This longest season of Franklin & Trash (Franklin Lakes, that is) continues to lurch along, with last night's installment showing us even more of the Joe/Teresa feud and lots of sad footage of everyone running. But from what??
From each other, of course! But yes, there really was running last night. Everyone woke up supah dupah oily in the mornin' to go run in some kind of Valemtime's Day charity 5k race. OK, sure. That's good and everything, exercising in the early a.m. for charity. Though, hm, which charity was that exactly? "Uh... disabled... disable... People? Disabled... people." That was the best answer anyone could give. Because, obviously, they just heard "charity" and figured it would look good for them and, of course, reaffirm their celebrity status, in the way that doing charity implies wealth. "I don't do this for money, I got money. I do it for charity. Me being there means something for the charity." That kind of thing. So really it doesn't matter what the charity is for, so long as there are cameras there showing you do the charity. But yeah, disabled people. Which, great! I'd imagine there are many disabled people, with all kinds of disabilities, that need help. But maybe a suburban New Jersey winter morning fun run could narrow its focus just a bit, so as to more effectively use the charity doughlars earned? I don't know. I'm no Dr. Charity, but I just think that would maybe be the right way to do it.
Anyway, the point is that everyone cared about the disabled people, so they woke up in the morningtime, against their will, and got ready to run. Well, not everyone was so willing. Predictably, Juicy Joe Giudice was a total old troll about waking up, because he's always such a grumblepuss. But never fear! Teresa with her acid poop butt is here! Yes, Teresa had a case of "the runs" (the grossest euphemism ever for diarrhea, I mean I would rather you called it "the shits" for god's sake, that is somehow better than "the runs," ew ew ew) and she was telling Joe all about them and he, half-asleep, grumbled "You'd better bring the toilet with you then" while Teresa wondered worriedly about having to go poop in random people's houses along the race course. Joe was still not getting up, so Teresa said "You'd better get up or I'm gonna put my butt hole in your face." Not butt. Butt hole. Her diarrheic anus, covered with pink cotton, shoved in her husband's face, in front of TV cameras. And then she did just that, sat on Joe's head with her poop-butt and Joe moaned something and then the camera cut away. True love.
Joe was up but he still didn't want to go to no stinkin' run, so he was going to make it fun for himself. He cut up a bunch of sausages and put them in a bag to eat at the run, and he also brought a jug of wine, because Joe... well, Joe likes a drink, let's say. But whatever, Teresa didn't care, so long as it got Joe to the fun run. The other people were a little more enthused, and Caroline had even managed to rope her two sons, summer god Albie and winter foundling Chris, into participating. As always they brought along their eunuch manservant Gregor, who's always good for a joke and a wink and, if you're Joey Gorga, a strange rumbling, lurching, pulling feeling in your insides. But more on that later.
So the run was stupid. They got there late, because duh, and no one really did the thing right. They started running the opposite direction of all the other runners, or something, they were running one way and then everyone else was running the other way. And then everyone just kind of... "cheated." They said they cheated, but really what they did was just stop and turn around and go the other way. So yeah, I guess the race was a loop, and they just doubled back and were like "Yayy...." when they crossed the finish line in lazy fashion. And look, I know it was just a stupid fun run for some made-up charity, but you guys aren't gonna show it any respect at all? I just felt bad for everyone who had showed up to actually run the damn thing only to see all the "celebrities" lounging around and sort of making fun of it. It was just kind of gross and showy in that cool kid way, like we're just being silly and don't mind drawing attention to ourselves, because we're cool and popular and can handle it. High school never ends, everyone! It just never ends.
Admirably, Teresa and Joe actually did the whole race, as did Kathy and Jerf Goldblum. As Teets crossed the finish line, her brother Gorgon cheered her on and that was nice to see. With the terrible, arduous 3 mile race finally complete, there was much rejoicing, which involved Melissa jumping up on Gregor, because Melissa and Gregor share a special bond, only to earn Gorgon's jokey jealousy. But, um, not about Melissa. About Gregor. "I don't care you're gay!" Joe yelled as he hurled himself at Gregor and let himself be swept up into the eunuch's strong arms. Joe actually wrapped his leg's around Gregor's firm midsection and, for just a moment — a beat, a hairsbreadth — he rested his head on Gregor's chest and felt the eunuch's hot horse heart beating in his chest and ohhhh Joey Gorgon sailed far away, he traveled through one of Ms. L'Engle's tesseracts to a place where all love is possible, a place of meat and matter. But, again, it was only for a brief second. He quickly found himself and laughed, as the others laughed, and Melissa said "I swear you like guys. Just admit it already." And everyone coughed and laughed nervously and the scene moved on. Joe said he'd catch up and went to go sit in the snow to cool off for a while.
