Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: 'The Public Shaming of Melissa'
Oy, with the cake again. We know that’s where we’re headed before we even get started based on last week’s preview. Seriously, Sig: Channel your inner Elsa and LET IT GO. It’s truly hard to imagine the Sigster watching these episodes now, looking back on the inanity of the plotline she decided to stick with all season and not feeling colossally silly. The world is literally evaporating into an apocalyptic dust and Siggy has decided to hitch her morality wagon to the issue of eggs and butter aloft in the atmosphere. (Then again, this is a woman who has 11 photos of herself in various states of insanity hanging in a nonsensical design in her foyer, so who knows.) On the upside, the preview also indicates that Danielle is about to do some epic Danielle-ing, so maybe this episode’s not a goner yet. Let’s get into it!
We start off at Teresa’s, where the family is having dinner and the kids are getting emotional over the loss of their nonna. Melania seems to be taking it the hardest — she’s the secret sensitive one, always acting out because of all the feelings (I got you, girl) — and in a pretty heartbreaking little flashback, she breaks down because she keeps seeing her grandmother standing by the stove, even though she’s dead, and getting scared by it. Teresa gives her a big hug and tells her it’s okay to feel whatever emotions she’s feeling and that grieving is hard. Just kidding, she tells her she should be happy to see her ghost grandma and doesn’t touch her.
Siggy, meanwhile, is tromping up Dolores’ walkway in disco platform boots despite the fact that it’s pouring, but it’s okay, because as soon as she’s inside, Dolores tucks her into the couch with a big comfy throw like she’s a baby. And she sort of is, because after telling devoted, loyal, token friend Dolores that she’s made peace with Pigtails, she also tells her that Pigtails badmouthed Dolores, calling her a “yes” person who just tells Siggy whatever she wants to hear. For good measure, she throws in that Melissa and Teresa — Dolores’ close friend for over 20 years — think the same thing.
The good news is that Siggy’s having a jewelry-and-handbags party, so Dolores can ask Teresa about it in person. Have you guys ever been to a jewelry party? They are the WORST. If I want to be in a house buying jewelry, I want it to be MY house, and I want to be in my underwear, with potato skins and nachos on the way, and so drunk on wine that when the necklace arrives in a week I don’t even remember ordering it and it’s like a surprise present to myself. What I don’t want is some salesgal giving me the hard sell on why a hideous $40 Lucite choker paid in four easy installments is going to change my life while I eat wilted crudité and pretend to like the people I’m with even though I secretly hate them. (What were we talking about again?)
Margaret and her husband, Joe, head over to Casa Gorga for dinner and dish, and Joe actually seems like a nice dude. (P.S., reality-show idea: Joes Gorga, Giudice, and Benigno get their own Bravo spin-off called Joe Woe, and they just get together and share their innermost fears and feelings. Can also be called Joe Six-Pack, where they basically do the same thing just with beer. Or their shirts off. Or both.) Melissa wants Margaret and Joe to tell other Joe the story of how they met, because it’s juicy. Turns out that Joe B. was Margaret’s contractor, and Pigtails came down in pigtails and no bra, and that, my friends, is how the greatest love story ever told came to be. Then Pigtails tells a similar story to the one Siggy recounted to Dolores, about how she and Siggy made up, and now Melissa’s angry that she hasn’t gotten an apology, since it was her birthday trip that was ruined. So if you’re keeping track: Siggy and Margaret, formerly frenemies, are copacetic. Dolores and Melissa are seething. Hands up if you predict Lucite necklaces flying in the near future.
Meanwhile, let’s take a moment to worship at the altar of righteous old broad Marge Sr., Margaret’s sassy mother, who’s been sexting an old boyfriend and wears sassy, furry Loeffler Randall sandals and is looking for someone who is great in the sack, because she is “not afraid of things.” Marge Sr., please let me age into you eventually. Producers, please replace any future scenes of #caketalk with Marge Sr. talking about literally anything.
Teresa, Melissa, and Danielle meet for lunch, and Danielle tells us in her confessional that though she never wants to be the person to start drama — which is true only on opposite day — if Dolores doesn’t come clean to Teresa about the compromising things she said about her, she’ll have to tell Teresa herself. (I can’t remember what the compromising thing is, probably because I was busy drunk-buying necklaces, but it barely matters because this show is never quite so great as when Danielle Staub is up to no good.) Then Melissa starts giving Teresa parenting advice — she thinks the kids know how to work their mom to get whatever they want — and if there’s one thing we know about Teresa, it’s that she does not like being told that there’s a better way to do things than the way she’s doing them. We’ve always known it was just a matter of time before the Great Melissa-Teresa Thaw chilled again, and this — combined with Joe Gorga’s buying a restaurant without telling his wife (but telling his sister) — is the first frost.
