Um, wow. That's really about all I can muster after watching the first part of the three part "The Real Housewives of Jersey Shore" reunion, which is so far beyond crazy that I almost expected it to end in a spray of bullets or a cult suicide. With everyone so completely past sane, the unfortunate side effect is that there's almost no one to side with without feeling a little crazy yourself. Let's face it -- when Teresa seems relatively balanced, you know the situation is dire.
There's no slow build to the screaming, which basically kicks off shortly after Andy Cohen welcomes all the ladies to the show and plugs the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for bravely finding a room that could contain toxic quantities of hate and lip gloss. He does helpfully point out that Kathy's had a nose job and gotten lip fillers, and informs her he's flashing the yellow light in her direction, which is code for saying she's one bad lift away from looking like any one of the cast members of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."
Jacqueline, who ducked out of the season 3 finale, comes out with both barrels blazing, ready to pluck out Teresa's eyeballs like Spanish olives. After Teresa admits she doesn't miss her old friend, whom she hasn't seen since the Posche fashion show, the two get into a battle about who really set up who at the show, while Melissa and Jacqueline tag team in swatting away Teresa's usual defenses (You ruined my family! You're the liar, not me! My eyes are not crazy at all!). Basically, Andy sits back and protects his head while the girls bicker about everything from whether or not Teresa ever called Melissa a stripper to whether or not she yanked Melissa's arm as she was leaving Gia's little kid birthday party. It's sort of like what you might imagine happening at the mean girls' table at a 7th grade cafeteria, though with more fake breasts.
The only good part about Teresa and Melissa getting into it is that Caroline and Jacqueline take this little breather as an opportunity to pretend to be Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys on "The Muppets," whispering little snarky comments under their breath. At one point, Jacqueline grabs a pillow and pretends to conk out, because the bickering has gone on THAT LONG. And what fun is just listening to it when you really want to dive in? And gouge out Teresa's eyes?
Finally, Andy tries to turn things around by introducing a package about Nicholas, Jacqueline's autistic son. It's a short segment, but pretty much everyone except for Teresa is sniffling by the end of it, and Jacqueline herself is sobbing as Caroline chants, "He's gonna say that again, he doesn't say it anymore, but he's gonna say that again." Apparently, Nicholas has regressed and no longer says, "I love you," so good for you, Bravo, for finding a snippet of tape that is sure to make Jacqueline, who started acting completely unhinged in the first five minutes, potentially homicidal.
But who would Jacqueline want to kill? After all, this is a sad, poignant moment that's just about her kid, right? Well, no, because Teresa starts trying to take control of the steering wheel, jerk the conversational car off the road, and aim it right toward herself. Caroline promptly goes batcrap crazy. "Don't make this about you, or I'll go bleeping berserk!" Teresa, of course, eggs her on and calls her an old hag. Then, despite everyone wanting to take the focus off of Teresa for a hot minute, it goes right back to being The Teresa Show as Jacqueline screams at her for being insensitive to her suffering when Nicholas was having problems.
Andy does manage to ask some actual questions, though this is more like officiating a WWE match than moderating a panel. Is there any possibility of Teresa and Jacqueline being friends again? Teresa will only say, "I don't know," while Jacqueline sees no reason to answer the question.
It all gets a little nasty and silly from here on out. Caroline assures us that, despite evidence to the contrary, her doctors are wrong and she isn't going through menopause, which makes me wonder how old we're supposed to think she is, because honestly, I thought she was long past it, really. Teresa goes on the attack and outs Caroline for having had a tummy tuck when she was 39. Lauren, who had lap band surgery and has lost 35 pounds, comes out to attack Teresa herself, demanding that she spell the word "napalm." Teresa blinks. "NAPALM! SPELL IT! SPELL IT!" Um, okay.
We're supposed to infer that Teresa, who apparently (though she denies it) uses a professional writer for her blogs, wrote (or did not write) the word napalm in said blog, and spelled it with a Q. Which tells me that, if Teresa is using a writer for her blog, that writer is not a professional. And perhaps not a college graduate. And never saw "Apocalypse Now." Or knows what the Vietnam conflict was. It's a weird, creepy exchange, and not just for what it tells you about the New Jersey public school system.
Andy tries to find a happy place, pointing out that Teresa apologized to everyone in a magazine article, but the other women look like they're ready to yank him by his hair and toss him to the side so they all have a clearer shot at Teresa. Not that Teresa sits back and takes the assault. She and Kathy get into an argument about who has the cuter husband (Teresa makes little gagging gestures at the very thought of Richie) and at this point I'm thinking this has to be the last season of this show because no one wants anything to do with the one cast member who regularly shows up on magazine covers.
As Kathy and Teresa get into it, we hear what sounds like Michael Clarke Duncan having a fit backstage, but it's just Kathy's sister Rosie, which isn't that different. Rosie has heard Teresa make nasty comments about her dad, and she is NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT. And she isn't waiting for Andy to give her permission to storm the stage, either, at least from the sounds of it. I'm hoping that part two of this reunion kicks off with a massive slap down, in part because I think at this point everyone needs the tension breaker, and in part because I think Rosie is the only one who might be able to wipe that little smirk off of Teresa's face.
What did you think of the reunion? Do you feel everyone ganged up on Teresa? Do you think these ladies can work together again?
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