Cracked teeth, black water and hookah pipes. Yep, we’re in Jersey.
The Manzo boys drive out to their grandparents’ house where Noni’s craft room has been turned into a new office for them. Uncle Chris (Jacqueline’s husband) has fronted the money for them to start up a business doing… they’re not sure yet.
Christuhphuh comes up with the idea of becoming a publishing house, because he’s got a few books ideas. See, when you travel, you never want to use a public toilet, right? So he’s going to make a coffee table book about which shitters to use. Worst. Pitch. Ever. Albie doesn’t want to manage a toilet empire, so that idea’s turned down. They’ll need to step up their spit balling.
Ooh, what about a breathalizer for cell phones, and if you’re drunk, it’ll lock you out, preventing drunk dials. Best. Pitch. Ever. Seriously: how many times have you drunk dialed, only to wake up and regret it? Albie wants to test it on Ashley so she can’t drunkenly Tweet.
It’s Rich’s birthday, and Kathy is dolling up the whole clan for the big party. We learn that Rich is originally from Beirut, he moved here when he was 8. Since he struggled in the beginning with the language, he started cracking wise, and it’s been a personality trait ever since. Now he only cares if he makes Kathy laugh. I love these two, I really do.
He ax’s Kathy about the goddess party and if Tre behaved herself or not. She tells Rich that it seems Juicy and Teresa are also opening up a restaurant, hmm. Rich is shocked that Juicy “still has it in him.” Kathy says there is plenty of room in the sky for stars to shine, and all stars shine with the same brightness, one doesn’t take away from another’s light. Bless, Kathy. You’re sweet.
(But some stars are dead, bloated sacks of matter that collapse from the weight of their own hubris and end up sucking everything back into themselves, devouring everything in their path.)
Bro Joe and Jesus Spice are excited to get to the party, and I’m telling you, the Gorgas have mostly won me over. They, too, talk about the “goddess” party and Mel mentions how Teresa loves to make fun of her with the singing. But, Mel counters, “have you ever seen her cook? You know damn well you mother cooks everything, but I don’t say that to her!”
Touché, Jesus Spice, touché.
As the Wakiles enter the Middle Eastern restaurant where the party is being held, Rich tells his son Joseph that he wants to see him out dancing. “If it’s all a-rab music, then probably not.” What, boys can belly dance, too, right? Are you calling RuPaul a liar?
It’s a huge, loud, fun looking party. Jacqueline and Chris are there, along with Caroline and Big Al and all the other Manzos. Caroline especially loves this place, it’s warm and inviting. It really “envelopes” you.
They all hit the hookah pipe. Mel is worried Bro Joe is going to get high, but… that’s just tobacco in there. Kathy hits the pipe like Allen Ginsberg on a Friday night. Well, well, well! Bro Joe is… who knows what, but he knows that he wants to smell Mel’s armpit. I’m not making that up. She’s skeeved and while he’s buttering her up and kissing her back, he shows her scar, and a convo about how at 7 Mel had open heart surgery to repair her aorta/aortic valve, but her mother wouldn’t let them cut her chest open, so she’s one of the first that had that type of procedure. Rainbow, the more you know.
A cake with fireworks on it is carried out and Ritchie gets kisses and love from his adorable family and then belly dancers rock the hell out and the drinks are flowing and this is basically an awesome freaking party. Bro Joe loooooves the belly dancers and gets up to shimmy shimmy shake with them, and then everyone’s on the floor, making it rain with the singles and generally having a great time. (I would like to say that a) Jacqueline is an awesome dancer and b) Mel is not.)
Jacqueline and Teresa chill at her house a few days later so they can show each other their outfits for Lauren Manzo’s store opening (the one Ashley was supposed to make shirts for) because we’ve gone back in time to high school and you want to make sure no one else has your dress. And holy sheep shit the “fur” coat that Tre pulls out!! That’s the main picture, by the way. And I wonder how many Fraggles had to die to make that?
