golden child, future lawyer, apparent chick magnet):
“You buy books to say ‘I got books in my room.’ I buy books to read.”

Christopher (the future car wash/strip-club magnate):
“Yeah, that makes me a baller. That makes you a douche.”

What can I say? We’re a failure of a species. And apparently two straight hours of Housewives makes me a total Debbie Downer. I’ll drink more next week, and hope that will lighten me up instead (though it could also force me off television forever). In the meantime, I’ll leave you on a positive note. I think this season will be amusing if only to watch the ladies battle frizz.

Oh, and Dina made me laugh twice. That’s something, right?
On her diet:
“My nephew’s graduation is coming up and I don’t want to have to wear a muumuu.”

On the prospect of kicking the season’s bad girl Danielle’s ass:
“Look at these arms. I can’t even kick my cat’s ass.”

What do you guys think? Do I need to lighten up? Do you cringe when mothers call their daughters princesses? When people like Danielle say they have a personality you either love or hate, do you immediately shout out loud ‘Hate!’