There's nothing like nature, is there? A flock of birds picking at the leftover sausages rotting outside your motor home. The smell of salty air whipping off the ocean. The sound of Albie's award-winning song entitled "In the Tent," that goes a little something like this: "In the tent, in the tent, in the tent, next to the RVs we rent, we rent, we rent." None of the Manzos are particularly well-rested, but Jacqueline's quite perky thanks to whatever cocktail of uppers she's sprinkled in her coffee. Our heroic menfolk are keeping themselves occupied by forcing Lauren's large boyfriend Vito to take off his shorts and show them the bear tattoo inked on his ample behind. All in all, a typical morning for our adventurers.
Soon it is time to try this thing called "surfing!!" even though everyone is multiple sheets to the wind. The gang -- minus Caroline, who nearly drowned as a child, and Jacqueline, who fears her body would scare the sharks -- throws wetsuits on, and the question of "What Does Melissa Actually Not Look Good In" is finally answered. As Joe Gorga slides into his "black condom" like a bloated seal, the rest of the gang begins to get a little worried. Apparently boyfriend is dangerously wasted and, as Teresa brilliantly reminds us, "surfing and drinking don't really mix." Turns out she's actually pretty good on a board, and her thirst for competition keeps her from giving up even after she's repeatedly knocked down. Eventually she hurts her ankle, but the "coldness makes it go away. Thank God and King Triton.
Melissa must have seen a mirror because in the next shot she's pulled her suit down, revealing the sparkliest bikini in the universe. If there was such a thing as a unicorn princess, she would have sewed that top with her very own rainbow hooves. As everyone begins to flail and fall in the ocean, I can't help but wonder if it's because the sun is glinting off her bedazzled breasts and zapping them right in the eyes. Still, you can't hate a girl for rocking what she's got -- even if
"what she's got" was actually surgically implanted.
Everyone's frolicking like they're trying out for "Baywatch," and Albie Manzo sums the happy-go-lucky scene up perfectly: "Everything just seems to be going well. The crazy bitches are not misbehaving. The Gorgas and the Giudices are getting along, and it's almost too good to be true at this point." Did a large cloud of foreshadowing just roll in? Wait, no, that's just Joe Giudice's massive stomach hanging over the beach as he attempts to non-sexually rip Joe Gorga's wetsuit off.
Later that night, Teresa's magical "coldness" prescription has worn off and her ankle's killing her. Hubby and brother attempt to help her by placing sausage near their man-parts and taking their pants off, respectively. It's a very interesting healing ritual used by the ancient Latin Secretlyus Gayus people. "I only show mine to women," Joe Giudice shouts. "The women that I've had in the past know what mines looks like, my wife knows what mines looks like, and that's it." At this point, the wiener sausage is resting on Teresa's ankle and I may never be able to eat pigs in a blanket again. "Let's have another glass of wine!" Melissa shouts. "I think if you have another glass of wine you're gonna be taking off my clothes," Teresa says with a hint of fear. Melissa has just been slapping her behind with gusto, after all.
Kathy enters the "Fifty Shades of Grey" mobile to see what shade of bruise is on Teresa's ankle. "It's nothing!" she exclaims before pulling her cousin off the couch. Saint Teresa musters all her strength and goes outside so as not to "ruin anyone's vacation," as if her presence actually would enhance someone's life.
As everyone sits around the fire, Chris announces the next day's activities: Getting up early, going to Casini Ranch and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. "Casino ranch?!!?" Joe Giudice squawks. Caroline looks down, exasperated. "Who the f--- cares? What's the Golden Gate Bridge? Why's it special?" he blurts. Before anyone can answer, someone decides it's a great time to play campfire Truth or Dare. Now, everyone who has ever played Truth or Dare knows it ends up one of two ways: With someone licking something, or with some very hurt feelings. I personally hope for all of the above, but with extra licking!
"Dare! F--- the truth," Joe Gorga says. Albie says he has to take off his pants, go to the RV next to theirs and say, "Excuse me, do you have any tropical fruit?" When a man asks Joe Gorga to drop trow, he whips them off faster than you can say "repressed homosexuality." He happily takes off his shirt too, for good measure.
