The Godfather

Walt and Jessie outside their new season 5 lab (above), one of many ingenious highlights so far this season.

Going down the stretch last year with the last few episodes of BrBa, we had predicted that money issues were going to be a problem for Walt this year, following along with that same theme, really begun when Skylar gifted that $600,000 to Ted.  Such was cemented when Walt, hoping to pay Saul’s guy to professionally disappear them, went to get the money out of the crawl space and it was gone.  Then Walt laughs maniacally, does the whole unhinged psycho thing, about to further entrench himself as the bad guy even worse than Scarface’s Tony Montana, along with the overlying show theme, “from Mr. Chips to Scarface.”  Obviously even Tony Montana drew the line at hurting innocents, and yet Walt was to use a child to reclaim himself with Jesse, when he most coldly poisons Brock with the Lilly of the Valley plant, and then blames it on Gus.  Walt chills us with the whole ‘now who do we know who would ever hurt a child’ speech, even more so as we look back to it at the start of season 5 when those in the audience who didn’t already surmise as much at the end of last season got their proof that Walt had indeed one upped Tony Montana.

We also got our confirmation of the Walt/money issues storyline when Walt has Jesse spot him the money for magnet project, citing an “IRS issue” and when Walt shows up at Saul’s, looking for an explanation as to how Saul could okay this idea to give all of his cash to Ted.  They obviously aren’t cooking, with the lab destroyed and Gus’s operation no more, and so that grand irony comes back into play, that Walt got involved with these shenanigans in the first place to make money, has broken just about every law including murder to get that money, and had bought a car wash to launder that illegal cash, but now finds himself with no money to launder.

Thankfully Vince Gilligan moves the story along at a fast clip, straightening out some of the heavy Gus aftermath in s5 e1, especially with Mike, while establishing the impetus behind Mike’s need to get back in the game due to his own financial reasons which become clearer in e2, when Gus’s illegal accounts are frozen.  By the end of e3, and with the help of Saul, “the three amigos” (sorry Saul), that unholy alliance between Jesse, Walt, and Mike, have not only put a new cook operation together, having worked out both logistics and particulars, but they have already cooked up a batch and gotten paid.  Good thing.  We were hoping for a quick resolution to last year’s money issues so that the show could concentrate on portraying what it is like for the duo at the top of the game, as the show’s ads have foreshadowed, with Walt centered around stacks of money, along with the caption “ALL HAIL THE KING”.

Great to see them flush with money, or as Badger (Matt L. Jones) says to Jesse after he and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) rent some musical equipment for the op so they have cases in which their moving lab equipment will be stored, “stacking Benjies til the rubber band pops.”  By the way, how great was it to have a scene featuring Badger and Skinny Pete?  But that’s what Vince Gilligan consistently provides us with, the kind of moments that hardcore fans of the show just relish.  Whether it be Gus being blown up by Tio’s bell, which had been going off to no avail for almost 3 seasons, Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles), in his final diatribe providing Hank with the ‘not who he seems’ speech, or any scene, for that matter, which features Saul Goodman.

This show has obviously struck a chord with the nation, pardon the pun, Skinny Pete, as we have now Lego sets depicting Walt and Jesse’s Crystal Ship and Laundry Lab, and while last week, Kim Kardashian and Aaron Paul are chatting it up on Twitter about Vamanos Pest.

Aaron Paul ‏@aaronpaul_8
“@KimKardashian: Anyone else think the same thing about those extermination tents or was I just crazy?” Meth lab. It’s always a meth lab.

Whilst we speak of meth labs…

Walt and Jessie in their laundy lab (above) in their hazmat suits, with blue crystal Lego in the left corner.

And of course, the Crystal Ship in Lego (2nd).

The new lab, a roving lab which borrows from the successful mobile aspect to their RV setup, but which is all the more brilliant and realistic, considering that they do not own the homes in which they are cooking, that they are hiding in plain sight, and that there are frequent stories about temporary meth labs in the news, as that is the latest innovation/industry trend limiting legal exposure for chemists.

Also, a very nice touch it is to encase the temp lab in a Dexter style kill scene bubble tent.  Bravo!  As brilliant  as the new season has been with details, there’s just no getting around how bad Walt actually is, as he continues to further his criminal mastermind.  No regular viewer of the show could do anything but marvel at Walt in s5 e1, when Mike asks him why he should take his word that the magnet worked.

“Because I said so.”

