Initially, the first part of the super sized “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion is so placid, so even-tempered and loving, it’s creepy. I’m almost wondering if Teresa and her husband have decided to deal with the 39 counts of fraud, theft, and crimes against the English language (tonight, we get a new word to send my spell check into a tizzy: “meanful”) by taking fistfuls of Xanax or showing up to the reunion drunk. Hey, most people watch it that way, right?
Anyway, Andy Cohen is either saving the real questions for the second half of the reunion or he’s tired of being screamed over, because he pulls plenty of punches. He lightly touches on the 39 counts issue, asking if Teresa is getting support from her castmates (yes, and she’s touched by it!) and doesn’t even blink when she says, “What happened to me can happen to anyone!” Really? I thought most people only got slammed with charges if, you know, they committed bank fraud and broke laws and stuff. Crazy!
Then, it’s on to the issue of marital fidelity. For some reason, Caroline is in the hot seat because she says she kind of expects that Al has screwed around in the last 32 years, then makes a joke about how Al has dragged his baby mamas by the house (which makes Andy’s eyes go wide with horror until she backpedals quickly, shrieking “I’m JOKING!”) and finally ends with Caroline accusing everyone else of making stuff up about her marriage. Given that this whole, weird diatribe didn’t make much sense, I don’t get the impression anyone thought Al was catting around… until now.
Then, Teresa assures Andy she doesn’t think her husband has ever been unfaithful. Really? Andy gently nudges her. Um, what about the things Jacqueline said during the last reunion? Jacqueline refuses to confirm or deny or comment (which is the equivalent of sticking her fingers in her ears and humming while rocking back and forth), and Teresa sticks to her story. So what if cameras actually caught Joe talking to someone on the phone that seemed to be a suspiciously close associate? So what if he doesn’t seem to like Teresa very much! He’s loyal, dammit!
Next up? Melissa’s rape-tastic book, “Love, Italian Style,” which advocates putting out for your tiny bully of a husband so he won’t yell at you for no reason. Melissa says she has a great marriage and, once again, Andy misses the opening (so, Melissa, marital rape? That’s your version of sexy?) and the conversation becomes a pissing match between Melissa and Teresa about whether or not Melissa disparaged Teresa’s cookbook, because everything is, of course, about Teresa. I would like to settle this argument myself by saying both of these books have no business being books, period. See, that was easy!
At this point, Melissa and Teresa are starting to get pretty bitchy at one another (when Caroline had the temerity to say they’re similar people, Melissa reacted as if she’d said she poops in the middle of the mall drinking fountain). The bickering becomes about Jan and Kim D and a supposed deal Melissa made with Radar Online to feed stories to the site in exchange for staying out of their headlines. The upshot of this is, despite all the talk about peace being made, they basically hate one another. Still, feeble attempts are made to be proper ladies. “I said that not in a meanful way,” Teresa says at one point, making my brain explode.
Andy steers the ship off the shoals and aims it at safe territory — Rosie, who is joined by the two Joes on the couches. Teresa loves Rosie! She feels as if she and Rosie are the same person! They both lash out, then forget about it! Yes, Teresa forgets about everything she hears — sixth grade English, legal regulations, whether or not it’s a good idea to sign something she hasn’t read — unless she feels insulted by it, and then she never ever ever ever forgets. Even Andy Cohen rolls his eyes.
But we were talking about Rosie, and Rosie would just like to cleat up a few things. She knows men don’t have eggs, and blames this comment on being drunk. Uh-huh. But when asked about which sense she’d be willing to lose, she picks her “brain. I don’t need it.” Okay, that sounds more like it.
Andy does bring up that Joe made some not-so-nice comments about the gays, and Teresa and Joe practically trip over themselves to explain that they’d never say something less than kind about the gays! Who might end up on their juries! In fact, their very favorite couple friends are gay, and they hang out with them all the time. Teresa is friends with the “girl” and Joe is friends with the guy. Because, you know, with gay guys there’s always a guy who is more “femininier” (Oh, another word, this time contributed to the lexicon by Joe!) Rosie looks like she’s going to pop a blood vessel, but hey, she let’s it go, because she’s all about the love these days. Even if Teresa and Joe are totally homophobic.
Finally, it’s time to get to the meat of the season, and we see the fight between the two Joes again, and I swear, Joe Gorga looks like a angry terrier mix with his wiggly little legs. It’s almost cute. Almost. Still, Joe Gorga thinks this fight was the best thing that ever happened to him, because he realized he loved Joe Giudice, probably just as he was chewing on his leg.
There is an uncomfortable moment where we must review Rich grabbing Rosie’s boobs. Kathy thinks that’s entirely normal. Then, Rosie cups Joe Gorga’s privates. And I think, why am I watching these people? I might as well find out if my local mental hospital has a live feed.
Before things can get too heated, Andy brings out “a leggy blonde miracle,” which is not a giraffe or Pamela Anderson but is, in fact, Dr. V., who looks like she could also be a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas.
She gets everyone calmed down, then everyone tries to be honestly insulting. “Do we love each other?” Joe Gorga says of his sister. “Yes. Is she lost somewhere in outer space? Yes.” But he says it with love, so that’s nice.
Caroline looks like she’s smelling an open sewer line as Teresa and Melissa bicker about Penny and Kim D.’s nasty tweeting, and Dr. V. nods as if she’s listening to Taylor Swift on her ear buds.
Then, Caroline (I felt like I hardly saw Caroline this season, but for some reason she’s the center of the action tonight, so apparently I was just blocking out her yapping) talks about how Teresa and Melissa aren’t being truthful with the shrink around, then Teresa admits to writing mean lies in her blog about Caroline. Even Dr. V. deems this “sorta yucky,” which tells you how bad it is, and shames Teresa into apologizing. Teresa nods and stares at her hands like she was just forced to sit in the corner at school. Possibly for making up words. Or, you know, bank fraud.
Will you watch part two? Do you think Teresa and Melissa are being honest? Do you think Caroline is telling the truth about Al? Will you watch next season (if there is one)?