Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion Pt. 2: The Last Dance of Danielle Staub
Well, that was that. We are done now. All have spoken their piece, all have hugged and wept and screamed, and now we are done. Let's peer at the rubble and see what we can make of it all.
Once again I'm faced with the dilemma of how to talk about an hour (and fifteen minutes!) of women just sitting and talking. I don't know. I just don't know. Especially this second hour (and fifteen minutes!), with its distinct lack of Andy getting pushed down to the ground by a raging Teresademon. Didn't this second installment feel a bit anticlimactic after last week's hysterical fireworks? I mean sure there was that bewigged mannequin that got carted out. And, as if Kim G. wasn't enough, Danielle brought a weave sampler to have Andy do a tug-test. But besides those two things, mostly the reunion hour (and fifteen minutes!) seemed to fall a little flat. But oh well. Let's just see where everyone ended up.
Rowwaarrraaaaghhhhhhh!!!!! That was Teresa's final Colossus yell, her raging is done. She didn't have much to do in this installment, as most of her mamadrama was dispensed with last week. And really, how many more jokes can we make about Teresa Giudice? What else is there to say? Teresa is a bumblebee that got knocked in the head, that's sill flying, doubly impossibly, erratically and off-course. Bzz bzz, bumble bumble, thump thump Teresa goes. All sausaged into her floral-print dress, that head of inky springs bouncing in the studio breeze. She's the clay pottery you find in shards — in Testaccio, at Aphrodisias, in the Franklin Lakes dump — ancient grandeur turned to cheap ruin. In two thousand years Teresa and her brood will be a mound of old pottery fragments, a man-made mountain, and they'll build nightclubs there, all the kids will zip up on their scooters and the music will be thick and loud, like the hill's creators, and no one will really know, or at least pay attention to the fact, that they are walking on the debris of history, of the Giudice clan. Who liked to yell! Yell! And scream! Scream! And kick! and scratch! and bite! and pull! and push! and swear! and curse! They were so loud once! If only you knew, you future kids! If only you could know what we know now — that someone lived once named Teresa Giudice, cast out of her castle but mostly unfazed. Someone who was all meaty instinct and little else. "One at a time!!" she used to yell, a mimic of her enemy, and to soothe her (yes, future kids, she had her quiet moments too) they would pat her head and give her a bottle of warm wine and eventually she would curl up in her tight flower dress and rest her head down on the couch, her black ropes of hair falling everywhere, and she would sleep, murmuring about Joe and the girls, drifting off to someplace calm and faraway.
Is the verdict still out on Jacqueline? I think it kind of is. On the one hand, she seems reasonably sane and normal compared to the terrier Teresa and the Bug Queen Danielle. But on the other, she was pretty snippy and bitchy like a high school girl at parts during this reunion. And she did exhibit a kind of sad "Well, what're we gonna do??" attitude about her flopfat daughter Bouffant. What're you gonna do? Well, I dunno, maybe start with taking her off the television show. Maybe start there. Maybe don't encourage her rutabaga nonsense by tacitly saying "Yes, yes, this is interesting enough to be on television, this is good behavior, Bouffant." Maybe that is where you should start, Jacqueline! Call Bravo and say "Hi, Bravo? The show is fun and all, but it's ruining my daughter's life, so... I gotta cut and run." Maybe that's what will happen. Maybe that's something that already did happen. Maybe next season Jacqueline and company won't be there, they'll just be off being a normal family and eventually Bouffant's attitude will melt away and the Facebook fan page will languish and dwindle and one day she'll walk into the kitchen where her parents are standing and without saying a word she will take off her trademark FlopHat and she'll place it on the counter, signifying that she is done for good. She will wordlessly walk out of the room and Jacqueline will feel a flush of energy and relief and hope and she'll hug Chris tight and they'll know that someday soon things are going to be good again. Later that night when they throw the FlopHat on the bonfire to burn and be forever gone, it will hiss and growl and moan and a black spirit will rise up from it as it burns, and though the spirit will try to fly up into the night sky, it will be too lazy and potato-shaped so it will just settle on the ground with a groan, and Jacqueline and Chris will go inside, leaving the panting black spirit of the FlopHat just lying there, bored and boring, dumb and defiant, going nowhere. Or maybe that won't happen. Maybe they'll both be on the show again next season and Bouffant will sleep in her enormous microwave and there will be more fights and her boyfriend will leave her and all she'll have left will be her precious Twitter and Facebook accounts, which she'll cling to like a life saver, huddling herself around the computer every night while Jacqueline stands in the doorway, watching her lumpy daughter and whimpering, not sure why nothing ever works out the way she wishes it would.
