Thursday, July 29, 2010

Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: "Siiing! SIIIIING!"

Hurray! Finally an episode that didn't revolve around Weavegate 2010. Kind of refreshing and not headsplosion-inducing, don't you think?

We start out with the Giudice family playing a game of Monopoly, which is kind of hilarious seeing as they kinda live their lives like one giant game of Monopoly, all reckless spending and soaring success that immediately dovetails into crippling bankruptcy.

During the “Monopoly game” (read: daughters screeching and climbing on things, the littlest ingesting several hotels like a tiny Italian Godzilla), Teresa brings up she and Joe’s impending 10 year anniversary. Not by saying something like “Wow, how great, I love you” or anything like that, but with “Hey girls! What should daddy buy me!” I love how the reason for their current financial situation becomes more and more clear which each episode this season.

Next, we pop over to Danielle, who is engaging in some reckless spending of her own! See, Christine, her daughter/supermodel/basket into which she puts all of her eggs hopes and dreams, is turning 16. This is a very momentous occasion, her living 16 years, and requires an extravagant party to celebrate. Christine seems pretty whatever about it, but Danielle is dead set, so this shit is going to happen! Don’t worry though, the party is “for charity.” It’s unclear exactly what this means though. Are they selling tickets? Are they going to donate money? Probably what they are going to do is the tried and true celebrity staple of “raising awareness,” wherein people have a “charity event” where all they do is talk about something serious, at some point. (I still remember an episode of LA Ink where Cat Von D had a concert to “raise awareness” for cancer.) Sigh.

Moving on! After a brief stop at Caroline’s for the requisite weekly “what are you going to do with Ashley” chat, Jacqueline and husband head over to the Giudice’s for some…quality time, maybe? I couldn’t really tell what it was, since they didn’t eat a meal or play a game or anything. They mainly just drank wine and then segregated themselves via sex. Jacqueline and Teresa chatted like monkeys about how Joe better buy her an expensive diamond for their anniversary, and the menfolk talked about how Joe has no money and Teresa is expecting something huge. Shit like this makes me glad I’m gay.

Next it’s off to the Manzo household, where Albie has some exciting news! Apparently he has decided to join the police academy while waiting to get back into law school…? He justifies this by saying that police academy is “basically like law school” and it’d be really helpful for him to know how to “think like a cop” when he is a lawyer. Yes. Being a cop is just like being a lawyer. Yes. More likely, it seems like he’s doing this for backup in case he doesn’t get back into law school, but whatevs. They made him shave his head, which looks good.

But enough of the Manzos! It’s time for a private concert at the Staub hive! You see, Christine is not the only talented Staubspawn. No! Turns out the other daughter, Jillian, is a very talented singer-songwriter, who has been “songwriting” for about 3 years now (since she was 8?). So, since she is this huge talented singer, she has decided, TOTALLY on her own, with NO prodding from her mother, to perform a song at the big super sweet sixteen. Danielle proceeds to go into the other room to check on her progress, and after much prodding, gets her daughter to sing a few bars before daughter breaks down into a puddle of tears. Yay parenting!

While Danielle creepily coaxes her daughter into submission, we zoom over to the Giudice’s for Teresa and Joe’s big Giudiceaversary! A spectacular celebration, starting in an oh-so-romantic mid 00’s SUV ride to a heliport followed by a champagne drenched 1 hour helicopter ride over Manhattan (“Ay, wassat big park in da centuh of da city?”). After the pilot boots them out of the chopper, they head to the final part of the evening: a fancyish dinner at a sorta-nice hotel almost in New York Cityyyyyy! Tres romantique! The two eat big stupid steaks and drink wine out of big stupid glasses in their big stupid room while being attended by a big stupid butler. During the dessert course, the big stupid waiter brings a big stupid cake for Teresa that has a big stupid diamond ring in it. Teresa coos and squawks and hoots and hollers, and then the two have big stupid guidosex. Happy 10th babyyyyyy!

With that done, it’s FINALLY time for the big SUPERRRR SWEEET SIXTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN! Everyone is all gussied up and ready for a good time. While her daughters get ready, Danielle greets all the entering tweens like they are her peers and mugs in front of the step-and-repeat. Yeah, there was a step-and-repeat at a fucking child’s birthday party. Terrible.

Also in attendance was Danielle’s ex-husband and father of her children who showed up with new wife in tow. The guy looked way more normal than I thought he would. For some reason I was expecting some sort of greasy slicked hair Persian dude or something. Danielle and her ex were surprisingly cordial to each other, considering Danielle’s track record for crazy. She did decide to wear the engagement ring he gave her though, which is kind of nuts. But, not as nuts as she could have gone, so kudos to her.

