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Last night's episode of Everyday Italians featured the ringing in of the New Year, that grand tradition of celebrating time's zooming pace with confetti and alcohol and dancing. It's a nice tradition! One that not even these ghouls could muck up.
Not for lack of trying, though! Oh man do these ladies try really hard to make everything awful. Well, OK, to be fair to some of these hydras, it's mostly Teresa these days who is stinking up the joint. Teresa is the bull-headed one who will not move on, will not forgive or forget, will not stop making passive aggressive (or just plain old aggressive) digs because she thinks they're snappy and smart. She's just kind of a bitch! Sorry to be so blunt about it, but it's just kinda the truth, isn't it?
Because their shrieking children get along so well, Teresa and Melissa decided to organize a playdate for the ragamuffins at Melissa's house. Melissa said "Be there at 3," meaning that Teresa showed up at 6:30, after having spent god knows how much time trying to pick out an outfit for her four-year-old daughter to wear. Good grief, Teresa. The child is four years old. Just say "This is what you're wearing" and let that be the end of it. I realize that it may be too late for that, that Teresa has maybe spoiled her daughter too much at this point so just telling her what to wear would only result in some sort of fit or tantrum, but I also couldn't help feeling that the reason Teresa spent all that time picking out little Mortadella's clothes is that she wanted her child, her four-year-old child, to be dressed better than Melissa's daughter. Because Teresa and Melissa are stupidly competitive about stupid things like that because they are stupid. Also of course Teresa being late was a way of peeing on Melissa's shoes and asserting dominance. Melissa Gorgon does not tell Teresa Giudice where to be when, no sir. So yeah, she was like three and a half hours late but the kids were happy to see each other and they scampered off to destroy as many things as possible.
All we heard of them were clanks and moans and yells and shatterings as Melissa and Teresa sat in the kitchen and drank wine and snipped at each other. Well, Teresa did most of the snipping. They of course started talking about old Cousin Kathy, who Teresa doesn't like for some mysterious reason, and Melissa tried to urge Teresa to let the past be the past, but Teresa couldn't do it, couldn't stop saying shitty little things to Melissa while she sat there in Melissa's house. The Gorgon did an admirable job of not letting Teresa's little jabs get to her, even when she asked Teresa about her new cookbook and Teresa said it was a book of family recipes and Melissa asked "Do you want one of ours?" and instead of saying "Oh, I totally would, but the book is done now," Teresa said "What do you have? You have recipes? Huh? What do you have?" in the rudest, stupidest way imaginable. Even then Melissa did not get mad! Nor did she get mad when Teresa said "You sing now? What? Since when do you sing?" and was then given a tour of the new recording studio during which Melissa said "Can you believe Joe built this?" and Teresa said "Yeah, I can believe he built this to keep you from going to New York." Melissa didn't even get mad then! I mean, I don't think Teresa was wrong about that, I do believe that Joey Gorgon built this recording studio as a little prison because he doesn't want his woman venturing into the broader world, and I do think it's funny how Melissa all of a sudden sings (ask to hear her big hit "A Wench Like Me"), but still. Still, Teresa was in Melissa's house and the kids were playing together (by then they'd torn a hole in the side of the house and the den was on fire and one of Teresa's children, it doesn't matter which one, had gotten into a crawlspace and was now moving around inside the walls) so it was just maybe not the politest time to be throwing sarcastic little bitcheries around, Teresa. You catch more flies with honey, and if you just squirt an unending stream of vinegar out of your mouth you're not going to catch any flies or anything else because you'll just be the weird vinegar lady, and who wants to hang out with her? What I'm saying is that while Teresa might have valid gripes with the Gorgons, acting like this is not doing her any favors in the sympathy department. But, of course, she's too dumb to realize that.
Speaking of dumb, we took a little trip over to Bouffant's Lair last night and learned an interesting thing about her! She is actually a pretty good artist. Not like Thomas Kinkade good, but good enough. Good considering it's her we're talking about, the flop-hatted roly poly pillbug who can't do anything else even remotely well. She does half-artsy stuff that's pictures of birds and ladies, and everyone tells her that she should do something with it. So just like that she has decided that her job will be Professional Artist, because that's absolutely a job that many people have. To help get her started, Lauren Manzo asked her to design some T-shirts for the opening of her makeup boutique, because apparently Lauren is opening a makeup boutique. Bouffant drove over to the place and sat down with Lauren and showed her two hastily drawn designs that weren't what Lauren had asked for. (Lauren had wanted a face.) Lauren was upset and said that the drawings looked like Bouffant had drawn them in the car, which I'm sure was entirely accurate. Bouffant was put-off by Lauren's displeasure with her auto-drawings, so she told us that when she is a Professional Artist, she will be beholden to no one but herself, and only concerned with what the general public wants. Yes, because the general public is always clamoring for some kind of art. Everyone is always trying to figure out what kind of art the general public wants to buy. That is just absolutely how the art world works, and Bouffant is right to plan her future as a Professional Artist based on what the general public wants. (The general public does not want art.) So with her first paying art gig clearly a smashing success, Bouffant is on her way!
