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Last night's episode of A Tan Too Far was all about the sibling feud that is shaping this entire season. So finally we tapped into the juice! The Giuce! Still, though, nothing really happened.
I don't know guys. Should they just change the name of this show to Attack of the Gorgas and let everyone else go? I mean, do we really care about Kathy and her... What does Kathy do? Kathy makes desserts and she talks with her fish-lipped husband and her spunky kids. And she meddles in family affairs that have nothing to do with her. But who cares, really? And who cares about Jacqueline and her moon-farting, her dumb puppydog sighs and huffs and frustrated whining? It's not hard, Jacqueline: Sell your daughter to the circus, where she can clean the elephant cages until she's promoted to a sideshow act. ("Behold, the Amazing Bouffant! If she removes her flop-hat, will she die??) Jacqueline's solution is staring her right in the face but she refuses to see it. So who cares?
And who cares about Caroline and her burgeoning radio career. Caroline's fine. Caroline's almost good. We all kind of like Caroline, right? She has a good family — including golden forever promise Albie — and says good things. And we know that she likes to give out advice. So there was nothing terribly interesting or shocking about her going on a New Jersey radio station to debut a new call-in advice show. I mean, I suppose it was a little disappointing to see how general and vague and unhelpful her advice was ("Hey Caroline, I'm having a hard time dealing with my sister, we fight all the time." "Thanks caller. It's the holidays stop fighting. Hope that helps." "Um..."), but beyond that, so what? Nobody cares.
This show, or at least this season, is clearly all about Teresa, her half-formed Pakuni brother, and his beautiful, sinister bride. I wish Bravo would do us a favor and just edit everything else out and we'd get a few half-hour specials and that'd be that. (Sorry to gripe, I'm just really mad that they switched this show to Sundays, which is such a crowded TV night as is.) SO. What happened with the War of the Joeses last night?
Well, remember how Teresa left that note on her brother's door that said "Dir Joh: I mis u and Can we bee frundhz agin? Luff, ur sistuh Termeesa"? It was a beautifully written note that plead with Knuckles for a reconciliation. Knuckles has been thinking long and hard about this note, trying to figure out what to do. His wicked wife has been snaking her arms around him while he sits in the chair he spray painted gold to look like a throne and hissing in his ear about Teresa, pretending like she's all for a reconciliation, but subtly planting seeds of doubt in his head. So he's torn! I mean, this is his sistuh he's tawkin' about, his flesh and/or blood. After much deliberation, much pacing the hallways of his mansion, his silk bathrobe billowing behind him, wine sluicing out of his brandy snifter, Joe finally decided that yes, OK, he would go have a sit-down powwow with his sister and see what could be hashed out. He put on his best shiny orange shirt, the perfect peacemaking shirt, and strutted off.
Over at Giudice manor, Teresa was nervous. She of course wants to reconcile with her brother, but obviously she can't fully reconcile because then all of her beloved camera time will disappear. It really was a pickle. So Teresa decided to settle the matter in the way she knows best: Mutter random syllables for a while until everyone's confused and nothing has been resolved. It's the Giudice/Gorgon way! She put on her earrings (she put more than one earring in each ear, didn't she? Something weird was going on with those earrings) and donned her favorite black fuzzy costume that she stole from the set of Black Muzzy (a children's language-learning spoof of Black Swan) and headed off to meet her brother.
The scene was weird. It was a "restaurant," I guess, but it mostly looked like a restaurant from an SNL sketch or something? Like I think the walls were just painted flats and none of the plants were real. There was a very this-is-not-a-real-restaurant vibe to it. So either it was a set from the hilarious New Jersey sketch show Fuggedaboutit! A Musical Comedy Romp Served With a Light Dinner or it was a restaurant that mostly exists as a front for illegal basement poker games or something. Teresa and Joe looked perfectly comfortable at this not-restaurant, so my guess is that they've either seen Fuggedaboutit! many times, or they're familiar with the illegal basement gambling scene. (Or both, really.) The waiter sat them at a nice table in the corner and they both ordered wine, because they've both proven in the past that they hold their liquor really well and always behave like consummate life professionals when under the influence. So good thinking guys! Nothing could go wrong with wine.
And, actually, nothing really did go wrong with wine. I'd like to say that lots of interesting things were said during this Yalta conference, but nothing really interesting was said. I mean, it was sort of interesting tracing the genesis of their rift from Teresa's husband to Joe's wife, but only in a vague sense, as nothing either of them said made any sense. "You're mad and I don't like stop being mad." "Joe you're only mad because I'm mad about you're mad and who's mad." "Family is everything you're family and everything why are you mad stop being Melissa family everything mad." "Let's put the past behind us because you're mad and family and the past is everything behind us Joe." It was all weird empty sentiments that mean nothing. Which is fitting, I guess, as that's sort of their entire lives. Strings of meaningless aphorisms cobbled together to form a life.
