As someone who has written about the exploits and shenanigans of Real Housewives for many moons, Real Housewives Of New Jersey is the only show which leaves me emotionally exhausted.
On one level, it’s a nod to their ability to remain raw in front of the cameras, years after years of doom and gloom fighting. However, on the other side, their lack of self-awareness means season after season after season someone – Teresa Giudice, usually – is gonna be accused of a maelstrom of denial that the other ladies have no idea they are also wallowing in. So sometimes you need 5 Xanax – maybe 10! – to get through it.
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Teresa and Jacqueline Laurita bickering about past recriminations was basically watching two different women in two different realities, both trying to find the very moment where it all went from good to bad. Dreadfully dating myself, here, but remember rewinding and fast-forwarding a videotape on the VCR? Remember perching in front of the VCR until your foot fell asleep; going forward, then back, then forward a little, then back a little more, always justmissing the crucial moment only to realize you had Honey, I Shrunk The Kids in the machine, instead of Spaceballs. Jacqueline and Teresa are like a time before Netflix, or even DVDs. It’s your mom programming the VCR – ineffectively – to record only 3/4 of Spaceballs, during a time when Rick Moranis was a household name.
So here lies the reunion. My favorite part was Dolores Catania repeatedly stepping up to do Andy Cohen‘s job for him by effectively moderating, slicing through the BS with an acrylic nail, and shutting down the craziness. Shockingly for the first time in RHONJ reunion history, the women listened!
My least-favorite thing was Siggy Flicker‘s blind adherence to to playing the role of Jacqueline’s PR rep. Jacqueline’s Soldier has a first name it’s S-I-G-G-Y… (imagined in the tune of the Oscar Meyer Baloney song, because that’s what Siggy’s blind defense of Jacqueline’s crap was: Baloney!) Jacqueline needs professional help, not Dr. Phil‘s Fortune Cookies.
We begin with Teresa clarifying her accusation about Jacqueline calling the FEDs on her. Basically Teresa meant Jacqueline was tawkin’ to someone involved in the case, which led to incriminating information. I’m not even going to delve into Teresa’s roundabout way of both taking blame and not accepting responsibilities for her crimes – her lawsuit against her bankruptcy attorney is still ongoing, but even if it wasn’t, Teresa just isn’t emotionally there.
Chris Laurita appears on stage to defend Jacqueline, and explain their involvement in the Giudice’s case. Someone that Juicy had bad business dealings with threatened to go to the FEDs, and Chris happened to know the guy, too. He tried to negotiate some sort of peace summit where they could meet face-to-face and talk it out, but Juicy blew it off. Is it like Jacqueline and Chris’s sole goal in life to save the Juicys?
The Lauritas really like to meddle, don’t they? That seems like something Caroline would pull! It also kind of gives credence to the idea that Jacqueline was involved – or at least knows someone who was involved with the FEDs building their case against Juicy and Teresa. I think therein lies Jacqueline’s biggest issue with friendships – she is always meddling, always knows somebody, always “fact checking” and therefore imagines everyone else is doing the same to her, which makes her mistrustful.
Also apparently while Teresa was locked up Jacqueline was calling Melissa Gorga on the regular to try and get dirt, and even spreading rumors that Teresa was gonna get more time, or not be released on schedule. Jacqueline claims it was Melissa, and after Teresa was released, saw papers saying Jacqueline was knee-deep in something?
What I really don’t get is all the animosity Jacqueline has towards Melissa.
Melissa believes Jacqueline started hearing voices that told her ‘MELISSA AND TERESA WILL TURN ON YOU…’ Jacqueline denies being paranoid but her actions are contrary to this. Ultimately Melissa decides to press the ‘mute’ button on Jacqueline’s lies and dismisses her as a “shitty girlfriend.”
She also points to Siggy and Dolores to warn them not to trust Jacqueline who will spill all your secrets and turn on you faster than a pancake burns. “Don’t look at me with your crazy eyes,” Melissa barks at Jacqueline – as if the crazy eyes can do VooDoo Magic to transform Melissa’s nose back into its former self. A slight fear arose in Siggy’s eyes… Did Teresa accuse Jacqueline of hiring clowns to stalk her house?
Eventually Dolores, who doesn’t fear the wrath of any Housewife, shushes them.
