Season eight has been very good about delivering on the promises of its episode titles. Last week’s hour, “The Public Shaming of Melissa,” gave us just that. This week’s episode of The Real Housewives of Siggy Flicker’s Cake? “Not Over It.” Hoo boy.
I was prepared to omit this week’s Staub Report in light of a slow episode with minimal Danielle participation (I was tragically misled that this would be the ep with her quickie in the restaurant bathroom; I guess I’ll have to delay that particular, uh, gratification). Thankfully, the former Ms. Merrill threw herself into the ring at the eleventh hour to hassle Dolores about her sketchy relationship with her ex-husband apropos of nothing. The way she went about it was so underhanded and rude and perfectly Danielle; everyone nearby, based on their facial expressions, recognized it as a low blow, though nobody stepped in. We also got to meet Marty, the man who is evidently committing the rest of his life to Danielle Staub, which… there’s an ass to fill every seat, I guess.
The main ‘wives, on the other hand, delivered one of the weaker episodes of the season, born of fatigue with the same old dramas and a lot of the empty nest footage that can bog down the franchise. It’s understandable, given the demographics of the cast members, but it demonstrates the benefit of stocking a cast with childfree hipsters who spend their extra money on fashion (Carole) and weekend moms (LuAnn). In any case, I zoned out the whole episode up until the climactic confrontation at the Gorga Spaghetti Factory, when things finally lurched to life. Who needs to get sent back to the kitchen for a reheat?
5. Melissa: Could not believe the Real Housewives of New Jersey used her dinner party as an excuse to argue instead of eating their pasta in respectful silence. How many seasons in are you now?
4. Teresa: It’s a toss-up whether the restaurant drama is contrived for television or an outlet for her Melissa angst, which remains palpable all these years later. Either way, a welcome showcase for the Gorga sibling incest vibe, though that folder is already thick with clippings.
3. Dolores: Speaking of warped family boundaries, Dolores finally got called to the carpet for her weirdo relationship with her ex-husband Frank. Not the most scintillating subject matter, but I’m a firm believer in the Depression-era approach to Housewives: if it exists to be weaponized against someone, it should be. Turn your bones into broth.
2. Siggy: I continue to respect her commitment to batshit insanity in a cast inclined toward playing it cool (the crack about hiding the knives lest Margaret use them to stab her in the back!!!! was a nice stroke of delusion), but I need her to come up with something new instead of dragging the same old horses out of the barn. This is a very easy cast to contrive fresh drama with, simply by making shit up if you must, so I’m hopeful. Grudge-holding is nice but the true mark of a Housewives artist is versatility. Your old single is falling off the charts, Siggy. Time to drop a new hit.
1. Margaret: This has been a great debut season for Margaret, who continues to provided sterling talking heads and fuel her Siggy feud without propagating its most tedious aspects. She’ll be back for season nine. What I want from her now is active participation, not just passive reaction. Spread a rumour. Say something unforgiveable. Launch an attack. Dolores is a fine target; maybe pick on her? Diversify. We also got a closer look at the Macbeth Collection, which premises itself on affordable luxury. Finally, a Gretchen Christine Beauté for the Franklin Lakes set.
Next week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa and Joe Gorga greet each other with a sensuous kiss on the lips, confusing and titillating us all.