Real Housewives of New Jersey: A Tale of Two KimsS

On last night's excursion to the dark, leafy psychological mania of suburban New Jersey, we witnessed a shift. A change in temperature, in barometric pressure. Winds slowed and curdled, skies turned the sickly green of tornadoes. The show is different.

Oh my gosh how it's different! Do you remember that last week Dina Manzo, of the murdering Manzos, went home last week? Yeah, Dina was eliminated from the competition and though the Padma zombie loved her so — loved her ample brains sitting there like summer watermelon in her skull — Dina was told to leave by Heidi Gunn and there was no more to be said about it. It was a sad loss! But we soldier on. We soldier on into a great, deep, dark cave of whatever. And here in this cave it is different. Doesn't it feel so new and strange and suddenly wayyy more sinister? I think so. What changed? What's different?

The Kims.

Some of you have probably had the same distinct pleasure as I: sitting across the table at an auditions thing (in COLLEGE, I'm not some fancy casting director in my spare time, guys) and watching two people who both want the same part desperately, desperately trying to prove their worth, against each other. It's the most sad and terrible thing, but it's also so live-giving, so affirming. You sit there and you think Thank god that's not me. And I'm sorry to tell all you actors out there, someone has thought this of you at some point. Thank god that's not me. Thank god. And you watch the Kims and you think the same thing. The Kims. Is there anything sadder or more wonderful in this Housewives world than the Kims?

The Players

Kim G: The Dastard! The Old Lady! Finnegan's Frump! There are many names for Kim G. I believe for a spell I was calling her Debbie Reynolds, after the popular entertainer from Singin' in the Rain who she actually is. But for now, mostly, we are going to call her Kim G. Ohhh Kim G. What is Kim G.? Is she "a traditional Korean fermented dish made of vegetables with varied seasonings" (citation: Professor J. Peter Wikipedia)? No, silly, that's kimchi. Kim G is an old lady who lives in a shoe and has a son who is friends with Caroline's son, Progress. (More about Progress is forthcoming...) Kim G wants one thing in this crooked, nasty old world. Kim G wants to be on The Real Housefucks of New Stinksbury. That's what she wants. That is what has rung through her head every thick, solid, dull and dusty morning since the show began. I wanna be on that. That should be me. That could be me. There is nothing in this Kim G world that isn't pointing her towards this show. Oh gosh how she wants it. Oh gosh, oh gosh. She is 78 years old. She is that old. But she doesn't care. She wants it. The Real Housefarts of America. What a dream! What a celery wish!

Kim X: I don't know if you remember in the season premiere that some people went to a store called Posche, and it was funny? Well, yeah, there was a store called Posche and that's where they sell the Posches. You know Posches. They're those fancy off-brand cars that run on liquid coal and always smell strangely of beets. "Hallo! Welcome to Posche! What will it take for me to put you in one of our premium Grade R automophiles today?? Buy today and I can throw in our year-round, 278-day guaranteed existence pledge. If the car doesn't exist on the 279th day, it's not our problem! That is the Posche way." Anyway, that's Posche. Well the owner of the local Posche dealership is a beak-lipped monster named Kim X, a lady I used to call Jersey Joan Allen, because of her thin white hair and frail features. But to drag Joan Allen any further into this would just be cruel. So she'll be Kim X from here on out. Kim X is such a tremendous nightmare. She, like Kim G, really really wants to be on the television program. Oh lawd does she want to be on this telebbision show. When the girls come into Posche she's all sunshine and sparkles, talking shit about Danielle like who cayuhs. Even though she is supposed to be friends with Danielle, even though she went to Danielle's big My Daughter's A Model And You're Not party. She's a fink, a fake, a liar. She will do anything, sell anyone out, toss the whole world under a fleet of Greyhounds. Kim X is ruthless and hawrible. Kim X could win this thing.

So now that you're acquainted with our two contestants, let's go right to the show. Cue lights and curtain, and we are looking at Danielle. (Who really has nothing to do with the Kim rivalry, but we'll talk about it anyway.) Strange, insectoid Danielle. Can you notice what was off about her? Can you figure out what it was that looked a bit odd? Don't look at her face — that's a road map to a place only Christopher McCandless would go. Look down. Not her shark tooth-like clavicle. Not that strange hollow where the beginnings of a heart should be. No no. Look further, just a little bit further. Do you see it? Do you see... them? I'm talkin' about her TITTIES, y'all! Her bazoongos are alllll sortsa jacked up. This is sad. We shouldn't make fun. Danielle has had three surgeries on these things and they do not look good. One boob, we'll call it the North Star, is way the fuck up on her chest. Sometimes Danielle, in fits of blue or boredom, will huff out a sigh and rest her chin on this boob, it is that high up there. The other problem with it is that it is very hard and cold. No this is not some peculiar detail that I'm making up to amuse myself. This is a real thing that Danielle complained about. "Yes doctor, this breast, this part of my physical being, is very hard and cold. Is there anything wrong with it?" Well, yes, Danielle. There is something wrong with it. In terms of anatomy and physiology, when things are hard and cold, that means they're dead. Danielle has a dead boob, a tough and chilly mass affixed on her chest cavity like a large, fleshy barnacle. The other boob — we'll call it Sirius, the dog star — is mostly OK, I guess. They didn't focus much on that particular boob. But I'm sure there was something — it's tissue paper, the faucet doesn't work, there are earwigs making a home, it's on fire. Something. Danielle needed surgery. And she needed it bad.

