Young talent & old-man poetry
Aftershocks: It's party time on Real Housewives of New Jersey — start singingkids
With this ring, I thee snub.
No, this isn’t what happened on Bravo’s Bethenny’s Getting Married. That ceremony went off without a hitch. But who knew an old engagement ring and an overhyped Sweet 16 party could be the stuff of Danielle’s hostile takeover of The Real Housewives of New Jersey? With clan Manzo sinking into utter and unrepentant dullness in the kitchen, we’re left wondering if the show won’t end up being re-titled Danielle and Her Two Daughters.
Move over, Ashley. After weeks of decorous absence from the show, it’s Christine’s turn for the spotlight. But whenever Danielle, or any of the housewives in any of the cities, calls a party planner to the house, we fear the worst. And as we expected, sweet Christine’s Sweet 16 party turns out to be all about Danielle as once again she turns her checkered past into a soapbox for her own self-aggrandizement.
Christine’s coming of age is, of course, an opportunity for Danielle to reflect on her own youth. What grandstanding as she claims, improbably, “I didn’t have a birthday party until I was 47!” It seems she also “didn’t hang out with 16-year-olds” when she was 16. But let’s not think too much about what that really means. Danielle’s written about it all in her tell-all autobiography TheNaked Truth.
Christine proceeds with a spirit of generosity hitherto unseen on the show. She won’t accept a party just for her. She wants a charity benefit. Mom grits her teeth a bit and forces out a smile before claiming credit for her daughter’s altruism. After all, Christine also wants to invite her seemingly estranged dad, Tom.
Wait — wasn’t that Danielle’s idea?
She doesn’t want any trouble with her ex and his new wife, so she decides to wear the seven-karat engagement ring he gave her. Why did she keep it? If we’re to believe the commercials, savvy housewives across America are getting top-dollar cash for gold through the mail. As she grips his new wife in the tightest clinch this side of a boxing ring, she seems to be waving the ring in her husband’s face. Or was she just excited for darling Christine?
Even 11-year-old Jillian couldn’t escape mommy’s machinations. Danielle wouldn’t hear of a family party without a performance from her talented younger daughter: “Jillian has been songwriting for three years now ... I must be doing something right,” she asserts.
Poor Jillian looks like she’d rather be starving at a garret in Paris than performing at anyone’s party. Of anyone in Franklin Lakes, Danielle understands the fear of being judged.
“When you create something, you’ll be worried that people won’t like it. That’s the way of all artists,” she explains. We suppose she knows this from her extensive experience with partly ghost-written autobiographies.
Still, Danielle won’t hear Jillian’s refusal: “You’re going to be bigger than big!”
And why waste all those years torturing her children into high publicity careers? Hell, if “Count-less” Luann de Lesseps, buxom Kim Zolciak, and Mommy Dearest can bang out the hits, why shouldn’t an 11-year-old start climbing the ITunes charts? Spangled headbands and stretch-pants don’t buy themselves, you know.
There seems to be a ring on every finger this week in Franklin Lakes. While Danielle’s daring stunt raises eyebrows at Christine’s party, over at Chez Giudice, jewelry is on everyone’s mind as well.
Happy music composed in a major key is in the background as Joe plays Monopoly with three of his daughters. Teresa enters carrying her newborn, and while Joe buys Boardwalk, Teresa announces their upcoming 10th-wedding anniversary.
“Don’t you think Daddy should buy a big gift for me?” she asks tiny Milania. After all, she explains, she “pushed out” four kids for him in the past decade. Joe looks at the board and sees the luxury-tax square with its gleaming diamond ring, and a light-bulb seems to go off in his square head. Wow, what clever foreshadowing from the Bravo editors!
On the big day, a seemingly recently-waxed Joe hesitates over what to wear. Teresa worries that she doesn’t look sexy enough. Actually, in her garish red satin cocktail dress, she looks like an enormous box of valentine chocolates. Joe surprises her with a helicopter ride over Manhattan, something they’d intended to do on their honeymoon. Later, as they enter their suite at the Jersey City Westin, Teresa struggles to make out the large “10” spelled-out in rose petals on the bed.
There had been some hints from Teresa that Joe might compose a poem for her on this special occasion. Funny, we’d never noticed the collected works of Emily Dickinson on his bedside table. He’s a trooper however, and later at dinner he recites for Teresa and the cameras his extemporaneous ode: “Roses are red, violets are blue, Roses are… beautiful and so are you.”
As hackneyed as it seems, we couldn’t help falling for it. And what wife wouldn’t be thrilled to find an enormous yellow diamond, hiding in the middle of her individual Bundt-cake during the dessert course, even if it’s slathered in frosting? Joe quickly rinses it off for her.
As the thrilling anniversary winds down, Teresa explains that “Love is in the eyes of the beholder.” Or Beauty. Whatever, Teresa. The point remains that she knows her Romeo has a few flaws, but he’s still the man for her. Then she straddles him on the bed and mimics a cowgirl with a lasso, all the while admiring her new ring.
After Danielle’s legal coup last week, the wheel of fortune has spun around and the ring is definitely on the other finger. Ashley, of course, has only one finger in mind for Danielle.
“This is the beginning of your consequences,” Jacqueline warns. Unrepentant Ashley sulks in the backseat as Mommy tears through town in her black SUV. Jacqueline scolds the whole way to prepare her daughter for a preliminary perp walk as she picks up a summons from her post office box.
Ashley mutters from the backseat: “I can’t believe she went to court over hair extensions.”
But she’s still got a twinkle (or is it blood?) in her eyes: “And her little dog too,” she chants.
Ashley may fantasize about her own legal revenges (“I’m going to counter sue her”) but as Danielle made clear last week, ding dong the witch isn’t dead yet.
With all the slaps, slurs, and almost-slugs we almost missed her clever quip: “Karma is such a big bitch. It’s a bigger bitch than I am.”