The Violent Fight That Could Be the End of ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’

Screenshot of Bravo
Screenshot of Bravo

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is crumbling right before our very eyes—and it’s almost beautiful. Friendships have fallen apart, alliances have never been more aimlessly strategic, and the facade of a core group with rich inner lives has all but dissipated. And just when you think it can’t get any more depraved, Jennifer Aydin rolls in with a bag of hammers and starts swinging.

After months of blog-induced rumors that painted a World War 3-level fight, a cast suspension for Jennifer and Danielle Cabral, and a last-minute panel change at BravoCon to keep the warring duo apart, we’ve finally arrived at the headline brawl of the season. It’s the latest in a series of Bravo physical altercations, and perhaps the most ridiculous yet.

Thankfully, this one comes with no need for endless discourse, though rest assured the Twitter warriors will do their very best to create some anyway. At Teresa’s Tulum party (does this count as a cast trip? Bravo might just say yes, considering there’s no official trip outside the state this season), Danielle yearns to squash her newfound beef with Jennifer.

That beef, if you’re lost, is simple…in a sense. Jennifer was mad that Danielle didn’t allow her glam in the V.I.P area at her “Party Like a Housewife” charity event, while also neglecting to include the Aydins’ business logo on the step and repeat, despite the fact that the Aydins donated nothing but their time. Worst of all, according to Jen, is that Danielle used some of that money raised by the event to pay the vendors. Sickening. If only she were more like Dr. Sheree Whitfield and stopped paying people altogether. No one has class these days.

The fight’s already ugly when Jen throws a nuke on top of this active bomb, spinning a web even more convoluted. Now, apparently Danielle backstabbed a separate member of her glam squad when she texted Jennifer a heads up that Danielle’s hair stylist wanted Jen to do a promotion for her, which might upset Jen’s own hair people. Some may argue that Danielle was being nice. I am some. I will argue that.

But Jennifer, being the intensely delusional (complimentary) woman she is, wrangles up one of her handy hammers and whacks Danielle, claiming it was underhanded and a betrayal to her hair stylist, who Jen apparently feels an intense loyalty to despite not knowing her. And that’s when things reach the point of no return. Danielle starts yelling, getting closer and closer to Jen, when Jen shoves Danielle away, leading Danielle to immediately react by throwing her drink in Jen’s face while side-arming her.

Who was in the wrong? Well, by the logic of “fuck around, find out,” I’d say Jennifer did in fact do that. You can’t really go around pushing angry New Jersey women and expecting a hug in return. That’s just not the New Jersey nature, God love them. But, at the end of the day, no one was physically injured and we all have something to discuss that has nothing to do with Teresa or Melissa—so maybe it was all for the good of the show. Jennifer is a philanthropist. She starts charities, Meghan. In a way, it’s so wrong that it’s in the right, simply by creating a messy fight so entertaining that it almost justifies the season’s aimless nature. Isn’t that the ethos of the Real Housewives?

It’s somewhat a relief knowing we have no reunion, meaning Andy doesn’t have to give a forced spiel about how Bravo doesn’t condone violence, despite RHONJ’s well documented history of violence. Nothing is more brutal than three straight seasons of Richie Wakile scenes, after all.

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It’s also a relief watching this show completely fall apart at the seams after a half-decade of cast stagnance and more than 10 years of Teresa vs. Melissa. This is production reaping what they’ve sewn through years of incompetence. And yet, it’s also the most enjoyable RHONJ season in a few years, simply in that we can enjoy the burning of the building, knowing it was destroyed beyond repair ages ago. I’m all for restoring historic buildings, but this is a tear down.

There’s no hope for a future with this cast and no need to relitigate Teresa vs. Melissa or any of these new feuds, as the obvious truth is this is a messy, unscripted epilogue to that era, and there’s no looking back. Everyone’s turning on everyone. Friendships no longer exist at all, replaced entirely by allegiances so thinly veiled that the fourth wall might as well disappear, and storylines are entirely nonexistent.

So it’s nice to watch RHONJ get steam from this fight, as though it can change the forces of motion. For the first time all season, it’s fun to have a development on the show that isn’t the women fighting about the show itself. And it’s lovely it all took place at Teresa’s tacky Tulum party, where Buddha heads scattered the premises, promising a peace and serenity that Housewives is simply not known for.

And, despite not being part of the physical altercation, it may just be Jackie who was beaten the worst, as she faced a series of blows so severely embarrassing this week her only option is to truly lean into her Teddi Mellencamp-ification and just own that no one likes her. She’s already got the podcast!

It almost seems implausible that Danielle entered the show as a Teresa/Jen crony just a year ago, given how she’s been tarred and feathered at every turn by her supposed friend since this season premiere. And it’s even more bizarre that the years-long Jackie/Marge friendship has crumbled so succinctly, leading to a ripple effect that allowed Dolores to give Jackie a final blow, leaving this entire cast dynamic in tatters.

This show isn’t feel good. It’s not aspirational. And it’s hardly a Real Housewives franchise. But I’ll take that any day over a season as boring as RHONJ Season 5, which was the last time the show had hit a dead end from a stagnant cast before a cast shakeup.

A photo of Danielle Cabral, Jennifer Aydin, Dolores Catania, and Jennifer Fessler on a red carpet

Danielle Cabral, Jennifer Aydin, Dolores Catania, and Jennifer Fessler

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

As we look to pick up the pieces of this nonsensical fight next week, we can only hope RHONJ keeps going to the gutter and decimating everything that’s left, as we’ve already far surpassed the point of no return. Team Danielle and Team Jen can hopefully commiserate in a few months when they both get their pink slips, although I can see a future where Danielle survives the inevitable cull simply because she comes with less baggage.

It’s the end of The Real Housewives of New Jersey as we know it, so if you’re one of those fans who wants to see a real friend group have fun, exit as soon as you can. This season is for fans of the depraved only. Soon enough, we can all take cold showers and wash ourselves of this sordid pleasure. For now, we have no choice but to keep entering the unknown, watching what happens (live!) when a reality show passes its expiration date and refuses to die peacefully, almost a bizarro version of what we just witnessed on Vanderpump Rules.

There are rumors the finale features another fight between the duo—allegedly, a glass pitcher may even be thrown—so rest assured, it’s only going to get uglier. I fear no one will work this out on the remix.

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