Jacqueline shows her dress and it’s alright, BUT. She got it for fifty-five smackers, and that’s so unprecedented on this series I just don’t know what. As she tells Tre, Tre’s eyes go wide and she tries to figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Things that are expensive are automatically good, isn’t that how it works? Jacqueline then tells her a little about Rich’s party, and Tre assures us that her friends aren’t jumping ship. But if they do? Buh-bye.
Lauren’s Grand Opening is underway, and it’s a nice turnout. Mama Caroline is pleased, so all’s well. Everyone congratulates Lauren, grabs a glass of champagne and is generally supportive. It’s nice. Mel gets a load of Tre’s coat and all but laughs in her sister in law’s face. Jacqueline nervously asks Lauren if Ashley followed through on the shirts, and it turns out that Ashley’s not even there.
UH OH. She shows up right then, which is crazy, right? Or some production assistant worked some magic? Whatever, she’s there and the t-shirts are really awful and you can tell Lauren is pissed as hell about it, but she’s playing nice for the camera, or something.
Another day comes, and Teresa and her daughters (minus Gia) are at the grocery store. Do I need to say that she’s in high-heeled boots and a fur? And on the phone? While her girls climb all over the produce? Oh my god, I hate that kind of thing SO MUCH. (I do have kids, and they are not allowed to be on things.) She tells the girls to help her get ingredientses because they eat healthy, simple food, right? Riiiiight?
Like frozen pizzas. And Eggo waffles. And pigs in a blanket from the freezer section. And Captain freaking Crunch. Yes, please let me buy a cookbook from you. (I’m kidding. Kind of.)
She calls up Bro Joe, wanting him to come to her book signing and he says of course he’ll come, he’s just glad to have been invited. Aww. This isn’t going to end well, come on.
At Mel’s place, the Soul Diggaz show up to lay some sweet tracks (good luck with that) and there are kisses all around. Mel’s sisters, Gorgon and Trogdor are there, and are soooo excited to be with “urban” musicians. Mel starts her god damn “On display, on display” crap and one of the Soul Diggaz stops her and says, I swear to god, “Little pitchy, dog.” Then he stops her again and tells her “that was awful.” I think someone realized they’ll lose money if they produce a shit song.
She starts getting all emotional remembering her father loving her singing, and now “I’m doing it, Papa!” and finally, she starts singing, “Papa can you heaaaaaaar me? Papa, can you see meeeeeeee?” and it turns out that instead of singing cheesy pop songs, she needed to pull out the Barbra playbook. The sisters are rocking and drinking wine and singing along, and guys? This is really how the music industry works. You pay enough money and you get a song. Whee.
Christuhphuh, Albie, and Chris Laurita have a business meeting with another family. And while Albie and Chris are great minds, and serious men, it’s Christuhphuh’s energy that sells them to this new business partner. But what business is this? Selling black water. Well, BLK WATER. And I’ve actually heard of the unique ingredient, and it’s known for being a great health benefit. It’s black because it contains fulvic acid. As soon as I see a bottle of “blk water” on the shelf, I’m all over it. (Except for how it has an almost $3 price point. Daaaaamn!)
Mel looks around for Bro Joe, who’s in one of the many rooms in their house replacing outlet covers. He really doesn’t want to go to the book signing, and it’s because of the texts he’s been getting from Juicy. (Oh my god, Juicy is as bad as a bitchy high school junior with a facebook slam page.) Juicy tells Bro Joe that he’s fake, and he wants to break Bro Joe’s jaw and put it in a wire cage. Fun times.
Mel hits it on the head: it’s not her that’s the problem, it’s Juicy. Yeah, I’m gonna agree. Now, she’s not blameless, but Juicy is awful. Bro Joe is just unhappy, he wants to support his sister, but that husband of hers….
