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, E09: "Abs & Jabs"
In the aftermath of Danielle yanking Margaret's ponytail, sides are chosen and positions harden: Danielle exceedingly smugly storms out, Teresa on her heels, as the other Housewives make sure Margaret is okay (she isn't; Danielle pulled her hair so hard that Margaret has whiplash the next day). Teresa comes back to the boutique -- unfortunately for owner Steven Dann and the other VIP shoppers, who all look horrified and who don't get an apology from anyone -- to defend Danielle, and to refuse in classic Teresa style to see why everyone's so upset.
And Teresa has, I hate to say, a couple good points. Margaret did throw red wine on Danielle; Margaret did shove Marty into the pool; Margaret is too strenuous in her objections to Marty and Danielle's reconciliations. That doesn't make Danielle any less toxic, or Teresa any less obnoxious for imperiously announcing that she doesn't approach people to talk things out -- they have to come to her.
Margaret doesn't, but that does mean Melissa's fashion show isn't ruined -- the first time Teresa has managed not to fubar a boutique event in nine-plus seasons of the show.
But whose ranking is ruined and whose is rising this week? Your Episode 9 power rankings...
1. Jennifer. Love her shrugging that shots "get the job done" without the "foreplay"; love that when she likes a shoe, she gets it in every color (same here); love her standing up to Teresa a bit more, especially since she opines that even expressing her opinion to Teresa about the Margaret-vs.-Danielle situation will be seen as siding against Teresa, and it's not worth it. Teresa sloshing water on her to "prove a point" about Danielle's being justified in coming at Margaret may have turned Jennifer against her in the long term. [Last week: 2]
2. Dolores. David can't attend the Envy fashion show with her because he's at...sniper school. We get it, show: he's terrible or whatever. Frank Sr. attends as her date/proud parent to debut model Frankie, and they both nod sagely at various points vis-a-vis Danielle's hair-pulling that you "should never turn your back on a stripper" -- which is simultaneously 1) dismissive and dated, and 2) delivered with amusing "everyone knows that" sangfroid. And let's hear it for Dolores telling Teresa to re-read the pre-nup with Juicy to make sure he can't take her money either. [Last week: 3]
3. Melissa. Retrograde burbling about pulling off work events and parenting three kids aside, it's nice that the event goes well, and using Little Frankie as a shirtless model is never a bad call. (Ranting in a talking-head interview that, if Teresa screws this up for her, she'll send sprinkle cookies to Teresa's house every day forever? Excellent call. Hee.) It's nice that Antonia gets to see her shine, and nice that Joey has to eat his many shitty words about her job taking time away from her being a bauble who takes care of him, and only this project probably prevented her from really getting into it with Teresa about how "unacceptable" her continuing to side with Danielle is. [Last week: 1]
4. Margaret. "It's her or me" is a perfectly valid stance to take in the real world, but on this franchise, it's untenable, especially as that ultimatum is delivered to Teresa -- who, like a first-grader, will "you're not the boss of me" that kind of statement to death and is incapable of apologizing. Of course, the production is no doubt in favor of a disagreement that seems irremediable, and we all understand Margaret has marks to hit. What I don't understand is her hair at the fashion show. Comb it out, lady! [Last week: 5]
5. Jackie. Loving her side-pinned ironed hair; less fond of the side "plot" she's marooned in, giving her kids healthy-food-choice quizzes and encouraging Margaret not to give up on a friendship with Teresa. Girl, you should know better than anyone that there is no "friendship" with Teresa as we understand it. There's only the occasional alliance, and when it's no longer convenient for Teresa... [Last week: 4]
6. Teresa. I'd like to give Team Giudice credit for Gia's impatient shutdown of Teresa when she brattily interrupts Gia's phone call with Juicy to remind him that he was mean to her during the prom-dress trip...but Teresa's brattiness cancels it out. And she does have a point when she keeps saying that nobody else would like it if Margaret poured water on them; it's just that she keeps saying it, and then is imperious about refusing to try to hash it out with Margaret, because Queen Teresa does not approach her subjects to talk things out, I guess. Jackie tells Margaret that eventually Danielle will do something bad enough to turn Teresa against her (again), and I think we're most of the way there already -- Teresa seems to sense on some lizard-brain level that this "friendship" is about to strangle her reputation. Still: grow up. [Last week: 7]
7. Danielle. She's barely in the episode after the first act -- thank the Lord -- but for the few minutes she's onscreen, she's in fine form. Danielle's first act after she and Teresa hide in an alleyway near the boutique is not to put away the misshapen breast implant threatening to pop out of her blouse, but to call Marty (...well, to tell Siri to call Marty, which for some reason is really off-putting) and tattle, untruthfully, to him about what happened. Then she makes sure to add that Teresa stuck up for her, and then we get to see Marty playing both sides, and how clumsy he is at it. They're both exhausting. [Last week: 6]
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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!. Find her at her true-crime newsletter, Best Evidence, and on TV podcasts Extra Hot Great and Again With This.