ATLANTIC CITY - There was a lot of cackling before the Real Housewives of New Jersey took the stage Saturday night at the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, and a lot of speculation as to whether the fifth housewife, Danielle Staub, would show up.
Before the show started, women argued politely about whether the Real Housewives of New Jersey women are, in fact, real housewives. Inside the packed Hilton Theater, the smell of sweet mixed drinks was infused with the even sweeter scent of women's perfume as the audience waited impatiently for the stars of Bravo's hit reality series to arrive.
The crowd talked about the upcoming second season of the show and all of their favorite moments from the first season.
Terri Williams, 38, of Egg Harbor Township, said she is a government worker, not a housewife.
"I don't really consider them housewives because real housewives do real household things, like clean their own house. A couple of them are really good with their kids, like Caroline (Manzo) and Theresa (Giudice)," she said.
Marybeth Passarella, 61, of Waterford Township, Camden County, was full of trivia about the show. She sat turned around in her seat, educating others in the audience who may not have been as loyal a watcher a she is.
"They're real housewives with a lot of money. I was a housewife and raised three children while my husband worked. I like them a lot. I told my husband I want to drive up there and see where they live," Passarella said.
"I am a real housewife, and I work too. In 2009, a housewife is someone who is doing the equal part of the man taking care of the house, the children, the dog. I haven't seen any of them cook or clean besides Caroline," said Stephanie Davis, 24, of Egg Harbor Township.
Davis said a show about middle-class families and real housewives would be more believable, but her life is boring.
Jaclyn Baker, 24, of Medford, Burlington County said she loves watching the show because the women are gaudy, they have thick accents and, of course, all that bling.
The makeup, the drama, the big hair, long, gold earrings and thick northern New Jersey accents took over the stage just after 9 p.m. Four of the Real Housewives of New Jersey strutted across the stage, balancing on stiletto heels. A very pregnant Giudice balanced on her strappy heels in a silky, spaghetti-strap dress, with what host Gino Bisconte called her new "boobies." The new boobies are the reason she's pregnant, Giudice said.
They took their places on chairs and clutched microphones as Bisconte started with the questions. Right away, Caroline Manzo, sister to housewife Dina Manzo, cleared the air about whether or not they are housewives.
"None of us have nannies. We cook for our husbands, we clean our houses, we're real housewives," Caroline Manzo said.
All the women agreed that they forgot after awhile that the cameras were around.
"I like them as people, I hate them as producers," Dina Manzo said about the camera crew.
Dina Manzo also talked about having a very private life, but someone yelled from the audience, "Weren't you on another reality show?"
"Damn you," Dina Manzo said.
She admitted she was on a previous reality show that revolved around her wedding, but that her husband had a terrible experience on the show and did not want to be a part of "Real Housewives."
But it was a henfest on the stage and in the audience when the subject of missing housewife Staub came up. And it seemed that every question Bisconte asked led back to badmouthing Staub.
Giudice dished about Staub telling her every kinky thing she did at her shore house on Long Beach Island during an aired episode, like not washing her sheets and making out in front of her daughter.
"We just chucked them (the sheets), after she left," Giudice said.
Caroline Manzo talked about wanting to beat Staub and called her "garbage" during the question-and-answer session of the show.
"Danielle wasn't invited!" Caroline Manzo yelled into her microphone when someone asked in the audience why the fifth housewife was not there.
The sweet-voiced and seemingly even-tempered Jacqueline Laurita was a little kinder to Staub.
"We're peaceful acquaintances. We're moving forward," Laurita said.
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