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The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Ol’ Salty’s Revenge

Vulture.com logo Vulture.com 2/20/2020 Molly Fitzpatrick
a woman holding a wine glass: Bravo © Bravo Bravo

This week, RHONJ comes in hot — figuratively hot, anyway, considering this is a cloudy day in early June and you know it’s got to be, like, 64 on the beach. We’ve got cabanas at Jenk’s, we’ve got boardwalk gift shops filled with what can optimistically be described as future trash, and, most important, we’ve got the Holy Alcoholic Trinity of piña coladas (served in those long novelty glasses that are themselves tall enough to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl without an adult), Bloody Marys, and Coronas. My first thought is that if Jersey Shore Family Vacation got renewed for another 15 seasons, it might look something like this. My second thought is that, actually, Melissa is only 16 months older than Pauly D.

Joey Gorga wants to know where David is. He’s “workin’,” Dolores shouts back, like she’s dating Roscoe the bed-bug dog. On the grounds that Frank is her “soul mate” and that they should get back together and that, hell, he’d even pay for the wedding, Joe wants to know why they won’t let him smash their two Barbie (and/or Oscar statuette) mouths together and kiss already? Dolores lays a quick peck on the father of her children to shut everybody up, but in interviews, she and Frank (who talks about his infidelity like it’s something that just … happens to him, like he ought to be tied up for his own safety under a full moon) confirm that they have zero intention of reconciling. Sorry, Joey, this marriage is yet another thing you’re not flipping.

At dinner, the gang orders the least towering “seafood tower” in the history of humankind’s dominion over sea life, and Jackie destroys her husband, Joe Gorga, and Teresa in a beer-chugging contest. Two tequila shots in, Jennifer — who, while visibly pained not to have been the center of attention during the contest, nevertheless stood up and shouted color commentary throughout — inquires of Jackie, “You know how to suck a bottle, but you can’t suck a dick?” I have two thoughts about this. The first is that this, effectively, is the same sin Joe Gorga committed against Bill at Margaret’s party: publicly chiding someone about a supposed deficiency in their marital sex life. Rude! Uncomfortable! Don’t love it! The second is that treating a penis exactly as one would treat a beer bottle does not sound like it would make for ideal oral sex, particularly if a recycling bin is involved at any stage.

We aren’t shooting with a high enough camera speed to appreciate just how neck-breakingly quickly this spat, theoretically between Jackie and Jennifer, metamorphoses into the One True Fight between Margaret and Jennifer, who remain residually pissed at each other after trading snipes at breakfast. Margaret s---s on Jennifer’s stay-at-home parenting; Jennifer s---s on Margaret’s parenting in general. “The only achievement you’ve ever had is marrying someone rich,” Margaret says, flinging the biggest fistful of feces yet. “You’re lucky he stays with you.” Way harsh, Marge. I’m calling unnecessary roughness. This stupid argument is no fun! Who am I supposed to root for? Currently, the most likable party at the table is probably a discarded oyster shell.

The next morning, Melissa, Jackie, and Margaret patronize what must be the single most generic mini-golf course within 200 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, which features (a) some rocks, (b) a mini-lighthouse, I guess, and (c) an upsettingly vivid dyed-blue waterfall. Teresa, Jennifer, and Dolores — who clearly wishes her social allies had chosen a less extreme extracurricular activity — go parasailing, which falls short of its full potential when Jennifer’s nausea burps fail to escalate into truly unforgettable midair nausea pukes that, according to a little-exercised clause in all Housewives contracts, would have guaranteed her a spot in the cast for at least three more seasons.

At lunch, Jennifer changes into a “Sorry Not Sorry” shirt she had custom-made to troll Jackie. “Okay,” Jackie responds.

Sorry not sorry to our esteemed ’Wives, but the events I’ve summarized in the last few paragraphs are mere filler. The men are the main, deranged event this morning. After trading Tim Allen growls and guttural guten morgens (masculinity is a hell of a drug), the men board the Ol’ Salty II for some deep-sea fishing, which would be more accurately characterized as deep-sea drinking while wielding large poles with pointy eye-stabbers dangling from them.

They pour vodka into their mouths. They pour tequila into their mouths. They pour vodka and tequila simultaneously into their mouths. They don’t sing the songs that remind them of the good times, but it’s possible that footage just didn’t make it to air. It is truly a miracle of Saint Jägermeister, patron of both Ocean County waterways and that boardwalk game where you catapult rubber frog carcasses onto lily pads, that no one stumbles into a watery grave. I hope they did a head count back on land, just to be safe.

Bill, in particular, is rocking a BAC as inflated as the volume of his saltwater-tousled hair. His brother-husbands rechristen him Tony the Turk, a.k.a. the Turkish Guido, and in lieu of a traditional baptism, Joe Gorga unbuttons Bill’s shirt and massages his chest hair. “Only in Jersey Shore, man,” the good Dr. Aydin says, which is surely the grammatical equivalent of What happens on Vegas, stays on Vegas.

By the time they get back to the house, Bill is nearly unresponsive and mumbling softly to no one in the back seat. Frank takes it upon himself to hoist his ex-wife’s co-worker’s husband onto his shoulders, clonking Bill’s head, hard enough that we can hear it, into the car door. On the bright side, Bill doesn’t seem to mind, or notice.

All the men carry him into the house together, like pallbearers who decided, not incorrectly, that the body would sure be a lot lighter if we ditched that stupid coffin, and deposit him into bed next to Jennifer with minimal explanation. Bill, entirely motionless but with his sunglasses still on, looks like he’s being Weekend at Bernie’s–ed. Is there a doctor in the house? Like, another one? One who’s conscious, ideally?

Melissa, having, I guess, drawn the diplomatic short straw, is dispatched to officially sever ties with Danielle Staub on behalf of the entire group (technically, Teresa voted “present” on impeachment) over smoothies. Reluctant to accept her fate, Ol’ Salty I demands to know exactly what high friendship crimes and misdemeanors she committed, so Melissa helpfully reminds her of how, for one, she just recently perpetrated an act of violence against Marge’s ponytail, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (I originally typed “Hair-itage” but discovered I have too much respect for you, and myself, to go through with it.)

But Danielle, as she tells it, was “influenced.” She’d felt satisfied after she dumped out Margaret’s bag (“We’re f---ing even,” she did say!), but it was boutique owner and double-first-name owner Steven Dann who suggested Danielle pull Margaret’s hair in the first place — and none other than the Hon. Rev. Teresa Gorga Giudice, Esq. who encouraged her to go through with it.

Pffft, like there’s footage of that,” I say to myself. “Why, yes, there is footage of that,” responds the astral projection of Andy Cohen who intermittently manifests in my living room.

I can hardly believe it when the tape starts rolling. “He wants me to pull her ponytail,” Danielle whispers in Teresa’s ear. “Yeah, you should,” Tre responds without hesitation, then hisses, “Do it,” not once, not twice, but eight times.

Oh, me of little faith! Is this misleadingly edited or captioned? Possible! But this is truly wild — I feel like I just watched the RHONJ adaptation of The Jinx, and not just because I’m confident Teresa “Hot Mic” Giudice has no idea how to spell “Beverley.”

(Sorry, Beverly.)

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