Tre is late for her signing and Juicy is a shit to her when she’s not sure how to get to it. God, seriously dude? Fuck you. She’s late, but calls Bro Joe while driving to remind her that she’s hoping he’ll come. Awk-ward. She shows up at 5:30, a half hour late to a great crowd. They love her, she feels good about things, and by 7:45, the crowds are cleared out and she’s by herself. And her brother hasn’t come.
But who’s this outside? Rich and Kathy! Bless their sweet hearts. They tell her how proud of her they are, they hug and kiss her, and Rich asks where’s the champagne? Ahahaha. It’s not like that with books, yo, not unless you’re Salman Rushdie. Kathy pulls out a purchased copy (aww!) and asks her to please sign it for her. Seriously, I love this lady. She tells the camera, while getting choked up, that she really only wants the best for Teresa and her family. They’re good people, come on!
It’s 8:30, the store is shutting down, and the roads are getting icy out there. Mel and Bro Joe show up! No one’s there at all, so they look awkward. They figured it would be a madhouse in the beginning and didn’t want to be in the way, so now they know to come sooner. Tre keeps saying “I’m glad you came!” while smiling, so you know she’s really happy he’s there. She’s just floundering, she doesn’t know how to execute, you know?
He buys ten books (aww!) and asks her to autograph them all so he can pass them out, but make one special for him. And she has no idea what to write, and it’s REALLY uncomfortable to watch, but she finally settles on “I love you more than anything in the world.” GUYS. She’s tearing up! Okay, this is just sad, their inability to navigate the conversational/adult waters. He makes her read it out loud to him, they side hug and kiss, and she really wishes he’d give her a proper squeeze. I know what she means, a real hug where you rock from side to side and you feel enveloped? (N-vel-uhp’d, not N-vel-OH-ped.) That’s the best kind of hug.
So Mel and Joe leave quickly after that, and it’s awkward, and she’s sad and doesn’t know how to deal, and drives home, tottering on her heels. There’s a full party going on back at her house and Juicy is already shit-faced. Tre is not okay with that. Gia pulls out a mat and starts doing gymnastics flips and the greatest moment since the prostitution whore table flip is about to happen: Juicy decides to show the kids “how it’s done.”
Juicy yells at the girls to get out of the way, and does a shoulder roll, then smacks his face on the real onyx floors. Like, it sounds like a hammer slamming a pork shoulder. He chips his front tooth. Christ, this guy is really hammered.
Gia sees his face (he’s not bleeding) and freaks the hell out. She starts shrieking, “DADDY!” and cries and looks generally terrified, and Tre tells her to calm down. Tre is just embarrassed by this whole thing, and if she had the language and the depth of thought, she’d know to turn the cameras off and walk away. But she doesn’t.
Joe tells her they’re surrounded by “maloik” which means tacky Guido shit and mean assholes. Wait, sorry, it means evil. He starts flinging Evil Eyes around the house like he’s Ronnie Dio. Then Juicy starts in on Bro Joe, telling the whole group (you didn’t forget they have a house full of people did you?) that Bro Joe is a piece of shit punk.
Teresa tries to turn it around, but because Juicy is an ass, he tells her to shut up. A few times. (His chipped teeth would be on the floor if we were married, and in the words of Caroline Manzo, god fa-bid.) All of the guests are totally uncomfortable. He keeps on and on, saying she better not go against him for her brother, that he even broke up with her back in the day because of Joe.
Whaaaaaat? Turns out Bro Joe didn’t stop talking to some ex of Teresa’s when Juicy came on scene, and that’s the ultimate “oh HALE naw!” for Italian men of a Juicy-persuasion. She laughs and says, “But you didn’t get rid of me, you married me!” And Juicy says “You came back to me, I didn’t come back to you,” and the camera cuts to Teresa’s face, trying to find a way to make that hateful shit not so bald-faced ugly.
Everyone in that house is miserable. I swear to the god of your choice, Juicy needs his ass in prison.
Next Week! Milania turns five, signs her own contract with Bravo about her new career as a personal stylist for celebrity children, and Gia cries. Can’t wait!