The world's longest Christmas ever continued (and finally ended?) on last night's episode of As the World Turnpikes, with the opening of presents and the spreading of a temporary, tentative peace throughout the land. Let's open the gifts and then burn all the wrapping.
Oh sweet Jesus, and I do mean Jesus, will this Christmas ever end? This was basically part seventeen of A Very Jersey Christmas and it was all too much. All of these holiday festivities. Am I vaguely curious to see how these orange wildebeests do Christmas? Sure, of course, peering into other families' traditions is always sort of interesting. But do I need to know every minute goddamn detail about who makes what and who eats what and who says what and who jingles what and when anyone does whatever and why how what who? No! I most certainly do not need to know all that. But know all that I do, now. Thanks a lot, Bravo.
Let's see. What was going on? Oh, right. At the very end of last night's episode, Joe Gorgon was over at Teresa's house for Christmas Eve so everyone could be nicey-nice and get along, and everyone was nicey-nice and got along (except for weird hedgehog Joe Giudice, who sat hunched in a corner saying mean things about the Gorgons, all the while looking like one of the fake monsters from The Village [spoiler alert? They're fake. Spoiler. Oops.]). But unfortunately the Gorgons had agreed to also go to Great Great Grandma Kathy's house for Christmas Eve, so though the times at Villa Giudice were good (if tinged with a faint sense of unease), the Gorgons had to leave. Teresa wanted everyone to stay, so she took her brother to the dining room and showed him that she had places set for him, but he remained resolute and said that no, no, he had promised Kathy. Teresa frowned and said that Kathy was a bad cousin or something, because she should encourage Joe to stay with his sister, and you kind of expected some sort of Kathy-related fight to start, but then... it didn't! It didn't start. Instead everyone said mostly pleasant goodbyes and made plans to see each other next week (Papa Gorgon chastised Melissa and Joe for not being around when he came by, three times, and Melissa was like "Call us first!" and Papa Gorgon said no and you realized that he'd been showing up at their house assuming they'd be there? Is that what was going on?) and that was that. Teresa huffed a sad Teresa huff and handed her nieces and nephew their (enormous) presents and they left. Snow fell. Teresa sighed. She shut the enormous doors to her marble mansion and that was Christmas Eve for her.
The Gorgons drove through the night, mostly pleased with how the Giudice visit had gone. When they arrived at Kathy's, though, they told us that they now finally felt relaxed, everything felt easy at Kathy's, the way family should feel easy. There was an enormous fried sea bass lying, head and all, on the table. Jerf Goldblum was there, Jerfing around. And Kathy had laid out an elaborate spread of treats and sweet desserts for everyone to nibble. True Christmas feelings! Melissa said that she'd really like it if everyone could be together, Gorgons and Giudices and Goldblums and all, but that it was just not meant to be this Christmas. Maybe next Christmas, if we're not all dead. (We will all be dead.) Joe talked to Kathy and she said "Well, I hope that if you wanted to stay, you didn't just do it for me," and I couldn't tell if she was being foreal or not. If she was being foreal, that was a nice and understanding thing for her to say; hey if you wanted to stay at your sister's, I would have understood. If it wasn't foreal, if she actually would have been upset that the Gorgons didn't come to her Christmas Eve but was saying she wouldn't have been, well then stop being a jerk Kathy! But I dunno. I can't get worked up by that. I mean, can I get worked up about anything?
These past few episodes have been so mild. Everyone is being mostly nice and mostly not fighting and it's just sorta ho-hum. I mean, there were some funny moments during present opening. The Gorgons showered each other with elaborate gifts. The tiny children got an old-timey popcorn maker (what all kids want) and various enormous toys and whatnot. Meanwhile the older child, Melissa, got a fancy piece of luggage that she immediately let crash to the ground. She got some enormous gold watch that was on the tree ("You got me the gold Rolex!!" she said, because all these people can think about is brands, the naming and identifying of brands) and then Joe was like "I got one moah sooprize" and he took her downstairs blindfolded and
murdered her showed her the new recording studio.
