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Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: Growing Up Jersey

8 Nov


I was hoping that this week’s episode would jump us right back into the action — when not even a heavy helping of Parmesan could heal the deep rifts of the group — but instead it looks like we’re first going to have to endure watching Siggy get injections in her tush. Nothing comes for free, my friends.

If you’re also a fan of Real Housewives of Orange County, Siggy’s trip to the doctor will feel very familiar. Just a few nights ago we tagged along as Shannon, with Tamra in tow for moral support, learned that her estrogen and progesterone levels were low. Siggy is the Shannon today, and Dolores is the Tamra. And guess what: Siggy’s estrogen and progesterone levels are low. Once the levels are restored, the women have balanced moods and supercharged libidos to look forward to. Andy Cohen, listen: I know I’ve pitched you a lot of shows, but you practically came up with this one yourself.

Hear me out: Siggy and Shannon rent a gaudy McMansion, inject each other with hormones, and try to make their husbands have sex with them. Siggy will not have an issue with this; Michael Campanella clearly adores her. Shannon and her husband aren’t doing as well, but — if my dreams for Shannon come true — she’s going to have an amicable divorce that benefits both of them (and their three kids) and she will find a boy toy who is obsessed with her. (Could also be a lady toy, as Shannon is always first to stick a dollar bill in a belly dancer’s G-string when the occasion arises — and it arises more than you’d expect.) Anyway, we’ll call it Siggy and Shannon: Hot Mamas (get it, because they’re having hormone issues?), and it’ll be the new No. 1 show in the over-54 demo.

As important as all that obviously is, the most important part of Siggy’s doctor’s appointment comes from Dolores. D is the kind of person who bites her tongue and keeps her opinions to herself — until she doesn’t. And when she lets loose, stand back. Enraged (understandably) about Teresa and Danielle judging her — remember that she lives with her son and ex-husband, but also has a boyfriend — she goes after both of them: “Teresa visits her husband in jail. Danielle’s been engaged 22 times. And they’re telling me my relationship’s weird? Thank you, now I know it’s good.”

And that’s before she addresses cheating allegations against Joe Giudice. Uhboy. Teresa is not going to like this one bit, and I’ll be honest: It’s not a twist I saw coming. For the record, Dolores isn’t saying anything we don’t already know, but Teresa is one of those people who believes that if you don’t talk about something, it isn’t real. It’s why she never says she went to jail, she says she “went away.” Even though we’ve pretty much seen televised proof of Joe’s cheating — he once excused himself from lunch at a winery to “take a work call,” and let’s just say that if he was indeed on a work call, based on what we heard Joe should get comfortable in prison. Anyway, it’ll be a different thing entirely for Teresa to hear that Dolores is throwing shade behind her back. Siggy jumps to Teresa’s defense, saying her judgment is cloudy given all the trauma she’s gone through recently, which OH MY GOD, SIGGY, I said the very same thing when you wouldn’t give her a break about that stupid cake! Grrrrrrrroan. Dolores has more right to be angry at Teresa (for believing Danielle over her old friend) than Siggy ever did (for throwing a cake). But listen, none of this matters nearly as much as the fact that in this very same scene, we get to see Siggy’s naked butt. Cool.

Marge Sr. pops over to Margaret’s in her “beep-beep” to say hi, and when she does, she has the exact same pigtails as her daughter (my love for you continues to grow, Marge Sr.). Margaret says she felt sorry for Dolores when Danielle gave her a hard time about her living situation. She actually said as much in the moment, but she got drowned out by all the shrieking brunettes. Here’s the thing: Danielle doesn’t actually have a problem with Dolores’ living situation, she just knows it bothers her when she talks about it. It’s the same way she (deep-cut alert) once derided Teresa for putting her young daughters in leopard print, saying she put hers in lace and crinoline. She later put her teenage daughter, whom she forced to model, in 8-inch heels. So grains of salt everywhere is what I’m saying.

Teresa’s family is in Puerto Rico, and my heart hurts. (I know I said this last week, but it’s hard not to repeat every time I type the words: If you want to donate to helping Puerto Rico, you can go to UNICEFFoundation for Puerto RicoUnited for Puerto Rico, and loads of other places.) While we’re there, we travel around with the Giudices seeing the island, frolicking in the ocean, meeting the locals…JK, Teresa just sits on a chaise lounge and does exactly what she does at home, which is talk on the phone to one friend about another. Today that first friend is Danielle, and the second one is Dolores. Teresa doesn’t understand why Dolores came at her at the pasta tasting. I’m not sure either, but I feel like it *might* be the fact that Teresa and Dolores have been friends for 20 years and yet Teresa chose to believe Danielle — whom she once threw a table at — when she bad-mouthed Dolores. That’s just a hunch, though.

