Oh my god, this new season is going to be un-friggin’-believable, folks. Gone is the horrid Jaffar-faced Danielle, who has moved on to strip for Scores, because she’s a classy lady, a’rite? Bravo has added two new people to fill her role. One seems pretty great, Dina-like and the other is a younger, tighter-bodied version of Teresa, but like, way into Jesus.
Meet Melissa, who is married to Joe, who is Teresa’s brother. Teresa is also married to a Joe (Joe, Joey, Tony, Christuhphuh… These guys can’t get named Jason or William?) so we’ll call them Jesus Spice, Bro Joe and Juicy to keep everyone from getting confused. Oh, Melissa is Jesus Spice because evidently she also has a girl group, and I cannot wait for the episode with her performances. And she calls upon the Lord almost every time she opens her mouth. Kathy, the other new wife, is Teresa and Bro Joe’s first cousin. She and Teresa are no longer close, though. Kathy is on Team Jesus.
We start off this hour and a half (!!) extravaganza at some banquet hall for a glam christening (you know, like Jesus would want. Money changers in the temple, what?) Bro Joe’s baby Joe (oh my god) is being introduced to Jesus in true Jersey-style. You know, ice sculptures and tree branches with Swarovsky crosses dangling. You know, like Jesus would want.
Teresa goes over to her brother’s table, air kisses Jesus Spice and offers them congratulations. Her brother, who looks loaded for bear, tells her to “walk away. Walk the fuck away.”
“Are you kidding me?” Teresa is stuck in her tracks. Brother, this is the woman that chased Danielle through a country club in 5 inch heels, she’s not someone to pick a fight with!
Everyone at Bro Joe’s table gives Teresa shit for being awful (I mean, yeah, she kinda is, but good hell, it’s a religious ceremony, can’t you keep a lid on it?) Gia, Teresa’s nine year old daughter, stands between her uncle and mother, begging her mother to stop, and crying. When kids cry, you need to stop, call me old fashioned.
Juicy walks over, watches his wife get berated, then finally approaches the table. I watched that scene on slow mo, he does not “charge” as he’s later accused. Bro Joe absolutely loses his shit and comes flying out of his chair, arms swinging, and immediately gets held back by some gorilla.
The screen fades to black. Guys, we are only five minutes into the show. A title card pops up, “One week earlier…”
Juicy and Teresa had that nasty and public bankruptcy a year ago, and now Juicy runs a pizzeria. That has to be humbling, but good for him for working. Maybe it was just for the cameras, him slicing pizzas and serving them up, but who knows. Teresa says she’s proud of him and heads off to a book signing. She wrote “The Skinny Italian” which is actually a good cookbook. Plus, she has all sorts of nasty gossip written in the instructions, and that cracks me up because it’s all about Danielle.
She has a good sized crowd, people bring her gifts (really?) and Caroline and Jacqueline show up to support her. Teresa muses on how her brother and sister in law never come to any of these, but she heard from a little birdie that it’s because they’ve not been formally invited. So this is the level of maturity we’re dealing with here.
Caroline, who is without a doubt my favorite of the wives (she’s normal, she loves fiercely, her kids all seem happy and well adjusted), goes to look at an apartment with her family. Turns out that Christuhphuh and Albie, her sons, are moving out of the nest, and now only their sister is left. And an old arthritic dog that farts a lot. Caroline has a case of Empty Nest syndrome a’brewing.
Jacqueline goes to the city to see her bratty shit-ass daughter Ashley at her new internship. Ashley has scored a gig working for Lizzie Grubman’s PR firm. (Side note, Lizzie seems like she’s good at what she does, but damn, her face and hair are busted. What do you want from me, she drove into a crowd of people, calling them “white trash.”)
Turns out that Ashley is – surprise! – not good at her job. Oh, she might be okay getting shit on facebook, or something, but she often doesn’t come in and is routinely late when she does show up. Lizzie tells Jacqueline this in front of Ashley in one of those, “OK, kid, everyone knows, shape up” kind of ways. Jacqueline is obviously upset and embarrassed by her daughter and tries to make a joke about it to break the tension but also get across that she’s going to address this with her kid later.