That was the run. The next event was a little hang between the Gorgons and Albie, Chris, and Gregor at their swingin' bachelor pad in Hoboken. There didn't seem to be an occasion, it was just a Saturday night hang or somethin'. Which I think is nice! I'm sure it was just for the cameras, but still, it was kinda fun that they were just hangin' out as friends. Gregor was nervous because he loves Melissa and wants the apartment to look nice, but also because he has a "joke" crush oh Joe. He calls him the gorilla of his dreams and Albie and Chris sit across the table and laugh about it, prodding him with questions about their own perceived straightness and gayness. It is nice to see a bunch of Jersey dudes talking openly about gay stuff, so well-raised, Caroline. Well done indeed. But yeah, everyone had high hopes going into the evening, and they did not disappoint.
Melissa and Joe rode the elevator up and commented at how nice the building was, and Joe said dreamily "If I had this place, at their age, I'd have girls lined up around the block." He then gave a sloppy, sheepish grin to Melissa and said "You'd be one of them." Awww. So romannick. They got to the place and there were plenty of eyyys and hiiiiis and they giggled and laughed together. Clearly Joe and Melissa think it's pretty great to be hanging out with young people, to feel part of the gang again, pregaming before they hit the bars, talking a little sexy and dirty because who the hell cares. Melissa loves that Gregor is into her, that he one time told her he wants to die and come back in another life as Melissa. She really liked that, the way that gay men's wants and lives and everything else should be pointed at their straight female friends, that's how the world designed them, I guess. Go ask Standford or the other one, or the other one too. And Joe, of course, likes that Gregor is into him, because, well... Well either Joe is a surprisingly open-minded sumbitch or there's, y'know, something else working itself out inside of Joe, some hard knot of rope that's starting to come undone. Who knows! Whatever it is, it's potent stuff. Meanwhile Chris sits across the table and laughs and Albie... Albie our taut young lion deity, our scoop of caramel swirl with a few sprinkles on top, he just stares off with this strange expression on his face. Have you noticed how weird he's been lately? Such weird facial expressions, ones that say anger and sadness and something else. There's some kind of mystery there. I'm worried about him. I'm worried that our sun has gone behind a cloud and the world will soon be dark and cold, a place where Chris can rule, letting the world grow thick with thorny black briars, like Maleficent does for Aurora. It's not a good world to imagine! Snap out of it, Albs. Snap out of it please, sweet prince.
After downing some drinks, the quintet headed out to Party Bar USA, which is I think what all bars in Hoboken are called, or at least should be. There they reveled in the glare and blare of the camera lights, enjoyed the bar orbiting around them. Joe was in an especially randy mood, thrilled and emboldened by the approximate blush of youth, wanting to be the partyboy once more, one who feels free and brave and unconcerned with what the world will make of him, one who... sits on Gregor's shoulders, the bulge of his pants firm against the strong boy's neck. Later on outside the bar, Melissa safely inside, Joe yukked it up with boys and referred to his friend "down there" as Tarzan. Which is funny. Because Tarzan is the one who swings from the vines. Who relies on the round shafts of them to take him places, to make him feel like he is flying. An interesting choice, Joseph. An interesting choice indeed.
The night of fun over, it was then time to deal with the hard stuff. (Well, heh, other hard stuff.) Teresa's daughter Picata had a birthday party coming up, and Teresa really wanted her brother and his family there. But of course there is some tension between the two Joes, so Teresa sought out Caroline and Jacqueline's advice for how to defuse the situation. They said, of course, that both Teresa and Melissa needed to make sure their husbands were on their best behavior, so Teresa called up Melissa and put her on speaker phone and they proceeded to get in the same dumb fight as always, claiming they wanted to bury the past but of course unearthing it every chance they got. Caroline and Jacqueline stared bug-eyed at the phone, as exhausted by this stupid feud as I'd imagine the rest of us are. Just end it already! After a brief crescendo into a fight, Melissa and Teresa both agreed that they'd try to cool their husbands down, stop them from fightin' and carryin' on, if for no one else's sake than the little ones'. A detente was reached, for the children.
