Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of New Jersey – S08E04

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Welcome back, scumbags.

Before we dive into the rankings, some optimism: I’ve enjoyed this season so far! We’ve barely started, so it’s not an unconditional endorsement (some non-cake conflict will need to emerge at some point, for example), but it’s easily better than anything Jersey has done for the past, God, six seasons? The cast chemistry is good and even inert humans like Melissa and Dolores are finding their place in the drama. Worth tuning in if you’re not watching already.

Next, as always, The Staub Report. This is a special Staub Report because it’s the first time I really get to sink my teeth into our new and improved Danielle. She came in hot in the premiere talking a lot of big bollocks about bringing down Kim D. (where the fuck is Kim D., by the way? The people grow restless!) but since then, she’s cruised, happy to find acceptance from the group at large. Episode four saw her long-awaited first strike: snitching on Dolores for saying Teresa only cares about money.

I think she played it well. She dropped it on Teresa in the limo to the party, made it public when Dolores was in the middle of fluffing herself up for her loyalty and straightforwardness, and turned on the waterworks to make Dolores, already in the middle of a run of bad PR, look even worse. I don’t know how long Danielle can keep the crowd because she will always be too abrasive and intense, but it’s fascinating seeing her in a position to make some moves. Danielle was such a pariah so early on in her first run that huge parts of the Housewives playbook were never even available to her. This is the first time I’ve seen her with allies even (well, Jacqueline, but that and two bucks gives you bus fare). I’m interested to see how she plays her hand out going forward.

(Since I always weigh in on these she said/she said off-camera situations: I think Danielle is basically telling the truth about Dolores shitting on Tre, although it wouldn’t surprise me if Danielle twisted it in the retelling to make it sound worse than it was.)

And the rest?

5. Margaret: A bit of a cool-off episode for Marge, who wasn’t even in attendance for this week’s big argument. Instead, we shaded in her family: her sex-crazed mother, and the affair that started her second marriage (which is just what this show needed, by the way, another fucking husband named Joe).

4. Teresa: Tre has to be loving her part in this season. Not the part where she’s grieving her mother, which remains affecting, but she’s in the fantastic position of being central to the drama while still avoiding its worst outcomes. There’s a constant gunfight around Teresa and everyone is getting riddled with bullets but she’s coming out unscathed. Which I’m totally fine with; let’s give the woman a season off. She’s put in her goddamn time.

3. Dolores: Dolores managed to glide through her first season without ever really asserting herself as a character. Now she has to define her mission statement, and she’s not doing a very good job. Loyalty is not, in and of itself, a commendable quality. Dictators, for example, have many loyal subjects. Dolores isn’t a bad person, but she’s not great at the Housewife game. I do think her warning about Danielle will prove prescient, but like, duh.

2. Melissa: This episode was called “The Public Shaming of Melissa,” which is a fantastic alternative title for an ancient drama, and it lived up to its name. I’ll put aside the mediocre restaurant storyline (it seems like I’ll have plenty of space to talk about it next week) and jump right into the centrepiece of the hour: Siggy literally stopping her party to humiliate Melissa in front of all the guests. I feel bad that Melissa is the last person left whom Siggy has no compunction abusing, but it makes sense. Melissa has always been kind of an afterthought on this show and in her own life. Siggy probably just forgot to mend fences. You know how on Recess, only three of the Ashleys ever got to talk and the fourth Ashley was just sort of there? Melissa is the fourth Ashley. But I liked her talking heads and that moment at the party was genuinely one of the most surreal and horrifying things I’ve ever seen on TV, so I’ll give her a pass.

1. Siggy: It’s weird with Siggy because by any conventional measure the cake thing is past tired, please stop talking about the cake, I would give my life to a grateful nation if you never said the word “cake” again, but she keeps finding implausible ways to one-up her own psychosis such that it still kind of works for me? Very little surprises me on these shows anymore but when Siggy called her party to a halt to publicly poll the entire guest list on whether Melissa’s cake conduct was appropriate, then lay supine on the floor like Jesus screaming incoherently:

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I can honestly say my jaw was hanging slack. Between this and the fuckery with her son, Siggy is on her way to one of the most intensely negative villain edits since, you know, Danielle Staub and I did not see it coming at all. Was she always this insane? Is it like a Jill Zarin situation where we wanted to see the best in her so we were like, “aw, what a Charmingly Overbearing Jewish Mom Archetype” but then her flimsy human disguise could no longer contain the deranged monster within? I don’t know when it started, but I’ll damn well be watching when it ends.

Next time on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Danielle Staub gets her shoes polished.

5 thoughts on “Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of New Jersey – S08E04

  1. this season feels like a cartoon parody of itself, but in the very best way. teresa comforting a crying danielle staub is truly what real housewives dreams are made of <3 i hope there's a full-fledged housewife contract waiting for her at the end of all this; nj is probably my favorite franchise after nyc and now dallas, but imo it desperately needs whatever's going on in danielle's personal life to push out some of the non-giudice family content.

    and yeah, dolores will probably be proven right, but i do think she's completely wrong about all of this being part of a bigger plot against teresa (lmfao <3). not that danielle's not smart enough to do that if she really wanted to, but it doesn't feel like her style. i'm under the impression she's primarily interested in being teresa's best/only friend, and that it's just doomed to go horribly wrong LeeAnne -> Danielle) until we get a murder-suicide.

    1. oops part of my comment disappeared
      * something about the housewives universe doing this storyline repeatedly with Sonja, LeeAnne, and now Danielle alol

    2. i totally agree with your point about dolores. i meant that she was right that the danielle/tre friendship isn’t built to last, but i do not think this is part of a complicated revenge scheme by danielle. i think this is more danielle’s never been kissed-esque second chance to live the housewife experience she was robbed of the first time. it’s a redemption story, not a revenge story. it will be danielle’s obsessive/victim personality that blows it up rather than a premeditated attack.

      i bet she gets a contract next year. this season has been good so far and the fans are responding well to it and her.

  2. I honestly thought that Siggy was playing up the drama for you know, TV. But after seeing herself literally snow angel on a wood floor and shame Melissa in a room full of people then cry about her son not loving her and weeping I’m honestly inclined to believe she really is psychotic. I don’t *like* Siggy Flicker but she is bringing it this season and I enjoy watching her even if I wouldn’t be able to stand her in person.

    This is my first RHONJ season and I think it’s been good so far! I don’t even care about the Cake drama every episode because I find Siggy’s delivery to be hilarious. A new topic or storyline between the ladies would be appreciated though I’d say and it looks like that’s coming in the future according to Danielle’s WWHL (Do people watch this? I only watch clips on housewives I care about) and since the season is probably only going to be 12 episodes allegedly I think that’s going to help with any further pacing.

    Maybe I’m just traumatized from OC feeling never ending (they are filiming the reunion today!) but I kind of wish all seasons were 12 episodes. Whoops. It would make watching older seasons for the first time easier that’s for sure *I sob*

  3. yeah i thought siggy was putting it on too but if she is this is some uh seriously committed method acting. whatever she’s doing, i don’t want it to stop. it is bringing me gut-level horror for the halloween season.

    i think ~12 episodes is the best length for a housewives season, unless it’s an abnormally content-rich one like ny8. long seasons tend to be padded out with filler solo footage that’s not very interesting.

    “Danielle’s WWHL (Do people watch this? I only watch clips on housewives I care about)” < - yup this.

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