Ashley explains herself in typical brat fashion, “It’s hard coming in!” and then “It’s like money just to come in,” explaining why she doesn’t like taking the train. Child, I am going to slap you upside your head, are you kidding me? Jacqueline has a similar reaction. Ashley bursts into tears and leaves the room, wobbling on her high heels. Lizzie fucking Grubman goes to comfort her and tells her “You’re like a carbon copy of me. Ha, except for the violence.” Swear to god, that’s what she said.
Jacqueline and Ashley go have lunch and meet with Chris, Jackie’s husband and Ashley’s step-father. He hears what’s going on and is not having it. Ashley says at one point that she doesn’t always go to work because “it’s like, I have to wake up early.” He tells her what he expects of her, you know, like a dad does,telling her that she should be responsible. She cries, is rude to her mother (who gets up to leave) and is just a whiny baby.
You know, I do like Jacqueline. I bet she’s a fun hang. But man, do I hate her kid. That’s a weird thing you learn in life: sometimes you just love someone, but you can’t stand their kids. Or you like your child’s friends, and the parents are wackadoos. Life, you are full of such mysteries.
Teresa talks about her relationship with her brother, they used to be BFF, did everything together, and Teresa’s opinion is that once he got married, they drifted apart. And it’s mostly because of Jesus Spice and her competitive nature, in her opinion. They didn’t offer any support when she and Juicy went through their bankruptcy and thankfully Teresa says that she’s done with big parties.
Enter Melissa. “I tend to be very spoiled, thank you Jesus!” I’m pretty sure that there’s not a passage in the New Testament that expresses how Jesus loved to spoil his girls. She and Bro Joe have a massive house, to the tune of 15.000 square feet. Because you need space when you have three kids, am I right, ladies and gents? Also, heaven forbid you have to walk more than halfway down a hall to go to the toilet. If I ever make it super rich, I’m just going to put toilets (gold) in every single room and urinals along the hallway walls. Talk about upping the resale value!
Jesus Spice complains that Teresa never told her that this massive house was beautiful, I mean, what a bitch. You know she doesn’t want to hear that Teresa likes it, she wants to see jealousy in her eyes. The camera pans over a Glamor Shot-style airbrushed photo of Melissa, naked but for a sheet of lace wrapped around her waist and a be-ring’d hand covering a nipple, her adoring daughter at her knee. So she’s classy, too.
She explains that Bro Joe expects a dinner on the table, the kids clean and pressed (the 3 year old wears a hat to the table fa chrissakes) and no messes on the floor by the time he gets home. Man, my husband is getting cheated. She says that she was raised to be “a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the parlor, and a whore in the bedroom,” and she flashes her ZOOM! treated smile. (See, there’s my problem. I’m a lady in the bedroom, a cook in the parlor and a whore in the kitchen.) She also says how much she admires her husband’s “work ethnic.” Then Bro Joe is asked about his wife and he says she is his hero and how much he admires her “worth ethic.” They’re perfect for each other.
We then have a nauseating scene of Bro Joe rubbing lotion onto his wife’s legs, him licking her toes, and then asking if he can moisturize her ass. Alright, alright.
Melissa is getting things ready for the upcoming christening saying, “I just can’t wait to welcome my baby into God’s kingdom!” Really? People talk like this? People who dress in short skirts and spangles? I guess that’s the difference between being southern and from Jersey. And I’ll just say this: yeah, yeah, not everyone from Jersey is Italian, not every Italian is like this, I know. But hey, I’m from Texas and I’m a liberal atheist, so spare me your ire about stereotypes not defining everyone in a region. I get it.
