On last night's episode of Rawkin' the Suburbs, costumes were worn, scares were had, lots of witches shrieked in the night. Oh, and, and it was also Halloween.
Yes, last night it was the important and sacred holiday of Halluhweenz, a time when anything can happen. Your friend could turn into a bat! Also, and I'm really being serious here, has anyone seen my tambourine? I'm not accusing anyone of taking it, I'm just asking. I just want to know if anyone's seen it. My tambourine, that is.
Anyway! The point is, yes, it was Halluhweenz and all the wives were excited. They decorated their houses with spooky signs and spooky cobwebs and spooky marble columns and hideous wall art, really getting into the season. Apparently they, well Jacqueline and Caroline and Teresa, have an annual tradition of getting together with all the young ones and carving pumpkins. As her house is the epicenter of young ones these days, Teresa played host, teetering around and whining as she does, indistinguishable from her children. The pumpkin carving was fun, though watching everyone cut into a round orange thing and dig out useless goop sort of made Teresa nervous, it somehow seemed like a direct insult. But never mind that, she put the thought out of her head, literally spit it out, a little wood-colored seed. It was time anyway to talk about what had happened at her nephew's christening, the yells and barks and roars still ringing in her ears.
Caroline, of course, was the one to bring it up, saying "I heard there was an incident..." though clearly she already knew full well what had happened. Teresa frowned, a Halluhweenz chill seeping into her body. "Yeah, well it was my brother's... My nephew's christening. And, you know, it was my nephew, my brother's kids. And we haven't..." She trailed off. Not from emotion, really. Well, sure, from emotion probably, but it didn't come across that way. It more looked like she just didn't want to talk about that, like she was trying to leave the whole dark episode behind her, and I don't blame her. Even though, really, she didn't actually have that much to do with the situation. Sure she engaged her brother a little bit once he started barking at her, but that's really it. The rest was all about the two Joes, Juicy and Moosey, but I guess because she's the one On The Show, it becomes all about her. So no, Curious Caroline, Teresa doesn't really want to talk about it.
What Teresa wants to do is dress up like her little alter ego character, The Amazing T (or whatever), and swoosh around the house while her daughters hold her cape, Teresa closing her eyes and pretending she's flying, almost feeling like she is as she tumbles down the stairs, afterward lying on the cold marble floor of the foyer, tangled in her cape, her daughters shrieking and laughing on the landing above. Halluhweenz can be a stressful time. She and Joe had about a million kids over for the holiday, which seemed terrifically miserable, but Teresa and even the typically sour Joe seemed to enjoy it, staggering around talking in their halting language, the kids weaving around them speaking in much the same way. Really Teresa and Joe are big, thick kids themselves, happiest when they are not surrounded by the confusing and difficult stuff of grownups.
Grownups like Melissa Gorgon! We got to know Melissa a little better in this episode, watched her away from her husband and her kids, interacting with other ladies. Where does one go on this show to interact with other ladies? Why to the Posche dealership, of course! The Posche dealership is that celebrated retailer/meeting club which, in addition to selling fabulous Posche automobiles which are imported straight from the Caucasus mountains, also traffics in various clothings that, if worn safely, do not burn or permanently discolor the skin. Everyone loves to go to Posche and hang out, drinking orangey mimosas and gabbing about the affairs of the town and of the world. It's a salon, really, not for the teasing of hair but of ideas. So it's important that Melissa, a newcomer if not to Franklin Acid Lakes definitely to the show, make herself known there.
So she went and was greeted by the wisp-haired stick devil Kim X, a thin and duck-lipped woman with a cruel flint in her eyes and a bony jaunt to her step. Melissa had been there not but ten minutes before Kim X asked her to walk in the annual Posche trade show, a blessed event that last year saw the big Weaveicide incident between Bouffant and the dearly departed Beverly Merrill. Melissa was thrilled! Well, on camera she was "nervous." She tried to look shocked at the offer, then humble. "I've never modeled before. I don't know if I can model, can I model???" She tried to act all incredulous but of course she was not at all incredulous and of course there was a fireworks show exploding inside of her and yes, yes it really was happening. Her first modeling gig! So she gave the incredulity shtick its time and then she shifted over to a finger-snapping diva mode saying "Well, I've never modeled before... but you know I'll be amazing!!!" Oh Melissa. Sweet idiot. You watch way too much reality TV. (Yes, hi, is the kettle there? This is the pot calling. Yes, I'll hold.)