Over at the restaurant that JOE GORGA BOUGHT WITHOUT TELLING HIS WIFE, Teresa is nothing but sass to Melissa, who is 45 minutes late to their meeting because she was busy working at her store. Melissa, to her credit, stays relatively calm as Teresa needles her and Joe sides with his sister. (Joe, word of advice: When you secretly buy a restaurant without telling your wife, be really, really nice to her. Trust me on this one: I’ve got roughly one and a half healthy long-term relationships under my belt. I know what I’m talking about.)
Siggy meets Dolores at her new boyfriend’s house, and when they stumble up to the kids’ room, Siggy wastes no time in telling Dolores, “Don’t talk to me about kids right now,” so she can share a story about how she feels disconnected from her son. I remember reading an article years ago about this perpetually single woman who finally met a great guy and vowed never to turn into one of those women who found any way possible to work their boyfriends into the conversation, e.g. “Oh, we’re having peas with dinner? Bob doesn’t like peas.” Well Siggy is Bob-doesn’t-like-peas-ing all over the place this season and it is incredibly irritating. Siggy: Dolores is a person with feelings and problems of her own. You may even remember that her son is also just about to leave for school — if he can get in anywhere, which is in itself very stressful. So maybe stop purging your feelings all over everybody for one godforsaken second and be a little bit more empathic. Be the Siggy on the wall in your foyer that says, “I hear you. I’m there for you. You’re not alone.” Be that Siggy. (I think it’s the one in the fedora playing guitar.) (Recap continues on page 2)
Hey, it’s jewelry-party night!!! Before things get started, let’s review where everybody stands: Siggy is mad at Melissa. Melissa is mad at Siggy. Teresa is mad at Dolores. Dolores is…mad at Teresa? And maybe also Melissa? Somehow no one is mad at Danielle Staub, but that’s going to change real quick, because in the car ride over to the party, she makes good on her promise to get more camera time tell Teresa what Dolores said, because she’s a good friend. The big confession? Dolores apparently told Danielle that the only thing Teresa cares about is money. There is unequivocally no way this happened. Dolores would never say something like that, but moreover, she’s too smart to trust Danielle. We’ll no doubt hash it out at the party, which I’m getting less and less excited for. At this point, if Kim D. isn’t there so we can get some actual non-cake-related drama, I’m going to throw my own cake. (Okay, I probably won’t. But I might buy one and sit in the dark binge-eating it while crying. Listen, you do your thing, I’ll do mine.)
When Melissa arrives at the handbag party, Siggy greets her by saying, “I haven’t seen my baby since Boca!” Listen, there’s gracious hosting, and then there’s psychosis. Siggy is furious with Melissa. Was it nice of her to invite her to the party anyway? Yes. Is it really freakin’ weird that she practically did a cartwheel when she entered the room? Yes. Siggy has always struck me as someone comfortable with her rage, but she’s clearly conflicted about it. Let it out, girl. The more you can stop pretending you love everybody when people are looking, the less you’ll erupt when people aren’t. Or…when people are, because I have a feeling you’re going to explode in the presence of all these very important handbags in 3…2….
…Annnnd…we’re there: After approximately two minutes of small talk, things revert to #caketalk, and Sigster has officially transformed into “pulling my hair out” foyer Siggy: She loudly asks the entire party (a) to shut up and (b) whether throwing a cake across a restaurant is rude. Show of hands? Most of the party! Siggy, feeling vindicated, collapses to the ground to do what I think is an indoor victory snow angel? You win, Siggy! You go ahead and lie on the ground, humiliating Melissa, like winners do! Yeah! Also, WHERE IS KIM D.? I thought she and Siggy were such great friends? Didn’t Siggy get offended in Boca when Melissa called her a cock-a-roach? Do you not invite your cock-a-roach friends to your super-special handbag parties? Ugh.
Once Teresa and Danielle arrive, it doesn’t take long for everyone to start fighting, and Dolores is the fiercest we’ve ever seen her, going after Danielle with a fury that would make table-flipping-era Teresa proud. And she posits an interesting theory: Danielle endured some rough times after she and Teresa had their falling out (presumably because she got kicked off the show?), and now maybe she’s back for revenge. It’s far-fetched, but I honestly hope it’s true, if only so we can stop talking about cake.
Next week promises more yelling, more crying, and hopefully 100 percent more Kim D. (At this point I’d even settle for Kim G.) I’m not sure why the producers have hung their hat on Siggy’s story line this season, but it’s not working. Histrionics about cake aren’t engaging, they’re annoying. This show has everything it needs to be compelling — family drama, prison, enemies turned frenemies, former criminals — it should be a piece of cake.