What was genuinely interesting was all the inbetween stuff, like all the interview stuff. Teresa laid out all this dish about how Melissa is a gold digger, and once said something like "I'm not dumb like my sisters. I started dating Joe and I immediately saw his house" or something. Something like "Of course I married Joe, I mean have you seen his house?" The point is, Melissa likes houses. Some girls like ponies, other girls like fairies, and Melissa likes houses. The girl is just really into houses. Teresa thinks this is evidence of gold-digging, which of course it is, a horse is a horse of course of course, but is Melissa really guilty of anything so wildly different from most of the people on these shows? Is it that shocking that Melissa is attracted, like a moth to a porch light, to money? That's sorta just how a lot of these ladies do, y'know? It's just how they do. Still, it was fun to get that back story, and to see lots of pictures of Kathy and Teresa and everyone when they were younger. I love how they've been using these photos recently. They should employ that device more often. I'd actually watch a whole half-hour show of Teresa wistfully flipping through various photo albums. "Ohh... There's me and Vinny and Tony and Lisa and Angela down the shore that one time. Vinny got sick offa bad crabs and Tony kept makin' crabs jokes all weekend and Angela walked into the sea and we never saw her again. Look how big our hair was!" Chills. I get chills!
The point is, after all the bullshit about Teresa's husband had been cut through, after all the christening nonsense and what have you, it all boiled down to a classic case of lady vs. lady. Joe Gorgon is just sad collateral damage. For reasons that are at once both mysterious and completely obvious, Teresa and Melissa do not get along and that's what's causing all the friction. OK, fair enough. We knew this all along. It was always only ever going to be this. What's to be done? Well, after more guttural nonsense from Joe and Teresa, they kissed on the cheek and parted ways, Teresa deciding that it was Melissa she needed to talk to. Stagehands ran out and began striking the fake restaurant set and getting ready for Fuggedaboutit!'s next sketch, a hilarious spoof of Jersey Shore.
Teresa went to discuss the Melissa Meeting idea with Jacqueline and Caroline, who were both helpful. Caroline agreed that it was time to "put on your big girl panties" and talk to Melissa. Ha/ew. "Big girl panties." What a terrible and terrific notion. That awful word "panties" mixed with that funny idea of the existence of "big girl panties." "These are my big girl panties, and here are my big girl pasties." Good advice, advice lady. Keep the advice coming. For her part, Jacqueline offered her house. She offered her house as a place for Teresa and Melissa to meet. Haha, what? "Let us parley at Storm's End. I mean Jacqueline's house." What a brilliantly stupid way for Jacqueline to insinuate herself into the main action of the season. Clever girl. The thinking was that the girls needed to meet somewhere neutral, but obviously not at a restaurant, because Teresa has never met a restaurant table she hasn't flipped in a drunken rage. So at Jacqueline's house it would be. Ladies you've gotten to a place in your lives where you need to meet in neutral territory, like pirates on a desert isle, to solve your disputes, so just think about that and what it says about your lives for a while, but otherwise, OK, good idea. Let's do this thang.
Or let's do only the beginning of this thang. The ladies arrived and Jacqueline showed them to her Arguing Parlor, closing the heavy wooden doors and locking them in. But not before saying ominously "Ladies, I have hidden a pistol somewhere in this room, loaded with one bullet. I will give you but one clue to its whereabouts: It's under the sofa cushion. Oh, wait. Shit. No. Pretend that was more mysterious. OK. Have fun! Bye!" The ladies got to talking and it was civil for about three seconds, about how family is everything because family is everything, before it started to crescendo, each with a hand searching under the sofa cushions for that blasted pistol. Then, just as things started to get interesting, there was a Sopranosian cut to black and we were left suspended.
Curse you, Bravo! They always do this. Now we gotta wait til next week to see the real meat of the fight, to see them toss each other around the parlor, knocking over old globes and bottles full of brown liquor, tossing books at each other, fire pokers brandished. Sigh. I hope it's good! I hope it's not a stupid letdown. (It will be a stupid letdown.) I'm actually curious to find out! Then we can end this season. Then I'll be done with it.
For now, though, we have to wait. Well just have to drive these dark Jersey streets, listening to the soothing nothings of Caroline, feeling the prickling dread that Jacqueline is hiding in the backseat. Turning around the lakes of Franklin, careful to scan the road for any darting Gorga or Giudice, who might run out into the road and freeze, not knowing what else to do in the glare of all this blinding light.