Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of New Jersey – S08E12


As the season finale looms, the Jersey girls spin their wheels. Gotta save something for the ’70s party, I guess.

Danielle played a pivotal role in this week’s proceedings, as Teresa sat down with one, and only one, of Danielle’s daughters, Jillian, to clear the air about the table flip (it makes sense that Christine would be the holdout, given her previous public musings on how RHONJ affected her family). There was sort of a historic quality to this summit, and I have no doubt it will be a pivotal moment in the grander Teresa/Danielle arc, which I remain convinced bends toward disaster. Unsurprisingly, and disappointingly, the much ballyhooed incident at the Gorga Spaghetti Factory where Marty nutted on Danielle’s shoe was scrubbed from the episode, despite being foretold in the mid-season preview. I was looking forward to this tryst in a strictly sex-positive way (get it wherever you want, girl; the world is your boudoir) and it would surely have elevated an otherwise ho-hum outing. This season of RHONJ has entertained in fits and starts but it peters out from time to time. Danielle and Marty’s sexcapades could have added a bit of spunk (…) to the proceedings.

Based on the sea of half-hearted performances this episode, Marty’s not the only one who already shot his load.

5. Dolores: RHONJ is probably the franchise that most rewards a weak performer (we did, after all, endure three seasons of Kathy Wakile and her cannolis, and Jacqueline’s insanity didn’t become apparent until the end of her six-season run). As long as a Housewife fits comfortably into the group dynamic, production gives her a wide berth. Outside of her spats with Danielle and her fervent support of Siggy, Dolores provided little worth mentioning this year. This week saw her and the Franks touring university options for Frankie, Jr. They called themselves the Griswolds but Beverly D’Angelo at least came through with that juicy Wayne Newton emotional affair storyline. Dolores gave us zip.

4. Melissa: I mentioned in my recap of the premiere that I felt some fondness for Melissa even as I knew she would proceed to bore the shit out of me with her fake storylines. Three months later, I’ve reached peak Melissa ennui. There’s a real existential bleakness to Melissa and Joe’s Rossi/Smiley dynamic. Even as I already know everything I could hope to about the Gorgas and their marriage, their vacant performance of this restaurant story is steeped in haunting meaninglessness. Are we all just sleepwalking through our existence like Melissa and Joe would have us believe they sleepwalk through theirs? Do we perform the C-plots of our own lives just as wanly? Things to consider.

3. Teresa: I thought it was big of her to have a sitdown with Jillian, making amends for past wrongs and feeding deliciously into Danielle’s victim complex. Otherwise, Tre spent the week gearing up for next week’s confrontation with Juicy Joe, where she will presumably read him the riot act for the horrors of their marriage. Given that said conversation will take place off camera in keeping with the rules of the federal prison system, I’m not holding my breath for fireworks.

2. Margaret: Marge, Sr.: “I’M WEARING MY JIMMY CHOOS BLACK, SO IF I HAVE TO GO AWF ON SIGGY I LOOK HOT.” / Margaret: “MARGE SENIOR YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO AWF ON SIGGY AND HERE’S WHY.” They could carry a spin-off if they wanted, these two.

1. Siggy: This is our first glimpse at Siggy since her very public parting of ways with the show, and there was something intangibly tragic about it all. She summoned her father for back-up in her anti-Semitism crusade and even he only half-heartedly cosigned her, acknowledging that Margaret had been careless but hesitating to call her an anti-Semite. She put on a big performance of ignoring Marge at the restaurant opening that came off more sad than dramatic. I don’t know. It was something like seeing a taxidermed lioness. You know the majesty was there, once, but looking at it now just makes you sad.

Next week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: hearing that it’s the finale, Kathy and Rosie drug the camera operators and steal their clothes in one last guerrilla attempt at stardom.

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