Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: 'Let Them Eat Cake'
Before we get to this week’s episode, can we take a moment to talk about how good it is to see Danielle Staub? And I won’t lie — I’m not upset that Kim D. is back in the mix either, if only by name. Women like these make the Real Housewives franchise tick. Do you remember RHONY’s Alex McCord? How about RHOC’s Lynne Curtin? No you do not. Do you know why? Because they were boring and normal. (“Normal,” I mean. Normal by reality TV standards is what I’m saying.)
You know who’s not boring? Women with criminal pasts who once went on Andy Cohen’s show to sing a song called “Real Close” with their girlfriend (Staub). Women who changed their name and worked as a stripper and had like 19 fiancés (Staub again). Okay, so it’s mostly Staub I’m excited about, but Kim D. is such an unapologetically transparent troublemaker that I’m hoping she makes an appearance soon — especially since she’s poor beleaguered Siggy’s friend. These are women who genuinely scare me — and boy are they fun to watch. Certainly more fun than watching RHOBH’s Joyce Giraud. Remember her? (I didn’t think so.)
Alas, instead of getting to the real Staubiness of it all, we’re back in Boca, dealing with Cakegate (yawn). Siggy is destroyed because Melissa and Teresa had a food fight with the cake Siggy had made specially for Melissa’s birthday. Siggy deals with her feelings by calling her husband and repeatedly folding and refolding a black-mesh bathing suit. Melissa deals with her feelings by calling her husband and labeling Siggy a fancypants. And the one with the pigtails (I can’t remember her name and I honestly don’t think she’s going to be around very long so why bother) is already over everyone. (Margaret! It’s Margaret!) Siggy is crying, but her husband encourages her to share her feelings with her friends, and I agree: In a year as divisive as this one, it’s time we are no longer silent on the topic of disrespect toward cakes.
But for real, Siggy does seem pretty emotional these days. I wonder if something else is going on. Margaret and Danielle wonder no such thing — in fact, they think it’s funny that she cries so much, and Danielle thinks Siggy owes them an apology for her behavior, not the other way around. Did I mention that the gals are on the way to do yoga on the beach? Teresa leads the group and she’s actually kind of good, telling everyone to go at their own pace through the series, which is the sign of an empathic teacher. Danielle’s pace, BTW, is “Let me show you how bendy I am/I should be leading this class not Teresa so I’m going to steal the spotlight by contorting myself like I’m one of the Flying Wallendas.” (Siggy and Dolores go get juice by themselves instead, which is boring, but the lines are drawn.)
Margaret has ordered a wreath to commemorate Teresa’s mom on the beach and I’m torn about whether this is a genuinely kind thing to do or an attention grab. You know what, it can be both. I think the emotions the women show on the beach are real — it’s just…the teensiest bit icky. But Teresa appreciates it, and the ceremony of paddling out on a board and pushing a wreath of white flowers out to sea is actually really lovely.
Back in Jersey, it’s family dinner night at Teresa’s, and on the way in, Joe says to his three kids, “Come on, ladies,” which is hilarious because two of them are boys. Get it? It’s funny to think of boys being girls! (I could have skipped this part but felt it important to point out. I like Joe, but this Neanderthal stuff is not cool. You’re better than that, Joe Gorga. Cut it out.)
In Boca, the tension is thick. Siggy and Dolores are one side, everyone else on the other. Siggy schools the gang on proper decorum for their field trip to her fancy friend’s house (guess how well that goes) and as they sit down at the fancy table for their fancy lunch, she explains to her pal Lori (who seems a little pretentious but very nice) that Teresa’s mother has recently died — which is putting this whole cake thing into perspective for me. Shouldn’t Siggy cut Teresa just the slightest bit of slack right now? Throwing a cake at her sister-in-law made her feel good. Can you not just let her have this? Allow us to move on from Cakegate and get into some Staub-level drama already!
Oh wait, my wish is granted, because Cakegate morphs into Wreathgate: Siggy and Dolores are not pleased that Pigtails, whom Siggy brought into the group, had the audacity to not only plan a memorial for Teresa’s mom but not invite them. You’ll remember that in episode 1, Siggy and Margaret met at a party, meaning Siggy has known Margaret for precisely one hour longer than the rest of the group, making them — by Housewives standards — old friends. And old friends do not exclude each other from beachside memorials.
Siggy, Dolores, and Pigtails get a tennis lesson; Teresa gets a swim lesson; Melissa and Danielle make incessant dumb jokes about the swim teacher’s pecs and package. Side note: How does one grow up in New Jersey, near all the beaches, and not learn how to swim? Second side note: One does not bring Danielle Staub back from the reality dead to make dick jokes. One brings Danielle Staub back to shake things up, so can we please get to shaking pronto?!?
