Yes, there's a line — really
Aftershocks: Andy Cohen crosses the line with post Real Housewives of New JerseyDanielle breast ridicule
What would you do if Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Danielle Staub said to you, “I wanted to talk to you about my breasts?”
Readers, we’re full of questions too. But don’t think last night’s episode was all silicone and light. The melodramatic shenanigans were nothing compared to what went down this week.
Danielle’s no longer focused on her sex-tape scandal. Instead, she’s visiting the Wayne Surgical Center. The combination of a staph infection and scarring make her breast implants a nightmare: “It’s hard, it’s cold. It doesn’t get to body temperature,” she tells Dr. Kassir.
It’s no secret that infections of this variety can have severe health consequences for women: Chronic pain, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Later, Danielle’s smooth-talking surgeon, Dr. Fiorillo, calls Danielle’s situation “one of the worst cases I’ve seen in 15 years,” and during the procedure (Danielle’s fourth!), “One of the biggest deformities ever.”
What an opportunity Bravo had to educate its viewers. But there was nothing therapeutic about the brutal filming of Danielle’s breasts, nipples barely blurred, for the whole world to see.
It’s hard to remember this level of exposure on any of the Housewives franchises, all of which deal with cosmetic surgery. Is Bravo so desperate for excitement in the wake of Dina’s departure that it must resort to making Danielle a circus sideshow?
The kids in Franklin Lake aren’t faring much better. Ashley shows up at Chris and Jacqueline’s house, dragging her feet and wearing that same sad knit cap that embodies her teenage angst so well.
There’s an uncomfortable indifference resonating in the trio, and suddenly Chris raises the idea that maybe Ashley should move back home with them. They share a three-way hug as Ashley returns to the nest. Nobody mentions boyfriend Derek, or how Ashley is going to spend all her free time back at home.
And Albie, usually the upbeat prankster, admits with obvious shame that he has flunked out of law school. But this is the first we’ve heard of his learning disability. “It takes me like three times to read something before I understand what’s going on,” he says, and our hearts go out to him in light of his shattered dream. Caroline starts to show her true colors around the incident, first calling her son’s professor a “jackass” for proposing another career path.
She weeps for the cameras while asserting the tired maxim, “nothing is easy in life!” Thanks, Mom, that’s so helpful.
And then she rises in fury, demanding that Albie shouldn’t ever let anybody tell him he can’t do anything. But later, when the family celebrates daughter Lauren’s graduation from makeup school at a local sushi bar, Caroline goes all tough-love, saying coldly, “He can’t cry poor me, he has to do something about it!”
And later, when a guest commits a social blunder at Teresa’s housewarming party, Caroline admits that she would “choke” her children if they ever did such a thing. That tough love is, in Caroline’s case, pretty tough.
Teresa’s housewarming extravaganza could have made Liberace look like a minimalist.
When Elvira, the bitchy party planner, arrives Chez Teresa, she’s not holding anything back. Why is there no pool, Elvira wonders? Why no live-in help? Why are the rooms in Teresa’s gargantuan house so suspiciously barren?
This, readers, might be called textbook foreshadowing. We’re sure we’ll have more to report after the reunion show, but suffice it to say now: No wonder Teresa practically slammed the door in Elvira’s face.
Still, Teresa and Elvira share a similar vision: Studio 54 crossed with the Bellagio. That may be the only party at which gold lamé furniture would be welcome. In a video interview Teresa promises fire-eaters, break dancers, acrobats: “all dressed in black, mafia style.” And with husband Joe in a purple-sequined dress shirt, what else could a party need?
Other dramas ensue — the drunkenness of Kim D, the scheming of Kim G, the town’s “double agents” — but it’s hard not to see all of this as anything but a desperate distraction from some impending disaster. And despite Teresa’s bravado and Caroline’s interventions, Danielle’s presence still manages to hold sway over the party, even as she recuperates quietly at home.
But the biggest shock came on Andy Cohen’s post-episode Watch What Happens? Danielle was present to answer hostile questions and perform her new single, which she described as a “tortured lullaby.”
We thought Andy was setting her up for failure, but Danielle certainly puts New York’s Countess de Lesseps, la chanteuse du jour, to shame. Sadly, the joke was still on Danielle, whose surgical consult was doctored to include the head of Dina’s scabby cat, Grandma Wrinkles, superimposed on Danielle’s nipples.
Really, Bravo? It’s bad enough that two of the Housewives franchises feature women with significant emotional instability. But this trick is enough to make anyone side with Danielle despite of her usual thuggish behavior.
Be careful, Andy Cohen, or you’ll be the one everyone is calling garbage.