The man who comes to the RV door is foreign and, in the cutest twist of fate ever, totally doesn't get the joke and explains that he only has vegetables. He offers his fellow camper some mushrooms and peppers, and we wonder why Americans don't have the best rep overseas.
Now Albie's in the hot seat, and sister Lauren takes the game from silly to serious. She's obviously been drinking her emotions and now it's time to spew. "Do you fear that you, me and Chris may be separated in the future in the way that mommy is with some people?" "I look forward to not being as close with the both of you," Albie explains, but he's not being a jerk. He essentially says he's just excited for them all to develop at their own rates and then come back together when they're fully cooked. It's a touching moment ... which means it's time for "The Teresa Show" to start back up again! "Ughgnfhf," she drunkenly whimpers with her ankle elevated. "It hurts!"
For some reason, everyone's taking her injury seriously; even Caroline jumps in with some advice. Poor Jacqueline is having a particularly tough time: "It's painful to watch somebody who is hurting, especially when she's suffering in other areas of her life, but she won't let other people in to help her." She sits by Teresa's side like a loyal dog and watches everyone bustling around. Now Teresa's feeling not only the pain from her ankle, but the tug of her heart. "I still haven't given up on this friendship," she says in her interview. Joe sweetly carries her into the RV, noting that she is very heavy.
Apparently, a nice sloshed sleep has sort of fixed Teresa up, because she attempts to stuff her ace-bandaged ankle into knee-high golden snakeskin boots in the morning. I had no idea there was a "gaudy" variety of snake, but I assume this one was a cousssssin of Liberace.
Then, we get a peek into another family's RV. Because the only thing that anyone on this show ever talks about is having sex, not having sex, or preparing to have sex, Jacqueline asks the lovebirds on her RV (Lauren, her extra-large boyfriend Vito, Caroline, Jacqueline, Chris, Kathy, Richie, fab roomie Greg) who they think is having "the most sex" on the trip. "I think it's a little odd if anyone does," Chris Manzo says nervously. The camera pans to Jacqueline and Chris who are both nearly done with the largest glasses of wine in the United States of Being Drunk. "Uh, we had sex," Chris says devilishly. Caroline makes her patented "that's just not right" face and focuses on not throwing up in her mouth. That's her brother, after all. "It wasn't in front of her," Jacqueline slurs. "Did you guys feel it rocking last night?" "We were sleeping," Caroline says curtly. Then she looks away and probably begins to wonder if she can get a quality lobotomy anywhere on the West Coast. I'm not sure what delicious medicinal hors d'oeuvres Jax had with her wine, but I bet they could take down a buffalo.
Then with a ring of Albie's phone, the mood changes. It's his gal pal Lindsey, and for some reason (I'm thinking it might be mandated by producers) he puts her on speaker. She mentions that she's getting the last of her boxes to move into her apartment and Albie's eyes go wide with terror. Caroline whips her head around and shoots him a look; "how'd she get an apartment so fast?" she wonders. Of course she's not totally down with the co-habitating, mostly because she fears that Albie's jumping in too fast. "Lauren doesn't know," Albie reminds her. Since Lauren's sensitive about being left out, it's obvious that this oversight is going to be an issue.
As the drama unfolds in the Manzo RV, stupidity engulfs the Gorga-Giudice crew. "It's not GOLD," Joe says as they drive over that stupid bridge. "It's RED," Teresa spits. They act like someone from Crayola named the bridge with some super malicious intent to confuse and upset people.
We take a brief break from the Color Me Stupid gang to see how Lauren's going to react to Albie's big news. He decides to phone it in, quite literally. Instead of telling her face-to-face, he decides to go the walkie-talkie to walkie-talkie route. Of course she's horrified. "I really feel like if they could replace me with their new friends, then maybe they would. Maybe they already have," she says in an interview. She's normally the voice of reason, so I can't help but feel she's being a little unfair. Perhaps he should have told her sooner and to her face, but as life unfolds in front of all her siblings, they don't need to call her before taking every step. She's going to have to deal with an update when they get to the end of their chosen path. Ooh, that was deep!
Speaking of deep, as they wind further into the forest, they lose cell reception and start to wig out. "This is where they leave body parts in containers!" Jacqueline squeaks. "There's hitchhikers," Teresa squeals.
