Pop-Ed: Real Men Talk Reality TV – The Real Housewives of NJ Premiere

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Managing Editor’s Note: I love reality television and for years I’ve been thinking of a new and creative way to cover it on this site.  

For a while, I was fresh out of ideas until I read our Game of Thrones Season 4 review.  I loved how we incorporated a conversation between two writers, one of which had more familiarity with the books than the other. After reading both of their perspectives, I was inspired to create a similar column, only the two writers would focus on a popular reality television show.

After running this idea by our editor-in-chief, my first order of business was to select the two writers. I knew I didn’t want to choose two reality TV lovers, so I decided to recruit two people who don’t really watch reality television that often — our television editor Luke Kalamar and our editor-in-chief Bill Bodkin. The point of choosing these two was two fold. The first was to get them out of their primetime comfort zones and the second was to give the world a different perspective on reality shows.

After a little bit of convincing (okay… a lot), I persuaded these two to sit down and watch the premiere of Real Housewives of New Jersey, a show that (for better or worse) takes place in Pop-Break’s home state. This is the result of my little experiment. 

Luke Kalamar: I have no idea what I just watched. Nothing I could have done would have prepared me for this cacophony of insanity. Heck, I even watched some episodes before with my girlfriend and I was not ready.

Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo
Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo

Bill Bodkin: I have seen pretty much every season of Real Housewives of New Jersey thanks to my lovely wife who is a diehard reality television fan. So, I thought I would be prepped for the shitshow that is this series. But, nope, this one, my God.

LK: It was an emotional roller coaster. In the first five minutes, the fraud bomb dropped and we got the most ill advised “in media res” in history. What is this trying to be? Hannibal? Actually, I would prefer if Hannibal just rolled through for an evening. But then again, even he couldn’t have stopped the cancer bombs and tragic shots of handicapped dogs.

BB: First off, if you ever compare RHONJ to Hannibal again, we shall never speak again. But yes, this intro to the show was waaaaay too emotional, but without any emotion from the people in it. Everything was so nonchalant and matter of fact. My question is: how are the Giudice’s not in jail? This whole ordeal feels like it’s been happening for two years now? Maybe it just feels that way. I mean this show is on Season 67, right?

LK: Well this show was filmed way in advance. Eerily timed though. I mean, how convenient is it that they allegedly performed fraud right when they are the big stars of a reality show? I can’t find myself getting too heartbroken with their tale though. I feel horrible for their children, who are bound to get ruined from this, but not Teresa or Joe.

BB: Those kids man. I do feel bad for them at times. The adults though? Man, it’s like they all have to pass a douchebag test or something.

Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo
Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo

LK: You know who doesn’t need to pass a douchebag test? Those delightful and absolutely engrossing dogs. Now that’s a show I’d watch. Real Dogs of New Jersey.

BB: Dina Manzo’s dog with no front legs is going to give me night terrors tonight.

LK: No way! He’s the scrappy survivor with a heart of gold.

BB: I think the real star of the show is Amber’s boxer. That dog looks like it needs to be on Xanax. It’s like he could be on Curb Your Enthusiasm. And frankly, if he could talk, I’d tune in every week…and enjoy the show.

LK: I think we all need Xanax after Mr. BEEP BEEP BUGS BUNNY ran through the house like a hurricane. What is that guy’s deal?

BB: That guy reminds me of when Peter Griffin tried talking Italian on Family Guy. And said Boppity Boopy all the time.

LK: HEEEEY BEEEPITY BOPPITY BOOP-AH!

BB: Sadly, that guy is a legit restaurant owner. He owns places that serve some quality meals…I think he probably lost 50% of his clientele just opening his mouth on this show.

LK: Well really, a lot of this show is advertising for what the Housewives do. Look at Teresa who just conveniently made breakfast with her kids that included tiramisu. She has her own desert line so why not just throw that in to drum up some extra business? I too like to casually make tiramisu for breakfast and not normal things. Like cereal.

