Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of New Jersey – S08E11

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How do you say “exhausting” in Italian?

The women, including Danielle (see me sneaking in that Staub Report on the low-low), spent the dregs of the Milan trip rehashing the Siggy/Margaret Hitler beef, to some mild success. Margaret offered an apology, and Siggy offered something like an apology, and eventually got arm-twisted into insincere forgiveness. This will all be consigned to the heart-shaped box of grudges in the attic of Siggy’s mind, but hopefully the show can move forward because we’ve got precious few episodes left and I think there’s still time to sneak in another conflict under the buzzer. Maybe Melissa impugns Siggy’s ass pellets or something.

Where do the women stand as we depart the splendour of Milan for the radioactive swamp next to the Turnpike?

5. Melissa: Spent the episode pulling various people aside to privately talk through their feelings. All that experience as a kindergarten teacher coming in very handy.

4. Dolores: As a fellow descendant of Italian immigrants who never bothered to learn the language, I felt some small kinship with Dolores this week. I learned what little Italian I need from Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice. I know ombrello rossi, I know compriamo i fiori. It’ll get me by.

3. Teresa: Of the various women playing mediator this week, I thought Teresa came off the most sincere (Melissa and Danielle were too concerned with demanding reparations for the “anti-Semite” label, while Teresa seemed interested in ending the conflict for its own sake). She also chopped the meatballs so hard that pieces of cutting board got into the food, which seems like an ingenious murder method, sort of the Jersey equivalent of powdered glass.

2. Margaret: I thought Margaret did well to placate Siggy with a sincere, or sincere-sounding, apology. But while I buy that the apology was on the level, I think Marge is remarkably in control of her own Housewives apparatus, and this was no exception. It was the perfect way to handle the situation, from a PR perspective. It’s still jarring to me to see someone who knows how to handle their optics on RHONJ, a franchise that previously gave us seven years of Jacqueline Laurita.

1. Siggy: This week saw the ostensible closure of the anti-Semitism storyline, though I’m not quite buying it: there’s still the reunion, and nothing this deep could die down so quickly, and this is Siggy Flicker we’re talking about here. I believe it’s over when I see it.  Still, we dug a bit deeper into Siggy’s occasionally contradictory madness: while I was initially surprised to hear her purport that all pain is equal and “a hurt is a hurt,” it made sense when it became apparent at dinner that the current drama with Margaret was as much a sum of their other bad interactions as it was the Hitler comment. Siggy has been building a vendetta against Margaret for weeks (and, again, not undeservedly — Margaret is very complicit in their falling out, but has covered it better because she’s naturally a smooth operator).

Unfortunately for Siggy, the other women have pinpointed her M.O.: Danielle, Teresa, Melissa and Margaret all spent some time psychoanalyzing her this week, and none of them were wrong. She’s not a particularly compassionate or sensitive person but expects to be treated as such by others, entirely on her terms. That doesn’t invalidate her feelings around this issue with Margaret, but it explains why she’s had a hard time getting the other women and the viewers onside. Still, like I said, this show gave us seven years of Jacqueline Laurita, which speaks to a wide berth for insanity. God willing, she’ll probably get another half decade to make it right.

Next week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa travels to Danielle’s house to apologize to her kids and wakes up chained to a bathroom wall, with a voice on a cassette asking her if she wants to play a game.

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