Open Mic

'Real Housewives': Read Anything Good Lately?

Ben Mandelker Posted June 3, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Tags: Real Housewives, Reality

It's official. I'm now loving The Real Housewives of New Jersey. It's nowhere near as amazing and perfect as New York, but I think it can hold its own with the rest of the franchise. Last night's episode was compelling (in a trashy, shouldn't-be-admitting-it kind of way) but also very funny. Caroline remains my favorite of the group with her guarded, maternal instincts. During the dance lesson, I thought she'd come roaring off her little couch the moment Danielle put Christopher's hands on her hips. Let me tell you a something about Caroline: she does not like cougars around her cubs.


But this wasn't Caroline's episode. This show was all about Danielle and all the dirty laundry that finally surfaced, thanks to a poorly written and previously forgotten about book by her ex. Turns out that in Danielle's past, she had been a model (read: stripper), who was once romantically attached to (read: blowing) some sort of drug kingpin. One day she came back from a modeling shoot (read: Mr. Muff's Kitty Emporium), and it just so happened that the Feds were arresting her man. Danielle was booked as an accessory, and from that point on, the skeletons had been firmly locked away in the closet. Until now.


Somehow the Manzos got a hold of the book, and from that point on, the rumors spread. I gotta say, I love all this talk about "rumors" in Franklin Lakes. It seems like every episode there's talk about "rumors," but we never see how or why they get around. All I know is that these women care entirely too much about what the greater Franklin Lakes community of New Jersey thinks of them.
Nevertheless, Danielle suspected and could allegedly confirm (although, who'd trust that kidnapping, Columbia cartel endorsing bitch?) that the rumors began when Dina brought the incriminating evidence to "Chateau" — which is that beauty parlor that serves as the central squawking destination for all of Franklin Lakes's society women. And by the way, since I am a diligent blogger, I looked up "Chateau" in Franklin Lakes, and you'll be happy to know the full name of the establishment is "CHATEAU: THE ART OF BEAUTY."

WELL THEN. I think we know where Shear Genius will be recruiting from for next season...
Anyway, with scandal brewing in CHATEAU: THE ART OF BEAUTY, Danielle grew furious. So furious, in fact, that she had to employ her air quotes more aggressively than usual. And let me tell you something, when Danielle air quotes, she puts her whole body into it. There are no lazy, half-curled fingers with her. She full-on flaps those index and middles down so forcefully, you'd think maybe she's trying to achieve lift-off. Nevertheless, with all these rumors swirling about her, Danielle invited poor Jacqueline over to clear up all these misconceptions from so "lawwwng" ago. I'm not sure it really worked. Jackie seemed to be quietly humoring her hostess, who filled up their champagne flutes so many times, I was shocked the scene didn't devolve into them singing "Sweet Caroline." But what was even more shocking was that after all that booze, we were then treated to the sight of Jacqueline driving off into the afternoon. Had she gotten a DUI, I couldn't even imagine the gossip that would have buzzed out of CHATEAU: THE ART OF BEAUTY. Of course, they'd all blame Danielle for drugging the seemingly barren mommy (it is what ex federal convicts are wont to do, after all).

I could actually understand Danielle's frustration with the situation. It's never fun to have an entire group talking smack about you behind your back. She later sobbed to her gay friend that the bitches in town didn't know what she'd been through. She questioned why they'd been so happy to spread this book around when she had two young daughters who stood a very good chance to be hurt by all this. Of course, this begs the question as to why Danielle happily signed up for a nationally televised series that would expose all of America and beyond to these allegations, but I guess we can overlook that.

Yes, it was a tough episode for Danielle, and the truth was that her sordid past was just part of it. She also had to contend with the buffoonery of some of her contemporaries, including Teresa's husband who used the word "gay" in a pejorative way several times. Say what you will about Danielle, but you gotta respect that she actually stood up and scolded the guy. He, of course, told her to just go away, causing Danielle to snap back that he couldn't talk to her like that — "I'm not your wife."

OH HELL TO THE MARBLE-COVERED NO!

Teresa was not cool with that. Not at all. To be fair, it was kind of rude for Danielle to say that, but at the same time, I think what she probably meant was not that Teresa is a doormat and not that her husband is verbally abusive, but instead that he was acting a bit too rude and a bit too familiar with her, if that makes sense. But who the hell cares. They're all kind of ridiculous.
As for Teresa, she spent most of the episode working her hair into a shiny perm with her frustration over Danielle. And when she wasn't pissed off, she was bopping around her awful new house, ordering people around and watching her dreams of living in a French chateau finally come to fruition (I apologize to all the French people whose chateaus have been bastardized by Teresa's abomination). We also got a glimpse into the worlds of Gia, Gabriella, and Milania, and since they are children, I'll spare any harsh words. But seriously — a toddler with a pocketbook? I just don't get it.

Lastly, we had Dina, the suspected culprit behind all the character assassination at CHATEAU: THE ART OF BEAUTY. She continually said she had better things to do than smear Danielle's rep, and I kind of believed her. After all, if she was gossiping, when else would she have time to bawl about her daughter going away for two weeks. The poor woman was a wreck, treating Lexie like she was leaving for war (although, I suppose Cyprus isn't the most stable destination on that front). Anyway, when Dina wasn't crying, she was filling her daughter's head up with fears of the unknown, and when she wasn't doing that, she was throwing an entirely too excessive "Going Away" party for the girl. Seriously, this was ridiculous. I'm shocked there isn't an elaborate parade every time she returns from a sleepover. Anyway, the excess was out of control, but nonetheless, the interaction between mother and daughter was fairly hilarious as Lexie seemed totally amused by her mom's outlandish behavior. Let's just hope the girl doesn't do anything in the Mediterranean that would shock the modern day Algonquin Table that is CHATEAU: THE ART OF BEAUTY.

Check out B-Side Blog for a photo recap of last night's "Real Housewives."