Only in Jersey: 2/2/12

Welcome to the third edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Tom Colicchio: Now THAT'S a knife!/Photo credit Parade Magazine

Paula Deen may be in the news these days for simultaneously revealing she has Type 2 diabetes and announcing her partnership with a diabetes drug company, but it’s the decadent chef’s business relationship with Smithfield Foods that has “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio shaking his head. On the Bravo talk show “Watch What Happens Live” Wednesday night, the Elizabeth-born Colicchio said he has a bigger problem with Deen’s association with a company that has questionable hog-farming practices. “I think the bigger issue is Smithfield and their practices, the mass production of pigs,” Colicchio told host Andy Cohen. “There was an expose done on Smithfield in Rolling Stone a couple years back – just go read it. I think that’s worse off than hawking the (diabetes) drug thing. That’s my opinion.” Well, thanks for the suggestion, Tom, don’t mind if I do. But alas, the Rolling Stone article(s) in question have curiously been removed from its site. However, I was able to find locate this reference to said expose (I pray you have a strong constitution because this link includes some gut-churning photos). Smithfield, for its part, tweeted me this response in regard to Tom’s statement: “The Rolling Stone article you referenced contains misinformation” and “While we certainly made some mistakes 15 yrs ago, we’ve changed dramatically since then.”

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“Real Housewives”: What happens when their big fat fabulous lifestyles are over?

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Every once in a while, it’s nice to see some *reality* seep into the lives of Bravo’s “Real Housewives.”

Teresa Giudice's big fat fabulous life came to a screeching halt once Bravo cameras stopped rolling./Photo credit In Touch

And for some of these ladies, by *reality* I mean near financial ruin. You know, as in bankruptcy.

In addition to dropping money in the mall, Lynne Curtin decided plastic surgery was in the cards for her AND her teenage daughter./Photo credit Bravo

While I don’t derive any pleasure seeing the lives of these women come crashing down around them, watching them struggle – you know, like everyone else is doing these days – makes them a lot more relatable. And I sure find it fascinating to see how they handle it.

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“The Real Housewives of New Jersey”: Shop till you drop

The “Lost Footage” episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” may have been light on delicious and juicy scenes, but it delivered once again when it came to shopping.


Last night’s episode was definitely heavy on former “web exclusives,” but it did solve a mystery involving the identity of a certain upscale clothing boutique in which Dina and Teresa drop some serious dough. Watch:

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The shop in question is Alchemy in Ramsey.

Also featured in the episode was a visit all of the ladies made to Town & Country Apothecary in Ridgewood. While there, Caroline learned the invaluable skill of how to draw on her eyebrows. (Are you paying attention, Lauren?)

Lastly, Dina was shown creating an over-the-top, opulent wedding reception table setting (with $500 floral centerpiece!) at Anna Rose Floral Design in North Haledon.

And finally, for all of us who ever wondered what the heck a “chuckie” and “pee-pee” were, here’s your answer. Thanks for clearing that up, Caroline!

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Things I learned watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion

I learned several things watching the first part of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion.

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Oh, sorry. That wasn’t the legitimate reunion. But anyway, among the things that I learned:

1) Danielle’s real name is Drama.

It’s obvious to anyone who’s watched the show that Danielle Staub loves attention. Maybe she truly does get upset at the viciousness directed toward her, but it’s not entirely unprovoked. As Us Weekly points out today, Danielle aka Beverly Merrill aka Angela Minelli (Liza’s long-lost sister, I suppose) was arrested back in 1986 by the FBI for her participating in a kidnapping plot that developed out of a cocaine deal that went bad. She met her “boyfriend” at the time while working for an escort service. (Hence Teresa’s “prostitution whore” allegations.) Subsequently, Danielle/Beverly/Angela was charged with an assortment of felonies, including cocaine possession, narcotics conspiracy and extortion. She fared a lot better than her boyfriend, however: While he served 15 years in jail, Danielle/Beverly/Angela received five years’ probation and was ordered into a drug-treatment program.

That is a far cry from the story she told People just a couple weeks back.

“I was never a prostitute. Never,” Danielle said. “I was a pothead. Period.”

A liar, more like. Though I do like Teresa Giudice’s summation of Danielle:

“No, you’re just trying to make drama, Danielle,” she said during last night’s reunion. “Your name should be Drama. You say I’m Dina-ized. You’re Drama-ized.”

2) Teresa still doesn’t understand that throwing the word “gay” around is offensive to gays.

Take it from a gay man – Bravo’s own Andy Cohen – who clearly tired of Teresa’s repeated defense that gay people don’t find her juicy hubby Joe’s repeated use of the phrase “that’s/he’s/she’s gay” offensive.

