Real Housewives, always on the run / pack your bags, y’all, we’re going to Milan!
So welcome to a very special Queen for an Episode, where I wrack my brain for something thoughtful to say about the Siggy/Margaret anti-Semitism rumble and also try to acknowledge that Danielle Staub destroyed a dinner table in a foreign country. I don’t actually have much to say about the other women, so I’ll just quickly rank the others (5. Teresa, 4. Melissa, 3. Dolores) and say that I’m perturbed by the amount of Joe Gorga solo footage we’re getting. I’m something of a Housewives purist and I firmly believe that if a Housewife isn’t directly involved we shouldn’t be seeing it. At the very least, if I must watch Joe ponder parenting and life and everything over drinks with his cronies, I also want to see Danielle and Marty having a public fuck sesh in the middle of a golf course, or whatever it is they do.
Not that I’m complaining about the Danielle footage we got. She’s proving a predictably excellent shit-stirrer — any time she’s one-on-one with an ally, you can guarantee she’ll say something to exacerbate an existing conflict — and her decision to cap off the Siggy v. Margaret MMA match by performing a coup de grâce on the restaurant table was a beautiful dramatic flourish. She even managed to patch things up with Siggy later in the episode, which is hilarious. Between this and the Teresa wineglass incident, it’s obvious that projectile warfare has become an expected and generally agreed upon tactic amongst these women, which is encouraging.
So Margaret and Siggy. Oof. Here’s what’s up. Two episodes ago, Siggy attempted to stand up for Kim D. by stating that Kim had never done anything bad to her personally. Margaret replied along the lines of, “Hitler wouldn’t have killed me; does that make him a good person?” Now, some time later, Siggy is using this as evidence that Margaret is anti-Semitic.
Here’s my take: I do think, as I’ve said before, that it was insensitive and tone-deaf of Margaret to reach for that analogy when speaking with someone from a family of Holocaust survivors. I also think one could read a latent implication of “Hitler would have killed you, Siggy Flicker” that’s pretty yuck. Even with all that said, I don’t attribute conscious malice or anti-Semitism; I think Margaret is just a doofus who reached for a fairly common (and always melodramatic) analogy that was out of line given the situation.
The explosive aftermath of this exchange can be put down to two problems. The first is a Housewives problem. In the normal grown person version of this situation, rather than seeking public redress at a restaurant in Milan, Siggy picks up the phone and says, “listen, woman. I don’t like you did this, this and that” (™ Yolanda Hadid), and Margaret apologizes or she doesn’t, and they go from there. But since this is Real Housewives, the whole mess plays out as loudly and aggressively as possible, benefiting neither side.
The second problem is a Siggy problem, in that Siggy by her nature is a histrionic human incapable of deescalating a conflict. She also expresses all of her gripes at the same extreme intensity and volume, which means there’s no meaningful difference between the gravity she assigns this issue, which she claims is a deeply personal affront, and how she reacted when Melissa and Teresa ruined her cake. Siggy’s propensity toward hysteria works against her here, because it makes this seem like one of her typical unhinged rambles, when really I do think she has a fair point (at least buried underneath all of the Siggy screaming) — Margaret might not hate Jewish people, but she trivialized a very tragic and important part of Jewish history. But that’s nuance, and nuance gets lost in Housewives arguments, and neither Siggy nor Margaret is a creature of nuance either way.
In any case, this isn’t a hugely fun conflict, and will doubtless result in an incredibly tedious reunion segment where Margaret pulls out wallet-sized glossies of every Jewish person she knows. Thankfully, there seems to be a much more fun reunion nightmare in the offing, as Siggy and Margaret accuse each other of purchasing armies of Twitter bots in a bid at social media obliteration. That’s an argument I can feel good about.
Next week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Joe Gorga ponders Camus over a snifter of port.