So yes, Melissa will model! She was celebrating this fact when all of a sudden she heard the scrape of toenails on pavement and the sound of skin crinkling like paper. She smelled something sharp and acrid and vinegary, almost a preservative smell, some chemical keeping something alive. It could only mean one thing. KIM G!!!! Yes, the escaped mental patient from the eldercare facility is back to stir up more trouble. She floated into Posche, toes dragging across the floor, and said "Hello, you must be Melissa," in that terrifying chirp of hers. Melissa told us that she didn't know Kim G but she knew Kim G. It was a small community, after all. Also, Melissa, you probably watched her on your sister-in-law's reality show last year. You probably know her from that, too. Ultimately it doesn't matter how Melissa knew about Kim G, because now she really knows her and Kim G wants in on the action. She immediately started peppering Melissa with questions about the Christening Incident, her face sporting that devil's smirk that she thinks is so sly but is really just scary and sad at the same time. Unlike a normal person who would be a little offended or taken aback by a crazy old lady stranger asking you personal questions about a bad party incident, Melissa fed Kim G's hunger and gave her some details. Kim then set in on Teresa, talking about her flat ass or something to that effect and it was just weird and gross. I understand that Kim G provides a necessary service to this show, but she is just so distinctly unpleasant to watch.
So Kim G is in play now, and nothing will be the same. After leaving Posche, buzzing with the exciting feeling that she was finally on this show, armed now with a modeling gig and a Kim G interaction and a whole elaborate scandal, Melissa headed home to hold her own Halluhweenz festivities with her own Joe, Joe Moosey. They were of course doing the usual take-the-kids-around-the-'hood Halluhweenz stuff, because they are parents, and that is what parents do. But they also had their own party plans in mind. Once the kids had been candy fed and put to bed, it was time to get into their own crazy costumes and head out on the town. "We're young, we go out!" Melissa explained. Which is fine, go to a Halluhweenz party, that's totally understandable. Only they weren't going to a party, they were going to a club. "I go to a lot of clubs, and Moods is one of the hottest clubs here in North Jersey." Mmhm. So many hot clubs out that way. Just a whole Hot Club District, even. I don't think the club was actually called Moods, but they're all kind of called something like that, right? Moods. Images. Features. Well, I guess that's more what clubs were called in an older time, but North Jersey still sort of exists in an older time, so let's just go with it. The important thing is that yes, Melissa and Moosey were headed out on the town and they were in their finest.
Melissa strikes me as entirely uncreative person, through and through completely devoid of imagination, so it was no surprise that she decided to do a sexy kitty costume, perhaps the most well-worn ensemble in the sexy Halluhweenz costume genre. It was a latexy, rubbery kind of thing, vaguely reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer but without the S&M undertones. And Moosey, well... Moosey decided to dress as the Snooki Monster from TV's Jersey Shore, a little-watched documentary program about the denizens of a cursed gypsy settlement clinging to the rocky beach about halfway down the state. Haha, was the joke. Snooki is so dumb. "Where's a guido at?" Moosey asked, bulging body sausaged into a gold dress, Bumpit wig askew atop his head. Right there, Moosey. Gawping at you in the mirror. It's really funny that someone on this show, especially someone like Joe Gorga, thinks that the Jersey Shore people are so silly and such a great thing to make fun of. Guys, just take a breath for a second. Just take a breather and think about it. Are you sure that bellowing drunken Jersey mooks are who you want to be making fun of? Are you sure that that's such a long silly trip to take for a Halluhweenz costume? It's a bit like Glenn Beck dressing up as Harold Camping and going "OOoo look, haha, I'm a crazy person!!!" Well, yes. With or without the Bumpit. (Harold Camping wears a Bumpit, right?) I don't know. It just struck me as a little dim is all. Just a little dim.
What was fun about the costume was how sexually confused it made everybody. Moosey clearly loved it, figured he looked pretty fly for a white guy. He liked the heels and the wig and the dress. That's always a funny thing, the occasional instance when a straight guy will dress up in drag and you can tell he totally loves it. It's also a little sad, too, that those guys feel like they can't do it more often. Just go on and do it! Live ya damn life! For her part, Melissa was not thrilled about the cross dressing. "A guy in a dress just doesn't do it for me. I mean, Moosey looks hot, because he's hot, but..." Now she wasn't sure what she felt. Did she maybe now, all of a sudden, want Joe to wear a dress forever? Maybe. It just may be.
