I've been a fan of the 'Real Housewives' series for quite some time...there is nothing better than finding yourself on a lazy Sunday afternoon with not much on your schedule, only to happily discover an entire marathon of 'Real Housewives' episodes on Bravo. The same channel that brings me my beloved 'Top Chef,' Bravo certainly deserves some applause. First, the Orange County version came out, then the show traveled to New York, Atlanta, and finally, New Jersey. There is loose talk of possibly a Las Vegas version of the show, but we could only be so lucky.
Anyways, onto the New Jersey version. Only six meager episodes long, we meet Teresa, Dina, Caroline, Jacqueline, and Danielle. Three of these women are related - Dina and Caroline are sisters (who married brothers), and Jacqueline married Dina and Caroline's brother, making her their sister-in-law. Teresa has three adorable little girls and a tag line that I've already adopted: "Happy wife, happy life!'" she chirps in the first episode. She and her husband have a propensity to pay cash for everything, and watching them peel off hundred dollar bill after hundred bill is both mesmerizing and slightly disturbing (where did they get all of those bills?!). She spends $123,800 in furniture in one shopping trip...and paid cash for it. Wouldn't that be heavy?
Every show needs a good villian, and Danielle fits the bill. A single mom with a pending divorce settlement and the need to find a new fabulously wealthy partner, she exhibits poor parenting skills and terrible decision making (gucci model? really? Really?). She and Jacqueline are friends, but for reasons unexplained on the show, Danielle and Dina don't see eye to eye. They even go to the same hair salon, which offers several awkward run-ins. Danielle has that creepy, needy friend quality that makes most normal people run for the hills. She doesn't seem to care that her friendship with Jacqueline (and dislike of Dina) puts Jacqueline squarely in the middle, a position Jacqueline laments during each episode. Jacqueline is a former Vegas resident, so she was an instant favorite.
Caroline has this tough, Jersery-like quality to her (or what I imagine to be 'Jersey-like,' since I've never been there). She has three almost-grown children and dotes on her family like a protective lion. During the last episode, it also shows her training her German shepard to viciously attack intruders. Um...yeah. I would not mess with Caroline.
The strong Italian-Catholic undertone of the show was something I found fascinating; there was no hesitation to unleash emotion. The strong family connection resonated in the last episode, as Caroline took the blame for her sister while wagging her finger at Danielle, stating, "You need to understand my family," she drawled in her thick NJ accent. "We...[dramatic pause]...are as thick as thieves." You go, girl!
Speaking of the last episode...holy catfight! (quote from Bethanny, RH of NY). I hope it goes down as one of the greatest trainwrecks of reality TV, ever. Sweet little Teresa had organized a dinner party for the other four women and their families, to celebrate her onyx-and-marble 10-million square feet dream home. Danielle decides to use the occasion to confront the other women about talking behind her back. And not surprisingly, all hell breaks loose.
With children present, all five women start shouting accusations at each other. Daniella accuses Dina of spreading lies (via a book, 'Cop Without a Badge,' by Charles Kipp. Yup, I ordered it). Dina adamantly denies this allegation. Caroline jumps in and defends her sister, claiming she was the one who found the book. Jacqueline, out of no where, goes against family loyalty and calls Dina a 'big fat liar.' Danielle looks as smug as the cat that ate the canary as Jacqueline choses friendship over family. And then, out of nowhere, Teresa asks a question about the book and Danielle snaps at her, 'Pay attention!'
And Teresa completely loses it.
I tried to record what happened next, verbatim, and this is what I came up with:
Teresa: "You [BLEEP]! You freaking [BLEEPING] [BLEEP]! I (inaudible, sounds like growling noises)...[BLEEP] you!"
[Teresa bangs table with both fists]
-- Cut to Dina, talking to the camera, claiming she has known Teresa for 15 years and has never witnessed an ounce of this kind of behavior. --
--Cut back to Teresa, at the dinner party. She now stands, still yelling. --
"[BLEEP]! You [BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP]'
And then...she DUMPS THE TABLE.
Holy cow! I didn't even know you could DO that! Throw/dump a table??? In my wildest revenge fantasies, I've only gotten to the point of throwing a drink in someone's face, or possibly stepping on their foot. But the whole table? With all of the stem ware and plates and food? What about the glass shards? Someone could cut their foot.
I even made my husband watch this scene after he got home from work. Watching his jaw drop as Teresa overturns the table was totally worth it. Who does that? I mean, seriously?
And the reason for Teresa's completely apesh*t departure from reality? She felt as though Danielle was calling her stupid. And clearly, no one calls her stupid. (note to self: don't break into Caroline's house, and do not call Teresa stupid).
After the melee finally quiets down, Dina offers quite possibly the best line I've heard in a long time. She confronts Danielle and tells her that she is not mad at her, but instead, "I will pray for you, as you clearly are kind of koo-koo." How great is that? 'I will PRAY for you.' Ouch. I'm totally going to use that in the future.
It looks as though Bravo will grace us with one more episode, airing on June 18th. Aptly named 'The Last Supper,' (love those Catholic undertones!), it is the director's cut of the last episode. You better believe I'm going to tune in.
Good, mindless fun.
Think of this as the epilogue to Bridget Jones' story. Well, mostly. Bridget marries the handsome lawyer, starts a blog while on bedrest, and decides marathon running sounds like fun. Hilarity ensues.