Caroline Manzo made a passionate statement about her love, loyalty and devotion to her family when she said, “Let me tell you something about my family, we are as thick as thieves and we will protect each other until the end.” I’m sure that when she said that, she meant it, but from where I’m sitting, “the end” comes the minute you sign a contract with BravoTV. The women who make up the casts of the Real Housewives’ franchises are proof that anyone who joins hands with this network is not going to survive in tact or have a happy ending. The fact that the people who take part in the New Jersey version are real families just makes it all the more tragic.
This Sunday, the new season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey begins and it already looks like return of the Borgias, except with Twitter accounts. I have a Twitter account and I use it to publicize my blog posts. I don’t know if anyone in my family has one – I haven’t asked and I haven’t looked. I don’t tweet to friends and I rarely look at my Facebook account. I call people on the phone and talk to them or send an occasional email, especially when it come to my family. That isn’t what happens among the Gorgas, the Manzos, the Lauritas or the Giudices. They take every piece of gossip or family secret, and publish it for the world to see. Then they read what everyone else has tweeted about them, and if they don’t like what it said, they block the owners of those accounts. Sounds just like the rest of us, right?
During the last Jersey Reunion, there was a pig pile led by Caroline, which was intended to eviscerate Teresa. Caroline, who once called Teresa “family”, claimed that they were never even friends. If that wasn’t bad enough, sister in law Melissa and cousin Kathy decided to rub a little salt in that wound, and call out Tre and her husband for all of their legal and family indiscretions. In fact, the entire last Season of Jersey was cringe worthy as we watched these families tear each others’ flesh apart, leaving us to wonder if there would be any family left at all. Jacqueline didn’t even have the courage to do her own dirty work. Instead, she hid in her house, tweeting up a storm and letting the Matriarch of the Manzo clan deliver her message with repeated body blows accompanied by a chorus of harpies – who just happen to be the target’s family.
I can’t say that I’m terribly fond of any of these women and their families. None of them have clean hands, and yet they throw out sanctimony and platitudes as if they were in line for sainthood. Each and every one of them has broken or bent a law, lied, gossiped, back stabbed and tried to destroy at least one, if not more, of their cast mates. Some, like Caroline and Jacqueline, bring their children into the fray, and then are appalled if someone calls them out on it. After all, in the family, the children are off limits.
We already know that nothing is going to get better as this Season begins. Everyone has thrown down their respective gauntlets and no one is letting go of the grudge matches. Teresa and Juicy are still up to their eyeballs in legal matters. I, for one, think that Joe should go to jail. He certainly isn’t helping his wife and, if he continues to act like Jackie Chan, those face plants are going to cost a fortune at the orthodontist’s office. I can’t help it, but I still look at Teresa as more than just the innocent bystander in their money issues, particularly after she told us that rule number one for going to court is to never tell the truth. She must sound like Mother of the Year when she’s teaching her daughters all of life’s important lessons.
Baby Joey and Melissa should work towards making amends with their entire family. The Gorga parents are not going to be with their children forever, and it is important that they have some peace of mind regarding how their son and daughter will relate in the future. Melissa would be wise to keep her sisters out of the loop and stop listening to their opinions about Teresa. They’re doing nothing other than feeding already overblown problems, egos and miscommunications. There may actually be a domino effect wherein the Wakiles just go back to being a nice family. Baby Joey should also consider staying out of his wife’s closet – it’s not as funny after the first 5 or 6 times you prance around in a jumpsuit and wig.
Chris Laurita has to put a muzzle on his wife and shut down her Twitter account. Her own daughter, who is no walk in the park herself, has told us that her mother is very good at stirring it up and creating drama. Maybe Jacqueline should do volunteer work to take up some of that idle time – like teaching teens about all of the dangers of texting and driving. Her husband has enough of his own legal battles to be babysitting his wife.
Caroline should also look into some other outlets for her free time. It might be a good idea if she helped her sons fill out job applications so that they can actually find real careers, and stop selling water that looks like motor oil – even if it does cure colds and cancer and enlarged prostates. If all else fails, Chris and Albie could go back to The Brownstone, and maybe Albert would realize that his apartment over the banquet hall is not really his primary residence.
If all of this sounds like I’m trying to get rid of them, well, then I’ve written this the way I intended to. I do want them to go away – at least from Bravo. They can say what they want about putting family first, but that’s not what is happening, at least from my perspective. They are putting fame, vanity, products and half-assed careers first. We’ve seen what that can do to each and every Housewife in each of their cities. They become mean, hateful, arrogant and vengeful. Many of them believe the press they get, and, all too often, engage in feeding the media sharks. There is a part of all of them that becomes deluded by their fame, and we’ve seen how ugly that can get. The only reason I think that this franchise is different – maybe even special – is that it is about families. LuAnn, Nene, Gretchen and even Jill, can walk away and their families will still be there. That may not be the case if the ladies of Franklin Lakes don’t start reassessing their priorities. I’m almost certain that there are any number of women in New Jersey who would jump at the chance to be Bravolebrities, and they don’t even have to know each other.