You guys know what’s really messed? I won’t even write “messed up” because what I’m about to write is so messed up that it doesn’t even deserve an “up” after the “messed”. It’s just messed. Therefore, in the spirit of defining the word: inviting your cousin over to your house for Christmas is the purest definition of messed, especially in Teresa Guidice’s opinion. In the 11th episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, my Jersey-Italian Goddess Teresa Giudice airs her annoyance about her cousin Kathy Wakile inviting her brother Joe over to her house for Christmas Eve-knowing full well that “he always spends Christmas with his sister.”
The episode begins with Teresa being dumbfounded by Kathy’s completely polite, totally normal gesture: “I feel like Kathy is definitely not being a good cousin to our family. Like, why would you invite my brother to your house on Christmas Eve? Kathy is kind of evil, right?” While I’m not sure if I would quantify inviting your cousin over for Christmas Eve as evil, I empathize with Teresa’s frustration since she is still trying to make up with Joe and doesn’t want Kathy interfering.
Using her most solid, morally relative argument, Teresa tries to convince her brother to stay by putting the blame back on Kathy: “I would never take one of her brothers away from her [on Christmas]!” And it’s true. Teresa didn’t invite Rosie over to her house for Christmas! She would never take away Kathy’s brother like that. After depleting her entire guilt reservoir, i.e. showing Joe his set plates at her table and reminding him that his daughter Antonia would be leaving all of her favorite cousins for Kathy’s adult party, Teresa has no choice but to take the high road.
The reality (on this reality TV show [you guys like that Meta concept?]) is that Joe Gorga is a big boy and if he wants to spend some time at his cousin Kathy’s house on Christmas Eve, it’s his choice. Despite emptying her entire guilt reservoir right in front of Joe (even Gia tried to guilt her uncle Joe into staying), Teresa agrees to stop pressing the issue, which seemed very prudent after she pressed the issue so hard it burst out and flooded her onyx floors. Let me press the analogy even more: if the issue were garlic and Teresa pressed it any more, she could have wiped out all the vampires on True Blood. So it was very good she stopped.
Over at Caroline’s house, Caroline cooked an entire Christmas meal for her family, except she neglected to change out of her pajamas and she doesn’t care, okay?! She wants all of us to know that Christmas Eve is the one day she’s not worried about her appearance. Besides forgetting to get dressed, I wonder if she forgot to invite my favorite Housewife in New Jersey history, Caroline’s sister and my girl Dina Manzo. While I love all my Jersey ladies, Dina Manzo remains my favorite Jersey housewife to date. Scanning the room, I saw Caroline’s sister Cookie and I saw her other sister Nettie but sadly I didn’t see Dina. I’ll be sure to let Caroline know that I expect the situation to be rectified by next Christmas.
At Kathy’s house, Christmas looks extra fun and delicious: Kathy installed one of her abundantly yummy-looking dessert stations. Getting things on and poppin’, Kathy and her sister Rosie are filmed sipping on Patron (blong blong blong). Dressed up in a cute red number, Kathy looked flawless and even Rosie looked amazing wearing a white button-down with her hair slicked back in a 3-fade. Also, how comfortable did Rosie look sipping on Patron? Even though Rosie tried to play coy: “You getting my mother drunk over here [on Patron]?” I could totally see Rosie sipping on Patron in a rap video, slapping video vixens on their derrieres. Love me some Rosie.
The Wakile love extended all the way back to the Manzo house, where Caroline deliberates about inviting the Wakiles to the Brownstone for New Year’s Eve. While Jacqueline claims she wants to be a loyal, good friend to Teresa by not putting her in an uncomfortable familial-conflict position, Caroline says that it’s her party and she’ll invite who she wants. So it looks like Rich and Kathy will be getting the official Manzo invite pretty soon. Although the Manzos might have to beef up security since Albie and Chris swear that Rich Wakile “looks just like Jeff Goldblum”. I can sort of see the resemblance… if Jeff Goldblum felt out of a tree and hit a few (very rough) Rich-Wakile-branches on the way down and fell on his face. No one can deny the slight dopplegangerian nature of Rich Wakile and Jeff Goldblum but there is a far more notable celebrity to discuss in this episode. We’ll get to that later.
At this juncture, I’d like to briefly discuss the most important part of Christmas: the presents. Since it’s “Baby Jesus’ Birthday” (pronounced “Babee JEEZUSES Burrfday”), every New Jersey family had to go all out in the presents department. Melissa Gorga admits that she likes to “go big” on Baby Jesus’ Birthday and she didn’t disappoint. The Gorga house looked like the Mattel factory exploded all over her great room. Melissa didn’t do so bad herself, either. Although I was slightly confused at why Joe Gorga bought Melissa a Louis Vuitton travel bag, considering he wants to keep her locked down in the baseement in the conveniently located recording studio he had built for her. While Melissa is touched by Joe’s support of her singing career, Joe has a slightly different take on the home-recording studio: “I locked her in. Where is she now? Here with me!”
