It’s the final installment of the three-part “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion, and I’m really looking forward to this long, ugly rehashing of the season being wrapped up for good. I mean, this isn’t the “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” trilogy; this is a bunch of women screaming at each other for hours and hours on end. Given that the blood feud that started the reunion has shown no signs of being resolved, I guess this means another hour of insults. Yay, insults. But Andy Cohen declares that this episode will be “all out war,” which makes me wonder what the previous two hours were — war-ish? Skirmishes? What?
Because this starts to feel like a never-ending insult-a-thon, I’ve decided it’s easiest to break up the war into easily digestible battles.
Battle #1 – Caroline insinuates that Teresa and her Joe are getting a divorce
So, this season Caroline suggested that a thing might happen, and that thing would be revealed to the public, and Teresa would get divorced and write an inspirational book about it. Apparently, this is Caroline’s way of saying Teresa and Joe would be getting a divorce. When Andy asks her how she feels about making that entirely convoluted statement, Caroline backpedals as fast as her little legs will go. She wasn’t talking about divorce (except for the part when she said Teresa would be getting divorced)! Instead, she was making a not-entirely-easy-to-follow comment about Teresa selling her personal life to magazines. Caroline isn’t angry, she’s annoyed! Andy asks if Teresa and Joe are upset. Nah. I think Teresa and Joe aren’t upset because they’re tired and they’re hungry and, like everyone else, they’re not entirely sure what the hell Caroline was saying anyway.
Score: Nobody fights, nobody wins.
Battle #2 – Joe Giudice’s tangle with the DMV
Andy asks Joe Giudice about the itty bitty legal problem he has with the DMV and the police, who have accused him of trying to get a license while pretending to be his brother. Joe defers all questions to his lawyer, which to Andy means, “Ask in a different way, because Joe Giudice isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and you may get something out of him anyway.” So, did you try to get a copy of your brother’s license, Joe Giudice? “That’s stupid. Why would I do that?” he says, while his poor lawyer tears up his case while watching at home. Jacqueline suggests he did do exactly that, even though Chris told him it was a bad idea. “Freakin’ Heckyll and Jyde!” shrieks Teresa.
But Joe Giudice’s problems with the law aren’t really the point here, mind you. Teresa is deeply offended that her “own blood” talked about the matter, which has been reported in a little-seen thing called a newspaper, on national television. Andy points out that Joe could face 10 years in prison! “Whatever,” says Joe. I wonder if this is what he’ll say on the stand under cross-examination.
I have to hand it to Teresa, because she totally redirects attention to the fact her husband is kind of a scumbag to her family and friends deeply betraying her by actually discussing this scumbag-edness on the show. Sure, she ran to give an exclusive about her husband possibly “going away” for ten years to In Touch magazine, but that doesn’t matter! She asked everyone to keep their mouths shut! Melissa shoots back, “Us as your family asked you not to call me a stripper or a gold digger.” Yeah, I think Teresa loses the moral high ground here.
Score: Win to Melissa, in part because she didn’t call anyone Heckyll and Jyde.
Battle # 3a – Chris met Jacqueline. In Chicago. At a trade show. Part 1 of 2.
Screaming breaks out, because the housewives have to release tension by shrieking like wild parrots every twenty minutes or so or their heads will explode. Jacqueline accuses Joe of claiming her husband met her as a stripper, which is, I guess, not true. He met her in Chicago! At a trade show! While he was engaged, not married, to another woman! Joe’s response to be called a liar? “Your husbands are mo-mos, and that’s all. Who cares?” Apparently Jacqueline cares, because she hopes he rots in jail.
Score: Jacqueline, for being the fighter who cared more.
The other husbands join us after the break — Joe Gorga, Rich Wakile and Chris Laurita. You know what that means — double the Joes, double the pressure!
Battle #4 – Joe vs. Joe
Andy, knowing a good fight when he sees one, decides to ask the Joes where the love has gone. Joe Gorda sighs heavily. “We were family. I thought he was my cousin… then he flipped a switch and he started hating me. I don’t know why…” Wait! His eyes narrow, sinking into his puffy little face. “I do know why. I succeeded in life.” Joe Giudice doesn’t care. Whatever.
Andy asks, somewhat horrified, if the relationship fell apart because Joe Gorda borrowed Joe Giudice’s tools and did not return them. This is like a bad Dagwood comic, but Joe Giudice basically says, well, kinda.
Realizing the show may have actually become so stupid viewers may have overdosed on their own disgust, Andy changes the topic by reading a question from a fan who’d like Joe Gorga to swim in his man pool. Has Joe Gorga swum in the man pool? His non-answer is, “I enjoy gays, I love em. They’re the funnest people to be around,” so I think whoever wants to claim him for their team is at least half right.
But we get off the gay thing and rip right back into the battle of the Joes, now being fought by Melissa and Teresa. What does Teresa think went wrong? “The wife,” she snarls at Melissa. “Yeah, the way you treated me!” Melissa snarls back.
This breaks down into the Joe’s trading smart barbs like, “You loser” and “Pay your bills.” These guys may not be friends anymore, but wow, they are so well-matched when it comes to arguing.
Score: This becomes so inane, no one wins.
Battle #3b – Chris met Jacqueline. In Chicago. At a trade show. Part 2 of 2.
So, somehow we get back on the Joe Giudice called Jacqueline a stripper argument. Teresa says that Joe Giudice only said it AFTER Caroline said it. This causes the wild parrots to really lose their ever-loving minds and I actually had to turn down the volume on my television lest my own damn head exploded. Chris, who seems to be way too sane to be on this show for any reason, says, “We talk about strippers like we’re talking about serial killers.” Exactly! As Joe Giudice might say, who cares? Actually, he did say he didn’t care about this argument several times, but that seemed to be more about his not liking the fact he was caught in a lie than anything else.