She is on her way to a New Year's Eve party. It's time once again for the Manzo's annual Brownstone brouhaha, a tradition loved for its warmth and inclusiveness and also its lots of alcohol and DJ and spinning funtime lights. Everybody who's anybody goes to the Brownstone for this blessed occasion, meaning everybody on this show goes. Even Kathy! Yes, there was some moaning and groaning about whether or not Caroline should invite Kathy and her husband Jerf Goldblum, because duh Teresa hates Kathy but the Goldblums also do business with the Brownstone so it's tough. Of course the decision ultimately had nothing to do with anything but what would make good television, so Kathy was invited and Teresa was upset but what could she do. Niente is what. Niente.
Everyone had to get ready for the party, which meant that makeup artists came over to everyone's house to get Joe and Jerf and all the guys in makeup. No, ha ha, it's for the ladies. Melissa and Kathy got ready at the same house and they had some swishy makeup man come over and trowel greasepaint onto their faces while they bitched about Teresa. (The men, Jerf and Joe, treated the makeup fairy with a kind of bemused skepticism, and the makeup fairy seemed scared, and I don't blame him, I'd be scared too.) Teresa said this and Teresa said that. It was a very productive adult conversation. Apparently Teresa told Melissa that she was going to use a picture of everyone together for the cookbook and said "If I really wanted to be mean, I'd show everyone a picture of what you used to look like," which is a mean thing to say. And then Bravo, meanly, showed us an old picture of Melissa and there she was with that '90s Mariah Carey mall girl greasy Jheri curl look, which is I guess a little embarrassing but whatever, so many girls were sporting that hair back then. Not a big deal. Especially when you consider that this is an old photo of Teresa. Way worse! Sorry, Teets. You lose this round. (And all the other rounds.)
Over at Giudice Gardens, Teresa was having her makeup done while her children ran around and shrieked. Four-year-old Mortadella is truly the worst, taunting and torturing her sisters (including Gabriella, the pretty little one who doesn't look like a Giudice at all and seems sweet and normal — I worry about her) and begging for pizza. At one point Mortadella was yelling at her father and she said "Give me pizza, you old troll" and holy heavens I cackled at that one. A little girl calling Joe Giudice "you old troll." I am laughing right now typing it. Because Joe Giudice is an old troll, isn't he? From the mouths of babes. Perfectly brilliant. Anyway, Teresa had just finished telling us how well-behaved her children are when they erupted like this, so once again she is embarrassed but unaware that she should be embarrassed.
Then it was party time! Everyone was there havin' fun. Well, almost everyone was havin' fun. Bouffant was upset because earlier she'd been told she couldn't bring a few extra friends (apparently a year or two previous, her friends got really drunk and vomited in various places) and now she was at the bar asking the bartender (crooked night prince Chris) for a shot and the bartender said no. No! Ugh. Well, hey Bouffant, maybe people would be more receptive to a 20-year-old drinking illegally on New Year's Eve if you asked for, I don't know, something more demure, like a glass of wine? Maybe then the adults would look the other way and say "Ah, what the heck, it's just a little wine and it's New Year's." But a shot is a shot. A shot is "let's get drunk," a shot is showy and obnoxious. So maybe don't ask for a shot just now, Frida Kahlo. Maybe slow your roll there a bit, Georgia O'Keefe. Ah well. That was Bouffant's sad cross to bear, a sober New Year's Eve, and there was nothing to be done about it.
Meanwhile obviously there were burblings with the Teresa/Kathy situation but, as is custom in this mildest of seasons, it mostly just involved Teresa giving her cousin the brush-off rather than anyone's crazy rage toppling over into dangerous territory. It looked like that might happen with Joe Giudice and Jerf Goldblum, because they kept swearing at each other and bumping up against each other. But then it was explained that this a thing they do, a loving dance of masculine aggression used to mask affection. So "You motherfuckin' cocksucker, put your drink down and I'll fuck you up" roughly translates to "It's been so wonderful knowing you over the years, I'm so happy you're in my life. Happy New Year, old friend." That kind of thing. So we didn't need to worry about them!
For her part, Melissa decided that it would be a good time to once again talk to Teresa about Kathy, while Caroline stood in the middle and rolled her eyes, her wild red mane slicked back strangely for the evening (the look was the object of ridicule from her two cocky young sons), ready to break up any physical fights that might ruin her cherished New Year's party. Nothing really happened though, except Melissa invited Teresa on vacation and Teresa agreed to go, on the condition that Caroline and Jacqueline come with her. So I guess there's a trip in the offing? That'll be something I'm sure. Something to behold.
For now, though, there's just this. This fizz and flutter of time marching along. Caroline did a little Office-style voiceover at the end of the episode, ruminating on the nature of all things, while we watched her friends and family and almost-enemies dance and smile. Kathy's daughter was apparently dancing with some fellow but an angry Jerf put a stop to that. Bouffant was seen giving her younger brothers big kisses and hugs, which was nice to see, but I'm sure right afterward she was caught trying to sneak behind the bar and steal the Malibu rum. Caroline and Albert stood in their traditional spot when the clock struck twelve, a place where they have a good vantage point of the whole party, and for a minute everything was just warm and nice, with everyone hugging and blowing into horns and noisemakers. There was confetti and kissing and the collective joy and relief of having made it to another year, of still all being alive and aware. Here everyone was, now suddenly in a whole new year, flush with the possibilities of change, content with the peacefully finished past. There, just there, and just then, they could do anything, all of these party guests. Things could be as good as they wanted them to be. For a brief moment, the world was perfect and they were its chosen people. What light! What hope!
But then of course the night quickly became just another night and the party continued, just another party, and soon they'd all be home in their beds, already restlessly dreaming of the next great or terrible thing.