Over at Melissa and Joe’s, it’s dinner time. Joe high-fives his 7-year-old son when he says he has three girlfriends, and then tells his 11-year-old daughter, Antonia, she’s not allowed to leave the house because she’s beautiful. Listen, I really like the Gorgas. They love each other and, as important, seem to really like each other. And maybe I’m being sensitive — especially given recent events — but I actually don’t think I am: This sort of messaging so early on worries me. Little boys are studs if they date around; Antonia can’t be let out of the house, because who knows what will happen to her. Melissa tries to talk some sense into her husband, who shuts her down immediately by insinuating (jokingly, you guys, I know!) that Melissa is ready to get their daughter birth control. I’m trying to bite my tongue here, because the whole point of this scene is to juxtapose what Teresa is like with her kids — lenient — but still. I don’t like. All kids should be careful, not just girls. Why not instead take your time and energy and put it toward teaching your sons about respect for women instead of teaching Antonia to be fearful? Oh my god, we’re only 15 minutes into the episode. Moving right along.

Margaret and Dolores’ dinner does not initially go as I’d hoped, mainly because Margaret doesn’t open with the fact that she took up for D at the Great Pasta Incident. And Dolores, god bless her, keeps defending Siggy against Margaret’s accusations that she’s a bit of a drama queen, while in her confessional agreeing that Siggy has been a bit unbalanced. Seriously, this woman is loyal. (Teresa, you bet on the wrong horse.) “If I have an opinion about Siggy’s behavior, I’ll share it with Siggy and only Siggy,” she says in her confessional. Sure, she’s also telling Bravo viewers, but I’m going to respect the fourth wall here because I desperately need a hero right now and Dolores is the closest we’re going to get. Dolores and Margaret actually get to the real stuff — Margaret shares that two of her kids won’t talk to her anymore — and this is officially the No. 1 new friendship I’m rooting for.

Back in Puerto Rico, Teresa talks to Milania — which I spell “Melania” every time and then remember that she’s named after “Milan,” which makes me happier — about hernonna and her dad. Teresa tells us that she was taught not to cry (which makes so many things make sense) and that she doesn’t want her daughters to grow up like that. Honestly, say what you will about Teresa Giudice — or even Joe Giudice, for that matter — she’s a good parent. Or at least…she really loves her kids and seems to have four really good ones.

The Gorgas are good parents, too — evidenced by Melissa’s shopping trip with Antonia. Melissa is trying to connect with her kid and asks what she should do to get her to open up more with her. Antonia says she’s too strict. (Over in Puerto Rico, Teresa feels a surge of power rip through her.) Later, as the Giudice girls give their mom attitude during a photo shoot, she says, “Melissa was right.” And THEN, at a trampoline gym, Joe Gorga tells Antonia that he’s going to trust her more. You guys, I just don’t know anymore. This is all very heartwarming, and I wasn’t prepared for it.

Ultimately this week was about the group seeing eye to eye, about empathy, about looking at things from a different perspective — growth that will undoubtedly be undone at next week’s Siggy-sponsored overnight retreat, where the central empowerment activity seems to be standing in a circle imitating and screaming at each other. I can’t wait.

This article originally appeared on

Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: Not Over It

1 Nov

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The title of this week’s episode gives me little hope that we’ll be moving on from #cakegate. Sure, there’s that faint glimmer of promise that “Not Over It” is a reference to the 2001 Kirsten Dunst rom-com co-starring Ben Foster and “Thong Song” impresario Sisqó; alas, I’m *pretty* sure it’s a reminder that Siggy is not over the Cake Throwing Incident of 2017. (Le sigh.) Though…I suppose it could mean that Teresa’s not over Melissa trying to give her parenting advice. Or Dolores isn’t over Danielle’s accusation that she’s been bad-mouthing Teresa. Okay, I guess it could be anything. (Fingers still crossed for Sisqó!)

We start at Margaret’s, and the shoe queen has just flown in from Vegas. As in just, like, she still smells from the plane and must IMMEDIATELY wash her “pits and p—,” which is one of the grossest combinations of words I’ve ever heard, and now you’ve heard it too. (I can’t shoulder the burden myself, you guys.) Some tangential business person we’ll never see again comes over with the express purpose of telling Margaret about the party at Siggy’s. Remember, Margaret missed Siggy’s epic, loony, out-of-line public humiliation of Melissa, which is actually sort of a shame: If there’s anyone who would have had the confidence to call Siggy out in her own home in front of her own friends, I believe it’s Margaret. I have mixed feelings about the Pigtailed One, but I do not think she suffers fools or wilts easily.