Score: Chris wins for being somewhat logical when no one else is.
Andy, who is not about to let Chris shut down this argument, points out that for all the stripper talk, no one has addressed the point that Joe Gorga was a friggin’ Chippendales dancer in college. And he loved it! He crows about how he dressed like the Elephant Man. At first I’m a little thrilled to think he dressed in a long black cloak with a bag over his head, but he really means he was supposed to be Tarzan. Given that he takes great pride in his stripping career, did we really just spend an entire season listening to the women rear back in horror at the thought of being called strippers?
Battle #5 Rich and Joe Giudice and the mysterious black eye
After Rich talks about his morning erections, and Kathy waxes on about how they’re her morning alarm, and Andy suggests their kids are probably horrified, we get to the black eye Joe Giudice apparently got from Rich. The two trade insults, but in the end, it seems Joe Giudice got the black eye by accident and, as it happened off camera, we will never know the truth.
Score: Rich, for no other reason than Joe Giudice seems incapable of saying anything other than “whatever” after a certain point.
Battle #6 – The Posche Fashion Show debacle
Well, you’d think Teresa might take this opportunity to admit that she might have said Melissa is a stripper, just so we can all move past it. But, no! That would be too easy. She decides that this has nothing to do with her, and points the finger of guilt and blame at her brother. “You’re breaking Mommy and Daddy’s heart. That’s the worst thing you can do!” Joe Gorga says the heartbreaking is entirely Teresa’s fault, which causes his sister to call for back-up. She tells Joe Giudice to defend her, which results in the Joes screaming, “YOU SHUT THE BLEEP UP!” at one another. Yes, that helped.
Teresa decides to take her case to Andy, who looks like he’d really prefer not to be there at this point. She tells Andy that she and her parents never talk about Joe Gorga, so his decision to cut them out of his life and his children’s’ lives is entirely his own damn fault. “Andy, we never talk about him!” she shrieks, trying to pat Andy on the arm.
Jacqueline, who has been fixing for a fight for the last hour, pipes in, “Yes, you do!” At which point, Teresa lunges at her. Andy literally begs them both to calm down, and I think he signals security. Is there any chance they could halt filming for a few minutes so everyone could have a cocktail or a Xanax or something? I think Andy needs one most of all, really. He’s just starting to look wild-eyed and frightened.
Luckily, there’s just one more guest to be dragged out, humiliated, and sent home. Andy announces that Kim D. is in the house.
Amazingly, Melissa and Joe Gorga do not race across the stage and rip out Kim D.’s eyeballs. In fact, Joe Gorga apologizes to Kim D. for saying the things he said, because hey, she’s somebody’s mother. Which is something you could also honestly say to a bedbug or some women on death row. But Kim D. appreciates it nonetheless. Still, after much cajoling, she admits that she had a grudge against Melissa for promoting someone else’s fashion show, and that’s how the whole mess with Angelo got started. Melissa and Joe Gorga nod and smile, because even though I’m fairly sure they hate Kim D. with a white hot passion, she is the one who can finally call out Teresa for lying. It’s like someone gave the keys to the castle to a wicked witch with very bad lip injections.
Caroline is also nodding and smiling. Speaking very slowly, as if Kim D. is a little simple, she gets her to admit this much: “Did Teresa know something was gonna go down? Yes. Did she know exactly what was gonna go down? No.”
That’s it! Joe Gorga isn’t sure he’s done with his sister, but Melissa is. “You want a relationship with your brother. Have one. I will never look at you again,” she says.
“Promise?” Teresa shoots back. Well, this is exactly what Teresa has always wanted, isn’t it?
Joe Gorga is sad, though. He talks about losing his sister and his parents as if they’re dead and not, you know, nearby. Teresa gets choked up. “Just be happy. I never want anything bad for both of you.” Maybe one of you, but not both of you!
Chris, for whatever reason, maybe to get the show wrapped up since Andy has fallen into a coma, weighs in on the Joe Gorga and Teresa issue. “I know he wants his sister back. I look at Teresa, I see the same tears. I know she wants him back, too. It’s all a bunch of bull bleep… We’re fighting about things that are so ridiculous. What’s happened to us with our son, it really makes you realize what’s important. This bleep is not important.”
Did you hear that? This bull is NOT IMPORTANT! Wow. Apparently, this is a shocking revelation to the housewives, who seemed to believe that middle school battles in middle age are not only important, but not the least bit embarrassing! Everyone is SILENT.
Score: Chris takes the win again, because I don’t know of any other time in the history of this show when someone else has been able to shut these people up.
Andy, who has pulled himself off the floor, tries to smile for the camera. He turns to Teresa and points out he has an armful of her bronzing glitter. “Sorry, I lost my voice,” she croaks.
“I lost my hearing,” he responds, smiling frantically.
Andy turns to Caroline for final thoughts, because she isn’t asleep or threatening anyone. “You learn so much about yourself,” she says, admitting she didn’t like who she was in season 4. “We’re not going to be too proud of ourselves,” she predicts. But it’s okay. You know why? “Where there’s love, there’s hope. And that’s what family’s all about.” And someday they’ll look back on this hoedown and laugh. Or… okay, maybe they’ll still be bitching and whining, who knows?
As Teresa, intent on getting the last word, says, “Hallelujah. We’re done?” Yes. Thank God.
What did you think of the reunion? Do you think Melissa will stick to her word? Do you think Joe Giudice is going to jail?