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This season's requisite Vacation Story began last night, with the Wives all traveling to Punta Cana down in the D.R., a balmy and breezy place, a relaxing place, the perfect place to start a pointless fight.

You may remember, because they've mentioned it sixteen hundred million thousand times on this season, that back in the good old days, before cameras came and ruined everyone's hearts, that Meliss, Tree, and Kathy used to go to Punta Cana and just have so much fun. Oh the giggles and laughs they would have, there under the Caribbean sun, happy as cousins and sisters-in-law can be.

But that was many years ago. And now, of course, everything is poison and black, the girls are always fighting now because, well... At first it seemed like they were always fighting because Melissa was a bit jealous of her sister-in-law Teresa's success and Kathy chose to take Melissa's side, so she was a natural enemy of Teresa's. But as the season has progressed, we've realized that the fault lies almost entirely with Teresa, dumb fame-hungry Teresa. Thick, belligerent Teresa. OK, and the fault lies with her husband too, a drunken bulldog with a despairing (I think Joe is, deep down, a severely depressed person) "fuck everything" attitude. It's a terrible mix, this couple, and they bring their anger and spite everywhere with them, two Erises spreading their dumb, nonsensical strife throughout the world. So great people to go on vacation with, right???

At first everything was light and fun. Folks packed suitcase after suitcase, stuffed them full of glittery bikinis and body thongs, floppy hats and gold lamé coverlets, spike heels and bedazzled titty-ticklers. It was going to be a fun, sexy time for everyone, and they were very excited. And in a weird way, so were we. Maybe this would be pleasant! Maybe everyone would just get tipsy and friendly and the island breezes would sooth their angry souls and that would be that. Oh the dream of vacation! To pause and escape! Maybe they really could leave it all behind, if only for a few days.

Vroom woosh and soar they went in their aeroplane, down to the blue seas of the tropics. They deboarded right onto the tarmac, one of those fun island things that makes you feel like a regular 1950s movie star. Everyone was so excited and everything was great, until... Until Teets discovered that the airline had lost one of her bags. (Or, to use her word, one of her luggages.) It was a minor thing, she had like eighteen luggages with her and this one was just full of her costume jewelry, but still. But still... A cloud passed over the sun. A violin string snapped. Off in the distance a gun shot rang out. Something had changed. Things were dismantling. Oh god, this trip wasn't going to be all sun and sprinkles, was it? It was going to be fighting and whining and tension. Great. Terrific. More of that.

For the time being, though, things were OK. Our two princes, radiant helio-angel Albie and shadowy night bastard Chris, made jokes about being at Jurassic Park and how Jerf Goldblum didn't want to be there, because he'd been there already, and that was funny. On the car ride to the hotel, Joe decided he had to get out and pee so the SUVs pulled over and all the men went off into the bushes to pee. Which, great. As everyone knows, a vacation has not really started until you've peed in the bushes on the side of a Dominican highway. It was kind of weird that all the guys went, it sort of kicked off a whole series of homoerotic misadventures, but whatever. The ladies shrieked and wailed from the cars, Melissa screaming "You're from Jersey! Have some class!" And then she sat back in her white tankini and sipped her car beer and you were like "Yup, she knows classy."

Their manly peeing done, the gents piled back into the SUVs and headed for the hotel. They were staying, of course, at the Hard Rock resort and casino, because where else would these mooks be staying. They had three villas: one for the kids, one for the Gorgas and Goldblums, and one for the Manzo/Giudices. Pretty fancy! And the villas were very nice, with waiters standing at attention with champagne on trays, and under pewter warmers, there were plates of.... club sandwiches and frenchafries. OK, so, it's not exactly the Four Seasons, but still. Who doesn't love a surprise club sandwich? Nobody, that's who. So everyone admired their digs and began to pick out bedrooms. In one particularly gross scene, Albert said to Joe and Teresa, "You can have this room, because I like to hear you guys going at it like cats" (he was kidding), and then Joe said "Well, we're not gonna be goin' at it too much," to which Teresa responded, "Because I have my period? Who cares??" and then they toppled onto the bed together. I... Um. The way that these people talk about sex is just so horrific it almost defies description. I mean, I think it's great that they're not all timid and Puritan and "Eww, nasty business!" about sex. That is good and healthy. But that doesn't then mean that you have to talk about sex in such a forthcoming and graphic way. It's just... It's just, no. I can't explain why, but it makes me feel bad for their children. That's all. That's all.