Later Chris is back to fight Jacqueline’s battles. This time he blames Melissa and Joe for turning them against Teresa and Joe. See, Jacqueline was just trying to give the Gorgas a chance, despite what Teresa told them, and she wanted Teresa and Melissa to mend fences. Chris warned Jacqueline she would get burned, but that didn’t stop him from falling in line and also buddying up to the Gorgas and listening in to all the times Jacqueline and Melissa chatted on the phone. Of course then the Gorgas turned them against the Lauritas – on purpose!
Doesn’t Chris have a job? A brain? His own ideas? How is he around all the time to be investing in Jacqueline’s gossipy phone calls? Doesn’t Jacqueline have children? How does she have time to be on the phone all day talking about Teresa and Melissa? Chris and Jacqueline need to start leaving the house and venturing into the real world, away from RHONJ and its vortex, and stop fixating on the Gorgadices. It’s creepy.
All Jacqueline’s poor, leaky, fragile heart wanted was to be loved and cherished as Teresa’s one truest, most important and special friend, instead she was set-up in Vermont and had to prove Melissa was a liar by lying about how many nose jobs she had. Melissa is right – when she became of no use to Jacqueline, she dropped her, turned on her, and spreading rumors about divorce and lies. I think the feeling was mutual, obviously.
Here’s the thing – Teresa doesn’t care about Jacqueline or Jacqueline’s feelings, plain and simple. Like Dolores said, for Teresa that friendship died on the deck. Teresa had bigger fish to fry, and there was never the time to make things right. If Jacqueline were even half an adult she’d realize that with everything going on in Teresa’s life: legal and money issues, family dramas, 4 kids, prison, Joe’s drinking – Jacqueline couldn’t be a priority, but Jacqueline is insecure, needy, and stuck in the days of yore when she and Teresa had nothing better to do than drink wine and gossip while their then-babies crawled around the carpet in the afternoons. For Teresa life went on – and went on shittily – but for Jacqueline it didn’t. I mean it did, but Jacqueline remained firmly rooted in a vision of the past that could not exist in the greatly altered future.
Jacqueline keeps pushing and meddling, trying to make Teresa notice her and remember that former love, but Teresa just has increasingly less emotional reserves to handle Jacqueline. Poison actually explained it best about why he’s impassive about the drama with the Lauritas – his family problems destroyed him, everything else is pettiness.
Melissa and Teresa were tired of fighting and, even if it’s sometimes fake – they’re ready to move on. Sure, Teresa’s fall from grace was the trump card Melissa had been salivating for, but when it finally happened, Melissa was astute enough to recognize you can lose for winning – to the victor doesn’t always go the spoils, but to the gracious winner does. Jacqueline became the common enemy not out of some orchestrated plot, but because she won’t let go of the past.
Jacqueline keeps going back there, hoping and hoping, that if she causes enough drama someone will finally acknowledge how integral is and was to Teresa.
Now Teresa doesn’t care to make it right with Jacqueline, she’s past the grieving and onto the anger stage. Sure, she reached out post-prison, but that was all for show. Like RHONJ show, or maybe just to move on. When it became clear that Jacqueline was still gonna be a liability and a problem, Teresa shut her out. Teresa says she wants peace, but what Teresa really wants is to avoid. When she addresses the possibility of Joe’s deportation, Teresa explains that she can’t even give that have air.
It’s the same with Kathy and Rosie. They weren’t there for Teresa in prison, and are more trouble than they’re worth. Jacqueline can’t help but butting in there either. Why is she so involved!? Why can’t she stop literally cutting off her nose to spite her face? Chris caters to her nonsense, making it all the worse.
I’m not saying Teresa is innocent, or Jacqueline is solely to blame, but what I am saying is these two came to an impasse a long, long time ago when they stopped being the type of friends either one of them needed the other to be. Teresa was going through shit, but so was Jacqueline – family issues, and Nicholas, and her own legal messes. Except Teresa and Jacqueline each cloak their denial in different animals.
The days of Giudices and Lauritas is long gone; when Jacqueline actually was a lamb, long before she found her wolf’s costume and then got rabies from Danielle. And Teresa’s malapropisms actually were cutely endearing. As Dolores says as soon as people start bringing up the past they’re apologizing for, the future is dead.
Eventually all the arguing is interrupted by a sniffling. Everyone knows the sound – it’s Siggy crying. She begs the ladies to do a group hug.
Let’s hope this is the end. I doubt it, because like the group hug which ended in a circle, the drama will build on centrifugal force and continue regenerating again and again. There is no such thing as closure on Real Housewives Of New Jersey, that’s for damn sure!
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE ON NEXT SEASON’S RHONJ? WILL JACQUELINE AND TERESA FINALLY BURY THE PAST?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]