I’m happy to report that things were a touch more interesting this week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. It’s still not scintillating TV, but at least I felt somewhat engaged this second episode. Most of the activity centered around either the Manzo kids (who are still winsome and utterly likable) or the modeling careers of Danielle and Teresa’s daughters. The latter girl showed us more of the same from last season: a creepy desire to WURK IT, despite being barely old enough to ride the kiddie rollercoaster at Six Flags. Danielle’s daughter Christine, however, truly has the goods to be a model (something I’ve actually believed since last year), and it seems as though that might be coming to fruition. None other than IMG Models signed the teen, and her first photo shoot was with the one and only Gilles Bensimon, ex-husband to New York housewife Kelly Bensimon. Say what you will, but this was actually a pretty big deal, and honestly, I was very happy about it. True, Danielle is a monster, but she is fiercely loyal to her daughters, who I imagine must have had a hard time dealing with all the crap this past year from both their mom’s fellow cast members as well as the media scrutiny as a whole. It’s nice to know that things are looking up for those girls, and it felt strangely satisfying to see Christine excel in modeling after Caroline claimed earlier in the episode that she and her sister both looked dead in the eyes. (Maybe they look dead in the eyes because they’re SCARED OF YOU).
Of course, Christine’s newfound success has meant that Daneille can now ride the coattails of her daughter in the most sadly vicarious way possible. True, she was a proud momma with a grinning rictus spread across her face nearly the entire episode. However, with Danielle, it went more than just being merely happy. This was her big F-you to the world. Proof that she wasn’t trash; proof that she and her brood could make it after all; proof that she was BETTER. That’s why — when she was done momentarily living her life through Christine — Danielle arranged an elaborate luncheon in honor of her daughter. It was ostensibly a way to celebrate Christine landing the cover of a prominent fashion industry mag, but truth be told, Danielle just wanted to brag. I suppose that’s within a mother’s right, but this was actually more than bragging. It was a way of simultaneously one-upping the Manzos and subtly asking for their acceptance. Too bad none of the invited members (Dina and Jacqueline) attended. They both alerted Danielle that they couldn’t make it, but Danielle put out seats for them anyway, just to illustrate their snubs to the other classy broads at the table.
“I’m not passive, and I’m not aggressive,” Danielle informed us (passive-aggressively), in one of the more amusing delusions of the evening. I suppose she’s half right — she’s certainly not passive. But aggressive? Just a touch.
Perhaps “transparent” might be a better adjective. After all, this alleged luncheon in honor of her daughter didn’t seem to actually feature her daughter. Try as I might, I couldn’t find Christine at the table. Heck, even Christine admitted the event was for her mom, not her. And let’s not overlook Danielle’s eagerness to jump in front of Gilles Bensimon’s camera and shoot a pic with her daughter. Yes, it’s a great opportunity, and no, she shouldn’t have turned it down, but one couldn’t help but feel that Danielle was making the moment about herself. Just a touch.
Speaking of vicarious mothers, Teresa Giudice was no better with the burgeoning showbiz career of young Gia. It was the same old, same old with these two: overeager stage mom and starry-eyed daughter. This time around, Gia auditioned to walk in Fashion Week, and to be honest, I had my doubts about this endeavor. I mean, modeling requires a certain look, and… how do I put this kindly? I’ll just say this: she probably has a GREAT personality.
Nevertheless, Gia did manage to land the gig, which resulted in her shrieking with glee. More amusing was Joe, who seemed to care more about chopping garlic than listening to his wife share the news. It was indeed a cackle-worthy moment.
In terms of the other daughters this week (a theme, I suppose), we had Jacqueline’s mess of a girl, Ashley, getting all pissy after her mother deigned to ask if she uses a designated driver when she goes out (judging by the temper tantrum, I’d say that’s a NO). Caroline’s girl, meanwhile, continued to deal with the wrath of her brother in the wake of her relationship with his best friend. It’s sort of a cute, charming storyline, but I gotta admit that I’m not terribly compelled by it.
Here are some pics:
“Is it bad that I kind of have a thing for Grandma Wrinkles?”
Danielle: “There are only two problems with this house: nails in the wall and shabby wainscoting. Pay attention, puh-LEASE!”
“You know what they say: you hang around arugula & pear salad too long, you start to smell like arugula & pear salad!”
“Ugh, my vagina hurts so much right now. Everything’s swollen down there. Joe says it tastes like three day old braciole.”
Caroline: “Let me tell you a something about arugula and pear salad. It’s very nice!”
“Don’t throw ham at me, ALBIE!!!”
“Fine, then don’t date my oaf friend!”
“He’s not an oaf! He’s a MAN!”
“Please, he looks like Shrek if Shrek worked at a used car lot.”
“SHREK IS HAWT!!!”
“Okay, there’s no hope for you.”
“I like to think of myself as a modern day Bonnie Franklin.”
“Don’t you love my little Gia? I even dressed her up in an old quilt I found at TJ Maxx.”
“You’re gonna repaint my room and get rid of this awful pink?? OMG MOMMY THANK YOU!!!!!”
“I’m so proud of my daughter right now. And by ‘my daughter,’ I mean me.”
“Who’s dead in the eyes now, BITCHES??”
Danielle: “Thank you for letting me ruin this photo for you, sweetie.”
“So what does everyone think about my new hair and makeup? I really wanted something that would age me fifteen years.”
“This thing is cool. Can I have it?”
“No, he’s MINE!!”
Baby: “Please, take me with you!”
“OMG, I’m five days old, and already they’ve got me in Ed Hardy. GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!”
“Thank you for coming to this classy luncheon. As you all know, it’s in honor of my beautiful daughter. And by ‘my beautiful daughter,’ I mean ME.”
What did you think about the episode?