Sometimes the RHoNJs are difficult to read. You may think they're screaming at each other, with eyes popping wildly out of their heads and talons bared, but actually this most fascinating of species are carrying out subtle communication rituals that require careful Attenborough-esque interpretation. So here is a handy translation tool to help you figure out what they're REALLY trying to say.
Teresa: ‘I'm sure we all listened to things we shouldn't have listened.'
Although Teresa's grasp of grammar is as basic as her grasp of human relationships, what she really means is: ‘I slagged you off continuously behind your back and tore you apart for your minor transgressions, but now you are sitting in front of me and the cameras are on, I'm pretending that I'm a decent human being rather than a hell goblin with a head that can spin 360 degrees.'
Caroline: ‘Sometimes, you gotta take a beating to do what's right.'
In Episode 2, Caroline says this to a tearful Joe Gorga, vowing to heal the rift between him and Teresa (if anyone can remember what the rift is actually about, do let us know, because we've forgotten). This rare moment of tendresse is accompanied by a barely perceptible flexing of the neck muscles and delivered in mobster tones that would make De Niro run and hide under the nearest trestle table. What she clearly means is: ‘I'll do the beatin' – with my MEAT FISTS.'
Kathy: ‘The more time you allow to get between you, the more time you learn to live without each other.'
It wouldn't be a Real Housewives of New Jersey show without some baffling, homespun ‘wisdom' that sounds like a box full of inspirational metal shabby chic signs melted together in a furnace. Kathy is speaking of yet another family rift concerning her uncle (Teresa's Dad). Really, though, what she's saying is: ‘I haven't seen him for years and instead I'd rather go to Jersey for a blow dry and Mimosa cocktail.'
Jacqueline: ‘I'm actually really concerned for you, because you're not acting normal.'
Jacqueline has ‘a lot to deal with' this season, which is RHoNJ speak for ‘she has some real life problems that don't involve yelling at people and creating multi-layered drama lasagnes.' But thankfully, she takes time out from caring for her autistic son to get into a fight with Teresa in a clothes shop, delivering a ‘subtle' psychological blow when Teresa goes crazy and refuses to listen to her. Of course, we all know that Jacqueline's faux concern is a subtle attempt to undermine her. What she REALLY means is: ‘You are a ghastly bin bag of human hair extensions and I wouldn't pee on you if you were on fire.'
Melissa: ‘I don't want to accuse people of anything, but…'
Melissa, the sad eyed karaoke queen of the Shore, says this to Teresa, when rumours surface that she's cheating on her husband, little tiny Joe. (All men in New Jersey are called Joe, by federal law). The rumours have somehow coincided with the release of Melissa's new book that she never stops talking about – called something like ‘How to Please Your Husband Without Acknowledging a Century of Feminist Struggle' – and she wants to know why. She would obviously never accuse anyone of anything, but when she sits down for a heart to heart with her erstwhile sister in law, she manages to accuse/not accuse her repeatedly. So what this sentence really means is: ‘I'M GONNA TAKE YOU OUT AND FINISH YOU, LYING SCUM QUEEN.'
We hope this helps you to follow the tangled web of RHoNJ drama. Good luck, and remember: once you can speak Housewife, you might actually be able to work out why the hell they're all fighting each other in the first place…