“We’re making mozzarella. What’s the worst that can happen?” Danielle naively asks ahead of the fromaggio-focused festa she hosts for the women during RHONJ’s February 14 episode. Clearly, the rookie housewife hasn’t studied up enough on her franchise history—even Italy’s finest mozz can’t distract these women from fresh drama (well, except for Jennifer Fessler, but more on her and her eating habits later). And this cheeseboard of an episode is piled so high with the stuff, you’re exhausted and slightly nauseated once it’s all done.
Dolores and Jennifer still aren’t speaking after their roller-rink smackdown last week. Though Teresa is preoccupied with planning her characteristically over-the-top nuptials (“I want Cirque du Soleil dancers, fireworks…I want it to be an epic wedding. Am I a bridezilla?!”), Melissa is busy complaining about her seat assignment at Teresa’s engagement party. And Margaret is annoyed that Giudice and Jennifer A. agreed to meet with her ex-best friend Laura to air out Marge’s dirty laundry.
Teresa and Jennifer won’t tell Danielle exactly what earth-shattering intel Laura revealed. “If it’s meant to come out, it will see the light of day…it always does,” the newbie says forebodingly. And it looks like word of the illicit meet-up has already gotten back to Margaret, who discusses it over game night with Jackie, Dolores, Melissa, and Jen F. Though she doesn’t seem bothered by Laura’s supposed slander (“I don’t care if she said I was the Queen of England. I don’t care if she said I fuck goats in my backyard”), it’s clear she’s more annoyed about Jennifer A.’s participation in the gossip. “I do feel a little played,” Marge says, thinking that she and Jen had put their problems behind them. “There’s a mole in Jennifer’s camp…she’s an inauthentic bitch.”
Later, all of the ladies receive Teresa’s opulent wedding invitations, even cast newcomer Rachel (“We just met them!” says her confused husband), which prompts yet another scene of yet another Teresa-focused conversation between Joe and Melissa. If you’ve watched the show even once in the past 13 seasons, you’ve already seen and heard it. “This is fucking whack,” Joe says of his relationship with his sibling, but he easily can be talking about the entirety of this tired storyline.
And now onto Cheese-chella. Danielle is fretting around in fuschia feathers about the size of her house. (“If someone says my house is cute, like small, I’m gonna have a problem” she worries. Cut to Dolores immediately calling the abode “so cute!” upon arrival.) And then she reasons that things can’t possibly go wrong at the curd-filled celebration because “who can fight making mozzarella? Who can fight touching cheese?” Oh, young one, how much you have to learn.
Dolores, Teresa, Margaret, Melissa, and “both Jennifers” attend the shindig—the latter, much to Dolores’ chagrin—though Danielle pointedly did not include Jackie on the guest list, as she felt she was being judged “up and down” by the former Housewife-turned-friend. The party starts smoothly enough, with the only agitation being of the horny kind, as the women heat up watching the male cheesemongers get to work on the mozz. (“I never realized that making mozzarella is like a sexual thing,” Rachel says, though Jen A. strongly disagrees. “Mozzarella only makes my hands wet, not my panties.”)
That is, until, Margaret pulls Aydin to the side to discuss her clandestine meeting with Laura, which Jennifer doesn’t deny but also doesn’t apologize for. “So you don’t want to be friends?” Marge asks. “Friends is a spectrum,” Jennifer replies, which gets Margaret ranting that Jen is under the influence of “marijuana paranoia” and is in need of “deep therapy.” When she so much as begins to mention Dolores’ name during the confrontation, we basically have a wrestling match tap-in, with Catania entering the ring ready for a fight. Thus begins round two of Dolores and Jennifer, rehashing their verbal scuffle from the premiere, with Namaste Teresa unsuccessfully yelling therapy speak (“How about a clean slate?!”) to try and get the two to go in their respective corners.
But Teresa herself is tapped in when talk of her wedding seating arrangements triggers Melissa, and the bell dings on yet another boring Gorga-Guidice brawl. (“In an Italian family, it’s a big fucking deal where you sit,” Dolores explains for the non-famiglia.) The entire time, Jen Fessler is in the background anxiety-shoving party food down her throat (“Did you put mustard on this? Delicious!”), which is infinitely more entertaining than whatever else is happening on screen. “I’m so sick of this!” Gorga yells before the credits roll. And so are we.
- Jennifer’s nine-year-old daughter Olivia is making a strong case for a Real Kids Of New Jersey spinoff, rolling off one-liners about her mother’s plastic surgery (“And risk my beautiful nose that’s actually natural?” she retorts when her mother brings up bike riding) and Noah’s ark (“Where’s my Bible?!” she yells during a downpour).
- Ditto Dominic, Danielle’s eight-year-old son who can “speak British,” which actually means he can say the word “motherfucker” in a Dick Van Dyke accent.
- Danielle calls Jennifer Aydin’s house the “Caesar’s Palace of Paramus,” which is apparently a compliment.
- Teresa’s newfound therapy speak continues to be a delight. This week’s entry: “fresh of breath air.”
- Add this to your Housewives dictionary: Rachel is a “pizza bagel,” i.e. someone who is half-Italian and half-Jewish.
- And speaking of Judaism, Jen F. was cranking out Chosen jokes this episode, with “I’m Jewish, every sex act makes me feel guilty!” being a standout.