After all the guests have arrived and the tweens have finished surreptitiously drinking Boone’s Farm out of Gatorade bottles, the events begin in earnest! First, Christine is carried out on the shoulders of a large black man, presumably supposed to be her bouncer or something? I don’t know, it didn’t make much sense. Maybe they couldn’t afford the four shirtless men dressed like Egyptians that most terrible girls have at their Super Sweet Sixteens on MTV.

After Christine makes her entrance, she tells everyone to STFU because it’s time for her sister to sing her song! Jillian gets on stage and sings a little Hilary Duff-ish diddy about loving her sister and it was cute. Everyone cheers, and Danielle gets on stage and is all “LOOK AT MY DAUGHTERS! MY DAUGHTERS! MY DAUGHTERS!” like a more jovial version of Angelina Jolie in Changeling. I believe at some point she also calls herself “the best mother in the world.” Which, just…yeah, no.

And that’s it for this week. Jacqueline also yelled at her daughter at some point re: weavegate, but it’s to the point where that literally happens every episode, so it’s not even worth mentioning anymore. Next week it looks like the shit really hits the fan between Kim G and Danielle and there’s a big blowup at a restaurant (where else) and Kim G tells Danielle she has no friends and “fake square tits.” Yowza! Can’t wait for that weird messy train wreck.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Danielle takes back the night.

Country Club Smackdown: The Aftermath. That is what this episode dealt with. That, and so much more. Let's begin, shall we?

This week's episode begins at the Giudice foreclosure palace, where Teresa is busy preening/torturing her daughters to make them all nice and pretty to go out with their daddy to... taekwondo practice. Yeah, I'm not an expert on martial arts, but this seems unnecessary. In fact, wouldn't all those barrettes in their hair be potentially dangerous if they got kicked upside the head?

Which is, in fact, what happens. Sure, it started out with some martial arts-y stuff, kicking and stretching and stuff, but by the end of the practice Gia was just tossing her sisters across the room and slamming their faces into the practice mat for fun. It looked more like that Girl Scout catfight from Airplane! than taekwondo to me, but maybe I just need to study Korea's national sport more closely.

Next, in a nice bit of editing, we move on to another child taking fighting lessons. Only this time, it's a child in the body of a fortysomething sociopathic ex-con. Yes, Danielle, Dark Lord of Staub-dor, is taking self defense classes to learn to fight back against Teresa and her taekwondo child soldiers. She even learns a specific defense tactic for when someone grabs your weave. Really! She did! Things start to get kind of weird when the trainer names his right and left hands "Teresa" and "Jacqueline," and Danielle starts wailing on them. Her daughters give eachother nervous looks, like "Oh jeez, here goes mom being nuts again." Oh the things those eyes have seen...

Across town, Teresa heads over to Posche to apologize to Kim D. for making a big scene at her fashion show. Kim D. says it's no big deal, since she wants as much screen time as she can get. As a peace offering, she hands Teresa a gigantic mimosa in a pimp goblet and the two rag on Danielle for a little bit and talk about how great a person Teresa is. She maintains that she was just being friendly, saying hello and calling Danielle a bitch, and Danielle totally is the one who went nuts on her. I mean, Teresa wasn't confrontational AT ALL. NOT AT ALL. NOT AT ALL YOU HEAR ME YOU FUCKIN' PROSTITUTION WHORE! ::gobletsmashcutkimsface::

Just as Teresa is starting to get comfortable, Kim G suspiciously shows up at Posche dressed in a bizarre Muppet-skin vest/ knit cap ensemble that was both age-inappropriate and just plain in-general inappropriate. She's all "I don't care who you are Teresa, you gotta control ya temper" and Teresa is like "Shut up you crazy bitch, I ain't got no effin tempuh!" before pulling a razorblade from her snake's nest hairdo and carving a gigantic "T" into Kim G's face. See, totally calm.

After a brief interlude where Ashley's boyfriend tells her she is stupid for being obsessed with a weathered sea hag like Danielle, it's back to Teresa, who goes with hubby Joe to check out a mysterious building on the other side of town. Turns out this building is a pizza parlor (?) and apartment complext that Joe owns? Random, and totally not suspicious at all. The pizza parlor is called "Papa Giuseppe's" or "Mama Celeste's" or something and has a hilarious Mario-esque Italian caricature as it's logo. After checking out the facilities, they head upstairs to look at the apartments. The whole time, Joe makes awkward half jokes about how they are going to have to move in there when they lose their house. Like "Heah's where youah gonna cook my dinnuh when we's gotta move out of ouah mansion. Heh heh heh. But seriously, ya betta learn how to cook on a hot plate. Heh heh heh. No really, we're gonna be homeless." Teresa gives a half-assed "Whaaa, naw, youah crazy, we ain't losin' ouah house" but you can tell she doesn't believe it. It's actually kinda sad.

