Join us every Thursday morning for Sarah D. Bunting's Real Housewives of New Jersey Power Rankings, wherein she ranks the RHONJ women (and their families) based on the events of last night's episode. Click here to view earlier RHONJ power rankings.
S10, E10: "Mama Drama"
Everyone's still nursing various slights from the fashion show when Mother's Day rolls around, and Margaret hosts a drag brunch and invites all the other 'wives...except Teresa, who accidentally finds out about it anyway, via a phone invitation to a third event at Casa Jackie in the Hamptons. Between Teresa's sadness around the day thanks to her mother's passing, her resentment of Joe for (in her mind) turning their daughters against her, and her continuing to smart over Margaret calling her an embarrassment, I don't need to tell you that a detente with Margaret is not exactly within reach.
Margaret has her own problems. Never mind that, while in bankruptcy, she can somehow still fund a drag brunch that includes a catered omelet bar, rented furniture, and drag performers' appearance fees; she's also still struggling with a childhood that saw her parenting Marge Sr. more than she got parented, and trying to get Marge Sr. and her hoard of impractical high heels and borrowed tchotchkes packed up for a move...
...and, like us, she's obliged to pretend that storylines that don't quite work (David's commitment issues; Joe Gorga's sperm count) are worth the screentime. At least Danielle doesn't get any of said screentime this week...who's a drag superstar and who's just a drag this week? Your Episode 10 power rankings...
1. Jennifer. It's great that she's trying to draw her mother gently towards acceptance of her son's sexual orientation, and the way she does it is subtle and loving...even if the whole thing is way above this show's pay grade in terms of relative seriousness. Jennifer's ranking also benefits this week from 1) being the only one not to harp endlessly on Teresa throwing water at the fashion show, even though the water ended up on her; and 2) Bill's hilarious comment about how "sophisticated" the Hamptons weekend will be, and how they'll be doing a lot of "book-reading" to each other. Hee! [Last week: 1]
2. Dolores. Dolo's a soldier, and she dutifully goes through the motions of pretending she's near the end of her rope with David's "indecisiveness" (which: he actually "decided" years ago he's just fine with things where they are; it's not the same thing), and of steering Margaret and Teresa away from various nuclear options and towards talking it out. Dolores's wrenching of the topic away from the latest Teresa "insult" and back to the moms and daughters telling tales on each other at brunch is much more in the spirit of the day, and bless her for it despite her clumsy execution. She has a few classic "...oy" faces in response to Teresa's gracelessness as well. [Last week: 2]
3. Jackie. She manages to escape Teresa's wrath this week, and her hair looks cute as hell at brunch. [Last week: 5]
4. Melissa. After snapping at Margaret that she and Teresa better not put her in the middle in the Hamptons, also points out that Margaret really doesn't get to tell Tre who she can be friends with...and has a snarky (in the best way) talking-head interview where she notes that Margaret's only seen "namaste Teresa" so far, and that "zero to 10 is the real Teresa." But the Gorgas' "fertility journey" is so insincere and contrived -- and therefore dull -- that it's hard to slot Melissa too high this week. [Last week: 3]
5. Margaret. I feel for Margaret's issues with her more-friend-than-parent mom and how it makes Margaret controlling, but like Jennifer's traditional family's struggles to do right by Jennifer's gay brother, the focus on it feels too...un-petty for RHONJ. And I know the show is paying for this event and others like it, but that drag brunch looked like it cost more than my wedding. [Last week: 4]
6. Teresa. The Mother's Day brunch the little Giudices cook up for her is adorable, complete with a card that makes her weep -- right on a schedule predicted by Gia, hee -- until Joe calls, and Teresa immediately starts score-keeping with him about gifts she allegedly forgot he got her, how he inevitably lines the girls up against her, etc. etc. I'm never going to tell you Juicy's a good dude, but the time to draw the line with him was like ten years ago, not now when he's incarcerated and away from his kids. And the time to figure out that daughters almost always side with Dad was when Gia was a toddler, sooooo get over it with that. As far as her beef with Margaret goes, it's fairly typical Tre vis-a-vis fixating on the small stuff, and I do respect her for immediately bringing it up when she arrives in the Hamptons instead of letting it fester fakely until everyone gets drunk. [Last week: 6]
People are talking about this week's episode in our forums. Join the conversation.
Sarah D. Bunting co-founded Television Without Pity, and her work has appeared in Glamour and New York, and on MSNBC, NPR's Monkey See blog, MLB.com, and Yahoo!. Find her at her true-crime newsletter, Best Evidence, and on TV podcasts Extra Hot Great and Again With This.