Another big, balling Baby Jesus’ Birthday present was the bling-bling diamond ring Albert Manzo gave Caroline (at the exact same location they got engaged in several decades earlier-somewhere under a New Jersey turnpike). I love the Manzos because they have a good sense of humor about themselves, and as Albert got down on one knee to give Caroline the ring (he was so nervous the first time he forgot to get down on one knee), she was like, “I hate you!” It was very sweet to say the least, because she meant “I love you, you’re too good to me,” and I thought that was very cute. You can only say “I hate you” in a cute, loving way when you have a great marriage like Albert and Caroline do.
What wasn’t so cute was the other Manzo big, balling Baby Jesus-Birthday present: jewelry. Officially, I still can’t get behind the black diamond Infinity “we are family forever!” bracelets. Admittedly, the gesture is thoughtful yet still slightly tacky-corny. Even Caroline said it was corny but that she didn’t care. So there you go. However, this New Jersey Christmas, nothing was tackier than the bejeweled (suede?) black coat (looks like a Knight’s Templar-cloak) that Joe Giudice bought for Teresa. Although she claimed it wasn’t as bad as the beige Louis Vuitton Joe bought her one Christmas… and I’d probably agree with her on that had I seen it.
Nothing was worse than Ashley Holmes not buying her parents anything for Christmas. Forget about the fact that they just bought her a car, Ashley didn’t feel bad about not getting Chris or Jacqueline anything. She was like, “Whatever.” Perhaps Ashley should have taken a cue from the Wakile kids. The most touching Christmas present of all was the HP laptop that Kathy’s children Victoria and Joseph saved up their entire allowance to buy her. Even sweeter was the card that Victoria wrote her mother, encouraging her to pursue her dreams. Choked up with emotion, Rich didn’t know what to say but, “What is [Victoria] freakin’ doing to me?” The Wakiles seem like a tight-knit, loving family and I admire their humility considering the head of their household is Mr. Jeff Goldblum!
Outshining even Jeff Goldblum’s star-presence, The Real Housewives of New Jersey had a very meta-celebrity-moment with the introduction of the Manzo Family’s newest closet, celebrity friend: Alex Ray Joel, aka Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel’s beautiful, talented-singer-songstress daughter. Before Alexa Ray Joel was officially introduced as a “close family friend”, Albie and Chris Manzo are shown arguing about their clothing and hair choices for their big night out on the town (to see Alexa’s performance that evening). Albie pleaded with his brother not to embarrass him in front of Alexa and Chris responded by telling Albie to “leave my presence”. Knowing how nervous Albie was to see Alexa, Christopher obliged him by giving him a hard time about his hair, which is what brothers do.
At Alexa Ray Joel’s concert that evening, the Manzos got some one-on-one Alexa Ray Joel-time. However, they didn’t get any one-on-one Christie Brinkley-time (on camera), since Christie (I presume) didn’t want to be featured on camera. Luckily, they got plenty of shots of Christie being Christie: being beautiful, smiling and walking around the party. There was just never any official RHONJ on-camera time with Christie Brinkley, sadly. Things got a little awkward when Albie tried to make a cute joke to Alexa about her self-deprecating “I’m an old maid” joke. I’m sure Albie can do better than, “You want a milk… since you’re an old lady, you know?” but he probably just felt nervous under the heat of the moment and couldn’t bring himself to be razor sharp (as he usually is).
Normally, Caroline is also razor sharp, but I cringed when I heard the expression “children of privilege” come out of Caroline’s mouth just a few too many times. Normally, people of privilege don’t use the words affluent and privileged to describe themselves, especially in comparison to Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley (they got that ‘Piano Man’/Supermodel-money), but I can’t really fault Caroline too much for that. She was just being honest and she really wants Albie and Alexa to get married and have like, ten thousand of their own Joel-Manzo babies. However, according to Albie, all of this Alexa Ray Joel-talk might be futile if “she can’t make sauce”, since any women he’ll be into will know how to do so. Ablie shouldn’t be so short-sighted: Alexa Ray Joe is a dime piece and I’m sure she can hire someone to make sauce for him! Be sure to stay tuned for more saucy recaps of The Real Housewives of New Jersey!
Photo Courtesy of Bravotv.com