On a different day, at a different cafe, Danielle meets Danny and his creepy silent friend for breakfast. They start out shootin' the shit about Danielle's beauty and elegance and skinny figure before falling back on the whole weave-pull incident. Danielle talks about how she just feels sorry for Ashley because she's only a child and she's not even mad or upset, she's just sorry, because she's only nineteen. At this point Danny and creep's eyes have glazed over and they're just like "Uh huh, uh huh. Yeah. Uh huh." Danielle goes on and says how she really should press charges against Ashley because she needs a wakeup call and to learn consequences for her actions. Danielle is such an amazing nurturer. She should get a humanitarian award.

On to Caroline's (she really needs to insert herself in more plotlines) for happier news. Things are looking up for Albie! He got his precious letter from Seton Hall! It was all "Hear ye! Hear ye! We at great Seton Hall do hearby declare Albinius Manzo to be not entirely retarded, and capable of studying the laws of this fair nation at another instution of lower prestige than our own." And everyone rejoiced! Well, Caroline was sad because it may mean Albie will have to go to a prestigious law school out of state, but overall she's still happy that her boy is going to keep on truckin'.

Next, it's backa to-a da bigga Giudice Pizzeria! Ayyyy! The whole Giudice clan shows up to make a biggga family pizzapie. Mostly, the three Giudice daughters screech like howler monkeys and throw dough and sauce everywhere and scream "MOZZARELLA! CHEESE!" Then Gia wraps the youngest one in a ball of dough and throws her into the oven like some sort of macabre calzone. Just kidding, that didn't actually happen...yet.

After that fun little interlude, it's back to Terrortown 24/7, as Danielle, Kim G, and her pack of old ladies (one of whom looks exactly like Gail from Sunset Daze) head down to the courthouse to officially PRESS CHARGES AGAINST ASHLEY! Dun dun duuuuuun! That girl is going to learn! She will be HELPED by Danielle! Danielle is going to help the shit out of her!

Danielle's lawyers ask her side of the story, and Danielle is all "Ashley told me that she was going to get me and that she would kill me and then cut off my head and crap down my neck!" The lawyer was like "Did you hear any of that?" to the old ladies, who responded "Well, uhhhhh, we heard some very loud noises! Very loud." So anyway, charges have been officially pressed. Watch out Ashley!

The next day, Kim G has the balls to jog-shuffle over to Jacqueline's house to "talk." Jacky Tabaccy is none-to-keen on letting the wheezing old crone into her home, but since it's cold she agrees. Once in the house, Kim whips out the morning's paper that has a full-color photo of her, Danielle, Gail, and the other lady walking out of the courthouse arm in arm splayed across the front page. Jacqueline tells Kim she thinks she's two-faced and is shocked that she would come over to her house when she was photographed with Danielle like some sort of "busted up Sex and the City" (HA!) Kim G says that duh, of course she's two faced, but she really is friends with Jacqueline! To prove it, she says she'll go to the hearing with Jacqueline instead of Danielle. Jacqueline questions the wisdom of betraying a known sociopath, but looks like Kim G. is dead set on as much screen time as possible, regardless of the boatload of wrath she is going to incur from the Staub Beast. Point is, this lady is really dumb.

That was basically it for this week. There was also a scene where Caroline and Jacqueline give a futile attempt to get Ashley to recognize her mistake, but it was unsuccessful and annoying, so I'm not going to go into it. Next week it looks like theres going to be some sort of confrontation between Jacqueline and Ashley. Or something. Honestly, I don't even know. This season really is a big pile of dog mess, isn't it? Blech.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Officer, arrest that coke whore!

Ugggggh! I need to start taking a Xanax before I watch this show or something, because these ladies seriously stress me out. The whole cycle of Danielle being unhinged and drama happening without any resolution or comeuppance is just too much to handle! Or at least, it's getting there, since I still watch, obvs.

We start this episode right where we left, with Teresa calling Danielle a bitch, and then Danielle being all “That’s e-fucking-nough!” which I have to admit is kind of amazing. I wish people would punctuate with “fucking” more often. “I’ll take the chicken to-fucking-stada, please.” “Yes, I would like the change the oil on my automo-fucking-bile. Thank you!” It adds a certain something, don’t you think?