Which, good present. But am I really to believe that in the whole time they were building this elaborate recording studio, Melissa never went into the basement? I just don't believe that! But anyway, she did a decent job of sacing surprised for the cameras and then she looked at the mic she'll be warbling into and she said "Aw honey you didn't get the blinged one." Joe blinked at her and said "I got you the blinged watch." And Melissa replied "Oh, I know, but I wanted that jewel-encrusted microphone. I guess I'll have to jewel-encrust this obe." Because that will help the singing. The jewels will really help. And here's my thing with the recording studio. So let's say she finds some producers to work with. Don't producers tend to want to work in their own studios, where they have all the equipment they like? Not some random suburban basement studio built by people who don't know anything about building recording studios? "Welcome to my recording studio, Pharrell Williams. As you can see, I've got my jewel-encrusted microphone over here, and here we have our tapedeck. Will you be needing anything else?" (Note: I originally wrote Scott Storch instead of Pharrell Williams, but then I remembered that Scott Storch has a fascinating but ultimately tragic story.) It just doesn't seem right! Maybe if they can get the Bruce Dickinson in there as a consultant, he can tell them what cool equipment to buy and Kathy's funny little son can be their record producer. I'd like to see that episode, please!
So that was the Gorgas' Christmas. Over at the Giudices', Teresa was telling us a tale about how she and her hubby, who really, really didn't want to get out of bed — I think he was molto hungover from Xmas Eve — had agreed to really keep it low-key this Christmas, what with the fact that they're bankrupt and all. Ha, but apparently a low-key Christmas involves giving your kids a Mercedes PowerWheels and having your tiny baby daughter shriek "Look at my Uggs!" Apparently that's a pretty chillax Christmas. I mean, there were so many presents. Just so many. Then, hilariously, it was time for Teresa to open her gifts. First she got some gloves and she liked the gloves. Then she got some sort of weird fur bathrobe that was, like Melissa's microphone should have been, jewel-encrusted? It was some sort of jewel-encrusted fur bath coat? It was very strange and Teresa said "It's nice..." as convincingly as she could, meaning not convincingly at all, and Joe said "Are you gonna exchange it?" and Teresa told us that Joe always thinks Teresa exchanges things, even though it only happened a couple of times. To illustrate she told us some story about Joe getting her a beige Louis Vuitton bag, which she of course exchanged because no one wants a beige Louis Vuitton bag, they want a silver one, and we were once again reminded that of the many, many terrible things that Sex and the City did to us (and I loved that show) was teach idiots and nouveau riche and other déclassé people the names of designers. Oh god, wasn't that the worst thing? When idiots started droning on about Fendi and Louis and Versase and all that? Ugh, and then some of them, the ones on reality shows, learned the word "media" and all hell broke loose. These people have somehow managed to make some of the top design houses in fashion seem tacky. Sorry Gucci! Sorry Christian Louboutin! Sorry Jaclyn Smith for Kmart! You've been ruined. Blame these people.
Anyway, after all that, after all this talk of a modest Christmas, Teresa turned to Joe and said "So I guess no diamonds this Christmas, huh?" and Joe just shrugged his shoulders and fell asleep right there, so tired was he from lying on the couch and lazily videotaping everyone, and Teresa said "No, it's OK, really, I don't need diamonds." But of course she needs diamonds. She needs diamonds so badly I hear she's going on an expedition to the Congo with Laura Linney and Tim Roth she needs diamonds so badly. "Di-a-monds!!!" - Teresa Giudice/Medusa. Sad story, Teresa. Sad story.
OK, let's see. The Manzos. Yes, there are other people on this show other than the Gs. (Oh Cousin Kathy's kids got her a laptop to help her start her catering business and said nice things to her and she cried and it was nice.) Caroline and Albert gave their kids the ForeverBraceletz™ they'd had made for them, and everyone thought they were real, real nice. Lauren Manzo cried like a girl, because she's a girl, and everyone was happy. Then the next day at the Laurita/Manzo household, we saw the little boys get a new go-kart and choo-choo train, so they were pretty excited about that. Obviously Bouffant/Hat didn't get a present because she got her car, but then the most horrible thing was revealed! Bouffant didn't get a present for her mom (or step-dad)! For Christmas! Oh my god. Surely there must be a good reason, right? Take it away, Bouffant: "I know it might seem weird that I didn't get my mom a Christmas present, but... I spent a lot of money on my car and... I just didn't, so..." GOOD EXPLANATION YOU HORRIBLE BRATMONSTER. Like, whatever. Christmas is crass commercialism, etc. etc. forever. But come ON, it's Christmas. And it's not just the actual fact that she didn't get her mom anything. It's shouldn't she want to get her mom something? And if she really couldn't afford it, shouldn't she have done something? Instead of merely shrugging her shoulders and clearly not giving one ounce of a shit? What a rotten little troll this one is. What a dump. What a serious fucking dump. Send her to Swiss military school and be done with her. That's a bad, Bouffanty apple right there. Throw it out. Garbage. Sorry, but that's garbage.
