Each Monday, Eli Yudin and Carey O'Donnell, authors of the very, very funny Twitter account @NotTildaSwinton, will be recapping the Real Housewives of New Jersey for us. Below, their next installment.
Carey: Teresa woke early the morning following the last night of the castle retreat. It was that terrible, hot sleep that follows a night of heavy drinking. It wasn't dawn yet, but the room was still fairly lit with that stone morning color that only happens in the winter when it snows. Joe was asleep next to her, his mouth agape, taking in his labored breath, his lips protruding like he was pressing them against a plane of glass in his dream. Sometimes if she was awake as early as this, Teresa would hold her head directly above Joe's face and mouth swears, scream silently, make those monstrous faces you only make in the mirror in the single bathroom of a bar or restaurant as a way to get it out of your system so you don't make them in front of people.This time was different, though. Last night had been different. 'A good different!' Teresa thought, staring at the glowing white lace curtains across the room. What was that word? "Merry!" She said out loud, then covered her mouth. It was mostly soft, but loud enough for Joe to turn over then rest -- his body bobbing a little. She thought he looked like a water bed after someone lifted themselves out of it. She almost didn't want to leave the castle. If she could, Teresa would lay still in this large, regal bed in the static of pre-dawn for as long as she could -- where she is the only one awake in the world, but still not moving. No one's wife, no one's mother, or sister, or friend. Never moving. Just awake, and staring, and breathing. She suddenly felt older than anyone or anything that ever was. But yeah, the retreat is TOTALLY OVAAAA. And da faaaymily is back in Jerz. Melissa heads over to Joe Gorga's new "building site", which looks like a mental asylum from the 1900s.
Eli: I'm not sure exactly what Joe Gorga is building here, but my best guess is "a large hole in the ground" or possibly a "mass grave." They make sure to get a bunch of construction b-roll of a man dropping a plank and Joe making super-construction-walkie-talkie-commands. "The project is almost done," he radios. "Almost done?" responds a hissing voice. "Yes, almost done." We cut to the subterranean level of the Denver airport. A hooded man removes a tiny glowing orb from his ear canal and places it back into a small holster on the wall. Above the holster is a candid photograph of Joe Gorga. The figure walks through winding halls, without any disruption or stuttering in his movement, almost gliding. He comes upon a stark concrete door, with an oval recess in its face. From the sleeve of his cloak extends a long, disgustingly sharp talon, which fits the recess perfectly. The slab lifts and we find ourselves in a dank chamber, lit by splashes of phosphorus on the walls. On a throne of mold, nude, sits Richard Bruce Cheney, jerking slightly in his labored breathing. The mold seems to have grown directly into his skin, especially above his heart, where there's a thick protrusion that expands and contracts, burping out little jets of gas. "How is... our progress... on the great Hole In The Ground?" wheezes Dick. The mysterious figure retracts his hood, and as he does, the scales up the sides of his neck and his face glisten in the sickly phosphorescent glow. "Disciple Gorga informs me it's almost complete," he replies, his voice breathy and wet. The growth on Dick Cheney's chest spasms slightly, in excitement, letting out a short burst of flame. "Good. You have... done well. Come nest while we await the next step." The lizard-man acquiesces, climbing the throne and roughly closing his thin lips around Cheney's protruding nipple. A glowing, bubbling solution drips from the corners of his mouth. "I guess he hung up," shrugs Joe Gorga.
Carey: The kids run around in the muddy cold grounds while Joe tells her he's going to be on a highway billboard for a local tanning salon called Sizzle Tans who want Joe and his hot bod to be their new "face." Melissa objects, noting that Teresuh once starred in a strange, grainy commercial for S.T. (Sizzle Tans) after the first season of the show, and she doesn't want Teresuh to say "She's copyin' me again!"
Eli: They show clips of the aforementioned commercial and it is sad and terrifying and made my dog cry (I don't have a dog but I'm looking!) My personal hypothesis for Teresuh's SIZZLE TANS COMMERCIAL is that they injected her with a strong sedative, then attached her limbs to fishing line and controlled her like a marionette, using small injections of epinephrine in her face to make it spasm and seem like it was talking. This is all pretty run of the mill commercial know-how, you can look it up. (Don't look it up.) In fact, despite all those Activia commercials, Jamie Lee Curtis has been medically dead for over 2 years.