Anyway, things escalate from there, Teresa starts bobbing her head giving the sass finger, and voices start to rise, but it’s still just yelling at this point. That is, until Danielle says that Teresa’s house is in foreclosure, and then BOOM, flip is switched. Apparently, Teresa hates being called poor even more than she hates being told to “pay attention.” The Medusa-tendriled banshee flies at Danielle, who in turn flees for the exit, since she can tell shit is starting to get real.

Danielle bounds down the hallway, Teresa stomping after her at breakneck speed, trampling and tossing any big-haired Jersey hausfrau that gets in her way. Along the way, both ladies volley the phrase “coke whore” back and forth like it’s going out of style. Eventually, Danielle makes it to the exit and hides in the bushes, a shaking mess with a broken Payless high heel. She shivers and cries about wanting to go home but not being able to move because her shoe is broken, which is really dumb. It’s not like she broke her foot. Just take the other shoe off and walk the 20 feet to your car! It’s not hard!

Eventually, Kim G and Danielle’s bodyguard/Eastern European gay porn star (right? Kind of a methier Bel Ami reject?) start to help Danielle out to the car, and it looks like things are starting to wind down when…YANK! A hand reaches into the rats nest atop Danielle’s head and gives it a strong pull, causing the insectoid beast to throw back her head and let out a painful howl into the night sky. At this point the bodyguard/Johan Paulik scoops up Danielle and bounds toward the Rentley as the wounded mantis softly sobs “Coke whore! Ashley! Coke whore! Arrest her!”

Safely inside the Rentley, Kim G tries to talk Danielle down. However, Danielle is beyond consoling, since Ashley pulled out a clump of her “real” hair. I put “real” in quotes there because everyone else says it wasn’t her real hair, just her weave. Danielle later holds up a clump of the alleged hair, which looks very synthetic to me, although I’m no fake hair expert. Andy Cohen should have had Kim Zolciak on “Watch What Happens Live” to determine it's authenticity.

But anyway, I digress. In the car, Danielle says she wants to leave, but in fact does not leave. They stay right there. At this point, Teresa decides to walk up to “talk” to Danielle, but is stopped by her bodyguards, who are all “This is a Bentley, and you’re approaching the Bentley, so you better step back.” Since she speaks the language of money, Teresa understands, and steps back.

(TANGENT: Maybe this is just because I live in LA so I see assholes showily driving them around all day, but would people stop acting like owning a Bentley is a big deal? People who own them are either a.) idiotic assholes who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ugly car to show off that they have money or b.) idiotic assholes who are spending thousands of dollars renting an ugly car to look like they have money. Either way, you are an asshole. Just sayin’.)

At some point, Danielle decides that she’ll call the cops, because she wants them “all arrested,” presumably for the grave offence of weave-snatching, which is taken much more seriously in Franklin Lakes than it is in Atlanta. She calls up the cops and is like “This is Danielle Staub, and Teresa Giudice and Ashley tried to kill me” and the operator is like “Ma’am, shut the fuck up. We’re sending a team.” Well, she didn’t say that, but you can tell that’s what she was thinking

Eventually the cops arrive and take everybody’s statements. You can tell by the tone of their voices that they were not pleased to be doing this at all. Ashley tells them about how she only pulled Danielle’s weave, and not her real hair, so she didn’t technically touch her. Teresa‘s mob training kicks in and she is all “What? What happened? I don’t know?” After statements are taken and exasperated sighs are released, things die down and the cops tell everyone to go home.

The following day both sides circle the wagons and rehash their stories. At Danielle’s, the shaken and stirred mantis queen recounts her story to Danny, being all “I was just minding my own business, when suddenly Teresa maced me and kicked me in the vagina! I don’t know what happened!” At Caroline’s, Jacqueline and Teresa recount the story pretty much as it happened, and Caroline is all “I told you so. I TOLD YOU SO! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!” while sternly sipping her tea.

Speaking of Caroline, looks like things maybe be looking up for Albie! Although he did get kicked out of his school for bad grades due to his learning disability, he is talking to a lawyer to see if they can get his law school to write a letter saying he can go to a different school, since apparently otherwise he’d have to wait two years. So, good for him! Even though I still suspect that some hard partying and shirking of studying responsibilities may have played a part in him getting poor grades, but whatever. Far be it for me to stand in the way of someone racking up a hundred thousand dollars of debt. This is America!

Later, Teresa recounts the Danielle drama again, this time to Joe. Through an elaborate pantomime, she goes over the events again, pretty much as they happened. She talks about Ashley’s weave pull, saying she did it because she thought Danielle had hit Jacqueline. Teresa says “It makes sense, I mean, if Danielle hit me, I think Gia would have done the same.”