Next we meet Kathy, who is Bro Joe and Teresa’s first cousin. They all grew up close, but a rift between Teresa and the rest of her family happened a few years ago. There was never a big blow out, or anything like that, they just drifted it seems. Kathy is married to Rich, and I can tell he’s going to be my favorite husband. First off, he’s not Italian (le scandale!) he’s Lebanese. You know, the birthplace of Jesus, the Middle East. Second, he is still hot to trot for his wife after nineteen years, and you have to love that. He’s not licking her toes, he’s just goo goo eyed at her. Cute.
They have two teenagers, both of whom seem fairly well adjusted and outgoing. The daughter is at that troublesome age where she’s dressing for clubs but still in high school, but then, I’m a prude with a tomboy for a daughter, so what do I know. The son is apparently very popular, we’re told. He’s lying on his bed playing with a knife. Kathy freaks a little about it, “You’re not even on a hard surface!” What? Her son is just cracking up. Me, too kid.
At Caroline’s house, all the family is in the kitchen cooking and making each other laugh. This is why I think she’s the best of the wives, they all like each other, they all seem likable, and they’re always laughing. That’s what family should be. Caroline and her youngest son, Christopher, have made up a “Cajun” language, which consists of them mumbling in a gravelly voice and inserting words every now and then. It’s pretty funny.
Back at the mansion, Jesus Spice has poured some bubbly for her sisters and toasts the baby and themselves. She does warn them to not drink too much, they’re going to a church. They can drink afterward when they get to the party and “celebrate my baby boy with Jesus.” Apparently they have Jesus on the guest list, top that Teresa.
Teresa and Jesus Spice pull out their party boners and measure up: Teresa had 200 guests at her daughter’s christening, Jesus Spice only has what, maybe 150? This round to Teresa. (I don’t know, maybe Jesus should count for more people than just one, or is that unfair?)
At Teresa’s house, she’s racing around trying to get everyone ready to walk out the door. She has a makeup artist doing all of the girls’ hair and makeup (what?? They’re like four and six!) but her personal hair girl is over at – bum bum BUUUUM! Melissa’s! Ooh, sick burn. Gia gets picked up by her gymnastics coach – she won’t be attending the church portion of festivities as she has a competition. She’ll come to the after party. Joe wanders around the house in an Affliction t-shirt complaining of the “runs.” Oldest trick in the book, bro, she’s not gonna fall for it. Also, gross.
Melissa and Bro Joe dress the baby in a poppin’ fresh hat and cream brocade suit, and it’s too much for her. “Ahh!! Thank you, Jesus!” Jesus is not only guest at the party, he also bought the outfit. Jesus has… extravagant tastes, it seems. You wouldn’t think he would, what with the dirty hippie hair, the togas and sandals.
Cut to Teresa in her aqua zebra-print jammies trying to find Juicy to make him get dressed. She’s late, she’s stressed, and I can identify. There’s a joke in Mormon culture, MST, Mormon standard time. Calculate 10 minutes onto your departure time for every child you have. (Mormons are traditionally late, you see.) Teresa buys the whole “I got the dookies” excuse Juicy’s come up with; he’ll sit out the church portion and show up for the party. Oh, your diarrhea will clear up in time for the open bar, huh?
Jesus Spice and family are in their car, driving to the church. She coos to the baby, “Are you ready, baby? Are you ready to go to Jesus’ kingdom?” WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? We also get a little back story on the rift between Teresa and Bro Joe. Turns out that their father, who is now very ill, is very close with Juicy Joe and not so much with his own son, Bro Joe. Did anyone ever think that maybe he’s just confused by their names?
At the church service, Jesus Spice is in her peach one-shoulder mini dress, bejeweled and such. Is this how people dress for church? Yes, yes, I grew up in a weird religion, but still, I’ve never seen the Methodists or Catholics in my neighborhood wear club clothes to church. I just think it’s weird, that’s all.
Teresa shows up, finally, and Jesus Spice says, “That bitch will never miss a party. Eckspeshully [sic] when somebody else is paying for it.” She’s full of all sorts of digs at her sister in law for their financial situation. Please, oh please let her and her husband have all sorts of financial woes so this bites her in the ass. I MEAN, IN TODAY’S ECONOMY! Tacky, tacky.