Siggy can no longer keep her hurt inside and confides to Lori about the horror of the thrown cake, a.k.a. the worst thing that’s happened in 2017. Lori — perhaps uncomfortable because she’s never been on TV or perhaps a little too eager to get cast in a Housewives of Boca spinoff — does this weird thing. Siggy says, “Last night, we go out to dinner, and all of a sudden the cake is presented.” Lori says, “Gorgeous,” as if she can see it, though she cannot. Siggy continues, “Teresa picks up the cake and throws it across the floor.” Lori gasps, horrified — horrified! — before Siggy even gets to the word “throws.” So Lori is either psychic (Real Psychics of Boca!) or has already heard this story and is a terrible actor (Real Terrible Actors of Boca!), but either way, get this woman her own show. (Though…did anyone else think it was weird that Lori invited the gals over to play tennis and swim and did neither? I’m having trouble coming up with a personal analogy with which to figure out if this is normal behavior, as I live in a New York City apartment and not a sprawling Boca estate, but I *think* that’d be like inviting a friend over to watch Black Mirror and then crouching behind the nightstand and refusing to watch with her.) (Recap continues on page 2)
Pigtails and Dolores talk about what’s going on with everybody — Pigtails feels that Siggy is being dismissive of everyone and was wrong to call them “animals” and proclaim that she has a “higher IQ.” Dolores, ever the loyal friend, defends Sig, saying she doesn’t know her own IQ, so maybe Siggy is right. (Oh honey, no.) I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I have to side with Margaret here: While I don’t like that she’s being insensitive about Siggy’s crying (crying is human and emotional and while yes, she does seem to be doing it a lot, it’s not really something I’d pick on), it is incredibly rude to basically tell your friends you think they’re dumb. I cannot wait for this to inevitably blow up later at a booze-filled dinner at a restaurant where diners and waitstaff will pretend to be horrified (but will secretly be delighted). “Who brought you is who you stay with,” Dolores reminds Margaret, and she’s right: Siggy met her at a party once, so Margaret must never cross Siggy.
Turns out dinner is not at a restaurant but at Siggy’s home, and everything starts out pleasant enough. The entryway of the home is filled with 11 portraits of the Sigster in what appear to be different moods (and hung in such a logic-defying pattern that I legitimately feel like I might have an anxiety attack). There’s “I’m so fed up I’m tearing my hair out, but in a fun way” Siggy. There’s “hands-on-hips Power Siggy.” There’s “Hey, I’ve got a fedora and a guitar for some reason!” Siggy. All the Siggies are here.
But the most important Siggy — the Siggy we should all be paying the most attention to — is the one not hung on the wall at all. That would be IRL Siggy, who is pretending that everything is okay and kiss-kissing the girls as they enter her abode — and that means girlfriend is pushing down some major rage that is inevitably going to come out in a torrent over little cups of tomatoes and (I think?) raisins served by someone who is credited as SexZ Chef. (That’s pronounced “Sexy,” in case that wasn’t clear.)
Things heat up almost immediately — and not just because of SexxxZee Chef — as Teresa and Siggy head to the couch and trade thinly veiled barbs about the previous night. (Not for nothing, but for someone who is obsessed with manners, Siggy says neither “please” nor “thank you” to the gentleman who serves her wine.) After a few minutes of awkward silence interrupted by awkward small talk (and Siggy complimenting SeXyChEf’s jumbo lump crab cakes), Sig lets loose: She’s still angry about the cake, and Lori, her true best friend, validated her feelings. (This makes me feel bad for Dolores, who has been validating Siggy’s feelings for days on days on days.)
Siggy tells the gang that the cake was $1,000 and delivered to Melissa on a silver platter, so she should have been more gracious. (I’m not an expert on $1,000 cakes, but I feel like it’s a bad look to, while schooling people on etiquette, tell them how much you spent on them.)
Margaret and Siggy end up arguing over when it’s actually acceptable to cry — over spilled cake or not over spilled cake — and Siggy finally (finally!) gets to the heart of what’s bothering her: She was hurt, and that should have been enough to make her friends apologize. She accuses Margaret of having no compassion (seems accurate), and Margaret insinuates that Siggy overreacts to things (okay, also accurate). Gosh, if two women who met in a store two days ago can’t make their friendship work, I’m not sure who can.
Round and round we go, until Siggy does the unthinkable: She calls the women trash — and everyone storms off. “The crab cakes were salty!” Teresa callously lobs at Siggy before bouncing (poor sexE chef) and that’s a wrap on dinner.
Next week looks like it’ll focus on Siggy and Piggy (who should have their own show based on the title possibilities alone), which is all well and good, but I’m waiting for the moment when Danielle grabs the spotlight and won’t let go. That’s when things will really get good. Until then, let them throw cake.