Over the course of The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s 10 seasons, it has often felt like we were watching some kind of mafia saga. From Caroline Manzo’s philosophy that family always comes first, to Teresa and Joe going to literal prison for tax fraud, the mobster undercurrent has always been there. We were always vaguely aware that the Manzo family had some shady connections, but according to a new report from the Department of Justice, this sh*t is darker than we even knew.
On Tuesday, Thomas Manzo, ex-husband of RHONJ OG Dina Manzo, was indicted on charges of “committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity,” as well as “falsifying and concealing records” related to the investigation of that violent crime. The charges stem from a 2015 incident, when Thomas Manzo allegedly hired John Perna, a member of the infamous Lucchese crime family, to assault Dina’s boyfriend. The boyfriend in question is David Cantin, who is now Dina’s husband.
The assault was carried out in July 2015, and the next month, Perna had a “lavish” wedding reception at Manzo’s Brownstone Restaurant, which was done “for a fraction of the price” in exchange for Perna’s ~services~. The leftover cost for the wedding was paid by another member of the Lucchese family, whom the DOJ says was a “close friend” of the Manzo family. If you’ve ever watched an old episode of Jersey Housewives, you’ll clearly remember the Brownstone, which was owned by the Manzo brothers, and hosted some of the show’s earliest iconic moments (like Ashlee pulling Danielle’s hair, which I could watch forever). According to the DOJ, the wedding was attended by approximately 330 people, including many members of the Lucchese crime family, which is one of the fabled “five families” of New York organized crime.
The charge of falsifying and concealing records are related to the federal investigation into Perna’s wedding. The DOJ says Thomas Manzo ignored “federal grand jury subpoenas” that were sent to the Brownstone, requesting documents in relation to the Perna wedding. Later, it is alleged that Manzo “deliberately submitted a false document regarding the reception to the government, along with a false certification.” The government finally carried out a search warrant at the Brownstone in 2019, seizing “invoices” and “other relevant documents” that Manzo repeatedly failed to turn over.
All of this is just alleged for now, of course, and I’m not a legal expert, but usually I feel like where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The maximum sentences for the three charges against Thomas Manzo add up to over 40 years in prison, so he better hope he has a better lawyer than Teresa and Joe Giudice.
Images: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
There are a number of traits that all good Real Housewives have in common. An aspirational lifestyle, a highly suspect business venture, and a toxic husband are par for the course, but what really sets a Housewife apart from her castmates is the ability to deftly lob an insult, especially at another Housewife. This requires quick thinking and a way with the English language that few of us mere mortals possess, and when it’s done right, the results are simply magical. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best Real Housewives zingers in history and provided real life scenarios where you can use them, so you too can feel like a friend of seasoned Housewife. You’re welcome.
“Well, Even Louis Vuitton Makes Mistakes”
Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Luann has had some of the most iconic lines in the history of The Real Housewives of New York. One of her absolute best came in season 4 when insulting castmate Alex McCord’s “Herman Munster shoes.” Alex immediately clapped back saying they were Louis Vuitton, and without missing a beat, Luann gave us this gem of a comeback, both winning the argument and proving she belongs in the Housewives Hall of Fame.
When To Use It: We’ve all known someone who never misses an opportunity to brag about the various labels they’re wearing. Next time Dorit that person pipes up, you can hit them with a variation of this epic line. For example:
Dorit: OMG could you die over this new purse?! It’s Gucci!
You: Well, even Gucci makes mistakes.
“, You Bald-Headed Scallywag”
OK, so Marlo may not technically be a Housewife, but she is putting in more work this season than many a cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (looking at you, NeNe). She’s long overdue for her peach, and no moment proved this more than in a recent episode on the cast trip to Toronto. As SnakeGate continued to unfold, the entire cast seemed to get into it with each other, with Marlo and Cynthia going head to head about the accusation that someone recorded Cynthia talking smack about NeNe. Cynthia loses it and goes off on Marlo, and out of the clear blue, Marlo refers to Cynthia as a “bald-headed scallywag.” The creativity in busting out a term not used in the mainstream lexicon since the wake of the Civil War leaves me no choice but to stan.
