Congrats! You just watched the much-anticipated season two premiere of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Which means it's time for a pop quiz. No cheating.
1. Teresa got emotional after...
A. She called Danielle a "prostitution whore"
B. She flipped over a table at a restaurant
C. She found out the women were talking smack behind her back
D. She got her daughter ready for her first day of school
2. Dina is upset that everybody is hating on Danielle. Her solution:
A. Tell her pals "I'm going to kick your ass!" and go all Jersey on them
B. Publicly stand up for her frenemy
C. Plan a pow-wow so the group can hash it out in all their glory
D. Do nothing -- except whine about two-faced people to the cameras
3. Danielle is peeved that Caroline didn't invite her to a benefit at her house. How does she retaliate?
A. Head to Teresa's house that night and smash all 180 of the family's freshly made tomato sauce jars. Payback is a beeyotch.
B. Go back to her priest and tell him, "You know all that crap I said about healing my anger? Fuhggedabout it."
C. Crash the party with her newly appointed head of security, The Situation.
D. Drive to the party with her kids in the backseat -- only to have second thoughts and keep driving.
4. This episode was the equivalent of...
A. Rigatoni pomodoro with meatballs
B. A deep-dish pizza with the works
C. Vitello Acqua
D. A garlic-flavored Triscuit
If you answered D to all the above, you get a... Well, you get nothing. Seriously. Nothing. Tragically, after an 11-month supply of reruns, the show returned with little of the delicious zest that made it a reality phenomenon. Us Weekly even put the women on the cover last summer! That don't happen with Sheer Genius.
Instead, starving viewers were treated to a series of warm and fuzzy family moments. Resident nice girl Jacqueline finally gives birth to a boy named Nicholas. Her sister-in-law Caroline visits in the hospital and makes nice, blah blah. Face it: After Kourtney Kardashian's amazing gripping birth scene in Keeping Up the Kardashians in February, anything else is just going to pale in comparison.
Meanwhile, Teresa and her family whip up those tomato sauce jars. During a bizarre exchange, her 9-year-old daughter exclaims that she will never marry a Jew. But there's almost no fall-out from the comment, except nervous laughter. What a wasted opportunity. Later, Teresa drives her 5-year-old daughter Milania for her first day of school. The end.
There are also a few ho-hum plots involving the dating lives of the women's daughters. One is dating her brother's best bud. Ooh, awkward! Except that it isn't. And it shouldn't be. Didn't any of these kids watch Friends?
Sure, the ladies haven't completely gone soft -- especially when it comes to Danielle. Teresa gets off the best line of night about her ex-pal ("She puts the 'cont' in contradiction!'") But all the material just feels stale by now. If they're going to keep ragging on Danielle, they desperately need to find propaganda that doesn't involve her shady past -- and all the junior high-level of she-said, she-said. You know it's bad when Caroline must hurl the following chestnut twice: "If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig." Great, an insult that's both lame and not kosher.
And yet... Danielle can't even formulate a satisfying plan of revenge. First she goes to a priest and vent her frustration. MTV producers would never stand for this. And she when it looks like she's finally ready to get on the warpath and crash Caroline's $1000-a-plate fundraiser for the Sheriff's department at home, her daughters tell her to calm down and she meekly drives off.
Gimme a brake!