Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! It even saved a “wench” like Melissa Gorga.
No, there’s no mistake. We replayed the opening segment of this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey three times to hear the sweet sound of aspiring chanteuse Melissa belting out this little ditty at home while her husband Joe and their kids listen: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a WENCH like me!”
It should be no surprise that grace works in mysterious ways in Franklin Lakes, as everyone tries to figure out what it means to make contracts, break promises and love their neighbors, friends, family and fellow wenches.
The episode begins with vintage footage of Melissa singing and dancing on a table circa 1989. It’s awfully touching when she begins to cry in a video interview as she remembers how her father, who died when she was 17, was always so loving and supportive. He was the one behind the camera early in Melissa’s life.
Now she has Bravo, so you can understand her pain.
But singing always lifted her spirits, so Melissa’s latest ambition is to turn her passion into a career. We were surprised and impressed by Joe’s gushing support. He really wants Melissa to “sing on the side” as she raises his kids. Melissa too was impressed, admitting, “Joe likes me pregnant and cooking in a kitchen, so for him to encourage me — it’s amazing to me.”
Of course, Melissa also has the help of the awfully cute 22-year-old Antony, who is a member of Kathy’s church and noticeably younger than her husband. “He knows how to make it into a song, but I had the words, so I just kept texting him and texting him,” she explains to her gal pals on a shopping trip for a Chinchilla-trimmed parka at Erez.
We, too, want to support Melissa’s career. We suspect she has real Housewife potential and could find herself on iTunes in the miscellaneous Bravo section with LuAnn de Lesseps, Kim Zolciak and even Simon van Kempen.
Caroline, just barely past the “cold turkey” stage of empty-nest syndrome, also feels the need for love and support, and she isn’t afraid to let everyone know. She agrees to a morning of golf with hubby Albert. She thinks it’s a stupid game, but why should she miss an easy opportunity to wear her tacky fur vest during the day?
Like a sad, damp rooster, she hovers claustrophobically as Albert drives golf balls in no particular direction. Something has to happen, so there’s a cut to Caroline’s video diary showing her becoming almost tearful as she ruminates, “no laundry, no food!”
Boo Hoo, poor Caroline, with two less eggs to fry every day. Of course we’ve noticed that while she gets choked up, she never really cries. We can’t remember seeing actual tears rolling down her spray-tanned cheeks. And last time we checked, that was the sure sign of a phony.
At least she’s got a supportive husband who is also rooting for her career dreams. What with the three miscarriages she endured, not to mention her recently-launched blog on family matters, “Caroline Rules,” Albert thinks that she could really make it as a talk radio star. Caroline plays the part bashfully, staring down at the kitchen counter as Albert rubs her shoulders and tells her “to knock ‘em dead!” And when she nervously arrives at the local radio station for a preliminary interview, things do go well.
She might not have any experience on the air, but she has plenty of experience in life, she tells them. They say they’ll let her know in a few days.
One of our favorite television characters, Jerri Blank of Strangers With Candy, asks, “Dreams, what are my dreams?” in an episode in which she impressively and repeatedly fails to make any career plans. This seems to be what Ashley, Jacqueline’s indifferent and misguided daughter, seems to be wondering when she enters the house wearing that tragic lilac knit cap that sums up her personality. She’s living proof that chickens sure do come home to roost.
Her stepfather Chris has decided that she needs that new black Jeep she wants so much, and he’s agreed to make the first two payments. Even though Ashley only has a part-time job and a pay-free internship in the city, she thinks she deserves the car. “It’s not like I’m in and out of rehab,” she explains defiantly. Well, not yet anyway.
After pressuring his wife to co-sign for the car, the happy family heads for the dealership. Jacqueline spends most of her time texting while the paperwork is drawn up. We never cease to marvel at just how much Jacqueline seems to resent her first-born.
If only Chris and Jacqueline could have as fine a relationship as Kathy and Rich have with their two kids! They spend an evening together on the couch, drawing up contracts the kids must sign to define their upcoming relationship to drugs and alcohol. Victoria agrees not to give in to peer pressure. Young Joe says he’ll be honest if he does take a drink on the weekends during his junior or senior year.
We wonder what Kathy’s contract with Bravo says about her use of alcohol.
“I agree to slurp red wine from an oversized goblet in every scene I film,” followed by a scrawled “X,” is a good guess. Funny, it doesn’t make her any less dull.
If anyone needs a little grace this season, it’s a wench like Teresa Giudice, who seems hell-bent on destroying her relationship with her brother Joe. Last week she made a peace offering, leaving a heartfelt letter wedged in the door of his stately home, in an attempt to end the family feud. This week, he finally calls and asks to come to his niece Gia’s gymnastics meet.
Everyone’s excited about the potential reunion, especially little Gia, who starts sobbing. She may be as much of a diva as her mother, but she really misses her uncle and his family. At North Stars Gymnastic and Cheerleading, Gia anxiously awaits for Uncle Joe to arrive.
After an acceptable turn on the parallel bars, she flubs the vault. Later Gia admits she was looking around for her Uncle Joe and couldn’t concentrate. Teresa’s not too happy with Gia’s performance, a ribbon for seventh place, and she lets her brother know this when he finally arrives.
There wasn’t a shred of grace to be found in the building. Joe Giudice ignored everyone, Teresa complained non-stop, and Joe Gorga’s own mother didn’t care to spend time with his wife Melissa or their kids.
“I felt so empty,” Melissa confesses after the meeting.
Even worse, the poor kids, when separated, started sobbing. They don’t see their cousins much because their parents can’t stand to be the in same room together.
When it comes to this family “once they were blind” seems right on, but we can’t really finish with “now they see.” No, it’s just wretches and wenches from here to eternity.