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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' finale recap: Worth the price of admission

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Who has time to mull over the strange appearance of Bernard Kerik, or Lexie’s growing bubbies, or Danielle’s sad daughters forced to relive their mama’s glory days with Vivienne Tam and Third Watch, or Jacqueline’s darling father Jerome? Who has time for Teresa’s new bathtub-sized sink or Dina’s decision to retire so she’s never blindsided by stuffed animals under her daughter’s bed again? WE MUST IMMEDIATELY SKIP TO THE MAIN COURSE.

The Last Supper was perhaps the best 10 minutes in all of Real Housewives history. Teresa, sporting new tennis balls under her tube dress, was prattling away over appetizers about Joe pawing her for sex post-op. To be honest, I’m almost ashamed to admit that this dizzy broad has kind of grown on me. She’s an authentic ding dong, innocent of guile. Danielle, however, was not amused by someone munching on her airtime so, with the smugness of one of Dina’s hairless cats, she slid her ex-husband’s book onto the table and took a lusty swig of champagne. (Is it just me or is the real winner of this finale the ex who may have finally moved a few copies out of the remainder bin?)

Now, Danielle is crazy as a chicken wing, but I will give her credit for staying on point throughout her monologue. She admitted to two things: She got arrested and she changed her name. But she insisted the other allegations in the book were false, and irrelevant to her present life. Her beef was entirely with Dina, who she accused of trying to muck up her reputation for her own petty amusement.

Caroline. Caroline! Caroline, who I would want on my side in any confrontation, personal or professional, took over. After shutting Dina up, and sternly maintaining some form of order at the table, she slowly turned to Danielle and dropped a bomb. “Can you do me one favor?” she said, enunciating every syllable. “Look at me, because I’m the one that told them.” Thickuh as thieves, protectuh my family, passuh the pasta. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jacqueline burst forth with finger-waving and accusations that Dina was a big fat sneaky liar. (Cut to the kids table where everyone was snickering except for Danielle’s youngest, who just nibbled her dress strings sadly.) I’m not sure if I agree with Jacqueline turning on Dina, but the sheer look of relief on Danielle’s face that someone in the room was on her side was sincerely moving.

Enter Teresa, who — maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was being fresh out of a casting director’s office — seemed surprisingly cogent when breaking down Danielle’s transgressions. But then Danielle called her an airhead and Teresa’s face kind of slo-mo melted into a stunned mask of rage. It was visceral! She went atomic, oysters shooting out of her orifices, as she flipped over the dinner table and started shouting “whore! slut!” (I know, it’s awful that this counts as good TV to me. What can I say? I’m a tramp when it comes to reality shows.) Joe pulled his wife off the linens and smacked a kiss on her lips. He looked so turned on by her hot Italian temper that I wouldn’t be surprised if they conceived stage baby #4 in the restaurant bathroom that night.

“I’m going to pray for you,” Dina told Danielle, tapping her noggin, “because you are a little cuckoo up here.” But in the end, it wasn’t Dina or Danielle who got the last word, and it wasn’t Caroline who returned order to the evening. Jacqueline’s calm and oddly sexy husband Chris insisted the Housewives were all acting like a gaggle of fools. The book is bulls—, he insisted. Danielle is welcome in their home; let’s all be lucky for our good health and happiness. And that was it. On her way out, Caroline told Jacqueline that she had hurt her parents with her betrayal, but the happy coda to their family strife was that Jacqueline had finally successfully conceived and the pregnancy had re-bonded the women.

Danielle did get in a strange parting shot, one that seemed perfect for this show of molls. In her final interview, Danielle warned that if Dina ever starts acting up again and spreading dirt on her, she will come knocking on her door. And she won’t come alone. Atlas, sic!

P.S. Caroline’s bubbies are real???

What did you all think? Did the finale make up for a rather lackluster season? Did Danielle win you over at all in her defense of herself? Tell me that none of you went out and bought the book…