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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: The calm before the storm

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Danielle underwent her own “renewal” process on last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, echoing her sister from across the river, Ramona. But this “new” Danielle was not the result of extensive psychotherapy, a lengthy stay in an ashram, or even a new-found career, but rather from going under the knife for her fourth breast augmentation. In her defense, her implants have caused a staph infection and generally feel hard and cold every moment of every day. (Gross). After a taking a few photos of her chest (which Danielle seemed all too eager to pose for, please tell me you noticed the slight smile emerging on her face? Sure, her daughter may be booking photo shoots and runway shows now, but she was once a model too, dammit! Don’t you forget it!), the doctor commented that she had one of the biggest deformities ever, and that this would not be an easy procedure — but as Danielle says, nothing in her life is easy. Ugh save the sob stories for your therapist, lady. Thanks to the wonders of anesthesia, Danielle was unconscious for most of the episode, however there were three loopy ladies-in-waiting eager to take her place:

Elvira: Making her Housewives debut, this “phenomenal” party planner was hired by Teresa for her long overdue housewarming party. Appalled by the Giudice’s lack of live-in help (she herself has a nanny, cleaners, cooks, drivers…) and puzzled at how they manage to live without a pool, she went toe-to-toe with Teresa on everything from martini glasses to juiced-up bouncers. The lady also rolls with an entourage of fire eaters and break dancers. While she did deliver a party that met Teresa’s Swavorski crystal explosion dreams, I couldn’t get past her shameless audition for her own Bravo party planning spin-off.

Kim D.: The owner of Posche boutique was last seen dissing Danielle at the sheriff’s dinner hosted by Caroline and Albert, which seemed strange as she had previously been spending time with her and even attended the luncheon for her daughter Christine. Ever the businesswoman, she claimed to associate with Danielle merely to maintain a friendliness (or was it cleanliness?) because it was an opportunity for business (so she was using her?). But it doesn’t matter whose side she’s on, as long as there’s a party. Kim D. is all about having a good time, and she doesn’t need an excuse to enjoy a midday cocktail — mimosas upon entering her store? I think I know where I’m going this weekend. Her drunken interruption of Teresa’s party speech was the most cringe-worthy AND laughable moment all night. As Teresa so eloquently put it: “Kim D.’s totally wasted and I love every minute of it. My kind of girl.” Have we found our new Sonja?

Kim G.: Many have commented on Kim G. — something is off with her, she plays both sides, she shouldn’t wear booty shorts. Yes, she has been at Danielle’s side this season, but she also has a strong connections to the Manzo clan (her son is best friends with Chris; Jacqueline is her neighbor), which she has been using a lot lately to disbelief of Caroline. Last week she gave her best attempt at “burlesque” dancing and failed, but last night she played the left-out victim card and successfully scored an invite to Teresa’s housewarming party (ain’t Teresa a nice person?). Once she was there, she began fueling Danielle discussions before Mama Manzo SHUT IT DOWN. Like Kim D. (and Ramona), she likes her wine and has a hard time remembering the difference between “obsessed” and “upset.” I’m not quite sure what we’re going to get with Kim G. but I want to remind Jacqueline that befriending someone like this is treading dangerously close to repeating the Danielle saga. Stop being so nice, Jacqueline! Nobody else is!

The rest of the ladies mourned the loss of Dina at their on-camera lunch table. I know this was for dramatic effect, but come on, if they really are “as thick as thieves,” she was probably over at Caroline’s house later that day (talking about Danielle no less, women don’t change overnight!). Things were certainly calmer without another mind numbing conversation about Danielle and I also felt much more comfortable being in a Danny-free zone (although he was probably sitting creepily in the waiting room during Danielle’s procedure, with $20s and $50s eager for her to make a quick recovery).

There was a lot of focus on the children this week. Do we like that Caroline’s kids are getting more screen time this season? Caroline’s son Albie received disappointing grades during his first year of law school and was not being asked back. He’s struggled with a learning disability since junior high, working hard for everything he has achieved, but this recent adversity has left him feeling “worthless” which made the typically strong Caroline bust into tears. After she took a moment, her pep talk to her son was incredibly composed and articulate given that she had just received the news herself, and I can’t imagine how being a child of Caroline and Albert Manzo wouldn’t leave you as the most overly confident bitch on the block. Next week will provide more information about what Albie can do with regards to school, and while I agree that he shouldn’t be feeling bad for himself, I thought it was a little too soon for his parents and siblings to be joking with him about having no future. Maybe it’s tough love, (and maybe I’m overly sensitive) but I don’t think Albie was throwing himself a pity party, just trying to enjoy some sushi that he was repeatedly told, was not in celebration of him.

Ashley has come off as spoiled and unappreciative every time she graces our television sets. For someone who thinks she’s old enough to live on her own, she’s incredibly clueless and immature, saving up her laundry for trips to her mom’s house and resorting to mean Facebook hits against Danielle, a woman twice her age. She sat down with Jacqueline and Chris to discuss moving back home (although her bags were already packed) and managed to cry her way to a 1am curfew on weekdays and 2am on weekends. Not bad for an 18-year-old? Jacqueline finally acknowledged that Chris often has more pull with Ashley. While a lot of this is probably due to your typical mother-daughter rivalries and tension (we all have them), Chris is more of a disciplinarian. Jacqueline has sat back too many times and shed tears asking, “Why does she treat me this way?” Hmm…maybe BECAUSE YOU LET HER! It was frustrating to watch Ashley’s whining wear Chris down enough to push her curfew back an hour, but I think it’s a good thing that she moved back home. How will this affect her relationship with Derek?

So tell me, PopWatchers: Is there a new crazy beyotch of the Garden State? Do you love Kim D. as much as I do? After fishing for an invitation to Teresa’s party, is Kim G. just Danielle 2.0? Did Danielle’s daughter Christine seem more animated in 30 seconds than she has in two seasons? Can you wait for that epic “Somebody with a knife!” scene next week? Ugh, it’s only six days away, but that’s a-f—— nough for me!