“I think it was offensive,” Andy said yesterday, seconds after revealing that he himself was gay. “I do and I think a lot of people out there watching thought it was offensive.”

You think Teresa would just apologize and drop it. But no, she had to keep going.

“The night that that show aired we had a gay guy over…and he was cracking up,” she told Andy.” … He’s like, ‘Whoever takes offense to that, they’re stupid. … That’s what he said to me and he’s very gay!”

Yeah, ahum, right, Teresa.

Fabulous nice girls don't go around handling smarmy books like that, Teresa./Bravo

Fabulous nice girls don't go around handling smarmy books like that, Teresa./Bravo

3) Jacqueline is no longer friends with Danielle.

I had a feeling this was going to happen. After all, how long can you stay at odds with your in-laws?  (I have a feeling Kate Gosselin knows.) As if Jacqueline Laurita’s Bravo blog wasn’t enough of a hint, Us Weekly reports that any friendship the pair may once have shared is definitely kaput.

“I am not friends with Danielle,” Jacqueline, a new mother to a baby boy, tells Us. “She has never seen the baby, nor will I ever show her. I learned my family was right about her all along.”

Snap! I wonder when she found that out for sure. Did The Smoking Gun fax Jacqueline a copy of those damning court documents?

4) Dina plays fast and loose with facts.

I suppose we’ll never truly know if Dina Manzo actually ever *laid her hands on* “Cop Without a Badge” or whether her sister Caroline was just covering for her.  But when she chided Danielle for allowing her daughters to witness the heated confrontation about the tome, it took on a “people who live in glass houses” kind of tone.

“The content of the book itself is inappropriate,” Dina said during the reunion. (Ever notice how Dina frequently looks like she’s looking down her nose at people?) “I don’t talk to my daughter about prostitution or kidnapping.”

Well, yes, actually, Dina did. Right before Lexi left for Cyprus to visit her dad (and Dina’s ex-hubby), she regaled (or terrified, take your pick) her with tales of  vacationing American children being kidnapped and held for ransom by nasty foreigners.

And while Dina may not have discussed the oldest profession with her impressionable (and smart-mouthed) 13-year-old, she has no compunction about using the word t*ts to describe her daughter’s blossoming bosom. Classy.

5) Dina has an imaginary husband.

Apparently a lot of “Real Housewives” viewers have been wondering where Tommy Manzo has been hiding out. In last night’s reunion, Dina revealed that he didn’t want to be part of the show. Perhaps the reason why he didn’t want to be part of the show is because the last time he was featured on a reality show – VH1’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding” – he didn’t come across too well (i.e. he acknowledged cheating on his future wife while they were dating… more than once).

When Andy Cohen asked Dina about Tommy, she said, ” He doesn’t really exist. No, he’s working all the time and we have very [little] time together. We have breakfast every morning together and we have date night every Thursday . . . We have the whole night to be boyfriend and girlfriend, so that’s our special time and we didn’t feel we needed cameras in our face.”

Wow, what a marriage this must be. No wonder Dina looks annoyed most of the time. Sure, she’s married to a richer-than-rich guy with a strong work ethic, but he’s barely ever home.  Given his admittedly poor track record in the fidelity department, how many times has she sat at home wondering where he is and who he’s with?

Don’t get me wrong. Date nights are a great idea. But if that’s all you ever have – and your husband recuses himself from any of the day-to-day realities of marriage – then you haven’t got much of a relationship.

Fortunately Danielle's daughters - Jillian, left, and Christine - seem to have more sense than their mother./Bravo

Fortunately Danielle's daughters - Jillian, left, and Christine - seem to have more sense than their mother./Bravo

6) Danielle is not who she portrays herself to be.

I was shocked (SHOCKED!) at the end of “The Last Supper” supplemental edition in which Danielle and her two daughters were shown waiting for their car in front of Lu Nello. It was like looking at a totally different person. Danielle was smoking and still raging about the incident and the injustice done to her by Dina. After seeing this scene, I began to wonder if this was actually the real Danielle.

Caroline confirmed my suspicions to People this week:  “The true Danielle is in those very last moments of that footage [from the final episode]. That is the true unfiltered Danielle, with that cigarette. And who is her audience? Her children. Making pizza and climbing a rock wall don’t make you a great parent. Her children are well-behaved, well-mannered and they excel in school. But if you look at her children, they have a haunted look in their eyes. These children are paying the price for her irresponsibility.”

What struck you most about “The Real Housewives” reunion? I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping part 2 – which airs tomorrow (that’s Thursday) at 9 p.m. – is a darn sight more entertaining.

