'Real Housewives NJ' premiere: Danielle, just keep driving

real-housewives-new-jersey-bravo-premiere.jpgIn the premiere episode of " The Real Housewives of New Jersey," all the women seem to have found some calm after last season's table-flipping drama. But, as John Steinbeck wrote, "The grapes of wrath are fermenting."

Welcome, Nicholas, to the crazy bunch!
Last season, Jacqueline was having a hard time conceiving a baby, but good news, everyone! She now has little Nicholas and he's a cute one. He also seems to have helped with the rift between her and Caroline over last season's Danielle drama. Jacqueline jokes that a fertility bracelet may have helped with conception. Whatever works, right?

Buddha cats
Dina seems to have found some peace after the whole Danielle thing. Her creepy cat, Grandma Wrinkles and the other one that has been shorn within an inch of its life help to calm her. Teresa then tells us via interview that Dina began getting "mean" phone calls and letters, plus her mailbox was vandalized. Teresa says that never happened before Danielle. Dina says she has forgiven Danielle, because "broken people do broken things." That's very high minded of her, but we'll "watch what happens" once Danielle gets going this season.

Danielle knows who she is
And so do we. Danielle goes to a Catholic priest to find out how to pray for the other housewives. After all, they have wronged her by digging into her past and sharing it with the world. In effect, I'm not sure what this visit was about. It seemed to me that it was a ploy to trash the other girls and plead her innocence once again. I'll be interested to see how many more scenes we'll see like this one. In the end, the priest tells her she needs to forgive them. To that, Danielle goes quiet. Alleluia.

How many groups can we offend in one segment?
We join Teresa and her family making red pasta sauce. It's amazing that they make their own sauce and for the whole year! Teresa wants to pass the tradition down to her children. Also, she's two weeks from delivering! Dina thinks if she has a boy, he'll be part of the Village People. [Group no. 1: Gays] She definitely dotes over her daughters. We then learn that Italians believe that when a woman is on her period, she can't make tomato sauce or else she'll spoil the batch. That's very pro-woman, huh? [Group no. 2: Women] And the piece de resistance? Conversation moves to Teresa's daughter marrying an Italian and she mentions her mom wants her to marry a Jewish guy. Teresa says she heard that Jewish men cater to their wives. But, then her daughter says she doesn't want to marry a Jewish guy, because their kids are born with [uses her fingers as horns on her head]. To be fair to Teresa, she's very quick to tell her daughter not to say such things, but the whole table laughing doesn't help things. [Group no. 3: Jewish people] Plus, who told her that in the first place?

Skinny men-ny
Caroline's husband has dropped some major poundage and she takes him to buy a new suit. Jacqueline spills the beans that he had some sort of operation to help him lose the weight. Regardless, Caroline is loving her new slimmed down hubby. They drop almost 10 grand on a new suit (wink, wink - shot of Macy's sign), but Caroline thinks it's totally worth it.

Ban-ielle
Jacqueline's husband, Chris, doesn't want her to hang with Danielle anymore. He points out that she didn't contact him when Nicholas was born and that real friends would have done that. He has a good point. Jacqueline, though, has demonstrated that she doesn't take well to being told what to do and she doesn't think she should stop being Danielle's friend just because he tells her not to. She chooses to see where the friendship leads. You have to admire Jacqueline's independent spirit.

No more pictures!
It's the first day of school and Teresa is getting her girls ready. They're quite the handful and Teresa, who was shown dropping loads of cash on her new home and being a stage mom last season, wants everyone to know she does not have a nanny. There are several hilarious moments while the girls are getting ready. One of them stuffs as many snack foods into her lunch box as possible and when Teresa asks her if she only took one, she lies. And then just as they're going out the door, Teresa wants to take more pictures. The girls fight her on it, but when the camera goes up? Boom! They strike a pose. Little stars. Teresa has taught them well!

