Go away little girl
I’m going to do something different this week partially because I’m so fed up with the Ashley story line that I’m going to get it over with up front. As my friend Barney from Staten Island says about Ashley, “Can we chip in to buy her the months to get her to her 21st birthday?” The episode opens with the continuation of her disrespectful attitude toward her mother, Jacqueline, who is crying downstairs in the restaurant. Ashley’s father tells her that until she can pay her bills and move out, she has to listen to her parents. Ashley is busy texting while her father is talking to her and he has to tell her to put the phone down. I’m sure Ashley was texting something important like there’s a buy-one-get-one free special at Hats N Things down at the mall.
Her father tells her, “Time to grow up,” while her stepmother is too preoccupied with adjusting her own earrings to really get involved unless the conversation changes to something more meaningful like the benefits of a leverback vs. studback earring. Even though Ashley’s dad brings her downstairs to apologize to her mother, she won’t. Stepfather Chris tells Ashley, “If you don’t follow the rules, I’m gonna throw your a** out.” While Chris tends to his crying wife, Ashley and her dad go back upstairs. Ashley’s father seems to get stuck with the restaurant bill, which is only fitting since he is flying back to Texas and even a $500 tab is a small price to pay to escape seeing that puss on her face every day.
Even Ashley’s cousin, Lauren, is disgusted with her because she hasn’t come through with her assignment to design and order T-shirts for the opening of Lauren’s business. “I want to shake you,” Lauren chides, but Ashley is so annoyed that she doesn’t even want to do the T-shirts now. She makes excuses for her laziness by saying she’s had to deal with her mother/stepfather/father drama. Lauren calls her on her crap. “You’re playing the ‘poor me’ card.” Remember, Lauren is Caroline’s daughter and she has no tolerance for people trying to put one over on her. You can see that Lauren is restraining herself from pulling Ashley’s hat down over her face and smothering her.
After everyone trying to talk sense into the girl, Ashley tells her mother and stepfather that she’s going to go ahead and move to California and go to school there anyway. When Jacqueline tries to protest, Ashley responds that it was her idea to begin with and says to her mother, “You’re such a bitch.” Then she goes up to her room to make a call, and yells down, “Mom, shut up.” Sure, I had my moments of disagreement with my mother growing up. But if I ever got anywhere near the B word or told my mother to shut up, I would have not only had my mouth washed out with soap but my father would have further punished me by forcing me to eat her lumpy mashed potatoes until I gagged. Ashley pushes the envelope until Jacqueline finally dispatches Chris to go into Ashley’s room and kick her out. He tells her to call one of her friends to come and get her. Yay, Chris! Ashley has become as welcome in the Laurita household as Gerard Depardieu on an Air France flight.
So sue me
Teresa and Joe go to the lawyer’s because Joe’s ex-business partner is suing him for allegedly forging his name on a document (which Joe acknowledges he did). Joe takes it in stride, sipping on an espresso like he’s simply at the Italian social club talking about soccer. When he’s told that he has to pay $260,000, he laughs and says, “That’s what you get for telling the truth.” First of all, since when did attorneys start serving espressos to their clients? Do they have to pass the bar exam AND a barista exam these days? Second, whatever is in that coffee that is making Joe laugh at the prospect of being in the hole for over a quarter of a million dollars, Starbucks better find out and start selling it to everyone who has a 401K.
Teresa is off the hook as she was dropped from the case. But her lawyer cautions that with the possibility of an auction of their goods, she might be seen like Imelda Marcus. Apparently, T. doesn’t get that it doesn’t look good that if they declare bankruptcy it may not be so smart to walk around in whatever it was she was wearing that apparently was from a former living creature and dyed red to complement her Jimmy Choos. Fortunately, Joe is a supportive husband because he good-naturedly declares, “Tre gets to keep her shoes.” And T. sticks by her man even though she says that her Jewish friends told her, “I would’ve left him and divorced him in a second.” What???? I’m shocked. Teresa has Jewish friends?
So everyone reads the story about T. and Joe in the paper and on the internet and they all feel sorry for them and don’t want to bring the subject up with them. It’s a good thing T. is making money by writing cookbooks now. Maybe she can collaborate with some of her Jewish friends on a new cookbook and call it, “From Meat Balls to Matzah Balls.”