A “Real Housewives” reunion to remember

Unbelievable! I thought that this season of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” was entertaining. It doesn’t hold a candle to last night’s reunion, which was so full of zingers that I’m relegated to doing a virtual play-by-play, a la “Lost.” Sorry this is so long, but it’s just sooo good:

real9:02 – What?? Jeana let her teenage daughter Kara get a boob job? “She was graduating from high school and that was what she wanted,” she says.

9:04 – Tamra tells host Andy Cohen she was going to bring him her old boob implants. “I’m going to sell them on eBay,” she declares.

9:06 – Lynne rings on the boob implant discussion: “If you had a flat tire on your car, wouldn’t you get a new tire?”

9:08 – The conversation turns serious when Andy asks Gretchen why she’s wearing her  $60,000+ diamond engagement ring since her fiance, Jeff, died in September. “I don’t feel right taking it off yet,” she says. Neither would I if I had a $60,000+ diamond ring. I’m just saying…

9:10 – Boy, this must be trash Lynne hour starring Vicki and Tamra! Lynne finally wakes up and retorts, “It would hurt my feelings – because I know they’re both rocket scientists over there.”

9:12 – Classic moment courtesy of Andy: “To clarify, Lynne, you’re not home smoking on a bong all day?”

9:13 – OMG! How can Gretchen not know who Florence Nightingale is? Or “All About Eve,” for that matter?

9:15 – Classic moment courtesy of Andy, part 2: “This is a no skank zone.”

9:17 – Jeana calls her date, Allen, from the season finale “a little geographically undesirable.” Drat! He was cute.

9:18 – Jeana is delusional about defending her son Shayne’s ridiculously hostile behavior toward her.

9:19 – Thank God! Andy totally calls her on it, asking why she always defends said bad behavior – especially when it’s directed toward her.

9:20 – “I try not to tell the children what to do,” Jeana says. Bingo! That’s your first problem!

9:22 –  Jeana, feeling on the defensive, decides to attack the weakest of the bunch – Lynne – when she says, “I had a Lynne moment.” Snap!

9:23 – Oh, boy. Here comes Lynne’s water works. Wait a sec – all those mean things Vicki and Tamra said about Lynne being dumb don’t upset her, but Jeana’s statement makes her cry?

9:24 – Jeana apologizes – sort of: “She didn’t expect that from me. I never pick on her.”

9:26 – Vicki to Lynne: “You’ve hurt my feelings a lot, too.” Who the heck is she kidding?

9:32 – Now it’s getting juicy: Andy asks pointed questions about Tamra’s *etiquette* party in which she and Vicki vow to get Gretchen “naked wasted.” I’m still not sure what the heck that means.

9:34 – Tamra pleads stupidity and blames booze. “I was the most ashamed and most embarrassed in my entire life,” she swears. Somehow, I don’t believe her. “I guess I’m a mean drunk.” Now that I agree with! So what’s her excuse the rest of the time?

9:37 – Gretchen, who’s been classy thus far, says she accepted Tamra’s apology.

9:40 – Waaahhh?? Gretchen’s got a boyfriend she’s been keeping on the side the whole time?

9:42 – Tamra gives  a long-winded explanation about some guy named Jay (or is it “J” as in Jeff?) calling her and threatening to out Gretchen about their relationship. Gretchen fesses up that she was with this guy at 1 a.m. after a party, but that he’s an ex-boyfriend who’s been harassing her.

9:43 – Tamra asks Gretchen if Jay was at Bass Lake with her. She cops to it, but says he’s a family friend and that nothing was going on. Hmmm, that seems kinda weird. Still, even if Gretchen had a boyfriend and the whole Jeff show was bogus, Tamra doesn’t have to be so darn mean.

9:44 – Snap again! Jeana’s on a roll. She says she saw Jay’s clothes laying on the floor… of Gretchen’s bedroom.

9:45 – “It’s all about moral character,” declares Tamra. Ha! Look who’s talking!

9:46 – Tamra to Gretchen: “You’re such a (expletive deleted) victim, aren’t you?”

9:50 – Lynne while watching video of her daughter Raquel, drinking and being a brat: “It looks like me when I was 17.” Shocking!

9:52 – Vicki says her kids are good, and that she would take their phones and cars away if they behaved like Raquel. You know, I believe her. And seriously, her kids are the best of the bunch. Wow, that’s quite a statement.

9:55 – Lauri’s back. (yawn) Josh is doing well… in jail, she reluctantly admits to a prying Andy. “I recognize my son again,” she says. Well, that’s a start I suppose.

orange19:58 – Dang! That shirt is hilarious!
Update: A real-life Jersey girl (that would be me – metiny1 born, bred and still resides) will blog live on Facebook beginning at 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 12, during the premiere of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Come join me and share your thoughts as we meet these five women. Click here or look up my handle,  TV Blogger Ava Gacser, on Facebook. I look forward to seeing you!

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