I bring exciting news from the literary vanguard: Joe Gorga has written a book. That is, a book printed with his name and beautiful face – lips puckered as if he is about to make a wet fart, a classic authoritarian pose – now exists in the world. Congratulations!
As a journalist, I consider it my duty to thoroughly educate myself about my topics, so I read the free example of The Gorga Guide to Success: Business, Wedding, and Life Lessons from a Real-Estate Mogul (preface by Tiki Barber, of course) available on Kindle. Chapter one, entitled “You Gotta Have Balls”, begins: “You must have balls.” I love Joe and I love this. Five out of five stars. Since reading I have turned over half a dozen houses.
Teresa’s daughters are understandably confused about their father’s transfer to the immigration facility. As Milania points out, this place is in many ways ‘more of a prison’ than the previous low security prison that Joe was in, where he was not confined to a cell and could freely hug and kiss his children during their visit. No longer. (This season of RHONJ is now becoming one of the most compelling anti-ICE documents in pop culture right now, whether the people who live it realize it or not.)
Jennela’s 11-year-old daughter, Gabriella, was abruptly rejected by her friends because children are monsters, just like adults, who are often monsters. She confides to her mother that the girls she once lived with are now sending their friends to throw food at her, sorry? I feel ready to break a glass and threaten my closest reality television colleague with the shards, but Jennifer takes this news surprisingly calm: “Not everyone in life will like you.” (“Not everyone in life will love it You” was Bravo’s original slogan, which explains why the original title of Andy Cohen’s late-night show was that not everyone in life is going to like you.) Margaret will later suggest that in her fight with Jackie, Jennifer is a hypocrite: What if someone had made the same video about Gabby?
Dolores, who insists on not living with David without an “obligation,” but specifically dictates the placement of her coffee bar and kitchen ventilation in the house that she and her ex-slash – casual adult roommate are actively building for him, her close friend Tre decides to divert her problems by planning a trip to an “adult obstacle course.” Teresa is interested, provided that Jackie’s name is plucked from the guest list in favor of Danielle, despite the fact that everyone else has strong non-Staub positions expressed in not uncertain terms. “Her pussy ring can get caught in an obstacle and it can pull her crotch,” Marge argues. Although an unfair general opinion about America’s proud and capable pierced labia, that is an image that may never leave me. And isn’t that what poetry is about?
If Danielle Staub is RHONJ’s Michael Myers (there’s a Haddonfield, New Jersey, you know), then Margaret Josephs is our Dr. Loomis. She visits Gina, her and Danielle’s mutual friend. Do you remember the duke Danielle was working on for a while, about 43 seconds after she and Marty signed their divorce papers? Gina has dated him for seven months. “I just avoided a bullet,” Gina says, and certainly I am with her so far – but then she adds, “You take my bullet because she gave me a bullet.” I expect to lose months of my life trying to dissect that sentence. Gina claims that Danielle, a blatant violator of girl’s code, is ‘pure evil’. The blackest eyes, the eyes of the devil, the bogeyman, etc.
Melissa has hired a party planner named Larry in preparation for her 40-year party. “I love what you said about taking a photo of my eyeballs and putting it somewhere,” Mel G tells him, which, even in context, is a hair-raising sentence.
“Is there a theme for this party?” She asks.
“No theme,” he replies. “It’s an atmosphere.”
Melissa and Jackie leaf through Larry’s showroom for ideas, pass through huge chandeliers, a sequined jaguar, every piece of regretted afterwards wedding register in China that your aunts collected between the 1970s and 1985, a large glass jar filled with Charleston Chews, and another large glass jar filled with whether or not Slim Jims. It is an atmosphere. Perhaps in honor of Jennifer, Melissa accidentally shatters a glass jar and the two women flee without telling Larry. (I wouldn’t – I don’t want to hear how he would talk about Melissa’s eyeballs if he’s in a bad mood.)
It is a terribly cold day to participate in an outdoor obstacle course and the fact that Margaret clearly clearly did not wear enough layers, emphasizes me viscerally. Dolores has meanwhile chosen to hide her identity with the help of a neon-pink fur hood that always covers half of her face. At least she looks warm. Danielle arrives, but everyone nobly resists the impulse to shout even a single expletive. Golden stars all around.
The women split into teams of two – Margaret and Melissa, Dolores and Jennifer and Danielle and Teresa – to clamber over walls, swing over monkey bars and complete the kind of puzzles that are known to bypass the brain confidence that the cast of MTV’s The Challenge.
Teresa and Danielle are mysteriously named winners, despite completing the job a full six seconds slower than Melissa and Margaret. I am self-aware enough to know that if I were Melissa or Margaret – neither of them seems to care – this would be the injustice that I would froth around the reunion. I am not proud.
From there they will have lunch in the house of Dolores, where, after realizing that they are now stuck in a confined space with Danielle, probably everyone mentally notes the nearest exits and windows on the ground floor.
Danielle is preventively angry because he has not been invited to Melissa’s birthday party and is retrospectively angry because he has not been invited to the Jennifer event. She is also angry with Jennifer because on an earlier occasion she announced that her birth name is Beverly and even crazier that Jennifer did not apologize. Jennifer maintains that she has apologized; Danielle acknowledges that, oh yes, she did. Okay.
Marge jumps on her over Gina. Danielle talks about Margaret’s affair with Joe. “Prostitutes fuck married men, and you have fucked many more married men than I do,” Margaret snarls, as if she had them in the room. (Discussion question for the class: do you think RHONJ, for example, has developed into the least bit of anti-sex work in season 20? Me neither!)
Teresa predictably follows Danielle out to comfort her, which Margaret seems ironic, since it was Tre herself who, in the embroidery ring of our collective unconscious, uttered the most memorable sentence of two words – naturally focused on Danielle – in 170 episodes of this television program .