When To Use It: Although Marlo was referring to Cynthia, another woman, I think this jab would work perfectly for that f*ckboy in your life who you’re not quite ready to cut, but who continues to annoy you with his games. If he’s bald or balding, great. If not, then you can take a page out of his textbook with a neg that will surely have him considering a Rogaine purchase. The exchange could go something like this:
F*ckboy: Sry, forgot to press send. U comin over later?
You: Chad, you bald-headed scallywag
“Not Well, Bitch!”
Although Dorinda joined The Real Housewives of New York in season 7, it feels like she’s been there from the beginning. In just a few seasons she has become a fan favorite, and her incredible one-liners have everything to do with it. In season 9 she gave us this wonderfully versatile response when asked by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, of all people, how she was doing after a particularly heated argument with castmate Sonja Morgan. In turn, we were gifted this simple, yet incredibly effective phrase. Dorinda, we thank you for your service.
When To Use It: The beauty of this one is that it can be used in so many different scenarios to capture your mood. The “I’ll tell ya how I’m doing” preamble is optional, but when you use it, it hits so much harder. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to shut up that annoying co-worker Karen who cheerfully asks you how you’re doing at 9:03am on Monday before you’ve even had a sip of your iced coffee. Or it’s a perfect response to the group chat attempting to piece together a blackout girls’ night. Like so:
Jackie (to the group): Really hurting this morning. How are you guys doing?
You: I’ll tell ya how I’m doing: not well, bitch!
“I Don’t Know If She Wants To Be Me, Or Skin Me And Wear Me Like Last Year’s Versace.”
Dina Manzo only appeared on the first two seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (and randomly season 6), but she will always be remembered for her biting zingers, chief among them being her description of the one and only Beverly Ann Merrill Danielle Staub in season 1. After a bizarre encounter where Danielle hugged Dina over and over and awkwardly complimented her boobs, Dina delivered this perfect description of Danielle’s strange obsession with her. We miss you, Dina.
When To Use It: This line is best used when you want to highlight the Single White Female in your life who is seemingly always around and annoying the ever-loving shit out of you. Whether she keeps going after the guys you like, insincerely compliments you in a backhanded way, or is always showing up to frat parties in a sad variation of your outfit from last week, you can describe her as such:
Your Bestie: What’s up with Hannah? She’s basically wearing the same dress you wore last weekend.
You: I don’t know if she wants to be me, or skin me and wear me like last year’s Versace.
“Is Your Ass Jealous Of The Sh*t That Comes Out Of Your Mouth?”
I can’t say I’m going to miss Tamra now that she’s gone, but she did leave us with some truly memorable jabs. Tamra does her best work when she’s angry (never forget Jesus Jugs) and she exploded during the season 6 reunion when she sensed that Gretchen was being less than truthful, giving us this truly excellent insult. RIP, Tammy Sue.
When To Use It: This one comes in handy whenever you want to call bullsh*t on someone who is obviously lying. Of course, you can use it for more serious lies like Tamra did, but it also works when you want to joke around with someone close to you about a more harmless lie. Case in point:
You: Hey, just got here. What’s your ETA?
Friend (just got out of the shower): On my way!
You: Does your ass get jealous of the sh*t that comes out of your mouth?
Of course, there are far too many incredible Housewives insults and many of the very best had to be left off this list. What are some of your favorites and how would you use them in the real world? Sound off in the comments. Until then:
Images: Bravo; Tenor (2); Giphy (4)
Last week, Andy Cohen and
his band of minions other Bravo execs dropped the trailer for the new season of Real Housewives of Orange County, and, per usual, it looks fucking batshit and therefore amaze. Obvi. They also announced that there will be a new wife joining the crew this season and she will be the 100th “Real” Housewife of all time. Can we just take a minute and think about that? I mean, holy shit that seems like a lot. I can only think of like, 12 off the top of my head. JK. I know every last one of them, but still. It’s a fuck ton. And while most of the women who have come and gone can just stay gone because they were boring AF, there are a few who should def come back for the sake of reality TV. Here’s a list of our fave ex-Real Housewives who can def sit with us.