Carey: Melissa wants to keep this new-found, uneasy truce intact as long as she can. The girl doesn't have it in her right now. Then she talks about having a photo shoot for the cover of her FIRST book coming up, so she doesn't really need to be on a highway billboard. That's my new motto: "I don't need to be on a highway billboard." The photo shoots! Oh! Joe Gorga and his middle aged man friends head on over to the Sizzle zone to get this photo shoot started. Joe walks out from the bathrooms, looking like a picture of someone that a person is using for blackmail, superimposing his head onto this pile of inflatable copper in a bathing suit. His friends cheer as he flexes. Then they bring out a very willowy female model in a bikini to stand next to Joe in the shoot. She probably sort of sighed and said, "Sure" when her agent approached her about the gig, and spends the photo shoot sitting on Joe's back, getting lifted up and down while Joe's friends laugh and laugh.
Eli: Maybe she's an escort. She seems perfectly nice, if a little off-type for the RHONJ cast (aka, doesn't look like a sketch from the first week of a beginner's figure drawing class.) She sort of looks like a fitness model who peed in a stream at the same time as a deer, and then lightning struck and they switched bodies. Then the Sizzle Tan guys found her wandering the woods while practicing frottage in a pile of wet leaves and cast her in a commercial. She's being paid 14 sugar cubes -- 2 below SAG minimum.
Carey: Melissa starts out her shoot by asking two assistant/interns if they're excited to be there for her *first* photo shoot for her book cover. FIRST. FIRST!!!!!!!!!! HER FIRST PHOTO SHOOT FOR HER BOOK COVAAAAR. There will be more. So many more. She then suggests that maybe the cover should just be her in a big guy's T-shirt cause her book is about keeping marriage sexy. The assistant/interns sort of just nervously laugh and smile. Like everyone else does later when Melissa (ending up in a white and black gown) descends her staircase, demanding that the "hair fan" be on higher to keep her hair blowing for the shoot. "Turn the fan up," she repeats over and over again. She loves that fucking fan. When she's blow-drying her hair in the morning, she likes to point the blow-dryer at her face and stare at herself in the mirror with a scrunched, angry brow, yelling, "FOREVER/"
Eli: Melissa had to be physically restrained with leather straps during Hurricane Sandy so she didn't climb to the top of their weather vane and whip her head back and forth, smiling so broadly she made tiny rips in the corners of her mouth. She regrets every day that she wasn't able to chew through those damned restraints.
Carey: Meanwhile! Kath and Sister Rosie are discussing Rosie being a lesbian. Rosie discloses about her desire for companionship in her middle-age, and concerns over loneliness later in life, and it's truly candid and earnest. Kathy remembers an instance where Tre tried to poison Ro-Ro with (obvious) lies that Kathy is ashamed of the G-A-Y equation in her immediate fam, and how that was in no way the reason why she didn't like the last girl Rosie dated. AGAIN, Kathy suggests that Rosie use "social networking for gays and lesbians" to find a mate. Thanks, Kath! They decide to screw that idea and Rich, Kathy, Melissa and Joe Gorga take Rosie to a lesbian bar in Soho. Melissa was probably like, "I hope I get hit on!" in the car on the way over. The bar gives them bracelets to differentiate their martial statuses. One says DTF. Rosie is not DTF, she says. She meets two bi girls, a straight "swinger" couple, then meets a Jane Seymour look-alike who lets Rosie nervously chat her up while never responding to one word of the soused up nonsense Rosie is spouting. Eventually, the mystery woman says goodbye and walks away. Bye, Fake Dr. Quinn, we hate you.