Over at the Kidz Villa, Albie and Chris (who earlier were walking with their arms around each other and Joe, ever the pleasant beauty, said they looked like "butt buddies") fought with their sister over bedrooms and then with a swish and tinkle of bells and a gust of warm wind their devoted manservant Gregor arrived. Apparently there was some tension between Gregor and Lauren, because she just wanted to spend time with her brothers without their trusty gay by their side, but that's crazytown! Who wouldn't want to spend time with all of them? (Not that it matters to Lauren, but Albie was looking goooood in that white hat, right? I mean, it was cheesy, but a little cheese is kind of nice sometimes. Anyway, I approved.)

With the arrival of Greg, the whole gang was there, meaning it was time to PARTAY. Well, first Teresa did a little swimsuit fashion show, displaying all of her barely-there bikinis to her bored audience. They were basically all the same boxing ring girl outfit in different shimmery jewel tones. Well, actually, there was one that was mottled to look like the sea and it was like a strip of fabric up the middle and I... Ew. Ew. There was a lot more ew when everyone, except for Caroline who had a migraine, went onto a big yacht boat to get some sun and have some dranks. Teresa and Melissa took time posing for sexy photos and then slathered themselves up with so much tanning oil I thought they were going to skin-suffocate, like the gold lady in Goldfinger. Teresa especially, looking like a strip of glazed ham skin, all brown and creased and glistening. It was pretty intense! Meanwhile Jacqueline is feeling all uncomfortable sitting between Teets and Meliss, wrapped in her coverall and pouting in her sad Jacqueline way. Lauren too was feeling self-conscious. And of course Teresa and Melissa must have known this, were fully aware of it judging by the way they were preening and arching their backs and wriggling around. They knew what they were doing, and they did it anyway, because Melissa and Teresa are, y'know, mean girls.

While all this was going on, the boys were putting together a game called Cock-a-Roach or something. It was a very strange game that involved a little plastic bug toy or something, a bottle of liquor, and some tape on the floor. If the bug went near your tape, you took a shot. I think. I guess. I have no idea? It made no sense. It was, obviously, just an excuse to shriek and do shots, so shriek and do shots they all did. Everyone was having a grand old time, it looked like, so that was good. Having not done anything totally gay in like whole minutes, the men decided to go swimming in a shallow sea, Gregor the first to jump in (as is his duty — in case there are sharks, he must protect the princes he is sworn to) and realize that, hey, I'm standin' heah. So the other men went in (I think the ladies can't go swimming in case they cause an oil slick that kills the coral reefs) and then they played "cock fight." Hahahah. Oh god. Joe Gorgon said "Let's have a cock fight," and all the girls were like "Ewwww," and everyone at home was like "[vomit for three hours]" and then they actually, like not euphemistically, started talking about their cocks, and at that point my ears and eyeballs fell off my face and it was terrible. What Joe meant was "Let's play chicken," that game when someone's one your shoulders in the water and you try to knock another person off another person's shoulders. Only usually teenagers play it with girls because it's a good excuse to touch each other and the murky ocean waters conceal boners. This time, though, it was just the gents, so Juicy Joe climbed atop Greg's shoulders and Joe Gorgon got on... Albie's? I guess? and the fight was on. They laughed and hyuked and did all that stuff and eventually Joe Gorgon went tumbling into the water. Thank god, because he needed to hide his boner.

