Jesus Spice ambles about her room as Bro Joe flips the kids around on the bed. Mel wanders off with a stack of Ed Hardy tees to put away and starts singing (spontaneously!) “Amazing Grace” as everything in Bro Joe’s world shifts off its axis. He shushes the children and literally tilts his head towards the breathless, slightly flat singing drifting from their closet.
He clutches the children to his pumped up chesticles. “Dere’s a friggin’ angel singing in dis house, you kiddin me widdiss?” He might start crying.
She continues, “…how sweet the sound, that saved a wench like meeeee!”
Guys, I’m an atheist and I know the lyrics to Amazing Grace. A wench. At least she didn’t say “wrench.” So yes, one of the oldest gospel spirituals was really all about a drunken beer maid that serviced pirates. Rainbow, the more you know.
Even though she’s a little pitchy, dawg, he tells her that she sounds like a friggin’ radio, I’m serious, Mel, a friggin’ radio. Cut to a montage of her as a little girl forcing the neighbors to pay attention to her as she sings Four Non Blonds and Color Me Badd. She waxes philosophic about her father loving her singing, and how he had supported the idea of her becoming a star, which never happened. Oh, the loss felt at car wash openings around the tri-state area!
Joe wants her to pursue her “dream” even though it’s only on her “part” time, it’s not her bread money, it’s just her passion. You know how you make those passions fit in between shuffling kids to dance and piano lessons and washing dirty socks. Passions, if nothing else, are on flex time. So take a breather, go for it, be a star. As a hobby. Guys, Joe just wants to be her father [figure] and for her to put her tiny hand in his. He will be her preacher, teacher, anything she had in mind.
Caroline, in the world of realistic adults, is off playing golf with Big Al, and miserable. C, I feel you. Everyone in my house plays golf but me. And for a good reason. She’s got some serious Empty Nest Syndrome happening, and Al is going a little stir crazy with her. Hey, when are those grandbabies gonna get here? Because Caroline is in big need of things to do. Well, she did start up a blog where she offers advice, and that seems to have taken off. (It’s really good, actually. I like her advice, it’s sensible and kind-hearted.) Maybe she could take it to the radio?
Jacqueline is finishing off a bottle of vino and reading dirty stories (lol, I just like to imagine her doing that, and not because it was what I was doing) when Chris and Wah-shley come in. Wah-shley is all a-twitter and shifty-eyed. Surprise, Chris took her car shopping! Oh my god, what on earth is he thinking?? Jacqueline feels the same.
Chris explains that he’ll make the first two payments as a birthday present, and then she’s on her own. If she misses payments, the car is gone. Because a car is something you should start off with to learn how to be financially responsible, am I right, parents? No, that’s not how it should be, maybe a pay as you go PHONE, but cripes, no one listens to me. Wah-shley promises, like, theriouthsly, to do right. And stuff. Text text text text. Huh? God, shut up, I’m trying to tell my friends things, whatevs.
Oh, did I mention that Jacqueline will be cosigning? Because Chris wants to punish her subliminally for saddling him with that hot mess, I suppose. Wah-shley tells the camera, “I do deserve it. I’m, like, not in and out of rehab like, you know, I’m a good kid.”
Yep, not going to rehab is now the new bar for knowing if your child is good enough. I can see the bumper stickers now: “My child is an honor graduate of St. Mary’s Rehab For Boozed Up Hoo-ahs.”
I would also like to take a minute to admit my shame at just now coming up with Wah-shely after three seasons. I know, talk about being off my game!
Teresa has all the girls piled in bed with her and Juicy. There’s a rare moment caught on camera with him being sweet and kissy with his babies, and it’s nice! He can be a sweet dad, who knew? Gia is leaping and jumping around to remind everyone that she’s taking gymnastics. Teresa listens to a voice mail from Bro Joe who drops a bunch of passive aggressive shit around the nugget of the message: he wants to come to one of Gia’s gym meets.
Gia hears this, and starts crying and smiling. God dammit, adults, stop letting kids get mixed up in your shit. Tre asks her daughter why she’s crying and Gia responds, “It was nice!” Poor kid. She’s got a road ahead of some big ol’ daddy issues but she’s still just a 10 year old girl who wants to be loved. Tre gets choked up seeing her daughter emotional, and Juicy gets pissy at all da wimmens cryin and stuff in dis house, facrissakes. Bunch of friggin’ cry babies, all a yous. Tre calls her brother to tell him about the next meet and gets voice mail. Of course. And it’s all full. Of course.
At Kathy’s house, the kids are going to renew their “I do hereby solemnly swear to not turn into Lindsey Lohan” contracts with Kathy and Rich. They’ve been honest with their kids for years about drinking and drugs, and also have taught their kids that “you don’t sign your name [to anything] unless you’re gonna live up to it.” Good job, parents!
The kids type up their own contracts, sign it, and bring them downstairs to read to mom and dad. That Victoria, she’s a good egg. You can tell she’s comfortable in her own skin and likes being a responsible kid. GOOD JOB, Kathy and Rich! And Joseph… Marone, emphatic hand gestures, this kid! He’s a mini-Rich, which is hilarious. Still a good kid, but you can tell he likes to push it. Not in a bad way, just in a successful smart-ass way.