Photo Credit: Alex Martinez/Bravo
Photo Credit: Alex Martinez/Bravo

BB: It’s called “super breakfast” in North Jersey. I also enjoyed the younger daughter whose name I could care less to remember say, “Shut your butthole.” That’s a daughter to be proud of. Can we also talk about the amount of sequins and velour jumpsuits that family owns?

LK: I wouldn’t be shocked if Teresa owned a Batcave filled with velour jumpsuits and sequins.

BB: She’s like an Italian Scrooge McDuck with a “money pit” of sequins.

LK: She should probably trade in some of those sequins for some boots. How is it that these people can go to a party in the wintertime and be so perplexed by an icy walkway? Even I know not to wear heels in the winter time.

BB: I’m surprised that the “icy walkway” didn’t become an issue that the housewives kept bringing up over and over again. You know how sometimes they have that one little incident that keeps coming up in every argument?

LK: You mean like the cancer issue later in the episode? That was the pinnacle of horror. I don’t know what makes these people worse. That they casually bring up terminal illnesses, or that they get upset when people don’t follow their lives so directly they never noticed? How vain can you be?!

BB: Yeah, that whole situation was super awkward. I’m kinda glad the screen went to black and there was audio right after words, it was much needed relief.

LK: It was the proverbial oasis that we found in the desert. But then it got ripped away from us and our lives become terrible again.

BB: You know know what we actually needed? A dog shot.

LK: Dog shot! Dog shot for President! Real Barks of New Jersey!

Bravo TV
Credit: Bravo TV

BB: By the way we kinda forgot to talk about the new cast members. I mean… “the bitch is back.” Which is Dina Manzo’s way of saying, “My show about being a party planner on HGTV bombed and I need money.”

LK: When all those new women were introduced near the middle of the episode, I completely lost focus. I remember the names like “Ter-Resa” and Nicole, but the amount of backstory that we got was absurd.

BB: Wow, I didn’t even remember their names. I know they’re twins and super catholic and then one of them got married to Boppity Boopity and the other maybe got married or didn’t and now she’s with some very generic looking guy who reminds me of every generic looking husband/boyfriend on Real Housewives.

LK: The only people I can readily remember are those who have been with the show for a while, which is basically now Teresa and Melissa.

BB: Oh wait, didn’t one of them say, “The only two things a woman needs in life is Dunkin’ Donuts and oral sex?” After I threw up because she looks like a talking baseball glove, I thought to myself, “Guess Coolata has a whole new meaning.” Wocka Wocka!

LK: Think about it: Dunkin’ probably paid Bravo big money to get their company named dropped on their program. Glad to see that went over so well!

BB: The genius Andy Cohen knows no bounds.

BB: But speaking of Melissa Gorga, can I mention how your girlfriend thinks Joe Gorga is cute and she wanted to kiss him on his small face?

LK: That phrase is going to haunt me for my entire life. And now I get to be reminded of it on a weekly basis! My life is a party.

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Credit: Bravo TV

BB: So, then we got the big speech from “Juicy Joe” in front of 10 million family members who only own black shirts and from what I learned “only Italian families back each other.” Irish families must be awful.

LK: That speech seemed genuinely heartfelt, which made feel compassion for these people and their current plight, but then I remembered how Teresa encouraged her daughters to twerk and now I want to break things.

BB: Speaking of reminders, how about that ending?

LK: I totally understand why they felt the need to do an “In Memoriam” considering Frank’s role in their family, but it was so insanely out of left field. It was less emotional and more just, “Wow what the heck was that?”

BB: Yeah it was such a jarring cut. The father was giving some words of comfort to Joe’s daughter and it was probably the only sincere moment in show’s history and then BOOM…he passed away. I think it kinda shows how wiggity whack this show can be. (I should get points for a Kriss Kross reference.)

LK: It’s so tacky, I feel like I need to take a hot shower to burn the experience off my skin.

BB: Agreed….the hottest waters may not be enough. It’s Housewives season in Jersey, let the expected drama and table flipping begin.

Related Articles:

Watch What Happens: Live…Live (Bill Bodkin)

Who is Andy Cohen? (Bill Bodkin)

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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