Speaking of, we get a look at this “spared no expense” baby thing. A two foot ice sculpture in the shape of a cross, branches in Pente-stone filled jars decorated with dangling crosses, lobster in chafing dishes, and an open bar. Uh oh. Bro Joe walks over and tries to give a shot (after downing a few of his own) to Juicy, but Juicy hasn’t eaten yet. Bro Joe is horribly offended by this. Strike one.
Everyone drinks. And drinks. And drinks some more. Kathy and Rich show up and we learn that Rich used to give Teresa shit for her extravagant spending habits and Kathy never told him to shut uppa you face. That’s why the three of them aren’t close any more (and who turned out to be right? My new favorite, Rich, that’s who.)
Bro Joe is getting angrier and angrier as the night goes on, bitching to everyone he can about his sister and her no-good husband, strike two. Everyone around them is feeding into this, which is just making it worse. Bro Joe doesn’t like Juicy, doesn’t like him being close to his Papa, and he thinks Juicy has no worth ethnic. (Snerk.) Gia finally gets there, hugs her uncle, and they actually have a sweet relationship. He’s her godfather and doesn’t let his issues with Teresa interfere, so that’s at least a point in his favor.
There’s a sit down dinner and then dancing. Bro Joe dances with everyone but Teresa, and it’s “like a knife in [her] heart.” Bro Joe keeps knocking back shot after shot, growing more and more agitated as the night wears on. We’re finally at that explosive opening scene.
Right in mid-rant about his sister, Teresa comes over to the table to offer her congratulations. We have the walk away, are you kidding me, Gia stepping in, and then Bro Joe calls his sister garbage and Melissa’s drunk sister pipes up, one of those “I can be a bitch because I’m surrounded by friends” kind of things. Juicy is standing off to the side, watching, then walks up to get a few words in – it’s his wife getting berated, after all. Strike three! And Bro Joe loses it. A huge melee breaks out, and I mean huge. Crowds of drunken, juiced up guys grabbing and shouting, women in heels and big hair trying to step in between them, someone is shrieking “Oh, no! Oh, no!” over and over, and Bro Joe, being held back, is screaming, “You wanna fuck with me? You’re shit! You fucking wanna fuck with me?” Dude. You are CRAY CRAY. This is your baby’s gee dee christening!
By the way, Teresa and Joe are standing off to the side of the fighting. Joe looks like he wants to get in the mix, but he’s standing there, mouthing off about Bro Joe to anyone standing there, he’s not swinging fists. I’m no fan of his, but I do want to mention that, at least. He does say out loud as he walks out of the building, “I’ll fucking kill everyone of yous.” Their family fights are not like my family fights, wow.
Gia, still inside, is crying and obviously upset. Cousin Kathy takes her away, soothing her, and takes the baby who has been abandoned in the stroller. (I say that, but it’s an Italian family gathering. Everyone looks after the babies, they’re not strapped to their mamas all night.)
The fight inside gets even worse – Juicy isn’t even there! – and some beefy bro jumps on a table and shouts hoarsely, “Cut this shit, this is a kid’s christening!”
So it seems that all of this is about Juicy and Papa being close, and Bro Joe feeling kicked out of the club. I can understand that, but grow the fuck up, dude, and handle things like a man. He goes on about how he just ignores his sister “like she ignores me” and on and on. He finds his father, who slaps him and says, “Act like a man!” Then Papa puts an orange peel over his teeth, cavorts, and dies.
No, he tells his son to cut it out, Bro Joe screams breathlessly that “You’re my father! You’re my father!” and then walks away as his dad calls out, “And I’m proud of you.” Guess who didn’t register that? Someone needs to kiss this Fredo on the mouth and be done with it.
Outside, everyone is leaving. Rich turns to a crowd of men on the veranda and says, “Welcome to New Jersey, brothers.” Hahahaha. Guys, we are in for some crack cocaine, television-style.