So, the finale of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" kind of called to mind a drunken argument outside a college bar, which would be more amusing if any of these people ever a) went to college or b) were in their early 20s, when such abject stupidity seems to come with the territory.
I could recap this blow by blow, but I'd rather not have a brain aneurysm and really, there's just no point. The long and short of it is this: a bald man named Angelo walks up to Melissa at the Posche Fashion Show (which seems neither posh nor fashionable) and tells her that he knows her. And how does Angelo know Melissa? He claims that she stripped at a bar he managed. Quelle horreur!
Stripping is apparently a terrible, very bad thing which causes the housewives and their loved ones to fall back in their seats a la "Downton Abbey," swooning and calling for smelling salts. Only Kathy is willing to point out that she doesn't care whether Melissa's stripped or not. Hey! That's an excellent point! Too bad no one else gets it.
Anyway, Teresa discovers this scandalous factoid about Melissa while visiting a salon the day before the event. Angelo intends to humiliate Melissa by exposing her dreadful secret to all of her friends and family! Who would never imagine she could be a stripper or anything!
Teresa does not believe this awful man (yes, she does)! She has every intention of defending her family (not really)!
After Angelo stops by Melissa's table and CLEARLY chickens out ("Hi Melissa! I remember you! Um, okay, bye!"), Teresa decides that it's up to her to make sure the finale has lots and lots of drama. She corners Melissa in the bathroom and informs her that Angelo has been telling people she's a former stripper! And she thinks they should join forces, Wonder Twin style, to confront him, that bad, bad man!
Melissa, who maintains she was a BARTENDER and not a stripper, hello, decides to call her husband instead. Teresa is appalled. Joe might come by and knock the crap out of Angelo! He'll wind up in jail! And Angelo might reveal, while being battered and bloodied by Joe's teensy tiny fists, that this was all Teresa's idea in the first place, maybe!
It doesn't matter anyway, because after blowing his big reveal, Angelo skanks off into the night anyway. There will be no fisticuffs tonight -- but that doesn't mean there won't be drama.
But, as dramatic as everything is in a post-adolescent "oh ma God, did you hear what SHE said?" kind of way, from this point forward the plot only becomes more convoluted. It's what I imagine things were like at the palace of Louis XIV, though the stakes were a bit higher and the clothing was much classier. Caroline and Kathy and Jacqueline text friends, each other, probably pay some bills, who knows what -- they spend a lot of time on their phones. There is general tension. Then, Joe arrives with Rich in tow, which doesn't serve much purpose, as we all know Rich is a lover, not a fighter.
Joe not being an idiot, he is pretty quick to sniff out the real trouble maker (given that Angelo isn't around to pummel) -- Teresa.
Poor Teresa. I thinks she really believed she'd be able to have her cake and eat it, too -- she'd get to out Melissa as a stripper AND come to her defense, simultaneously embarrassing her sister-in-law and making her feel indebted to her at the same time. Of course, such a devious plan is far too complex to be well-executed by a dim bulb likeTeresa, especially not in this high tech age. Teresa would have been much happier hanging out with Louis XIV, who did not have cell phones or Facebook.
Soon, Jacqueline is revealing to everyone that a friend of hers texted her that she heard Angelo revealing his devious plan well within earshot of Teresa. Teresa is stirring the pot! Caroline smirks, as she seems to have been the only housewife committed to hating Teresa throughout the season, and this is justification for her making that horrible face like she's just drunk spoiled milk in every episode.
While Teresa is soon the focus of everyone's collective ire, there is, of course, plenty of blame to pass around. Joe picks a fight with Posche Fashion Show owner Kim D. and accuses her of being a drunken drug addict, which incites her to point fingers and scream that she hangs with the big boys. Um, the big boys of fashion shows? I'm not even sure if she knows what she's nattering on about. Joe just wishes she were a man so he could slug her. Aw, that's so chivalrous in such a caveman kind of way.
While everyone is waiting for their cars on the sidewalk, having determined that the evening has been pretty thoroughly ruined, Teresa is inside the restaurant having a grand old time. She just wanted to help her sister-in-law! This is all Jacqueline's fault! She stirred the pot, not poor widdle Teresa! I'm not sure why Jacqueline hasn't learned that no good deed goes unpunished in Teresaworld, but I think in this episode she's finally going to figure it out.
When a few of Kim D.'s friends try to convince Teresa that, despite Melissa's claims, she WAS a stripper, you can practically see Teresa pant with excitement, then remember the camera is right next to her head. "No, no, I'm not listening to this!" she tells Bravo viewers. "I am a good person who does not wish my slutty sister-in-law ill in any way! Are you recording? If you're not, I totally want to hear this gossip, but if you are, I'll stick with my original statement."
Finally, just as everyone's about to roll away in extremely large cars, Teresa emerges from the restaurant, her eyes as wide and Bambi-like as she can manage. She just wanted to protect Melissa! She wanted to join forces with her to confront Angelo about his salacious lies which are probably true! Her brother Joe doesn't care. Melissa doesn't care. They are, like, totally over Teresa. Again.
Most importantly, Jacqueline is totally over Teresa again, too -- especially after Teresa stomps up to her and asks her what she knows. Poor Jacqueline tells her what her friend said and what she passed along. A-ha! Shoot the messenger, Teresa! "Maybe you're the one who set ME up!" Teresa screeches at her former BFF. Huh? Oh yeah, Teresa thinks this is all about her. How silly of me to forget.
Teresa tries to foist her crazy on Joe and Melissa as they drive off, but they're not interested. Jacqueline disappears, leaving Caroline to wonder how she's going to drive her home if Jacqueline's under a table somewhere sobbing. I guess she does it, though, because the next thing we see is a cut to the reunion show (which takes place twelve hours later -- not much of a reunion, really).
Jacqueline refuses to come to the reunion, because she can't bring herself to look at Teresa. Melissa, however, can bring herself to look at Teresa, and screeching ensues. We will get plenty of that next week, as this will be a three-part reunion special (aren't they all?) and it will probably be very much like most of the "RHoNJ" reunion specials, as everyone gangs up on Teresa and she bugs out her eyes like a Disney ant with very well-coiffed extensions and innocently says, "Who, me? I'm just an innocent widdle thing!"
Do you think Jacqueline and Melissa are really done with Teresa? Are you done with Teresa, too? And would you buy one of Kathy's cannoli kits?