Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: 'A Retreat to Remember'
We open tonight’s episode with Margaret and Joe — Margie and JoJo if you’re nasty — and they are wallpaper shopping. It’s hard to tell what Joe cares less about, wallpaper or Margaret’s dinner with Dolores, which she is forcing him to listen to. Actually, I take it back: He does care, because Margaret is no longer really talking about the dinner with Dolores but rather the topic that bonded the two women: their kids. Margaret’s in tears about being estranged from hers since she cheated on their dad, and it’s the second consecutive week we’ve seen this sort of uncharacteristic outpouring from her. She thinks winning over Dolores is the key to finally quashing things with Siggy, but I think it’s her discovery of her tear ducts that’s really going to endear her to the Sigster.
Dolores and Teresa are meeting at that place Rails that they all always go to (the one that looks like what New Jersey thinks an English study looks like), and I predict yelling. Dolores is angry about Teresa not taking up for her when Danielle spread rumors; Teresa is mad about…actually I can’t remember, but don’t worry: She’ll find something to latch on to and never let it go. (If I were Teresa, I’d be angry that nobody stopped me from wearing a lilac Sgt. Pepper’s blazer on TV, but that’s me.)
Teresa, table flipper extraordinaire, flips the power dynamic but quick: Turns out she’s mad that Dolores didn’t stand up for her in Florida in the face of Siggy’s ranting, and oh yeah, about that rumor Danielle’s peddling around town, re: Dolores saying all Teresa cares about is money. Then Dolores says Danielle may be on drugs. Sure, why not.
Teresa doesn’t believe that Danielle does drugs or is even on medication because “she does yoga.” Oh, Teresa. Dear, sweet Teresa, you are adorable. I have no idea whether Danielle Staub is on drugs or does drugs or takes medically prescribed drugs, but I do know that Teresa should teach classes at the Professional School of Conversational Gymnastics. Though, Dolores isn’t letting her off so easy: She calls out her friend for joining with Danielle and Margaret in making fun of her for letting her ex move back in the house. (Gotta take up for Pigtails here: Margaret actually defended Dolores.) And Teresa’s response — “Why in the hell would you want him to move back in your house?” — actually has the trappings of a good friend’s concern. As in, “That guy cheated on you, and you have a new boyfriend — kick Frank to the curb.” And had she said any of that to Dolores, I would actually respect it. But that’s not what she did. Instead, she lashed out about it publicly to get in Danielle’s good graces when she felt attacked, and that, dear readers, is not a nice thing to do.
But don’t cry for Dolores, because it looks like she got her masters at the Professional School of Conversational Gymnastics, and the student is about to become the teacher: “Twenty years ago I didn’t want to put up with stuff that you put up with in your relationship,” she tells Teresa, seeing her faux concern and raising her tacit allegations of cheating and nastiness. “You decided to stay with him; I gave you credit, you stuck it out.” Damn. Dolores goes to the head of the class.
The most confusing thing about the lunch is that the women come out of it friends (“friends”), with all their issues (apparently) smoothed over, and Teresa even admits that Joe has some work to do when he gets back. I don’t entirely understand why everything’s suddenly okay, but hey: We’ve got a train wreck of an empowerment retreat to get to, so who cares. (Recap continues on page 2)
Melissa and Margaret meet for lunch and I’m sorry but I legitimately went brain dead after Melissa tells Margaret a story about how when Antonia was born and Joe changed her diaper for the first time, he said, “I can’t believe she has one of those,” as if a vagina is Voldemort and WE MUST NOT SPEAK OF IT. I’m going to ask you to allow me to just move on swiftly from this lunch because I CANNOT.
Day one at the retreat is your usual assemblage of fruit, danish, plastic surgeons and makeup artists to help you not be so ugly so you can feel better about yourself, along with super-empowering aphorisms such as, “You have to program yourself to be positive,” and “What other people say about you is none of your business.” I’m going to give Siggy the benefit of the doubt and assume that Bravo intentionally edited out the really profound, meaty parts of her seminar, leaving us with only the wilted husk of an IRL self-help book (and not even one of the good ones, but like, the 50-percent-off-table self-help books).
At dinner, Danielle, desperate to get more screen time restore her good name, confronts Dolores about asking if she was on drugs, and Dolores does not waver: “Are you?” she asks while eating, because Danielle Staub has already gotten between Dolores and Teresa — she’s not going to also get between Dolores and a buffalo wing. Here’s the thing: Is it pretty harsh to accuse someone of being a drug addict? Sure. But is it also harsh to accuse someone of saying that their friend of 20 years is only interested in money? Uh…duh. And yet, all the women at the table defend Danielle, branding Dolores with the dreaded “below the belt” designation. That to me is odd. And Siggy — she who has been defended by Dolores more times than I can count — is suspiciously silent. Tsk, tsk, Sigalit.
Okay, we are finally there, my friends, standing in a circle in what looks like the rock quarry where Fred Flintstone works. Why are we here, exactly? I’d try to explain it, but I can’t do better than Vikki the divorce lawyer, who is running the retreat with Siggy: “We wanted to go through every lady here, and bring up exactly what you think is wrong with one person — and then we’re going to do a role play.” Okay, so, where to begin. Just yesterday, Siggy and Vikki were “empowering” women (I refuse not to use air quotes) and telling them, more or less, that the only person whose opinion matters is their own. Today, they’re inviting them to critique and criticize one another. On what planet is this a good idea? Or even a conscionable one? They’re going to ROLE PLAY? How could that possibly be productive? And most important, why in the hell does Vikki spell her name like that??? Girl, please.
Siggy and Margaret are first, and they are wearing matching leggings. Margaret snazzes hers up with a turtleneck sweater/bolero/dickey thing that serves no purpose in terms of warmth, and no purpose in terms of fashion. She then proceeds to do a really poor impression of Siggy crying over the cake and fawning over her son, but don’t worry, IT’S THERAPEUTIC. After that the show jarringly cuts to a midseason preview of the rest of the season, as if even the producers are like, “We know, we know — but wait, it’s going to get good.” And it looks like it’s going to: There’s Kim D! And people are breaking glasses! And Danielle’s daughter appears and she is so, so pretty! And everybody is dropping F-bombs!
Only time will tell whether the women were adequately inspired by Siggy’s retreat — just kidding, they weren’t — but I am looking forward to seeing Siggy’s response to Margaret’s impression of her. Fifty bucks says she pulls her hair into two pigtails immediately.