I almost wasn’t able to write this recap of the RHONJ finale. I fell down 18 stairs and suffered a sprained ankle and a contusion. I had to get a CAT scan. But I heard you were talking about me, so here I am, and I’ve got some shit to get off my chest.
The paint is dry on The Real Housewives of New Jersey season eight, and all in all, it was a treat. It wasn’t flawless. There were dud episodes, the solo storylines were weak, and there will need to be some resetting of the pieces next year to compensate for the loss of the incomparable Siggy, who stared too long into the face of God and was driven to gibbering madness. But the conflict was consistent, the drama was genuinely mind-bending at times, new hire Margaret did a bang-up job, and of course, we were reacquainted with Danielle. It was an inauspicious end to the season for our prodigal heroine (the gossip rags claim her hardballing the producers to cut her bathroom quickie from the show got her proposal excised as well, and it came out today that one of her 19 ex-fiancés is suing her), but I remain hopeful that we’ll see Danielle out in force at the reunion and back in her rightful place in the opening credits for season nine. Maybe a bit lofty if she’s already threatening production with legal action, but hey. A girl can dream.
Let’s put this sucker to bed.
5. Dolores: It was a patchy season for Dolores, all told, but I came away appreciating her contributions. No one else was up to the difficult task of plus-oneing Siggy Flicker, and it often paid dividends (even in this finale, it was Dolores’s snitch-texting that brought Siggy to Margaret’s party). I doubt Dolores will ever be a heavy hitter, but she engaged with the material and I appreciate that. Now sort out your ex-husband situation because *tugs at collar*.
4. Melissa: Melissa Gorga has always operated on the principle that if she stands still enough, no one will see her and she can’t get fired. This strategy has delivered yet another victory. Pound for pound, Melissa probably contributed the least to season eight, but that one party where she stepped in as Siggy Flicker’s human dartboard was sublime and more than earned her paycheque. The restaurant storyline remained mysteriously unresolved in the finale but I wish the Gorgas every success in what will surely be a lifelong business venture.
3. Teresa: I can’t help but feel a little snookered by the resolution of Teresa’s plotline of seeking reparations from Joe. I may be the last person who’s still all in on the Giudices and their jailbird drama, and I took very seriously the possibility that this story might end in a surprise divorce declaration. But of course, it ended with an apology, and a declaration of Teresa’s recommitment to her marriage. Gullible me. I don’t think the matter is resolved, though, not by a long shot. I’ll have to wait for Tre’s 18th autobiography to get the closure I seek.
2. Margaret: A fine end to a fine debut season. Margaret refurbished her ballroom to look like the Black Lodge, mounted a fake horse, and kicked a convalescent out of her birthday party. No one navigated RHONJ8 better than the new girl, though her penance is to be hounded by the primeval rage demon Sigalit for the rest of her waking days so I hesitate to call it a pure win.
1. Siggy: One last glorious bait and switch from Siggy Flicker, nightmare queen. I was struck by the soft lens on her footage with her college-bound son. She seemed tender and caring, a reflection of the Siggy we met back in season seven. And then she bailed on Margaret’s party with a suspicious and convenient injury (and admit it: you all thought she was faking it too), only appear out of the mist like a Tammy McCall Browning vengeance wraith, to upstage Margaret at her own birthday party seeking the truth (read: pity, attention and revenge). Siggy’s journey from the hospital to the party was a genius stroke of insanity, a victory of spite over physical pain, and the aspirational height of pettiness for which I watch this program. A perfect grace note for the character, barring whatever unspeakable fuckery she’s sure to unleash at next week’s reunion. Brava.
Next week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion: we all wait, with bated breath, for a Twitter army reveal that may never come.