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'The Real Housewives of New Jersey': Danielle Eats Air Time for Breakfast

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Every reality show worth its salt needs a good villain. Danielle is not necessarily that villain, despite her and the Bravo production team’s best efforts to persuade us otherwise. She’s more like a shameless hanger-on, willing to amp up her outrageousness if it means an extra scene per episode. Apparently later on in the season her nefarious drug ties to a South American drug cartel or a South Jersey stripping pole will be revealed, but for all I know she planted those rumors herself. During last night’s episode, she toddled after the endearing Jacqueline to bleat some words of discipline at Jacqueline’s daughter Ashley and instigated a very clingy hug fest with cockeyed Dina. Points for Dina, who is scary and has a hairless cat, for staying ramrod cool during Danielle’s hammy attempts to make up and become best friends forever. “I have to question the girl’s sanity,” said Dina. “I don’t know if she wants to be me or skin me like last year’s Versace.” I have no idea what that means but I’m going to use that line three times today, regardless of context.

Elsewhere, Teresa took her three Star Search contestants shopping, and I realized that nothing may irritate me as much as the sight of naughty children in public places carrying sparkly purses or wearing Scottish-plaid hats on their head. Teresa is hungry for her 7-year-old Gia to hop on the Miley Cyrus train to fame. Her daughter’s halfway there — she starred alongside Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt!…Okay, she was just in a background shot, but still.

The sweetheart of the show is Jacqueline, who revealed last night that she’s suffered four miscarriages in a row. (Dina, who I admit I would want on my side during a fight, gave her a fertility bracelet.) Jacqueline is like a cross between Topanga from Boy Meets World and Hef’s Girl Next Door Bridget and she’s probably too soft and sweet for this bunch. But listening to Jacqueline murmur sadly about how she tends to show really early in a pregnancy and gets her maternity tops out of storage, only to have to pack them back up again, felt like the first truly moving, unscripted moment of the season. Of course then Danielle had to ruin it by saying Jacqueline and her husband deserved to get pregnant. “Keep multiplying because they’re really pretty,” she said. “We need more pretty babies.” Oh gag me with a pretty baby.

What did all you reality watchers think? Is Danielle a dufus? Is Jacqueline a dear? Would you let Dina’s cat sleep in your bed for $20?

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