“I’m gonna be honest witchu, Imma be straight out,” he starts. “You have to know that when I’m a senior I’m probably gonna have a drink or two on the weekend. I’m not Mr. Goody Two Shoe.” LOL. Kathy immediately breaks out in a cold sweat while Rich compliments him on his honesty.
Rich: “Eh, yeah, I did it, too. I appreciate ya being honest wit me.” (He’s Lebanese, but has the Italian/Jersey accent down pat.)
Joseph: “I know, that’s why I’m saying it.” Ha.
Kathy sits back, happy to just be the neck of the household. Rich continues, “Don’t forget it’s illegal, a’ight? Drink wit me, first.” Coolest dad ever? Also? Those are the kids that throw the cool parties, kids. That’s a dad that doesn’t lock the liquor cabinet and probably has a massive stack of porno mags in his bat-troom. Rainbow, the more you know.
Jesus Spice goes shopping with her sisters looking at faaaaabulous coats made out of innocent animals that were electrocuted on their anuses to keep their fur looking nice. Also, it’s just a fucking puffy coat with chinchilla ruffles along the neck and sleeves. Really?? Jesus Christ, that was a bunch of living things. Sorry, not a fan of fur when it’s not on the original owner.
Tre delivers a voice over: “She knows how to suck my brother off to get a fur, how else am I supposed to spell it out?” You could say she’s got him wrapped around her finger? Or does that imply anal play, and good Catholic Girls don’t do that? (Yes, they do. For a sable coat they do! Wink!)
Mel says that she never wanted friends, just the attention of her sisters. That’s healthy. She tells them (and the shop keepers) that Joe bought her a piano (please let it be a piece of shit like a Young Chang!) so she could start her flex-time dream of becoming X-tina. I mean, how great is that, he wants her to be a stah, even though he prefers her to be pregnant and cooking him gravy.
Kathy hooks her up with a songwriter from their church, and he’s gonna be a star, too. Oh, honey, this is so Lima, Ohio, and not in the fabulous Kurt Hummel/Rachel Berry way. It’s Quinn in her sad boots and horrid denim dresses wanting to be a real estate agent/run the local Merle Norman.
Tre walks in on Gia talking to her Uncle Joe on the phone. Oh, for Gia he answers. She wrestles the phone from her daughter and tells Joe about four times when the meet is. Gia is overcome with love for her uncle, aww. Tre lets Joe know he’s always welcome (and does it in a pissy, passive-aggressive way that seems to be the only way these two communicate now) but she does say that while she wants to have a real talk with him, the meet is not the place. Double true.
Wah-shley, Chris, and Jacqueline go pick up the new car, a tricked out Jeep Wrangler (good job on gas mileage, folks! Where are the chinchilla seat covers? Cheap ass bastard.) Chris takes one set of keys (because he’s going to need to repo it one day, mark my words) and Wah-shley loses her shit. She’s super pissed, “Why? Why? No. NO.” then Chris starts to tease her saying he’s going to take it out that night, and she’s such a stuck up little bitch that she doesn’t see he’s trying to be fun and jokey with her. She texts a million words a minute and huffs and puffs, “Why are you being so annoying?” text text text.
Chris, exhausted with trying to be good to this bitchy girl that’s been foisted on him through marriage, shows a bit of steel and says that they can just go home. You know, without the car. Text text text. Jacqueline mutters, “Quit texting.” Woman, take that gee dee phone out of your child’s hands and teach her to be respectful, I don’t care if you’re on camera or not.
Fun fact about me: I’m that mom. My kids act up in a store? We leave. Even if I don’t get to buy what I needed. Fun fact #2: my kids don’t act up in public anymore because I did that. Ugh, bratty kids are the worst. Especially when they’re not, you know, three.
Wah-shley keeps texting until it’s time to sign, then she climbs into her car and drives off to go where she has no friends except for the fat sad girls that just want a chance to be caught on film and thereby put up with her. They don’t’ make the final edit.
Kathy makes dinner, Victoria and Joseph goof around with each other like loving siblings, and Kathy tells us how six years ago, Victoria (who had always been the picture of health) passed out on the beach. She had a tumor in her brain the size of a tennis ball. Good hell! 10 hours of surgery later, they were able to remove it with no visible damage done to her. She knows she was lucky and she and Rick live every day like it’s the last, because you just don’t know.
Love fiercely, don’t waste time on people that drag you down, and eat what tastes good, folks, because she is 100% right. I like this Kathy chick. I think Jacqueline would be the most fun to hang with, but Kathy’s a good egg. (Seriously, Jacqueline would be a blast to drink with and talk trash about people. You know she gets sloppy drunk eventually. Plus, she’s adorable. She was so cute in her ponytail and plaid top with a belt. Heart hands! How did she produce such a wonk of a daughter?)
