Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: 'Ain't No Misbehaving'
It’s a new year, Househeads (I’m trying that out, does it work?), and when we last saw the Jersey girls, Siggy and Pigtails had come to a détente — sort of. Siggy acknowledged that Margaret was probably not anti-Semitic, but was definitely anti-Siggy, which is a verbatim repetition of something Dolores said earlier. Will these two finally truly mend fences? Come to blows? Who cares! Melissa’s shipment from Milan just arrived!
Over at Envy, Melissa opens up a box and reveals a handbag that NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY EVER FIND IN THE UNITED STATES. Those 12 minutes she and Margaret spent in that showroom in Italy really paid off. “You went all the way to Milan for that?” Joe Gorga asks, not unreasonably. Though of course he’s not asking from a place of fashion, he’s asking from a place of noodles. That is, he wants to make sure Melissa has enough time to waitress in the restaurant he bought without telling her, and also plan an upcoming party there. Sure.
Speaking of parties, Margaret is planning one at her house. I need to pause here for a sec and address Margaret’s strapless comfy jumpsuit. Have you ever gotten a good haircut from someone with a really bad haircut? Like, you sit down in the chair and you’re a little bit nervous because you’re about to put your locks in the hands of someone with a streaky mullet and sideswept bangs? But then it turns out to be the best haircut of your life and you’re all, How could someone with such bad hair do such good hair? That’s how I feel when I look at Margaret. She has an allegedly successful clothing line, Macbeth Collection — from the looks of her website, it’s all bags and luggage and eyewear, and it’s not totally uncute — and yet she is hands-down the worst-dressed Housewife on the show (and the second-worst in all Housewives history, after Vicki Gunvalson and her penchant for too-tight synthetic materials in primary colors). Does this seem bitchy? I think it seems bitchy. But truly, her clothes are horrible. If they make her happy that’s all that matters. Which probably means I should delete this entire paragraph but I cannot because that jumpsuit is assaulting my eyes. Where were we? Margaret’s having a party. Cool.
Meanwhile, Teresa is having the cover of her new book shot by a guy in an Arby’s hat, and Siggy pops by for moral support. (Are these books how the Giudices can afford to keep their house? I’ve never quite understood that. All of my financial/business acumen comes from Working Girl, so I can’t pretend to comprehend any of it, but if Teresa and Joe have both gone to prison for shady financial dealings, shouldn’t their assets be frozen? Or foreclosed upon? I’m not wishing that on them, merely asking.) Anyway, cover shoot! Siggy asks whether Joe knows what’s in the book — that is, that Teresa is really, really mad at him for getting her into a financial mess and never really apologizing for it. She hasn’t told him yet — this seems cray, no? — and she seems a bit nervous about the prospect. Luckily, Teresa has a surefire way to calm her nerves: tree pose in a sequined, backless jumpsuit. (You guys, I have been doing yoga wrong.)
Dolores, Frank Sr., and Frank Jr. go on the cutest GD college tour ever, of Sacred Heart, and boy oh boy do these people love one another. I have nothing else to say here except that I adore them and also I think Dolores and Frank Sr. are getting back together and I’m into it.
Margaret and her ex-husband, Jan, have bagels and coffee, and Margaret asks whether his kids will ever talk to her again. Remember that Margaret cheated on Jan with her current husband, Joe, and her stepchildren, whom she raised, cut her off. “For a long time you were a great mother to my kids, you had a great relationship with them, but you chose a different life,” Jan says. “That’s the way it is.” This is a really tough one! Imagine that you really love someone who does something terrible to someone else you love. It’s easy to see why the kids stopped talking to her but also…nobody’s perfect! And Margaret says that she and Jan are better as friends, which I believe. (This is turning into a bit of a theme. Siggy and her ex seem to get along well, too, and Dolores says that her divorce saved her marriage, which is a little fortune cookie-esque but sort of makes sense and anyway she and Frank Sr. are getting back together because I said so.) (Recap continues on page 2)
Teresa’s on her way to Danielle’s for that much-delayed mea culpa she promised for her daughters. Remember that at Siggy’s totally professional and not at all silly retreat with Vikki With the Two K’s, Danielle stepped into the Ring of Idiocy Truth and shared that having Teresa call her a “prostitution whore” — a nonsensical grammatical combination on the level of “fake news” — in front of her kids nine years ago was really hard on her. Which like, OBVIOUSLY! Older child Christine won’t sit down with her, but Jillian will. (They are, BTW, 23 and 19. WHAT.) Jillian is a real cutie pie. Pretty and sweet and clearly very protective of her mom. Teresa, in her Teresa way, says, “Sorry about what happened years ago.” Not, “I’m sorry about what I did.” But then Jillian opens up about getting bullied because of what Teresa said to Danielle, and that seems to land. “If I could take it back, I would,” Teresa says with tears in her eyes. “I take full responsibility for what happened and I’m truly sorry.” Teresa doesn’t do apologies, so this is huge. She also whispers the word “jail” in the course of her apology, so I don’t even know what’s happening.