There was more barking from Caroline last night. More of her usual Final Fantasy-haired shtick. Oh she's a tough broad, she's a matriarch, she's got Danielle's number. She won't accept any of Danielle's bullshit apologies. And she's willing to play a dirty game of inside scheming with Andy Cohen. Could you believe her obvious "Let's just make Kim G. appear..." stuff and then her denial to Danielle that she had any idea about the surprise attack? That was sort of tacky, wasn't it? I didn't think Caroline would play into the whole idiocy gumbo with such delight, but she did. Ah well. When Kim G. actually came out, Caroline didn't have much to say. Mostly she just tried and tried and tried to get Danielle to admit that she'd been lying about a whole lot of things, but that is impossible. Danielle will never admit that. It is not worth trying. So though she is the smartest of the bunch, I'm not sure Caroline came off that well in this Reunion. The better approach would have been to not show up at all. Given all the moral outrage on this particular version of the Housewives franchise, I think it would be best for everyone who claims to be "tired of the drama" to just go ahead and quit the show. Caroline, leave. Go. Tend to Albie. Nurse his emotional wounds. Buy him a hairpiece. (Danielle knows a guy. Several guys.) Smooth the shoulders of his suit, give him a peck on the cheek, and send him on his way out into the world. That is your calling now, to tend to the world's Number One Potential Breeder. Obviously his career is hobbled, so just put him out to stud. Pass those glorious genes onto the world. Prepare his ceremonial humping chamber, Caroline. Interview potential mates. That is your only job now.
Ohhhh skimbleshanks, Kim G. The creepy organ music and shrieking of a castrato that accompanied her entrance onto the reunion set was fitting, I thought. "Hiii Danielle," she said in that manic perk of hers. Hiiii. Hiiii! What a strange child-goblin she is. Do you think she thought this was an audition for next season? WAS it an audition for next season? If it was, I think she bombed it. First, her hairstyle was too normal. I missed the old Kim G. poof. Second, the only thing she really has going for her, other than her innate supernatural horror, is her amazingly curse-filled trashmouth. That woman has never met a swear that she hasn't fallen deeply in love with and married in international waters. All that woman does all day long is curse like a sailor from a ghost ship. I won't reprint any of her potty talk on this respectable blog, but just know that she is a walking blue streak. I guess one thing you could say positively about her in regard to her chances of being on the show next season is her spat with Teresa. That was fun and unexpected wasn't it?? All that juicy stuff about Teresa being mean about Kim's old lady butt and whatnot. I mean, the old lady butt is the reason why all of us, every one of us, is blind. (How are you reading this? How am I writing this?) It was terrible, and Teresa was right to point out its terribleness. So that could be fun. If next season there's just a whole lot of drama centered on Kim G.'s old lady butt. Old Butts of New Jersey. There's your new show title, Andy. It will be good. And if every episode could involve crazy Kim being told sternly to leave the set as she was last night, then I will be a happy camper at the scariest camp since Crystal Lake. Aahh!! She looks like Mrs. Voorhees!!! That's where I know her from. From that time she murdered all my fellow counselors. I still miss you, Kevin Bacon. I still miss you a lot.