Casini Ranch really is in the middle of nowhere, but it's hardly "Deliverance," as Joe Giudice said. "There's nothing but trees and grass and us," Caroline deadpans. "Kill me now." In this desolate area, the only thing they can do is talk amongst themselves ... and with this group, that's not a very titillating activity.
The men head to the only tiny store they can find. There's no produce, but there's plenty of mood rings and canned beans. They come back with chicken broth, salt and pepper and some buns. They manage to cook up a pretty nice lookin' pot luck, but Lauren's bad attitude poisons the meal. Her brothers tell her to go back to her campsite and she goes on a weird, over-sensitive rant before locking herself in the RV.
"I lost Lauren somewhere in the mix of my boys moving and doing Blk together and she just feels left out, pushed out and not good enough in so many ways," Caroline explains in an interview. But on the trip she calls her daughter "crazy" and tells everyone to just ignore her antics.
It's a weird mixed message that doesn't reflect kindly on Caroline. Looks like this bulldog doesn't defend all her pups out in the wild.
The next morning everyone is in better spirits, and they board a bus to the Russian River where they will canoe. Very cute mountain boys with spiky hair attempt to explain the rules, but nobody's paying attention until they mention the "river ticks" that are swimming around waiting to snack on some delish Italian toes. What ensues is total canoe chaos, complete with splashing and shouting. Caroline's not down with the insanity, so she and her husband paddle off to calmer, more intelligent waters. The next thing we know, Melissa and Joe have capsized and she's screaming at a frequency that I previously thought only dogs could hear. Apparently there are creatures galore in the water, and she's not down with making new friends.
While she recovers from her river terror, the Joes go off to settle their differences just as many famed scholars and heads of state have in the past: by peeing side-by-side in a bush. They have an unintelligible talk and then discuss whether or not to piss on each other. I believe they decide not to, but cannot be sure.
Back at the campsite, everyone's in decent spirits since it's their last night in the RVs. Most people nosh on snacks, but Jacqueline's taking wine coolers to the face. "Come and help me get dessert," Teresa says, setting the stage for the talk they've long been waiting to have.
Teresa cuts right to the chase, ignoring the apple pie and fruit. "I've been having fun so far, but I just want to know like where do we go from here? I'm still like hurt by what you did, I'm not gonna lie," she starts. "I was hurt too," Jacqueline reminds her. "But I didn't do nothin' to you!" Teresa says, reminding us why talking with her is futile.
What ensues is a typical back-and-forth where they both air their grievances and then shut down after they've said their piece. The ever popular "you're fake" is thrown around, followed by "I've always cared about you," just for good measure. (It's actually a scientific fact that no woman can have a discussion without making those statements.) So what? Should we be "friends that don't ask questions?" Jacqueline asks. She's hit the nail on the head: For Teresa, being a good friend means keeping your mouth shut and going along for the ride. As the discussion gets nastier and the clock ticks, everyone outside starts to "panic" ... but it should be noted that nobody actually gets up to make sure nobody's gotten blood in the aforementioned pie.
"It'll just be surface, and we'll just keep drinking," Jacqueline bleats. "We should just go our separate ways after this trip then," Teresa says, calling her bluff. With that, Jacqueline starts to cry pitifully. "What are you getting upset for?" Teresa asks, astonished that her former friend is having a hard time with the 'former' part of that title. It's seriously like watching a breakup where you just want to shout "HE'S NOT THAT INTO YOU!" to the girl, followed by "WHO IS STILL DRINKING WINE COOLERS?"
"For you to be crying, that means you care about me. You're gonna make me cry, stop it!," Teresa says before welling up herself. She tells Jacqueline she didn't plan to forgive her, but this trip has changed her mind. She's ready to go back to the way things were, and they hug as furiously as only women in sweatsuits can.
Though they exit the RV with smiles, Caroline smells something rotten ... and it's not Melissa's extensions roasting over the fire. "As sure as I know my name's Caroline Manzo, Jacqueline's going to get hurt. I can't help her."
Judging from next week's preview and the Joe Giudice phone call heard 'round the world, it's not Jacqueline who's about to get hurt; it's Teresa -- and a wounded heart hurts an awful lot more than an ankle.