By Karen Valby
May 11, 2010 at 04:09 PM EDT

Image Credit: BravoI spent much of last night’s episode wanting to reach through the TV and either jostle young Christine, Danielle’s older daughter who may well be the next Christie Brinkley, out of her stupor or pull her close and tell her Mommy’s gone now, everything is going to be fine. It was a strange hour of television, less silly and confrontational than the season premiere and yet there was Gilles Bensimon kissing Danielle’s hand and some hotshot from IMG Models telling Christine she was going to be a star. What show am I watching? Back in Jersey, a food fight broke out in the Manzo kitchen, with the three grown kids flinging wet cold cuts at each other, the camera zooming in dramatically when a piece of meat clung to a shelf. It should be noted that the ham game got a full-length scene while a scene of the inner Housewives circle laughing around the kitchen table over Teresa’s — oh God, let’s not ever speak of this again — “puffy chucky” and Joe’s enormous sex drive was relegated to one of those sad little vignettes shoved between commercials. Bravo is interested in one storyline and one storyline alone: ‘Tis the season of crazy.

We learned some more about Danielle last night. Teresa got a look at the old court documents and claims that Danielle’s crimes included holding a kid for ransom, while stashing 10 kilos of cocaine and some loaded guns. (Poor Jacqueline tried her best to give a wishy-washy defense. “No question she screwed up!” she told a bug-eyed Caroline and Teresa. I do like Jacqueline very much but I picture her always dotting her i’s with little hearts.) More importantly, Danielle has a scary Crabtree & Evelyn bathroom, with stained glass windows over her tub and lots of glass perfume bottles and a bidet. And she will not accept that there is a more lovely bathroom in all of Housewives history. When a very sensible realtor casually opened the woman’s bathroom closet door Danielle slammed it shut. Danielle can’t afford to keep her house and now she’s being forced to sell it for a loss. Said house is coming apart at the seams but Danielle doesn’t have the time to fix the crumbling rafters or nail-riddled walls. Somehow she managed to brag even as she was crying over hard times. That’s 21 rooms… that she can’t clean! It’s the most beautiful kitchen in the world… that she has to give up! (Cut to Dina, who offered a sincere shout-out to Danielle’s kids and a plea that Danielle gets the help that she needs. Bravo spun it as if Dina was wishing her luck on the sale of the house but I think she was talking more in pharmacological terms.)

The big news of the episode was that Christine is going to be a star. The serious girl, who really is quite lovely and does indeed have that bored, strangely penetrating pout of a model, didn’t change expressions when Danielle revealed the news. “Yeah,” she said, slouched low on a chaise lounge. “I’ll be there for every shoot!” promised/threatened Danielle. Yeah. “When you make it big you got to remember me!” Yeah. “Promise!” Yeah. Yeah, there’s not a lot of joy jumping out of this girl’s pretty face. Especially when compared with hip-jacking, splits-practicing little Gia who burst into an ear-shattering squeal when Teresa told her she had made the cut to walk at Fashion Week. Not that Danielle is impressed with the eight-year-old’s prospects for fame. “She’s not a super model,” Danielle said with a sneer. “She’s four foot tall, I’m sorry.” Stupid short eight-year-olds.

At her first photo shoot Christine never changed expressions from the makeup chair to her last frame. “I like everyone staring at me and telling me I was pretty,” she allowed. I do think something like fury flickered once or twice in her stoic eyes when her mother hammed it up in the background or had the nerve to shimmy up to her for a quick mother/daughter shot. Christine ended up landing the cover with that photo shoot and Dina was kind to send Danielle a congratulatory “You should be a proud Mommy” text. But Danielle can’t let it rest. She will take her daughter’s moment and she will claim it as her own. She threw a big luncheon to celebrate the unveiling of her daughter’s first cover, which she pulled out of her bag like she pulled the infamous book at last season’s finale dinner. Christine either wasn’t invited to said luncheon or the girl wisely realized there was no need for her to attend. Instead there was that scary, two-faced Kim from the boutique and another Kim who was forced to address claims of allegiance to Caroline. Danielle dramatically left two seats empty at the table, claiming a certain betrayal by Jacqueline and Dina. Oh come off it, you crazy nut. But as Carolina insists, apropos of nothing really: “She will never win. She will never win against us. Never.”

In other news, Ashley wants her Mommy to do her laundry still but she will not tolerate questions about designated drivers. Dina suggests opening a can of whupass on her. When Caroline orders the arugula and pear salad, we all order the arugula and pear salad. Albie throws up a little in his mouth when he sees his buddy holding his sister’s hand. Teresa is nine months pregnant and I must say she looks great. And Joe reminded me that I really needed to buy a garlic chopper because I spend far too much time mincing.

What did you all think? Are you already bored with the Danielle show? More Dina, less faux drama? Does Christine make you a little sad? Yeah.