Mel’s songwriter comes over one night, and she just happens to be chilling with the kids in another fur vest and high heel boots. As moms do. For example, I’m typing right now in a bathing suit, huge sunglasses, a floor length mink and black patent leather, studded Jimmy Choos. The shades are to hide my eye goo, the coat hides the stretch marks. Just keeping it real, folks.
They start singing, and it can’t just be me, the key is all jacked up, right? I get that he’s going for a minor key and a slight change to major, then back down (hey, look at me knowing my stuff!) but it’s just off. Ugh. She takes it and almost fixes it, but still is a little flat. Hey, it’s not great, but it’s not as bad as some of the crap out their, either. See? I can be nice. Kinda. What was missing: malapropisms. You know, that would actually be awesome, an entire song of malaprops (or better yet, a rap.)
“Prays to Jesus ‘cuz he saved a wench like me,
I got worth ethnics, like a friggin bungle bee
I’m a roamin’ Catholic, fool
I ain’t no orthopedic Jew!
Don’t forget I loves my arrogate man Joey G!”
Caroline heads out to a radio station for an interview, they might be interested in giving her a call-in show. She makes a rookie mistake as she gets there, though, and tells the first person she meets that he has “beautiful eyes,” and locks hers with his. That’s creepy, C, that’s not flattering. Also, it’s unprofessional, just hand over your CV.
The rest of the interview goes well, though. She’s upfront with her lack of experience with the format, but says she’s got a built in audience ready to follow her. They throw a few questions her way and she knocks them out of the park. She may not have done radio before, but she’s a natural – her answers are fresh, honest, and ready for sound bites. They tell her they’ll get back with her, but it looks like she got the job.
Tre and family hit the gymnastics meet, and Gia is all nervous. They say she’s not normally like that, and she does seem to be scanning the stands a lot for any sign of her uncle. Ugh. This isn’t going to go well, and I hate that kids are involved. An adult wrecking their own life is one thing, but you drag children into it and I get queasy.
Another thing I noticed is that every time Gia did anything (a flip, a jump, whatever,) Tre would turn to Juicy and say in a high pitched little-girl voice, “That’s our girl, right? She did good, right?” Who cares what that mook thinks, cheer on your daughter yourself, you should know it’s fine! I just don’t like that kind of woman that defers to her husband for approval on everything. I can tell for myself, I thank you. (Excuse me while I sing a few bars of “I’m every woman, it’s all in me!” And then do some crack. BOB-BAY!)
More time goes on, Bro Joe is still not there, and the meet is coming to an end. At one point Gia is running towards the vault, looks at the audience while running (whoops) and then stops at the spring board. Later she tells her uncle that she looked for him and saw he wasn’t there and couldn’t keep running. WAH! OK, so someone needs to teach her to be focused, true, but facryin out loud, people, keep your promises to kids.
Juicy is getting more and more sullen as the day goes on. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s being forced to sit in that gymnasium with Tre axin’ him over and over if they did good (right?) or because Joe Gorga is flaking on his kid. Juicy and Tre try to soothe Gia, telling her she did great, and seem at a loss for how to handle the whole “Your uncle didn’t show” conversation. Bro Joe and Mel (with their daughter Antonia) finally get there – after the meet is over.
They do the cheek kiss thing, and Mel starts texting everyone (Wah-shley?) instead of actually engaging. Tre smiles through a passive-aggressive bout of “Gia’s been crying because she loves you and wishes you’d been here. You know, when everything started today.” Mel cuts in to make sure that Joe knew the correct time to be there (you can see the wheels turning, maybe she can blame Tre for giving them the wrong time!)
Then Mel tells the camera that she doesn’t care that they were late as Tre is always late to stuff. So take it out on a 10 year old, that’s cool. One hilarious moment is when Antonia comes over to give her Auntie Tre a hug and kiss and Juicy smiles at her saying, “Who’s this girl here?” And Antonia walks away. Tre says, “Talk tuh her!” And Juicy does the dismissive hand flap saying, “This girl. She never towks tuh me.”
Well, I have two guesses on that. One, not all kids like that gruff/faux anger thing a lot of men revert to (I have an uncle that did that and it just terrified me) and two, you know the Gorgas talk shit about Juicy and their daughter hears it, so she’s not having it.
The kids all hug and love on each other, which is nice. Juicy leaves quickly (I assume he’s got to get back to the pizzeria) and everyone stands around awkwardly. Bro Joe grabs up Gia and tells her he loves her, says she was “the best” (liar, you weren’t there, also, she placed last because she was freaking out all day) and then he and Mel leave. Their daughter starts crying because she wants to hang with her cousins, but nothing doing.
Ugh, they’re all hot messes of self-centered, self-righteous, pigheadedness. I hate that the kids were involved. I know this happens in families everywhere, but on tv it’s just magnified to me. AND YET I KEEP WATCHING.
Next week: FINALLY, a show down with Joe and Tre, and a bonus show down with Mel and Tre! I think we get a smackdown from Caroline a la Olympia Dukakis: Look at your life! Look at your choices!