The Real Housewives of New Jersey Review: Castles and Cliques

RHONJ - 1st image - Season 5If a trip to Punta Cana can’t heal a family rift, surely an RV trip to San Francisco can fix all the problems, right? Actually, both have been proven ineffective for repairing the massive issues between the families on RHWONJ, so the obvious next step is for Rosie to organize a family trip to a castle. That’s the central theme of this week’s episode, which brings a few new players into the fold.

As the episode opens, Teresa is making sausage to promote her new book, so of course her parents have to join in, since they are alleged to be the actual “chefs” behind her cooking empire. While tying string around the sausages to turn them into links (is that how they do that?) she reveals that she has located a castle where she and her brother can work out their issues. Because meeting at one of their mansions, at Kathy’s test kitchen, or at Kim D’s fancy strip mall boutique apparently wouldn’t be a smart setting for their husbands to rip each other’s hair out, WWF-style.

Teresa explains to her brother that a retreat to the castle is a great idea because it includes things like trust falls. And there’s nothing like diving off a picnic table Girl-Scout Style into a stack of your sister’s rhinestone tennis bracelets to prove that your relationship is completely normal.

Cut to Melissa, who somewhat de-Jersified herself by toning down the hair and makeup to enjoy a classy lunch with mimosas on the water with some friends she hasn’t seen in years. The setting is so serene that I thought they had cut to a tampon commercial rather than RHWONJ. Melissa is clearly trying to class herself up as part of her “I’m a serious author now” campaign, but when she tells her friends about how a major publisher is eager to sell her view on how to keep a marriage hot, the friends give each other the “this bitch” side-eye. Fortunately, when they cut to her up-close interview, she is back to the raccoon eyes and mesh peekaboo cutout top, so she hasn’t abandoned her roots just yet.

Later, Jacqueline and Kathy are casually shopping when Teresa calls. Kathy smartly puts it on speaker phone so that everyone in the boutique can both see and hear what happens when Jacqueline wrestles the phone away from her and starts calling Teresa a moron over speaker. Needless to say, Teresa begins singing “I can’t hear you, na-na-na-na” like a mature adult, but then mentions that Jacqueline is welcome to come to the castle retreat if she wants to join them. Huh?

The stress of this encounter drives Teresa to need a night with her “own social circle,” which includes such tight pals as Kim D. and Jan, one of Melissa’s friends from the previous day’s lovely lunch. Kim D., who at this point is basically drooling through her veneers about the dirt that’s about to be flung, coerces Jan into revealing that Melissa has allegedly cheated on Joe with an ex-boyfriend. Teresa vows to just keep her mouth shut about this new rumor, a promise which seems like it could potentially last at least until dessert.

The next day, one of the other gals from that evening meets up with Melissa for lunch, leading me to ask, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?? I thought Franklin Lakes only had two families — the Gorgas (which includes the Giudices, Rosie, and Kathy) and the Lauritas (which includes the Manzos). All these new “friends” can make a viewer’s head spin. Anyway, this new gal tells Melissa about Jan’s accusation. (She later reveals that she only did this to gain Melissa’s trust so she can get the Gorga’s lucrative real estate listing.) Melissa is dumbfounded and denies it completely, but is resolute in the fact that she knows for sure now that Kim D. is out to get her. “They think they know how I pooped,” Melissa says with a knowing nod, inexplicably.

Naturally, in a state with hundreds of Italian restaurants, Kim D. enters the same eatery as Melissa, Kathy, Jacqueline, and their husbands the very next night, so Melissa confronts her about the cheating rumor. Kim D. – doing her best Cruella De Vil impression – denies any involvement, and resents the fact that she is always blamed for the drama. She leaves the restaurant as Joe and Melissa begin to make out, and we all wish we can follow her.

As the episode comes to a close, everyone except Jacqueline agrees that the castle retreat will be the perfect place to work out their differences for once and for all. To the castle!

Season 5 Episode 6: Drinking With the Enemy (originally aired on July 7, 2013)

For more The Real Housewives of New Jersey, check out our other reviews.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

Images courtesy of Tommy Garcia and Bravo.

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