So she went to her doctor and her doctor gulped and dry heaved and said "Yes [horrrk] we can [horrrrk] help [horrrrk] you. [horrrrrrk]" and so it was done. Danielle was wheeled in for surgery and they put her on her happy gases and her eyes glazed and a strange fox smile flickered across her face. She opened her mouth and said a few cotton ball words and I think they were maybe in Arabic or some old, long lost jungle language. They cut to Danielle being interviewed and she said "I was feeling a little woozy." As if she'd just stumbled once, lost her balance for a brief "Whoops!" of a second. I was just feeling a little woozy, lying there with tired toad eyes, muttering in tongues, boobs quivering in anticipation. (Well one boob, the living boob, quivering.) It was just a funny way to understand Danielle's idea of being fucked up. Being under funny gases at the hospital is "a little woozy." You don't wanna see Danielle when she's "shit canned." No sir. Unless you like having corkscrews jammed into your face.

So the doctors hacked and sawed, wept and hugged, and it was, after four and a half grueling days of surgering, finally done. Danielle's new boob was full of life, possessed of vim and vigor. The doctor had massaged it back to life with deep, erotic care. (In some ways that was all Danielle wanted. For a man to caress her like that, treat her with diligent care. Danielle is made of fragile stuff, deep inside.) What she doesn't know is that while she was under, the doctor actually took the dead boob and buried it in the old Indian burial ground behind the pet cemetery and it came back to life, but it came back wrong, but he sewed it back on her chest anyway and thought Thank god I'm not her. And then Tasha Yar came in and stabbed him. Miko Hughes watched from a corner, pleased.

And that was Danielle's story. Her boobs are better now. Well, for now. I'm sure something else will happen and she'll need more work. But for the time being, everything is OK in Boobland.

Do you know where things are not OK? Oh god. It... It pains me to say it. It's just... it's so hard. Our god, our god. Nietzsche was right, just a century too early. Our god, our god. Our god is dead. Fallen from the sky like Icarus, struck down by cruel misfortune, killed by a jealous higher deity. Our god, our god. What are we to do. Albie. Golden sex being. Perfect chalice from which we drink the juice of life. Eliminated, ended. Tear at your hair. Rend your clothing. Beat your chests purple with bruises. Toss yourself into the Tiber. Our god, our god. Dead. Albie is dead.

What happened? Oh, well, see, heh. It's difficult to tawk about. Albie, as I'm sure you remember, was in law school. Yes stare and shiver at that past tense. Was. Such a ghostly word. Albie was in law school and was on track to be the honey-dripped king of the world. He was going to be a lawyer. Maybe in the city. Maybe he would have some steel and glass high-rise apartment and he would bring some raven-haired beauty back there and they would pour some wine into big balloon glasses and sit on the sleek, stylish sofa and she would rest her light head on his shoulder and say "Tell me about your day, what did you do today?" and he would tell her some story about his case, what he was working on, what he was trying to protect and defend, and outside the city would beep and moan on, the lights twinkling like a million smiles, like cameras flashing, amazed at one man's results. That is what was supposed to happen. Albie the big city lawyer. Albie the hope. Albie the future. Thud. Whunk. Done. Dead.

Albie failed out. Albie apparently has a learning disorder, which he cannot help, that isn't his fault, and he couldn't quite hack it in law school. Something tells me he maybe got a little caught up in the post-reality show muff and lost track of time, but who am I to say. For whatever reason, Seton Hall called Ablie on the phone and broke up with him. "Don't come back. I'll send you your stuff. I'm keeping the Corinne Bailey Rae CD because we bought it together and I always liked it more than you. It wasn't your baby. Goodbye." What was he gonna do? First he had to tell his parents. He told Caroline and she tried to remain calm. She leveled her gaze and nodded her head but you could see, in auric wisps emanating from her head, that her whole world was collapsing. The scaffolding was breaking and crumbling, the walls were coming down stone by stone. Her Albie? Not a success? What was this? What fresh demonry was this? "Ma, it's true. No more law school. It's done. It's over. I'm over." At the sound of defeat in Albie's voice, Caroline was immediately shaken back into her innate Carolineness. "Hey. Don't you let them tell you you can't be a lawyer. You're gonna pass the bar someday and you're gonna rub it in their faces." It would be so handy for the family to have a lawyer. They needed this. Albie wasn't going to give up. He was going to take rejection and ball it up and throw it back in Seton Hall's face. Fuck Seton Hall! He'd cheated on it for a summer semester with Rutgers anyway. He'd never even loved Seton Hall. He'd just used it, for sex, for who it knew. Seton Hall was a cheap Bronx skeez. That's all it was. Fuck Seton Hall. He doesn't need Seton Hall. He's gonna be somebody. Just you wait. You'll see. And then Seton Hall will come back begging for it, on its knees like a whore.