Then they went to Moods and everyone was dancing and Moosey had to take of his heels, an important lesson in how hard chicks got it with dem shoes of theirs. Joining Melissa and Moosey at the clurrb was Kathy, dressed somewhat cleverly as a Na'vi space monster from the movie Dragon Rape. It was actually kind of cute that she wore that nerdy costume. Though she didn't fully commit and paint her face blue, but that was probably only because with a blue face she'd finally fully look like Gonzo from The Muppets and then where would she be? Also at the clurb, of course, was Kim G, Melissa's new best friend, and she was also wearing a kittycat outfit, not as sexy as Melissa's of course, but a kittycat nonetheless. There was another lady who announced her costume loudly as "I'm half a whore!! Sort of." Hahaha. Groan. Dump. Clunk. Oh god. That poor lady. She needs to read her some Ladder of Years and get herself a new life. Don't be calling yourself only sorta half a whore on national television. Come on now. Poor gal.
So that was Halluhweenz! Nothing terribly remarkable happened, except of course for the dark gathering clouds and the clatter of the graveyard gate and the murder of crows cawing forlornly and the dried dead leaves skittering across the pavement, all of which symbolizes not Halluhweenz, but the arrival of Kim G. Other than that, pretty simple holiday. Well done everyone.
Now it was time for the big Posche fashion show! Oh it's really quite an event. All the ladies and begrudging husbands of the Franklin Lakes area head to the Brownstone for an evening of fun, frivolity, and fashion. As the rest of their lives are about none of that, I guess. Everyone was modeling! Well, not Caroline and Kathy, because they're old ladies and old ladies should be locked in rooms and tied to rocking chairs and pointed toward small windows. But yeah, Jacqueline and TT and Melissa were walking in the fashion runway show. God, so many fashion shows this week! Between this and Alexis's Dress Parade on OC, I am basically a fashion expert! I like the bias of that hemmed ruching, is it organza or did you do your own draping? Listen to me! See you soon, Project Runway! (I will not see you soon, as I have not seen you in about three seasons.) Compared to Alexis's fashion show, the Posche show was like Yves Saint Laurent debuting a collection in heaven. Not that the clothes were nice, but they were nicer than Alexis's, and the show was at least reasonably well-run. No one fell down! Which is too bad. I was hoping someone would fall down. People did fight, though!
Everyone's still stewing about the Christening, it will likely be the driving force of the season, and Cousin Kathy wants in on the action. She seems to be taking Melissa's side, going to dinner at Moosey Manor to lend her support in this difficult time (difficult meaning unbelievably embarrassing), but also wants to hash things out with Teresa. Probably because she wants camera time, duhh! So that was Kathy's agenda for the episode. Melissa's agenda was to get an apology from Teresa, but she knew that wasn't going to happen. What did Teresa have to apologize for, anyway? "I'm sorry your drunken meat knuckle of a husband ruined his own son's christening." No, that doesn't make sense! But Melissa wanted an apology anyway, though, again, she knew she hoped in vain. All Teresa wanted to do was act like nothing was wrong, and that's what she did. She breezed in backstage and said hi to Melissa and kissed her on the cheek while Melissa sat stone still, staring straight ahead as her makeup was pancaked on. Oh well, Teresa shrugged her shoulders. I liked Teresa in these parts. I know she's not perfect and I'm suuure she hasn't been wonderful to Moosey and Melissa, but she was at least admirably like "The fuck I care?" about the whole thing. Well handled, Teets!
Then it was time for the dinner to start and all the girls left backstage to go eat something. Only, uh, Jacqueline and Teresa both wore the dresses they were going to model? I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to work. "And here comes Teresa Giudice in a glittery mini that features drop waist and... spaghetti sauce, evidently." Very risky behaviuh, girls! Over at Melissa's table, her harpy sisters were harping away about Teresa, because... Because I don't know. They too want camera time. Sigh. Then of course Kim G had to come up and sit down with them and say her strange old lady things, constantly asking over and over and over again about the Christening and did Teresa say anything about the Christening, etc. What happened here? Did the producers whisper that one word, Christening, in her ear and then let her off her chain? I think so. I think she was given one instruction and she is following it as rabidly and as crazily as she possibly can. Melissa seemed, finally, a little weirded out by all this strange Kim G attention, but hey, it's nice to have people on your side. Even if they're insane people.