We finally see Siggy, and it’s with her very lovely dad, who teaches a class called The Holocaust and the History of Israel — which of course is a perfect segue for Siggy to tell her father about Margaret’s asinine Hitler reference. Siggy’s dad agrees that the analogy was out of line and has a suggestion for his daughter: Stay away from her. Right on. When Siggy tells him that she accused Margaret of being an anti-Semite, he says, “No. I wouldn’t want to accuse her of that,” and adds, “Look what’s happened to you. She has succeeded in turning you upside down.” This is a truly beautiful exchange, and seeing Siggy’s father’s response puts into perspective why Siggy can’t let it go: Her response to Margaret was on behalf of her parents; she could not abide by any possible downplaying of their experience. Her father, who actually lived through the Holocaust, has a more measured response. Stay away from Margaret, he tells his daughter, and it’s the best advice we’ve heard.
At the party at Gorga’s, Joe and Teresa gang up on Melissa in a way I find really annoying. Joe seems to have two settings — complete allegiance to his sister or complete allegiance to his wife. When he and Melissa were feuding with Teresa, he called her “scum” and got into a fistfight with her husband. Now that he’s annoyed at Melissa, he’s bad-mouthing her to Teresa and berating her. Dude. For one thing, why you gotta be so extreme? But more important, I’d side — publicly at least — with the woman I’m planning to take home at night (especially when she’s not the troublemaker in the group. The troublemaker is the one whose name rhymes with Flemesa). But then Joe later makes a toast and opens up about his mom, and all is forgiven, as it should be — it’s a good reminder that the Gorga kids are in mourning, and also that I cannot stay mad at Joe Gorga for long.
Something interesting happens at the party that I think could set the stage for a story line of Tamra Judge–Vicki Gunvalson proportions: Margaret has brought her sassypants mama Marge Sr. to the party, and Siggy refuses to meet her. In her confessional, Dolores admits that she thinks it’s a little rude. This is a big deal for these friends, who seem to operate best when they are agreeing with each other unquestioningly. Sure, Dolores pushes Siggy sometimes, but in very small ways. They have never disagreed about anything Margaret-related, and this is the kind of “betrayal” that I can see Siggy stewing about on Andy Cohen’s couch come reunion time. I think it’s just as likely that Dolores will finally snap and realize she’s been a bit under Siggy’s thumb this season and wonder what she’s actually getting out of that. (Of course there’s the possibility that none of this will happen and ever-loyal Dolores will zip it and just defend her friend, possibly during a blowout of epic proportions at Margaret’s birthday party.)
About Siggy’s dissing of Marge Sr.: She’s clearly heeding her father’s advice — stay away from Margaret — but she’s ignoring a key piece of it. He said Siggy should be cordial but not get too close. Siggy, as she is wont to, heard only the part she wanted to. And as Margaret points out, she just recently joyously accepted her party invitation. If you ask me, it’s high time for some more butt pellets.
This week was about lots of things, but most poignantly, it was about children’s love for their parents. Next week looks to be all about celebrating half a century of Pigtails, and it is going to go down at her party, which has a Studio 54 theme, did I mention? Margaret enters on a fake horse à la Bianca Jagger, who was atop a real horse, because she’s Bianca freakin’ Jagger. Until then, Househeads. (Still no?)