Eli: This scene only cements my feelings against "SINGLES NITE" at any bar. Singles night to me seems like the most desperate form of connection, veiled by the idea that it's more straightforward or convenient. "BIND A GLOWSTICK TO YOUR FLESH TO INDICATE YOUR LEVEL OF EMOTIONAL NEED," bellows the stone idol standing at the entrance to the bar. "YOU ARE AN INCONSEQUENTIAL AND PITIABLE PUZZLE PIECE, IN NEED OF COMPLETION TO BE RECOGNIZED. FIVE DOLLAR WELL DRINKS AND TWO-FOR-ONE DRAFTS UNTIL 10 PM." I feel bad though, because Rosie is wonderful and should be sitting on a lifeguard chair, picking women from above to spend the rest of their life in her Jersey Strong Embrace.
Carey: During their first FAM SUNDAY DINNA of the year, Melissa tells her sister-in-law, while sitting at the 12+ person dining table of her sister-in-law's huge mansion, that she drove from her own huge mansion to drop something off at Jacqueline's huge mansion, where she and Caroline (who also has a huge mansion) convince Jacqueline to hear Teresa out if she asks her to talk. Melissa convinces Tre that the time has come. Tre calls Jacqueline while she's in a strange, empty toy store with her 10-year-old son CJ and invites her to get dinner and tawk. In her confessional interview, Teresa basically says she still hates Jacqueline but wants to keep the peace. Then Teresa says, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." You heard that here first. Jac and Tre (and their equally congested sounding husbands) meet at another vast restaurant with vast Oriental rugs, vast fireplaces, vast plates and vast silverware. Vast vast vast. The men head below retire to the "cigar room" to for some rekindling of their own. Teresa and Jacqueline exchange various, vague reasons for why their friendship (or faux-friendship, as Jacqueline now spins it) was ever burned, then put into an urn that was thrown into a reservoir. Teresa brings up the fact that Jacqueline "broke up a brother and sister," stated rumors that Juicy was "stepping out" on his bride. She also mentions Danielle Staub, and how Jacqueline used to be her friend but turned against her. And in that moment, I went into the bathroom, turned off the lights and said, "Danielle Staub" three times, and from the inside of the bathroom sink, I heard her whisper "Those women." Anyway, Jacqueline goes the predictable route and says, "I think you're a sociopath," and Teresa laughs and asks, "What is a sociopath even? Like a crazy person???" Ha! Downstairs, Chris and Juicy Joe make amends, cause that's what guys do, ya know? They go to cigar bars and make amends. Us guys! Let's never fight again, guys! OK? BACK UPSTAIRS, Teresuh drops the big bomb. She says, "I really believe there are evil people out there, and I just think you're one of them." Jacqueline's like, "Oh, Hell," and gives Teresa exactly what she wants by saying, "No, I'm not!" The episode ends with Tre asking her former BFF "What'd I ever do to you?" and Jacqueline going silent and just staring ahead. At first, the editing leads you to think maybe she really doesn't have a reason, but then you realize there's a whole other mess we didn't even know about.
Eli: Teresa has a very pedestrian view of "evil," I suppose. When I think of evil, I usually think of someone like Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer, but I suppose spreading rumors is up there. It does seem, however, that Teresa is much better than before the retreat -- though getting her to admit wrongdoing is still trickier than catchin' a hog in slop, which I assume/hope is a saying down south. All of the housewives seem to be sure that every other housewife is secretly plotting to take them "down," whatever down means to them, but instead of trying to resolve anything, they simply create newer plans and strategies in case of attack. In a very strange way, it's almost like a Shakespearean tragedy, except that most characters are both protagonist and antagonist. It's all one big mud-wrestling match, and whoever comes out holding the most tufts of the other's hair is the winner, and that winner gets a spin-off.
Carey: Outside of the restaurant, Kim D the crow was no longer a crow, but back to regular, leather-panted dinosaur form. She stood just beyond the first step leading up to the porch of the restaurant, smoking a cigarette and looking upward. There was no one else outside. No one coming or going out of the restaurant door. No cars pulling in or out of the parking lot. The consistent swell of din from inside poured through. Somewhere, through the clinking and silver and plates, was Jacqueline and Teresa. "I can hear you," Kim D said, grinning, revealing her endless rows and rows of glass teeth. She dropped her cigarette and dug onto the cement pavement with the toe of her black boot, walking through the parking lot and into the woods.