Anyway, that was mostly the episode. Well, haha, there was one more thing. For some reason Albie and Chris didn't go home for actual Christmas day and Lauren was with her boyfriend's family. So Caroline and Albert were all alone. But, later that evening the family was going to a concert given by Alexa Ray Joel, who is a family friend apparently. Only, the thing is, shimmering cream deity Albie wants her to be more than a friend, it seems. Yeah he was all nervous and snapping at his crooked, dark-eyed brother Chris, because Chris was making fun of Albie's crush. And mama Caroline was no better. They were all in the limo on the way there and Caroline wouldn't stop gussssshing about what a nice girl Alexa is, and so perfect for Albie ("They're both children of privilege" — 1) That makes a good match, because that way they can both be rich forever? 2) Haha, do not compare Manzo "privilege" with Billy Joel "privilege," because that is like comparing a cubic zirconia to a diamond and Teresa will kill you for that) and they really should get together. Throughout all of this ribbing and cooing, Albie got so nervous and awkward that by the time Alexa came over to their dinner table during intermission, Albie was this weird, monosyllabic dark-faced weirdo. He was almost like Chris! Except weirder than Chris.
Alexa came over and Albie gave her an awkward hug and the whole family got to talking and Alexa was like "Oh, how old are you Albie?" and Albie said 25 and Alexa said "I'm older than you! I'm the old maid!" and Albie's smooth, sexy comeback to that was "Do you want some milk then? Because you're an old maid?" And he said it in this weird, small, mean voice. And also it made no sense? What are you talking about, Albie? Milk?? Chris was absolutely loving this, because of course it's so rare to see rippling lion prince Albie in such a state of disrepair. Usually it's shriveled old Chris who's like that, saying strangely sinister things to girls, eyes glowering and burning. It was quite a reversal. And not but a little distressing.
So I guess that the Manzos won't realize their dream of uniting their family with House Joel, not unless their prize son can get his act together. There won't be a charming proposal by the side of the road like Albert and Caroline had, which they reenacted last night, Albert getting down on one knee and saying sweet things. The Manzos rarely know defeat, but sometimes, oh sad sometimes, they do. First law school, now romantic ineptitude. I guess when you put one boy, one golden light source of a boy, so far up on the marble pedestal, any slight slip looks like quite a great fall. But really it's not. Really just sometimes little things go wrong. Nothing is perfect, you know. It's the holidays, after all.
And maybe on New Year's Eve, Albie will sneak away from his family's big Brownstone party and he'll zoom through the tunnel and find her at some club or bar in Manhattan, she'll be finishing a song, a bit hoarse and sweaty, and she'll see him, from the stage, she'll see him making his way through the crowd and she'll run down from the stage and they'll push towards each other and then finally meet and he'll say "I'm sorry, I've been weird, I'm weird" and it will feel so good to say it, to admit imperfection out loud, and Alexa will smile and run a hand through his hair and she'll say "It's OK, it's OK, I like when you're weird" and they'll share a great midnight kiss and confetti will fall and they'll dance a slow, close dance to "Auld Lang Syne" and everything will be perfect...
But then there will be a loud noise, a whunk or a clunk of Chris stumbling in the hall, and Albie will be back in his bed on Christmas night, home from the concert, merely dreaming of what he wished could be. The kiss, the confetti, it was only some faraway fantasy of a New Year's Eve that will probably never happen. But then Albie will turn to the clock and see that its buzzing red light says 11:55 and he will realize that there are still five minutes left of Christmas. He still might have time. So he'll close his eyes and ask for one last gift, one more perfect present. One last thing to make this never-ending Christmas the best, forever.