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'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: Friends with benefits

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Image Credit: BravoAnybody else left with a foul taste in their mouths after last night’s episode? I wanted to laugh at Danielle and her cold cut platter of bodyguards, led by the twitchy and ridiculous Danny. I wanted to laugh at somber Albert, rubbing his fingertips together like a wedding hall Godfather in his Brownstone office. But then there was Emanuela’s mother, a weary-looking ordinary woman hoping to raise some money for her sick baby’s medical bills, and all I really wanted to do was whack a tray on Danielle’s head and write a big check to St. Jude’s.

The episode kicked off in a bath of candy pink. Audriana—Joe is still working on getting down the spelling—comes home from the hospital. Teresa wants Joe to get a vasectomy. Joe says fuhgeddaboutit. Overnight it appears that Teresa is back on her feet, making breakfast and attiring her children in furiously bedazzled jeans. (I would like to give a quick shout-out to the folks in the editing room who juxtaposed Teresa saying that she was “doing the Mommy thing, it’s pretty easy right now” with a shot of one of her girls swishing a pair of scissors off in the corner.) Gia got an ATV and bangs for her birthday. The party was kind of like the most horrifying episode of My Sweet Sixteen. There was a pink limo for the “Party Girls on the Go.” (Um, no.) There were sherbet-colored fur jackets as far as the eyes could see. There was a crabby middle sister. At the spa birthday party, that Teresa let us know cost a fortune, the girls all got facials. I’m inferring the treatment amounted to a miserable woman spreading chocolate sauce over their faces. The next morning each girl woke up with her first shiny pimple.

Speaking of party girls, Jacqueline wanted to meet Ashley’s boyfriend’s mother. The woman struck me as pretty normal if a little dorky. The conversation was predictably awkward, with Jacqueline giggling and the boyfriend’s mother assuring her that Ashley was always lovely and well-behaved. Their family respects the drinking age so they never offered the 18-year-old girl a thing to drink when she was in their home. Then the ladies’ little get-together skittered off the rails. “I know I drank when I was 18,” said Jacqueline, sipping from her glass of cab. “I partied with the best of them,” said Derek’s mom. And just like that Jacqueline was worrying that her teeth were purple and Derek’s mom was feeding her grapes. BFFs forever.

But on to the main event. It’s the fundraiser for baby Emanuela, a child cruelly stricken with cancer and the outrageous bills that go along with keeping her alive. Danielle tells us she might not have any real money herself to contribute—how about you donate all earnings from this nasty episode?—but she has big pocket friends. Apparently that means Kim G., not to be confused with boutique owner Kim S. She talks a similar game though: “Screw them all.” Screw who? Why screw? Anyways, Kim G. is Christopher’s best friend Johnny’s ma. Johnny is a bouncy little guy and he looks like Justin Bieber with a buzz cut and says things like “What’s up, bra?” Kim G. and Caroline are not friends, not when Danielle stands in between them creating a faux family war.

So now Danielle has Kim G., the ridiculous Danny—don’t mess with him, chihuahua, or he will end you—and a couple of Hells Angels. She shows up to the benefit and makes a beeline for Chris who has been given strict instructions not to engage. He’s polite. She gives him a dastardly grin and thanks him for inviting her into his home. Danielle seems to think this is clever psychological warfare. It’s not. Chris says hi to his buddy Johnny’s mom and gives her a heads-up that the evening is a little more informal than she might expect. Surprise! “Ohhh, you’re in for a big surprise,” growls Danielle, imitating an exchange she didn’t even witness. “He was very sadistic.” Danny only has six days left on his parole and this guy is itching for a drink and a fight. Danielle complains that her entourage doesn’t have their own table, and then that the table is not in the center of the room, and then that the Manzo family dared disrespect her when she is the honored guest of the evening (sorry Emanuela’s family). “Big mistake, huge” said Danielle, quoting Pretty Woman. Does this make Danny her Hector Elizondo or her Richard Gere? The grossest scene of the night showed Danielle posing happily with her mystifying sidekick Kim G. as a picture of Emanuela hung on the screen behind her. The more Danny and his goons worked themselves up into an outrage, the more alarmed and fatigued Emanuela’s family looked. Danielle, you suck so bad.

You know it’s a slow season when the ham game takes the stage a second time.

What did you all think? Does Danny remind you of the hoodrat bully from your old neighborhood? (Every block has one!) Is Teresa going to have another baby next season? How badly do you think Caroline regrets blurting out the fact that she shaves her face daily? How badly did Kim G. look like she wanted to call someone else, anyone else, for a ride home after the benefit?

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