This immediately made me picture Danielle running down a hallway, Teresa’s three daughters bounding after her, fangs bared, screeching like banshees. After some running, Danielle would turn around, and they would be gone! “Where did they go?” she’d think. Then she ‘d hear a scraping sound from above her. With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she’d look up, and see them crawling across the ceiling, mouths dripping with venom. And then, with an ear-piercing shriek, they would end her. Right there.

Ahem, anyway, Joe says Teresa did good, and they go off to presumably have big dumb guido sex.

Let’s see, what else of note happened… Oh! Some stuff with Jacqueline! First, Danielle gets a call from Sarai, her “energist” (not a real career), who “senses” Danielle is stressed out and suggests she let her call Jacqueline to work out the “negative energy.” More so though, I suspect the lady wanted to do this since she, like everyone else in Franklin Lakes, knows lashing your cart to Danielle’s crazy is a one way ticket to ostracism and ruin.

Either way, Sarai calls Jacqueline and is all “Ladies! Hands up! Let me see you shake your stuff!” Just kidding , she was like “I understand you have some negative energy, and for $4.99 a minute I’d be happy to remove it.” Jacqueline is all “Umm, k” and lets the lady hum at her over the phone or whatever it is she does, while she played games on her iPhone, which was kind of hilarious. It really is great how there is a whole cottage industry in Franklin Lakes of women selling snake oil to other women for outrageous sums. Seriously, you know how much those “energy” bracelets Dina buys cost? $100+ bucks each, that’s how much! Sigh…

Lastly, the other big scene with Jacqueline involved her confronting her terrible daughter about the weave pull heard ‘round the world. The jammies-clad women have a sit down and Jacqueline is all “You are a child! Why did you do you pull her weave?! She is crazy! She will chop off your head and eat your pituitary gland for this!” Ashley counters by being all, “Ugh, you’re lame mom. Way to take Danielle’s side over mine.” It goes on like this for a while, until Jacqueline’s husband comes home and lays down the law to Ashley, telling her to either stop acting like a oversized baby or get out of their house. Seems fair to me. I mean, really, either be an adult, and own up to the adult consequences of assaulting a crazed maniac, or sit down and shut up.

So that was about it for this episode. Oh, except there was that one scene where Kim G and Danielle got lunch and Kim ordered cheese fries, which I thought was hilarious. Miss “I’m so classy and I ride in a Bentley” lady eats cheese fries. HA!

But yeah, that’s it for this week. Next week it looks like Danielle takes up boxing? So she can beat up the other ladies? Yeah, I know, really weird. Until then, I bid all you coke whores adieu. You should all be arrested.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Anti-Madonna

It's rare that a pop album comes out where I don't hate at least one song on the album. Usually, there's at least one or two cheeseball tracks, or a shitty ballad that I only hear the opening three notes of, "name that tune" style before skipping on to the next track.

Aphrodite, Kylie Minogue's brilliant new album, is one of those exceptions where I can literally listen to the whole thing start to finish without skipping a song. Not saying I always do, since some songs I like more than others, but I'm saying I could, which is the important part. This album is Kylie at her best, all exuberant Fever-style dance jams without any cheesy ballads or awkward forays into hip-hop (I'm looking at you, "Red Blooded Woman" and "All I See"). All glitter, no filler, if you will.

This is why Kylie is so great, and has had such staying power. She's not a huge vocal talent, or a brilliant dancer, or anything like that. I think what gives her such a devoted following is her passion for entertaining and her immense likability. Where Madonna felt the need to prove later in her career that she is a "serious" artist with "serious" opinions (ultimately winding up just seeming pretentious and annoying, at least to me), Kylie is comfortable being herself and seems content making fun dance-oriented pop music. She doesn't need to prove some sort of "cred."

I mean, let's face it, whenever a popstar tries to be a "serious" artist, does it ever actually work? Do we respect Madonna any more or less now that she has rabbis chanting over her disco beats? Did anyone think Christina was some sort of musical supergenius when she decided to go "Back to Basics?" No, at best they get decent album reviews, at worst they get exasperated sighs and eyerolls. Ultimately, pop music is still pop music.

And that's what Kylie delivers with this album. I don't mean to get all fanboy, or belabor the point, but REALLY, it's a great album. If you like classic Kylie dance-pop, Aprodite is perfect. Standout tracks are "Get Outta My Way," "Cupid Boy," and my favorite on the album, "Too Much." (Cowritten by Jake Shears) I seriously dare you not to love that last song. I DARE YOU. So yeah, well done Kylie, well. done.

Now that everyone loves the album so much, we can haz another US tour? Plz?