The party was a pizzapie party, because Joe and Teresa are trying to save money by, well, "spending less," as Teresa said. Ha. Yes, I'd imagine one way to save money is to spend less of it. I'm no Dr. Economy, but I think that's a good way to not spend money, the not spending of money. So they're having Rolatini's party at Joe's pizzapie restaurant, which is perfectly fine for a five-year-old. Even if that five-year-old is Rolatini, who is a wild and feral child, stubborn and loud and crazy-mouthed. Teresa tried to get the girl ready for the party by putting her in her dress and the little thing went supernova, shrieking and weeping because there was a different dress she wanted to wear. And good grief was Teresa not handling the situation well. Just let the girl wear whatever damn dress she wants! It's her birthday for crying out loud. Eventually Teresa caved and put the big pink puffy thing she wanted on the girl and she smiled at her daughter and said "It looks like a wedding dress," and Rolatini said "It's not a wedding dress! I'm not getting married!" because she is a hilarious holy terror. Teresa changed tack. "OK, you look like a princess. Princess Rolatini, at your servant." Hm... I- Teresa, that's not... Oh, never mind. At your servant. Fine. Whatever.
Partytime! Everyone gathered in the small pizzapie place and the kids got to play with their own dough (the only dough anyone's playing with, in these money-saving times!) and it was a big, messy success, the way a five-year-old's birthday party should be. Eventually the Gorgons showed up, late of course, and Juicy Joe mostly chose to avoid them, lest anything erupt. Which is OK! If that's the strategy that works, who cares. As long as there's no fighting, any means necessary will do. Everything was going fine and dandy, Parmigiana was even behaving reasonably well, until her older sister Gia made an announcement. She'd written a song for her sister on her birthday and she wanted to sing it. Everyone said "Aww..." and then everyone said "Ohh..." when she started to sing it, because it was not a good song. But that's OK too! She's a little girl, not Diane Warren. Her song doesn't need to be great. And it wasn't great, not by half. But, again, who cares. Once she finished everyone clapped and the two small sisters gave each other hugs and all was good. Well, until Gia announced that she had another song to sing. A song about her mom and Zio Joe. Uh oh. Uh oh indeed.
The song was... Well, OK, confession time. I couldn't watch it. I muted the television and played a turn on Words With Friends. I could not stomach watching Gia sing a long, terrible song about her mom and uncle fighting, all the while choking herself up with tears. That's just not something I want to watch on a Sunday night after a particularly brutal episode of Breaking Bad. Sorry! My nerves were too frayed at that point. But I'm told, and you can find out for yourself in the video up top, that it was a sad dirge about grownups fighting when they should be loving each other. Yikes. I mean, first of all, that should not be allowed at a little girl's birthday party. That is not the time or the place. I don't know if I'm so cynical and awful as to think that Gia deliberately tried to upstage her sister, but intentional or not, that's exactly what happened. Luckily crazy little Mascarpone didn't seem to notice or care, but she will when she's a little bit older! So get that behavior in check, parents. Don't let this become a habit.
But yes, anyway, the song obviously struck a chord with everyone there who knew the business between Teets are brother, and many tears were shed. At least two people said "Sometimes it's a child who tells us what we need to do," which is such a silly bullshit aphorism kind of thing. Everyone else has been telling Joe and Teresa to get the fuck over it for weeks now! Gia was like the last person to say it. I guess she was the first person to sing it though, so that counts for something. Both Teresa and Joe, who seemed moved when they should have been deeply embarrassed, gave her big hugs and a bunch of other well-wishers told her she'd written a lovely song, Jerf Goldblum even going so far as to say "I know it's Puttanesca's birthday, but you were the star tonight." Arghhhh. Stop encouraging her, Jerf!! Stupid old Jerf.
Anyway, that's basically how the episode ended? I think there was a little more of people saying "Out of the mouths of babes..." and whatnot, but that was basically it. The pizzacake was eaten, presumably the presents were opened, and then it was time to go home. Everyone packing up the little ones and saying goodbyes and then heading off into the winter cold. Teets and Juicy back to their drunken marble mansion. Albie and Chris to their sky pad, where Chris will joke it up and Albie will stare out the window, looking at the stark standing city across the dark water, the river churning and black like whatever it is that's curdling itself inside Albie's heart. But it's just the two boys in the apartment, as Gregor said he had an errand to run, that he'd be back later.
But instead Gregor is standing by his car under an overpass, looking at the text message on his phone. "Meet me? Please." What could this be? Could this be what he thinks and hopes it might be? And then Joe Gorgon drives up in his car, steps tentatively out. "Hi," Gregor says. "I got your-" "Yeah," Joe says, cutting him off. "Yeah, thanks for coming. I-" He shifts awkwardly and seems to struggle to find words. Gregor walks closer, says in a soft, kind voice, "What is it you want? What do you want, Joe?" And Joe stands there, unable to answer. They stand in silence, the steam of their breath floating and evaporating like wishes. No more words spoken, because that language is sometimes too heavy to lift. Above them the cars on the overpass rumble and thump away, all of that noise and exhaust of people going, other people, lucky people, on their way to where they need to be.