1. Heather Dubrow
So technically, we haven’t even felt the effects of queen Dubrow’s departure from RHOC yet since the first season without her doesn’t premiere until July. But I can already tell you it’s going to fucking suck. I don’t feel like I’m going out on a limb here when I say the women of Orange County are some of the trashiest of all the franchises. I mean, Tamara and Vicki? Gross. And Heather was the one shred of class the show had and now that’s gone. We always kinda wondered WTF Heather was doing hanging out with these trash bags, and now I guess she’s finally come to her senses. Maybe she and Terry will move to LA and she can join RHOBH—those betches seem more up her alley.
2. Nene Leakes
Nene is arguably one of the greatest housewives of all time. She’s funny AF, all-around fab and can read anyone who crosses her for absolute filth. YASSS girl! She left the show because she was splitting her time between the ATL, LA, and NY because she’s so awesome Hollywood and Broadway stole her away so she could have an actual career. Makes sense, I guess. Rumor has it she might be coming back to RHOA next season, so our wishes might actually come true.
3. Yolanda Foster
Tbh, Yolanda was kind of a snooze. I mean, how much of a grown woman frolicking in a lemon orchard can I even take? But we want her back because we want the inside scoop on her model kids Gigi, Bella, and Anwar. Fucking duh.
4. Dina Manzo
These days, RHONJ is all about Teresa and all her prison drama, but back in the day, Dina Manzo was the OG HBIC of NJ. That’s a lot of letters. She’s absolutely gorgeous and she doesn’t put up with people’s shit, both of which make her a true betch. Every season she’s a part of, there’s always at least one person thirsty to be her bestie (looking at you, Danielle) and given the mental state of the rest of the Jersey wives, it’s pretty easy to see why.
5. Brandi Glanville
Love her or hate her, Brandi was incredible television. She was always drunkenly outing some huge secret or throwing wine in someone’s face or something equally as dramatic and we all lived to see what crazy-ass thing she was going to next. All the wives of Beverly Hills are glad Brandi is gone, but even though RHOBH is still one of the best, it’s way less eventful without her. I mean, a whole season about whether or not Yolanda was lying about having Lyme disease? Yawn. We also owe Brandi for giving us the greatest show of all time: Vanderpump Rules. Look, I get that it’s my namesake’s restaurant but it all started with the epic Brandi/Scheana confrontation. So thank you, Ms. Glanville.
6. Kim Zolciak
Sure, she has her own show on Bravo where we can see her, her big booty husband and their 27 children pretend to be just like us. But it’s not the same as watching Kim get her wig pulled and called a trash box by Nene. Sorry, but those are the facts. Kim and Nene were the two stars of RHOA in the early years, regardless of whether they were the best of friends or literally wanted to kill each other. Both were entertaining AF. Like Nene, rumors have been swirling around that Kim might come back next season which would be the best housewife return since Bethenny in NY.
7. Heather Thomson
I can admit that Heather yelling “Holla!” every five seconds was pretty fucking annoying, but other than that, she was a badass betch. She was Puff Daddy’s right hand girl at Sean John before starting her own company, Yummy Tummy, which is pretty much exactly like Spanx. She was also Carole’s bestie on the show and they can def both sit with us. Heather wasn’t super into the drama, but she did specialize in calling Luann out for fucking a married dude on vacay. And anyone who shits on Luann is cool with me.
8. Camille Grammer
After being the biggest housewife villain of all time in RHOBH’s first season, Camille really mellowed out and became a little boring. But we’d take back season one Camille in a heartbeat. She was conceited AF, threw a v dramatic dinner party and made a cool $30 mill divorcing her fuckboy of a husband, Kelsey Grammer. You go, Glen Coco!