Speaking of boners, after the swimming they went ashore and were changing or something and basically Joe wanted to have sex with Melissa right there in the changing room, because I guess he thinks "the shop is always open" when they're on vacation? So that alone was kind of gross, but then it got even grosser because Greg, Lauren, and Albie (his mind whirring hotly and strangely) all went to go peek at the action and someone said something like "Ew, he's pulling out his penis," and OH GOD, no. No god no. Sweet misty mornings, no. Greg whispered "I want to see it..." and Albie's face remained still and placid. He was thinking something. But I just don't know what that something is these days. But oh well. Anyway.

Ha ha! Ha ha! What fun, huh? What silly fun. Everything was great. Maybe that suitcase thing really was the only bauble, the only bad thing. Everything else is going to be nice. The boat next docked near the beach and they all went to sit in chairs and wait for their al fresco dinner. There was a little more drinking and Albie stood off in a corner smoking a cigar, and the sun set dreamily on the horizon and siiiiiighhhhhh everything was nice. Until. Until, until. Juicy Joe and Albert were having a conversation about the restaurant biz. See Joe wants to open a restaurant to feature his wife's cookbook cooking, and he think it's going to be a snap. How hard could it be? Well, Jerf Goldblum interjected, it's actually pretty hard. After all, Albert had told him it was hard. Albert confirmed that it is in fact hard, but then Joe said "Yeah, but you run an event space, this is a restaurant, it's different." And while he was trying to say, I think, that a restaurant is less work, the very nature of his desire to be the best demanded that he say it like a restaurant is more work. You know what I mean? Nice rhetorical skills, Joe!

Eventually it was decided running a restaurant is, in fact, hard work, and Kathy said "Yeah, and we just weren't prepared to be away from our kids like that." Oops! Here it was! The white squall! (Ohh, White Squall.) There was a sudden thunder clap and a hot white streak of lightning bolted through the air and Teresa whipped her head around at Kathy. "What?" she spat. "How dare you, how dare you. We'll be with our kids. We'll see our kids. Why would you say that? I'm a great mother!" And Kathy blinked and everyone on the beach blinked and everyone at home blinked and all the aliens and god on his Mormon planet blinked and all the faraway quasars and supernovae blinked because, what Teresa? What are you even mad about? "It's just like at the christening when you said that no one was watching Audriana!!!" Because remember that happened, way back when this season began, six years ago? Eesh, Teresa. Really? Really? That's what you're going to get mad about right now? How stupid. The pathetic degree to which Teresa is mean to Kathy and Melissa simply because she doesn't like them horning in on her show is, well, pathetic. She's a five-year-old. Swaddled in someone-needs-a-nap grumpiness and barely literate.

So everyone was mad at her for starting a needless argument, but she kept going. "How dare you? How dare you??" She must have just seen that line in a movie. "I like that. 'How dare you.' That's what ladies say. How dare you. I'm gonna say that, Joe." But Joe was drunk and passed out so he didn't hear but oh he wishes he had! Because this fighting annoys him too and if he'd known she was going to someday say it, he'd have stopped her. But too late now, so after the fighting reached a shrill zenith, Juicy stomped into the middle of the beach sitting-circle and said "Shut up! Just shut up. Everyone shut up." And the fighting died down and Teresa grabbed Joe and pulled him away down the beach, muttering about how dare she, while everyone back at the beach fire shook their heads in confusion and dismay. It was interesting to see even the devoted Manzos get frustrated with Teresa and her pointless bellowing. Maybe the tides are turning against her, finally. I myself only saw the light recently, and boy is it an ugly, brown, dumb light. But it's a light nonetheless. Teresa is no good. No good, even on a beach.

Then everyone went surfing on Joe's back and the episode ended. There will be more next week, of course. Because this season is neverending. Much like the beaches that stretch out for miles and miles down there in Caribbean, buttressed by calm blue sea. And at night, the hermit crabs come scuttling out to do their thing. To forage and fight and feud and feed. To live, as hermit crabs, and other frightful creatures, tend to do.