People Staff
May 20, 2009 12:00 AM

As the second installment of The Real Housewives of New Jersey got underway last night, sweet but doormat-ish Jacqueline took center stage. We learned about her struggles–from fertility issues to impasses with her rebellious teenage daughter Ashley. But as always, the show really got cooking when capturing candid moments of b-tchery and downright bizarre behavior committed by the occasionally oblivious Housewives.

45-year-old divorcee Danielle returned in that can’t-look-away-from-a-cosmetically-enhanced-train-wreck kind of way, ready to do battle with icy blonde nemesis Dina. At Jacqueline’s over-the-top carnival-themed birthday party for her six-year-old son CJ, Danielle looked for trouble in ways both mildly inappropriate (inserting herself into an argument between Jacqueline and the disrespectful Ashley) and blatantly outlandish (asking to borrow Dina’s “boobies” as a gesture of good will). After having her torso stared at for an uncomfortably long time, Dina remarked of Danielle: “The girl is freakin’ obsessed with me. I don’t know if she wants to be me, or skin me and wear me like last year’s Versace.” Later, Danielle and Jacqueline met for lunch to further hash out her imbroglio with Dina. The larger issue is why these Housewives so faithfully obey the hierarchy in which Dina is the queen bee? Danielle’s appalling behavior ratcheted up a notch later, but not before we spent some quality time with “I’m not a stage mom” Teresa and her would-be movie star child Gia.

Teresa shuttled Gia from their gargantuan mansion to acting lessons, preparing her to audition for a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie. And while we are loathe to critique a 7-year-old’s acting chops–much less one who appeared as a background extra in Doubt–Gia’s most authentic moment was her sensible acknowledgement that if she didn’t get the role, “That’s just how life is sometimes.” Fear not: She’ll have plenty of new clothes from Bella Bambina to numb the pain.

Speaking of daughters, we next met Lauren, the ditzy high school graduate whose parents, Housewife Caroline and her husband Albert are pushing her to attend beauty school. The confused Lauren (like a cross between Benjamin Braddock and Grease‘s Frenchie) doesn’t want to leave the nest, and given her parents’ assessment of her, she probably shouldn’t. “I wouldn’t say she’s that smart,” her father admitted much to Lauren’s amusement. When she later claimed not to understand the meaning of the words “democracy” and “dictatorship,” even her mother called her stupid.

Next, event planner-philanthropist Dina hired a sweet new personal assistant who agreed to bathe her “ripe”-smelling hairless cat, buy her feminine products and take payment in hugs and kisses in lieu of actual money. But he was nowhere to be found when she slipped into bossy “b-tch mode” while running a benefit for her Ladybug children’s charity. The other Housewives fled to the bathroom to talk smack about her.

But back to Danielle, who, we were told, was being held prisoner in her McMansion by her wicked ex-husband, who refuses to pay her divorce settlement. Danielle reported: “I cannot struggle financially anymore. Somebody needs to come in and rescue me and my girls.” Later, she enlisted her tween daughters to help her pick out a pink, poufy, polka-dotted party dress so she could go out with her 26-year-old date Steve. “Young men are very attracted to me,” explained the 45-year-old. “I guess it’s my appearance of youth.” To demonstrate her vim and vigor, she propositioned Steve mid-way through dinner, asking: “Do you want to sneak into the bathroom?” Ever the gentleman, Steve responded, “Finish eatin.” Who says chivalry is dead? –Suzanne Zuckerman

Tell us: Are you on Team Dina or Team Danielle? Do you feel sorry for Jacqueline?


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