It’s now clear that Teresa really doesn’t live in New Jersey, or the real world, but rather in an over-sized playhouse covered in leopard and Swavorski crystals. Her daughters are her own personal Barbie dolls, and last night we experienced sensory overload in the form of hair accessories. Teresa forced her three eldest daughters (just wait until you grow hair, Audriana) to wear furry pom-poms atop their heads, making them look even more devilish than usual. There wasn’t a moment on the trip that these girls were without their hair bows, because what kind of impression of America would that leave on the Italians? “God forbid the accessory bag went missing! Holy crap. If one of her kids didn’t have a bow on their head she would make one out of toilet paper,” Jacqueline said. Teresa had even purchased custom-made dresses for the final dinner of the trip, from the Little Bo Peep’s Crack-Bender Collection. Have you noticed how little Gia has been rendered speechless of late? The harsh realities of show business must be getting to her (Jillian knows). Stage moms heed my warning: What you think is just a hair bow will quickly turn into years and years of expensive therapy bills.
In more moments of questionable parenting, Danielle pulled her daughters away from normal teen activities, like texting their friends, to bring the attention back to herself. She explained the betrayal she felt from Kim G. and how victimized she continues to be by Teresa etc. “Yeah they don’t really respect you,” said Christine, who is probably counting down the days until she turns 18, and if she’s smart, is not letting Danielle anywhere near her modeling checks. When the conversation turned to looking for her birth mother, her daughters applauded their mom’s efforts. “If you don’t find her still you made an attempt, you know? It’s not like you just sat on your ass and like didn’t do anything,” Christine said. “I don’t like that kind of language Christine…You’re too beautiful and too spiritual to speak like that.” So that means Danielle’s neither beautiful nor spiritual? At least she’s admitting it.
Danny, her fellow anti-spiritual anti-beauty, arrived, with news of the Manzo/Laurita/Giudice trip to Italy. (Again, check the bushes. We’ve yet to see where he lives. Just saying.) Danielle had bravely sacrificed her love of Franklin Lakes’ Paninis for her own safety because she was afraid of running into the enemies at the Market Basket: “I couldn’t let my kids walk around here safely anymore,” she said. Yes, because Gia keeps razor blades in her hair ribbons, and she’s coming for you, Danielle. But while the terrorists are away, Danielle will play, and she and Danny enjoyed a delicious lunch while pretending not to care about what the Manzos, Lauritas, and Giudices were up to in Italy. (“Don’t want to know!”) Is Danny more in love with Danielle or simply in love with the camera? It must be hard getting a job out of jail.
Back in Europe, there were plenty more travel tips to be gleaned from the trip to Naples and Teresa and Joe’s hometown of Sala Consilina (thank you Caroline for admitting you’re not the only one who had no idea what Teresa was saying).
1. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Joe felt that they were overcharged during their one night stay in Naples, and since he is obviously not a man of spirituality nor a man of beauty, he had no problem letting his most colorful thoughts fly in front of his parents, children, and the poor Italian bus driver. If he’s going to pay $1000 for a friggin’ breakfast, it better be friggin’ good and not just a friggin’ ham sandwich. The meatball doesn’t fall far from the sauce, apparently: “How stupid we are, we gotta come to Naples to let them steal our money? It’s bulls—,” Joe’s mother said. Of course there is a time and place for venting (publicly, on a tour bus, natch), but when you’re entering Joe’s hometown, yous gotta be behaved: “We gotta go eat and we gotta be civilized. No more bulls—ing around!”
2. If you’re going to hike up an ancient hill in a tiny Italian village, might as well bring a roadie. In fact, carrying a glass of red wine around at all times will make you much more enjoyable to those around you. Joe was much happier in Sala Consilina, thanks in part to his liquid pal, and Chris also made comments about getting drunk to help get down the giant hill they had just climbed. Good idea, or dangerous?
3. Speaking of wine, just like people, wine bottles deserve respect. Which is why an unidentified family member tucked a bottle ever so slightly into the stroller and pushed it around the town. Sorry Audriana and Nicholas, that is the ultimate precious cargo.
4. When you’re not quite sure of where you are or who you’re with, your best bet is to find a plate of pasta and hunker down in an unknown kitchen. Caroline felt awkward because she didn’t speak Italian, but luckily food is a universal language.
5. Be curious about foreign plumbing. The group arrived at their hotel in Naples, and the Giudices did what all red-blooded Americans do when they land in Europe: Play around with a bidet and make silly poop jokes.
6. If you’re traveling with elderly people, remind them at every chance you get that they are OLD. Jacqueline was trying to be considerate of the grandparents of the group by checking in with them when she learned Sala Consilina was one big vertical incline, but she wasn’t at all subtle and kept referring to them as “the old people.” Careful, those are the people watching your kids this whole time.
7. While traveling in another country, be sure to mention the person that you’re NOT at all thinking of back home. Jacqueline made it half way through the episode before commenting on Danielle: “Being in Italy it was kind of nice with the whole Danielle situation out of sight out of mind. I wish she would move to another country… or another planet.” Points for continuity!
Despite Teresa’s confusion on the country’s history (“Naples had this volcano, and it did erupt but hundreds and hundreds of years ago, or 60 years ago? Was it 60 years ago?”), she does speak Italian and was great at introducing all of her friends and family to her relatives. Even Joe perked up when saying ciao to his aunt and grandmother, and seemed genuinely interested in seeing the house he lived in as baby. Teresa was loving it, and made plans to fix up Joe’s father’s house (something tells me leopard print may not go over well with the locals). She’s hoping the checks from the Real Housewives will help pay for it, because Joe’s “businesses” sure won’t. After his profanity-laced outburst on the bus, do you think Teresa is finally realizing the reality of their situation?
Danielle did her best to invoke human emotion by crying alone during her confessional interview, but it’s hard to feel for her when the decision to look for her birth mother was obviously prompted by the fact that she’s on a REALITY SHOW, and that Bravo is desperate for story lines. (Could there be some truth to the claims that Danielle won’t be back next season? If so, buckle up for a lot more of Team Fabulous, family vacations, rounds of the ham game, and Ashley’s berets….maybe Danielle’s not so bad after all?). She hired a private investigator to begin the search for the woman who gave birth to her at 15. With only her “ethniticity” (Catholic, Italian) and her genuine positive thinking to go on, Danny’s crack P.I. (that’s a questionable recommendation, no?) warned her that this would not be a fast or easy process. “Nothing in my life has been fabulously easy,” Danielle responded. Um, who said anything about “fabulous”? She must have Teresa and her girls on the brain. She also seemed conflicted in whether she was willing to wait for the results of the search. “I waited 47 years…and if I have to wait another 10 years I guess that’s that’s what it’ll take,” and later, “I’m a little bit sad about it because I’ve been looking for her for 47 years.” But who cares, because Danielle’s all about the “proverbial” these days. Didn’t you notice that she used the word twice in one episode? Someone got a word-of-the-day calendar!
Was Joe completely out of line this episode? Did you feel bad that Caroline and Albert had to spend their precious vacation time hanging with Gabriella? Will Albert ever be able to pull himself away from work to spend more time with his wife? Will Danielle conveniently find her birth mother by season’s end? Does the walk up to next week’s Danielle/Caroline showdown look too much like the one with Dina earlier this season?