Obviously this whole reunion was for Danielle. A send-off for poor, delightfully delusional Danielle. No greater thing has ever happened in the history of television than Danielle reaching under the couch and pulling out that mannequin wig-head and telling Andy to pull, Pulllll!!, the weave. Andy Cohen Pulls Weave, a new series airing right after Wipeout. Oh it was just the most gonzo thing I've seen on the TV in a long time, and I watched all of Degrassi: The Boiling Point. Leave it to Danielle to formally enter evidence into the Housewives 9th Circuit Court of Reunions. "Now pull it Andy, pull it back and to the left. Back, and to the left." Andy struggled and struggled and finally he yanked it out with a great tearing sound. "That is exactly what happened at the country club," Danielle said. Which is horse-hooey. Other horse-hooey was when Danielle was confronted with a Tweet in which she encouraged a fellow Tweeter to wish for the speedy death of Bouffant Q. Flapplejacks. Her sad defense was just, well, sad. Such a bald, dumb lie. The way these woman talk about Twitter in general is just the silliest thing ever. Grown women, earnestly getting worked up and angry over a computer game for stupid kids. And to think none of them even knew what Twitter was until very recently, I'm sure. And now it's all they can talk about. Who Tweeted whom and what the Twit said and where the Twatting was directed and who shouldn't be Twixting what and all manner of silly webtalk. Just the bleakest thing ever. But bleak in a fun way, I guess, which is sort of the point of this show, isn't it? At the end came Danielle's inevitable attempt to reconcile everything, with crocodile tears and strained robot hugs and weird whispers. Danielle was actively trying to imply that she and Jacqueline had smushed at one point, which ew. Backstage after one of her walkouts, Danielle made implications about making love to Lesbian Superstar Lori Michaels, which also ew. Oh, and did you catch that moment with Lori when Danielle had been accused of stalking Caroline, driving to her house at all hours and things, and she said "Lori, you're with me every day, do I ever drive to Franklin Lakes?" and Lori DIDN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION?? That was intense. Because obviously Danielle does do that. Obviously she does. Ugh. Danielle. Drop your kids off at the orphanage and go run into the mountains and never come back. Go live in your strange cave world of lies and mangled grammar, all by yourself. Or, whatever, bring Lori and your wig-head with you. (Is it named Wilson maybe?) Do whatever it takes, but please get out of here. We are officially bored with you. We are officially done. Are we not?
So I think that's alls I have left in me. I know I didn't comprehensively cover the ins and outs of this episode, but who really cares. What is there to say? All the blood is on the floor. If you want to roll around in it, play that shit back on your DVR. Me? I'm signing a new lease on life. Goodbye, New Jersey! May the tracks of the PATH train rust over, may the tunnels crumble and shut. May the GW Bridge bend and sway and with a sharp twang of cables breaking, fall into the river. (When no one's on it, of course.) I think you've said your piece, New Jersey, and we have listened. The jury has come back and you are guilty, guilty, guilty. So goodbye. Goodbye to bass thumping. Goodbye to faces stretching. Goodbye to Scraps wrinkling through the night. Goodbye to the ghost of Dina and the forgotten skeleton of Kim X. Goodbye to Posche, its once-gleaming three-wheeled automobiles gathering dust, their tires deflating. Goodbye to the Brownstone, that old palace ruins. Goodbye to the golden rays of Albie, fading now behind the high palisades, dipping down into that dark valley. Goodbye to Bouffant and the loud orchestra of tubas that follows her everywhere. Goodbye to all of it. Arrivederci. May we never meet again. May all that's left between us be a wisp of fake hair, a thin final strand grasped by both of us and then snapping, leaving us to fall back away from each other, each with our own tattered clump in our hands. We'll put it in a memory box and sometimes, in days far away from now, we'll open the box and pluck the tuft out and look at it, remember wistfully the days we spent driving around Jersey's green and gray corners, trying to find something — some heart, some meaning, some semblance of soul — in all of this garrulous noise.
For now, though, we keep walking.