That was the thinking. It was courageous. Later at dinner a conversation was struck up and you know who was there? Albie's brother. Who, usually, we call Failure. Or Disappointment. Or Ricky Two-Strikes. But today we call him Progress. Because he is moving up in the woild. Oh yes. There was some conversation about who was better looking or something, and someone said Chris. Someone didn't say Albie. There was a conversation about who the parents' favorite was, and someone said Chris. Someone said "Albie was the favorite. Now it's Chris." Lil' Progress was so smug, so happy. Even though he hadn't taken the SATs and was an utter and abject failure, at least he hadn't tried to succeed, like stupid Albie over there. The camera, some brilliant camera man, cut to Albie's face and there was the most haunting look of anger and loss and desire, of having let something slip through one's fingers, of having had the world and lost it, of having been torn out of heaven by cruel, cold hands and damned to walk the lowly earth forever, with everyone else, nothing special. Not Albie the shining ray god. Just Al. Who went to law school all them years ago. Used to be good looking. (Albie really needs to get back to law school and find a bride before that hair goes.) Used to be somebody. Now he's just Al. Lonely, windswept Al. Married a girl named Maureen and lives down in Neptune City, wants to live on the beach, goes there sometimes in the morning before work and stares out at the pewter sky and the dirty white seagulls cawing on by, and he feels like he wants something to swallow him up, make him disappear in one quick gulp. Poor Albie. In lieu of flowers, send panties.

We move on! We move on to kids doing good things. To kids going places. Well, OK, actually. Heh. Hah. Not really going places. Unless you count "back home" as a place. I am talking about our favorite daughter, Bouffant. Boufizzle, as she's called in certain circles. You see something happened and Bouffant has decided that she wants to move home. In the real world that "something" could be: a fight with the boyfriend, a pregnancy scare, broke-assness, a general sort of clotted loneliness. But in this world, in the Housewives world, I suspect it was because she wanted more camera time. Why were those damn cameras always at her mom's house and not hers? What the fuck. Since the cameras wouldn't come to Mohammad — and Mohammad had called Bravo a bunch of times about this — Mohammad would come to the cameras. So, ding dong, Bouffant's home. She told her parents that she needed to speak with them about whether she was moving home or not. A negotiation, as Jacqueline put it. Ah yes. All that negotiating leverage that Bouffant has. She really needed to be respected in this conversation. She'd earned that, hadn't she. Papa Jacqui laid it all out: 1am curfew on weekdays, 2am on weekends. That was it! And that's pretty good. You can get into a lot of floppy, boring trouble by 2am. Bouffant nodded her head, causing a rainstorm in Thailand, and said "I think I can work with that." She told the cameras that it was "more restriction than I'd like." Oh is it? It's a little more than you, the very mature and adult Bouffant, "would like"? Hah. Bouffant, if you came back to my house sniffing around for camera time you know what my terms would be? You can live under the stairs or in this box and you can never leave. I will throw you a meatloaf sandwich once daily and, if you're good and quiet, you can watch one hour of television with me from 7pm to 8pm, and it will be a program of my choosing (it will be House Hunters). Those would be my terms. Love 'em or leave 'em, you dreadful sack of farina.

This shit is getting way long here, so let's cut to the chase. Remember Teresa? Teresa is the one with the soupy strands of velvet cord hair coming out of her colander-like head and the enormous house that she can no longer afford. But that's all in the present. Let's focus on the past. In the past, Teresa still had the big marble mansion and she finally, finally was going to have a housewarming party. It was about damn time. So she called up a woman named Elvira and asked for her party planning help. It was sort of rumored recently that Elvira was going to become the new Housewife, which would be wonderful because she's a heinous tacky bitch, but then apparently Andriah Cohen shut that shit down on the Twitz, said it wasn't going to be her. I would link to these things for you, but I'm terrible at my job, due to laziness. Anyway, Elvira was going to help Teresa plan this delicious housewarming and alls she did was yell at Teresa. Watching Teresa get yelled at is so marvelous! Oh my god I love watching Teresa get yelled at. She took it like a good sport and figured that even though Elvira, mistress of the dark, is very mean, she will design a beautiful party.