The Gorgas’ new restaurant is just about ready to open, and it’s strewn with family photos, which are lovely. Well, Teresa doesn’t think so, because they show off Melissa too much. Remember, Melissa recently critiqued Teresa’s parenting skills, telling her she’s too lenient with her kids, and Teresa’s mind is like a trap when it comes to cataloguing those who have wronged her. She will not rest until she feels she has evened the score. Though… honestly? Teresa’s compulsive need to start trouble when there is none is beginning to feel pathological, and I wonder if it’s less about being a vindictive human and more about self-sabotage. Everybody’s finally getting along and suddenly Teresa’s all, “You’re only a Gorga by marriage — if my brother divorces you, you’re not going to be a Gorga anymore.” On its face, it seems like Teresa’s just a bit of a snake, but I’m liking my self-sabotage theory more and more, if I do say so myself. If I were Tre’s therapist, I would tell her she deserves to be loved and ask her why she insists on pushing people away before they can do it to her. (That’ll be $175, please!)

While shopping for a trip to Puerto Rico, font of wisdom Gia lays some truth down on her mom. (Speaking of Puerto Rico, people there still need help: Here’s are links toUNICEF, Foundation for Puerto Rico, and United for Puerto Rico.) First of all, Gia does not want a bikini that shows off her ass. (Teresa thinks Gia should show off her ass, as it is a nice one.) Gia also thinks that Aunt Melissa is right, that Milania does work her mom and needs some better boundaries. “You don’t discipline us that much,” she tells Teresa, “because you’re scared we’re gonna hate you.” Gia, you are wise beyond your years. (And such a good kid!)

Ugh, now we’re with Siggy. I sort of willed myself to forget her, and listen, it pains me to say that. (Well, it pains me a little bit. Honestly, I’m okay with it.) I was a fan of the Sigster’s last season. She was fun! She was straightforward! She wasn’t weirdly obsessed with cake! And listen, girl, I get being obsessed with cake, but not in the way that you are. Siggy’s having dinner with her parents, who, by the way, seem wonderful, and OH MY GOD SIGGY’S TALKING ABOUT HER SON GOING AWAY TO COLLEGE AND NOT CAKE HALLELUJAH WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS.

Something must be in the air in Jersey (maybe another maple syrup incident), because pigs continue to fly over at Teresa’s. (Was that a mixed metaphor? Anyway, you get me.) Joe G. and Melissa bring the kids over to play with their cousins at the Giudice home, and Teresa, completely unprompted, apologizes to Melissa. In fact, she even admits that she was acting out because Melissa criticized her parenting (self-aware Teresa scares me), and Melissa, instead of just accepting this rare gem of an apology, antagonizes her further, iterating that Teresa is in fact too lenient with the kids.

Catch me every month on NBC Today in New York!

21 Mar


I’m late to post this but wanted to let you know that the last Sunday of every month, I now have the pleasure of sitting down with the delightful team over at NBC4 for the local New York show Weekend Today in New York, where I share Time Out New York’s picks for the coming month. (That up there is the lovely Gus Rosendale! Who I coincidentally went to high school with!)

So set your alarm—I’ll see you bright and early on Sunday, March 27, telling you all about the best stuff to do in the city for April. You can check out last month’s segment here. (And if you have a time machine, go do all this stuff, because it’s great.)

And if you can’t get up early, I’ll post the link from the web so you don’t miss a thing.

Wanna watch me eat 47 donuts?

21 Mar


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Sure you do. I had the distinct pleasure of spending a recent morning gallivanting about Bay Ridge with New York Live’s lovely Joelle Gargiulo. We ate all the donuts. (Okay, not all of them. There are still some left for you.) Special thanks to Mike’s and Leske’s for their generosity and delicious, delicious carbs. Check out the segment here!

Act like a baller during Fashion Week (without actually being one)

9 Feb

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I love clothes (#understatement) but actually find Fashion Week pretty intimidating. If you do, too, this segment for PBS’ MetroFocus has got your covered. Lots of fun, FREE stuff for all of us during the most sartorially awesome time of year.

When the lights go down in the city

15 Dec

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Hey, guys! Here’s me on PBS’ MetroFocus talking the insane and amazing NYC holiday lights to see during the holiday season. These are bonkers in the best way.

Sample some of the 100 best dishes in NYC!

27 Oct

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Sometimes my job is really, really hard. Like when I get to spend the day traipsing around the city with New York Live’s wonderful Sara Gore tasting some of the dishes that made it onto Time Out New York’s 100 Best Dishes list. (Oh wait, did I say hard? I meant amazing, easy and super delish.)

Check out the segment here!