Finally it was time for fashion and everyone did their stupid walks. Jacqueline was stiff and big-smiley, but that's fine. No one was really concerned about her. When Melissa came out, sweet humble Melissa, she did a big strut and blew kisses and just generally tried to be the life of the party. And, frustratingly, it worked. People whooped and cheered (granted it was mostly from her table of sycophants) and Melissa spun and smiled and when she got back to the top of the runway, Kim X told her to go again so she did and the cheers were diminished considerably, so she scampered off. It was funny that Melissa felt so hot and confident in a dress that fit terribly, but I guess that's the Posche way. Next up was Teresa who was stiff and unfocused and Caroline shook her head like a parent at a disappointing track meet. Obviously Teresa's mind was elsewhere. Few people cheered the way they had for Melissa and Kim G conspiratorially leaned into the table of Melissa fans and said "Should we boo Teresa?" and everyone just sort of blinked at her because they had no idea who this rude old lady was, who smelled of sour onions and wine, who was stroking a small Derringer pistol the whole time. Give it a rest, Kim G! You care more about someone's botched christening than the people involved do, which is a sign that it's time to hang up your girdle and retire from social malevolence. Just go sit in that rocking chair by the winduh and I'll go fetch the rope.
Backstage Teresa was feeling fine, a little underwhelmed by the whole runway experience but mostly fine, until old Gonzo Kathy limped up and said "Can we talk?" Ugh. Now? Yes, now. So they went to a little anteroom and Kathy was all "How are you..." in a tone that Teresa found accusatory. Kathy wanted to know if Teresa had apologized and Teresa asked for what, for pounding my fist on the table and starting a screaming match and calling my sister garbage and for being shitfaced drunk at my son's christening? Oh, no! That was not her, that was everyone's favorite boiled turkey leg Joe Gorga. That's who that was. Kathy shook her head as if she was disappointed in Teresa, then made some sort of cold little crack about how the kids were left unattended during the blowdown, specifically Teresa's baby daughter. This set Teresa off, you do not insult Teresa's immediate family, we have all learned this by now, and she started yelling at Kathy. Thankfully instead of grabbing at her Gonzo beak and turning this thing physical, Teresa simply stormed into the other room and asked her mother and mother-in-law if they had, in fact, been watching the baby during the Christening Catastroph. The poor old ladies stammered responses and Kathy strutted into the room and rolled her eyes. Then Melissa said something, and Teresa snapped back at her about Moosey being Moosey, and things got very tense. The volume rose, blood flowed hot and angry, and a fight was about to begin.
Well, until Caroline fired a shotgun into the air and said "ALL RIGHT!! We're done here. None of this. Take this outta my house." She doesn't really live at the Brownstone, but you know what she means. Everyone felt ashamed, being scolded like this by Caroline. Especially Kathy, who is about her same age but still had to stand there and listen while Caroline said "That conversation shouldn't have happened here," in a no-nonsense practical sort of way. And of course, no it shouldn't have. She told everyone to disperse, cool down, whatever. I wish she'd straight up kicked Melissa and Gonzo out, but she was probably too fed up to deal with all the annoying ramifications of that. Caroline then went up to Tersea's mother and mother-in-law and cooed to them about their beautiful grandkids and finally all the tension faded and everything was still. Phew. Crisis averted. For now, anyway.
For now everyone can just go on home and relax. Put on their dresses and kittycat suits, dig their hands around in pumpkin viscera, play with their jars of hair and fiddle with themselves while watching a tape of last season's reunion (if you're Kim G, at least). All those homey things.
And Teresa's poor mother can go home and sit in her rocking chair and thumb through an old photo album, look at pictures of TT and Joe when they were kids, thick as thieves, peas in a pod. She'll run her hand over the photo and feel a new knot or lump in her throat growing hard and permanent. She'll look out through the window and the October sun will be disappearing, so early now, another autumn almost gone. Halloween already. She'll look back at the photo, at the impossible future it implied, the happiness it wasn't able to create, and she'll get a shiver. "Boo!" she'll say, to no one, to herself. Boo.