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, E11: "Clearing the Heir"
And Jennifer was doing so well in these rankings lately, too! She gets off to a strong start this week; not only did she pack a gorgeous Chanel coat, but she eye-rolls to camera when Teresa immediately starts in on Margaret that she didn't leave behind her own five bickering children to have to deal with this.
That situation resolves itself, somewhat, although the talk Margaret hopes will repair her friendship with Teresa is cut short when Teresa -- smartly, especially for her -- realizes the red wine she's been guzzling since she arrived at Jackie's house is only going to cause trouble, and hits the eject button on the conversation. Margaret's still extremely frustrated that Teresa doesn't see how toxic Danielle is, and doesn't really get it when most of the others point out that Teresa isn't hearing it, so Margaret should give up on saying it...but when a phone call from Juicy at dinner shines a bright light on all the crap Tree has to deal with, not least from his disrespectful ass, Margaret seems to realize at last that Teresa doesn't want any relationship in her life that will cause any pain or require any more effort. (Not that she used to put a ton of work in, in my opinion; she just has an excuse for that particular self-centeredness now.)
But when the conversation turns to Jackie's real-estate holdings, Jackie's family money, and Jackie's pre-nup -- and by "the conversation turns to," I mean "Jennifer starts interrogating Jackie about" -- the seeds of awkwardness planted by that discussion spring up as open hostilities the next day at lunch. Jennifer tells Margaret she's surprised Jackie's so cheap; Margaret passes this along to Jackie; Jackie confronts Jennifer, who throws Margaret under the bus for talking about how Jackie never eats; and Melissa's attempts to calm things down will end up in an altercation.
But not 'til next week! In this episode, who's a hundred-thousand-dollar shrimp cocktail and who's a slice of cold pizza? Your Episode 11 power rankings…
1. Dolores. Because she's known Teresa forever, she's able to provide Margaret with some insight, telling her it's actually good that Teresa walked away when she should, and that after a certain point, Margaret's wasting her breath trying to talk Teresa out of Danielle. One does wonder how much of her talking-head about seeing a future in a friendship with Jackie is related to lounging at Jackie's 26-bedroom Hamptons palace, but it's not like that's not relatable. [Last week: 2]
2. Jackie. Wisely tells Margaret that she should just let Teresa "choose" Danielle and be okay with it, because it's already done; also wisely forgives Margaret almost immediately for talking about her eating habits when Margaret promptly apologizes. I respect that she wastes no time confronting Jennifer about the cheapness comments, but I also kind of feel like, if Jennifer is in fact drunk, Jackie's better off sniffing that that's a hell of a way for a guest in her ginormous house to speak to her, and changing seats, instead of getting into it with her. Or just asking Jennifer why she cares so much, because I really do not get it and would like to hear Jennifer's rationale. [Last week: 3]
3. Margaret. Never mind oversharing to Jennifer about her issues with Marge Sr.; she definitely shouldn't give Jennifer any info -- or, rather, ammo -- about Jackie's issues with food (although I think Margaret's onto something as far as Jackie just not making food as important as the other 'wives would by second nature). I do give her credit for hearing what Teresa is saying about stepping away from A Whole Summit Meeting about the Danielle situation because she's sick of crying, and putting her own disappointment aside...but she should probably learn to do that on the reg anyway if she wants to stay friends with Teresa, no? (And, for the hundredth time, it's Danielle. She'll ruin her own relationship with Tree just fine without Margaret's help.) [Last week: 5]
4. Melissa. I mean, I'm not not here for snarky talking-heads in which Melissa says that Margaret shouldn't make advanced metaphorical references like Charles Manson to Teresa, but after almost a dozen episodes, the passive-aggressive commentary that Teresa never gets to hear is starting to feel lame. On the other hand, she's not afraid to ask Teresa straight out if she'd stay with Joe if they didn't have four kids together, and it's probably time that somebody gave Jennifer a beatdown. (Or tried to. Jen looks like she can handle herself in a brawl.) [Last week: 4]
5. Teresa. Sincerely, how do you not know who Charles Manson is? That's an Amish level of cluelessness even for her. ...Look, we all know she leaves the conversation with Margaret because she has no rational explanation for defending Danielle (except Danielle's "supportive" texting after Teresa's mother died, which anyone else would interpret, correctly, as a fame-whore remora move). And we all know she's digging in on this issue, and using her mother's death to guilt Margaret, because she's allergic to admitting she's wrong. But she does subtract herself from situations she might usually let blow up, she does mostly stay out of the contretemps at the lunch table, and she does seem to have come to the end of her patience, finally, with Juicy. [Last week: 6]
6. Jennifer. I am the WASPiest WASP who ever WASPed, but I didn't mind Jennifer's initial queries about Jackie's finances; Jackie could have shut her down at any time, and Jennifer's rationale -- that she didn't come from much, and in her culture, people aren't hung up about asking about others' money -- made sense. But I really don't understand why she's still harping on the kids' birthday party as proof that Jackie is chintzy, never mind why she's so angry about it. It's a kids' party, not a wedding, or your wedding -- who cares? But Jennifer is personally offended by what she sees as Jackie's stinginess, further offended by Jackie's "condescending" dismissal of her profligate spending, and chooses to mishear Melissa's comments about Jackie being "a saver" as an insult, then start flinging cutlery and shrugging when Melissa steps to her. I have to think Jen had a couple of cocktails in the car, because even if production told her to rekindle her antagonism with Jackie, the intensity of it smells (literally, kind of) like tequila. [Last week: 1]
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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!. She's also the editor-in-chief and publisher of Tomato Nation, and true-crime blog and podcast The Blotter Presents.