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.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.

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