We're Sicilian beeotches
Danielle takes her daughters to her friend Kim's store for shoppin' and gossipin'. She talks about knowing how to stretch her budget, and then her friend adds Danielle's purchases to a tab. That works, too. She then launches into a diatribe about how Sicilian women honor friends and family and Kim mentions that Danielle brought her mom pasta when she was in the hospital. So, Danielle's PR tour of New Jersey continues. By the way, Danielle's older daughter has really grown up since last year, hasn't she?

She's not ready to spread her, um, wings
Jacqueline's daughter, Ashley, actually graduated from high school and she turned 18, but she didn't like following the rules of the house. So, Jacqueline and Chris told her that she should either follow the rules or move out. Ashley moved out. D'oh! She's still a little clueless and it sounds like Jacqueline and Chris are still supporting her financially as far as paying her car payments and who knows what else. She also has a new boyfriend, Derek, who's 4 years older than her. Jacqueline decides it's a good time to talk to her about having safe sex. I love how she just tackles the question. She's clear that she doesn't want Ashley to get pregnant at a young age like she did. Derek assures them that they're using birth control. It's hilarious when Chris tells Derek that he knows what a guy at his age is thinking and that Ashley isn't ready to spread her, wait for it, wings! Awesome. All the while, Chris cuts vegetables and makes sure Derek sees him sharpening his knife. If the poor kid didn't seem scared before, he seemed scared then.

Sloppy seconds
There are some changes over at Caroline's place. Her only daughter, Lauren, has found a man. Her son, Albie, isn't cool about it, because Caroline's new man is his best friend. And he's jealous like only a straight man could be when he loses his best pal. The fact that he lost his best friend to his sister? Now that makes it complicated. Thank you, Bravo, for spending an entire segment, in which we're forced to watch the feuding guys pick up poop. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife. Just kidding! The guys are picking up the dog poop in preparation for a benefit Caroline and her husband are hosting to raise campaign funds for the sheriff.

Why wouldn't they invite me?
Danielle goes to get a pedicure and her gossipy pedicurist tells her Caroline is having a big benefit. Danielle wonders why she wasn't invited? I wonder. Hmmm. Maybe it's because you talk smack like Dina used to do nails at this place when it seems she has been actually trying to be nice to you?

You can put lipstick on a pig...
It's party time and Caroline sure knows how to put out a spread! Meanwhile, Danielle takes her daughters on a drive and she jabbers on about how much she doesn't care about Caroline and the fact that she called her "gahbage." And the fact that she has gone to a priest, a Sicilian and a pedicurist to talk smack about the other ladies. Yet, she's doing such a great job of shrugging all the drama off (please read my sarcasm). By the way, don't you love how her kids were trying to talk her down from her obsessive need to check out Caroline's party?

Back at Caroline's party, guess who has arrived? Danielle's Sicilian sister, Kim, from the clothing shop! Hm, I wonder why she didn't tell Danielle about the party? Jacqueline points her out to Caroline and eyes roll. Then Kim joins Caroline's table. Her inebriated boyfriend tells the girls that he doesn't want Kim hanging out with Danielle. Then, Kim takes her cue and begins to talk SO MUCH TRASH about Danielle it's not funny. She does remember the cameras were on her earlier in the show, too, doesn't she?

To Jacqueline and Dina's credit, they both don't appreciate Kim's hypocrisy. I loved that, especially because Dina has every reason to eat it up like Caroline and Teresa are.

Back in Danielle's car, her kids are like the voices of reason and they talk Danielle into turning around. She then declares that the old Danielle would have stopped by the house, but the new Danielle, well, she apparently only goes half way.

This episode was kind of a sleeper, but can you feel the drama just boiling underneath the surface?

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Related:

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'Real Housewives of NJ': Danielle Staub has a second sex tape?
Jay Leno to 'Real Housewives of NJ': Where's the 'prostitution-whore'?
'Real Housewives NY': LuAnn's single has dropped, listen at your own risk!

Photo credit: Bravo

Correction: "Emaciated" changed to "inebriated." Thanks, Cathy!

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