The goddess within
Kathy is throwing a tasting party to gear up for her catering business. She’s making Middle-Eastern goodies and wants her female guests to “embrace their inner goddess.” She prepares by having some spiritual guide come over to her house to smudge it. ( A smudge stick is a bundle of herbs that are burned so that the smoke can cleanse the negative energy.) When Richie hears the smudger has arrived, he exclaims, “I didn’t take a shower yet.” By the way, Richie is wearing yet another weird set of specs every time we see him. How many pairs of glasses does this guy own? He’s like the Jersey version of Elton John. Spaced out Kathy, who looks like she might have taken a toke or two off the smudge stick, feels relieved that the house has been cleansed for everyone, “Even if we move away from each other.” “Where the hell you movin’ to?” Rich wants to know. If ever there was a case to be made for the idea that opposites attract, Rich and Kathy are the poster children for it.
The day of the tasting party, Melissa shows up early. She obviously wants to let her inner goddess out through her back because her red top is backless except for a few chains holding the cloth together. Rich brings home a bottle of holy water declaring, “You need to have an exorcist perform while Teresa is here.” Melissa, responding to the idea of holy water being thrown on Teresa, replies, “Teresa will say ‘I’m melting.’ ” Well, we now know that in addition to her reference to The Little Mermaid last episode, Melissa must have seen at two movies in her life, the other being The Wizard of Oz. That Melissa is quite the sophisticate. Melissa finds it necessary to divulge to Kathy that Teresa thought Richie may have a crush on her. Kathy isn’t fazed. She merely labels T. “clueless” and then she waves her hands back and forth across her face like she’s playing peek-a-boo but instead says, “cuckoo-cuckoo.” Despite the fact that Teresa may be the Jersey Girl version of Mrs. Malaprop, she’s far from being cuckoo. If any cuckoo was going to be coming out of a clock at the stroke of midnight, I’d put my money on Kathy.
The rest of the gang starts arriving. Caroline is delighted with the Middle Eastern food because she’s travelled “beyond the scenic Jersey swamplands” to such exotic locales as Jordan and Abu Dhabi. Of course the big difference between the Jersey swamplands and the Middle Eastern desert is it’s a lot harder to bury a body in the sand. Plus it never decomposes. Finally, T. arrives, fur and all, to make her special mark on the party. It’s cold out and Teresa states, “We’re supposed to get a Norwegian.” Unless T. was talking about a cruise ship, she must have meant a nor’easter. “I guess intelligence is a different language for Teresa,” Kathy tells us. Uh, Kathy, I hate to tell you, but your sentence didn’t exactly make grammatical sense either.
When T. heard it was a goddess party, she was expecting naked guys passing food around. “I would’ve done things differently,” she said snarkily. Yeah, she probably would’ve had a male Norwegian stripper named Thor. Not to be outdone by Kathy’s catering aspirations, T. tells the group that she and Joe are opening up a restaurant. She’s going to be a hostess and wear a beautiful gown and tell everyone how to cook. That’s an interesting move for someone who doesn’t even have the $260,000 to pay the person who sued them. What are they going to pay him off in – braciole? But Kathy, who wasn’t previously aware of T.’s restaurant plans, quietly throws in a dig saying, “There’s nothing wrong with a fancy pizzeria.” That’s right, Kathy. Hoboken probably has about 10 pizzerias but nobody greets you in beautiful gown in any of them.
T. then disses Kathy’s food because there’s parsley in the salad. “It’s too grassy.” For Italians, parsley goes in the sauce, not the salad. “I can’t believe you made me eat that,” she blames Jacqueline. Then the discussion turns to Kim G., and T. starts trouble with Melissa over their friendship. Melissa, who is actually trying to be nice, says she hadn’t known there was an issue between Kim and Teresa because she and T. hadn’t talked in years. That sets T. off. “Years?” she counters in disbelief. “Didn’t you come to Audriana’s first birthday?” Melissa gets distracted by someone else talking to her and T. snaps at her, “Hello – I’m speaking to you.”
Thank God Kathy’s surprise breaks the impending doom. A belly dancer comes in and Melissa lights up. “Oh, she’s hot.” (Maybe Melissa once swam “in the lady pond” as Bravo’s Andy Cohen likes to put it.) But T. doesn’t see things the same way. “I don’t see the fit. Is she supposed to turn me on or something?” Uh, Teresa, the fit is the party has a Middle Eastern theme and a belly dancer is a Middle Eastern icon. T. is on a roll finding fault with everything. Most of the women are dancing and having a good time including Jacqueline who “lets out her closet whore.” T. is not dancing though. Instead, she’s busy belittling Melissa and her outfit, calling it “Boardwalk – something they would sell at the Jersey Shore.” Well, T., I think you just blew your chance to be BFFs with JWoww and Snooki. Too bad – ’cuz they do have $260,000 and they’re not going to lend it to you now.
Next episode: It’s a party for Richie and Kathy is blowing smoke out of both nostrils. Is she smoking a hookah or a smudge stick?
For recaps of prior episodes, see below.
Eileen Budd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here. Check out her latest prose piece at asininepoetry.com.