Welcome to www.hudsonreporter.com’s first recap of Bravo TV’s reality series “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” which premiered on Tuesday night. Since parts of the show were shot in Hoboken (see the narrative below) and some of our readers either know the women depicted on the show – or want to be just like them – we thought we’d have Hoboken-based comedienne Eileen Budd do a regular writeup of this immensely popular program.
As you’ll see as you read on, she knows of what she speaks.
Please let us know your opinions at the end. The more commenters, the merrier!
Episode 1: ‘Thicker Than Water’
“Let me tell you something about my family – we’re as thick as thieves." So says the matriarch of the Italian-American family that owns The Brownstone restaurant in Paterson and who also happens to be one of the stars of Bravo TV’s latest “Housewives” entry. The fact that she chose the analogy of “thieves” to her Italian family may or may not have been intentional, but the irony was not lost on me…
Before you give me grief for making fun of Italian-Americans, let me point out that I have license. I’m the daughter of two Italian parents and I have the mustache to prove it. I am also proudly New Jersey born and raised – a product of the Nutley school system just like Martha Stewart.
(Apparently, though, I must have missed that economics class on how to turn anal retention into a lucrative empire.)
I’m not denigrating my fellow “Jersey girls.” The gaggle of gals on the Real Housewives of New Jersey is actually surprisingly cultural. Knowing that Native Americans left so much of their mark on the fair state of New Jersey, the girls make an effort to keep the culture alive. In fact, their conversations are peppered with beautiful, rhythmic Indian words like “wimme,” “wichoo, “whad-e-ya,” and “wim-me-a-yu.” Here, let me give you an example:
“She don’t know whether she wants to go the party wimme or wichoo – so whadieya think about her goin’ wimmeayu?”
Okay, so maybe one of them didn’t say that exact sentence, but you get my drift.
I wanted to go into this ready to rip the show apart and LMAO. But to tell you the truth, I was disappointed that it wasn’t the train wreck I thought it would be. Maybe I’m just used to having these types of people in my life, so I wasn’t particularly appalled. I actually liked some of these women.
In fact, I found these housewives to be refreshingly open. While they may think discussing theoretical cosmology with Stephen Hawking might be about how to apply under-eye concealer, at least their conversations are honest and real.
Let me introduce you to the gang.
The gang Caroline – The queen bee. Her husband Albert runs The Brownstone along with his brother and kids. Like a good Italian mother, she washes and irons her twenty-something-year-old sons’ clothes so they’ll be prepared for their wives to do the same when they get married. She’s living for the day when one of her sons becomes a lawyer and the other opens up a “respectful” strip club. After all, isn’t that every mother’s dream? Caroline runs a tight ship and I wouldn’t want to mess with her. Give her a hard time and you might wind up as a meatball simmering in a big pot of revenge sauce.
Dina – Sister of the queen bee and also her sister-in-law. No, it’s not some lame riddle. She’s simply married to Albert’s brother, Tommy. I recognized Dina from some other reality show, “My Big, Obnoxious, Ostentatious Wedding,” or something similarly named. Dina spent over $500,000 just on wedding flowers and insisted that a $500 Swarovski crystal butterfly be placed on each bouquet. Dina is supposed to be an interior designer but after one look at her garish home décor, it’s pretty clear that Dina wouldn’t know tastefulness if it flew out of her Swarovski crystal butt-erfly. Her etiquette is not limited to decorating either. While missing shots on the tennis court, she makes the excuse that her “boobs are too big for tennis” then follows that with, “I’m sweating my boobs off.”
Clearly, Dina has a love-hate relationship with her boobs.
Jacqueline – Sister-in-law to the above via marriage to husband Chris. Originally from Las Vegas, she feels somewhat out of place in New Jersey. Luckily, the tacky clothing and over-the-top family parties probably give her comfort as they evoke memories of Las Vegas revues. She is described as having “a heart as big as her boobies.” Do you detect a theme here? So far, she seems way too normal so I’m guessing she’s into a kinda Siegfried and Roy tiger bestiality sex fetish. Time will tell.
Danielle – Divorcee, tramp friend of Jacqueline. Danielle is a 45-year-old former model who’s proud of her hot body that she adorns with tight, mini cocktail dresses and embroidered velvet sweat suits. She says people either “love me or hate me,” which, apparently is true because she’s been engaged 19 times. That’s a lot of guys. That’s even more men than the number of Hudson County politicians who’ve been indicted this year!
Danielle was having phone sex for two years with a guy she met on a dating site called wealthymen.com. As she prepared to meet the man she only knew as “Gucci Model” for the first time, a friend cautioned, “He sounds like a faker to me.” Danielle responded, “Yeah, that’s what intrigues me.” After waiting one and half hours at Hoboken’s own LUA restaurant, it dawned on her that her date might be a no-show, prompting her to leave this message on his cell phone, “Have a good life or die – I don’t care.” Intriguing.
Theresa – my favorite. She complains that people accuse Jersey girls of having big hair and big nails but it’s not true. She says she used to have them in high school but doesn’t anymore. Here’s a newsflash, Theresa: Yeah, you do. But I love you anyway. Anyone who can walk into a furniture store and plunk down $120,000 in cash for some wood and upholstery to make her house look like a “French chateau” is a woman of distinction in my book. Theresa dotes on her three girls and is the perfect New Jersey mother. She tries to bribe her kids to do something by saying, “Mommy will give you gum.” She refers to her husband Joe (in the construction business, of course) as “delicious and juicy.” Joe resembles a human zeppole. God love her delusional, little soul. But love is blind, especially when you get to build and furnish your very own custom-made French Chateau.
Don’t think that Theresa doesn’t have trials in her life though. She has to deal with challenges just like the rest of us. I felt her pain when, knocking on a friend’s door in the rain, she pled, “Hurry up, my hair’s getting frizz.” Theresa expresses herself in clichés. “To each his own – that’s what makes the world go round.” “Not my cup of tea.” “Happy wife, happy life.” I’m hoping that she’ll eventually utter my all time favorite, “Go s--t in your hat.” Everyone in my family used to say that. It was their version of “Have a nice day.”
The Housewives from other regions were snarky and full of themselves so it was easy to trash them. But these homies are different. They care about their families. They care about each other. So I found myself caring about them.
The O.C. ladies may have skinny, Botoxed bodies. The Atlanta be-atches may have perfectly sculpted weaves. The N.Y. socialites may have expensive designer outfits. The Jersey girls might not have class, but they have something money can’t buy – they have heart.
Stay tuned….. -- Eileen Budd What do you think? Comment below!