Oh heavens, the party. You know what just sort of tickled me in a miserable human way last night? That Teresa's housewarming party involved renting furniture that she doesn't normally keep in the house. "Welcome to my event hall warming party. Here, try this gourmet food I never eat in my house. Look, there's a DJ. And a firebreather. They don't live here. But they're here right now. Yay." It was just so hilarious. Poor Teresa. Someone once asked her what she got on the SATs and she said "Yes." Other features of the wonderful party included a dance floor and color-change lights shining up on the outside of the house, as if Teresa's house was a nightclub in Denver. Well done, Elvira! You win this round, style. All the meaty ladies of the neighborhood were over, throwing their bologna around and stinking up the place with their cheesy sweat stink. Do you know who the two most prominent guests were? No, not Danielle's boobs! They weren't there. The two most prominent guests were our titular two Kims. Kim X was invited always, because she's the girls' Posche dealer ("I am telling you, it will go three Cuban acres on a single jar of horse petroleum.") and they trust her implicitly and do everything the Bravo people tell them to do. Kim G was not initially invited, because of her connection to Danielle. But in the end she sent a nice note to the girls about having fun at the party and Teresa wanted to show everyone that she could be a nice person so she invited her. (Also the Bravo people told them to invite her.) So here were the two storm fronts, racing towards each other, ready to clash and brawl and stutter and shriek.

Only that didn't really happen. No, mostly what happened is that the two miseries tried in their own sad, terrible ways to get on the show, separate of each other. Kim G tried to stir up some controversy with Jacqueline, by talking 'bout Danielle and just being generally horrible. She said that Jacqueline is "obsessed" with Danielle. Which, heh. Kim G calling someone else obsessed with someone else is like Jeffrey Dahmer calling someone else mean. "You're just a big meanie! [gobble gobble on people]." So everyone was like "O Rly? Kim G?" and she was like "Ya, rly." and we all slapped our foreheads and wished that everyone, everywhere was dead. Kim X, meanwhile, had an even better plan: She was going to get knock-down, drag-out drunk. Goooooooood thinking, Kim! That's called intuitive thinking. "What can I do to impress these ladies who shop at my store? Oh, I can get completely shattered and press my face into theirs." It was such a good plan. I was so impressed with her. And she executed it marvelously. Kim X got so drunk. Oh she was just the drunkest. Somewhere between Teresa's grand red carpet entrance and the contortionists' room, Kim X managed to drink all the liquors. Just every single one. Teresa was giving a big important toast that involved rambling incoherently about the other Housewives, and Kim X decided to just go on up there and act like she was one of the group. Literally Teresa was mid speech and Kim X just stumbled up there and started engaging Teresa in a conversation. It was peaches. it was so loverly. I was so proud of her. And she wasn't done!

Kim X also decided to engage Bouffant in a conversation about Danielle. Both bitches brought up Danielle! That is like poison and magic all at the same time! But I think that Kim X takes the cake for being the worst Danielle-talker-abouter, because she went up to a teenaged toadstool creature and was all "Heyyyy [slur] yerrrr fine [slur] don't worryabout Danielle [slur] please tell your moms that I really think they're super ladies and would love to be on the show please.... please? [hiccup] [slur] [collapse]." I just think that going to the real child instead of just the childish Jacqueline was a brilliant master stroke. I think Kim X might have won the whole thing. Put her on the show! Or rather, advance her to the finals so she and Elvira can battle to the death. Who cares about Kim G. Feed that old lady to the wolves. She's useless.

Speaking of useless, did you notice Albie in the party scene, newly hunched there in a corner? Yeah, he was there. He was standing in a corner with the disco lights dancing on his still beautiful face, the music echoing against the walls, his heart doing cold lonely beats, like radar pings. And then it happened. Kim X stumbled up and she cupped his cheek with her sliver moon of a hand and she leaned in close and said "What a pretty boy you are. Such a pretty boy." She ran a finger along his jawline and brought her thumb to his lips. "Does the pretty boy want some company tonight?" And normally Albie would have said no. Normally he would have gone to a nightclub and picked some thigh-heavy, needy girl to bounce up and down on him for a while, but that night he was exhausted. And Kim X seemed to want it so badly, to understand what it was to feel the sullen creep of disappointment vining around your insides. Maybe she could teach him something, he thought. About how failures do it. About how to press on in the world when the world no longer wants you. She could be his follow car. He would drive behind her through the dust and kickup and somewhere they would both disappear, leave this place to the winners, the only ones that truly deserve it.

He said "Yeah, company sounds good." She fell asleep in the car on the way home. When she woke up in the morning she was in the passenger seat in the car, in the driveway, and there were bugs on the windshield and Albie was next to her, sleeping away, his cheeks streaked from crying, hugging himself as if he were breaking up into pieces, a satellite too steeply reentering our merciless atmosphere.