Damn.  Then when Walt, in a scene eerily reminiscent to Michael Corleone in The Godfather II at the end of e1 tells Skylar, “I forgive you.”  (for blowing his money on Ted).  Walt is bad, alright.  If those aforementioned scenes didn’t do enough to illustrate, then what of Walt socializing with Brock (Ian Posada) over at Jesse’s (“I heard you were in the hospital”)?

Sure, that was chillingly cold, but for us, whatever Walt had to do get his relationship back with Jesse was justified, re-establishing the balance between the two that we most enjoy when the duo’s delicate camaraderie is in place.  And we know it’s only temporary, obviously.  In this modern Greek tragedy, there is no way for Jesse not to find out that Walt poisoned Brock and no way for Jesse to avoid learning that and feeling the acute misery and anger that will come from that knowledge.  If we were to venture a guess as to the real end of days for the show, it would have Jesse perhaps killing Walt over it, as we agree with the many fans who feel that Jesse is going to be the one to take Walt down.

But before that, we think there will be a whole hell of a lot more messes for Walt on the home front.  Obviously things have become very sticky with Skyler so forlorn, this week, plunging herself into the pool in a half hearted suicide attempt.  Is it only a matter of time before Walt decides a different approach with the wife is needed?  Recall that Walt has hidden that ricin in the house, and from what we know about BrBa, sooner or later they are going to have that ricin come back into play.

Mr. White (our Mr. White, not Walt) suggested that Skyler might get a ricin cigarette of her own.  Great forethought there.  We are gonna add our own to that theory, as we can’t see how things could break any worse for Walt than if Walt Jr., now a fast car driving little bad ass, were to ingest the ricin by accident.  We see Jesse, Walt, Mike, and Skyler all breaking much much worse by the show’s end, in true step with classic Greek tragedy.

And for show and Greek mythology enthusiasts, how great was Walt’s line at the end of e3, when he tells Jesse that perhaps, like Icarus, Victor had “flown to close to the sun”?  From Gilligan, that’s more likely deft foreshadowing than use of clever reference, though with Breaking Bad, it is no doubt a double entendre.

Crack (

Joe Giudice (R.) seated with counsel.

Real Housewives of New Jersey husband Joe Giudice was released from jail today in New Jersey, having served 8 days of a 10 day sentence for driving without a license.

Giuseppe (Joe) Giudice was released from the Morris County Correctional Facility Tuesday morning after serving eight days of a 10-day sentence for driving with a suspended license, reported.

Wearing a black-and-white jumpsuit, Giudice reportedly walked out of the jail’s lobby and met two “muscle men” who were waiting to drive him home.

While doing time behind bars, Giudice bragged to friends and family that jail is like a “vacation,” according to Radar.

“He doesn’t care if he goes to jail because he said then he gets paid because the magazines will want his story,” a source told the website. “He said he’ll be on vacation and getting paid at the same time.”

Mafioso, um, I mean muscle men, waiting to drive Joe home?  Joe G. driving with a suspended-a-sentence, um, I mean, suspended license?  I wonder what Jacqueline’s husband and Caroline’s brother, Chris Laurita, thinks of this irresponsible behavior, considering how Chris took Joe to task over his DUI while their families were in Italy vacationing during season 2, mentioning the fact that Joe could have injured Teresa or the girls.

Did you notice at the time that Joe didn’t talk back to Chris?  Chris must be higher up than Joe on the Jersey mafia hierarchy.

Don’t forget to watch Bravo’s best original program tonight at 9 PM–Flipping Out with Jeff Lewis.

–Crack (,

Is that Tony Soprano’s house (above)?  No, it’s the home of Joe and Teresa Giudice, of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

On the way home from the hospital after bearing the couples’ 4th daughter, Joe Giudice, already angling for more kids, says that they are going to have to make a bigger Cadillac, suggesting his Escalade isn’t big enough for their growing family.  Teresa insists she’s done having babies, to which Joe’s response was:

You popped that kid out like it was a ping pong ball.

Teresa: …you wanna get snipped?

Joe: Nah.  You got the wrong guy.

The way the line rolled off the tongue, one could get the idea he has said it before, like to police several times.  Meanwhile, Danielle is sipping wine with her friend, “Kim G.”, who is the mother of “John G.”, Caroline’s son Christopher’s best friend.  Kim G has a driving ms. daisy situation going on, chauffered around in a black Bentley by a huge black man.  As it turns out, we learn from Caroline when John G comes over to visit Chris that Kim asked her to lunch, but that Caroline declined the offer.  Her reasons?  Well, there’s the cosmetic reason she cobbled together–that she wouldn’t want a new friendship with Kim to interfere with her son’s relationship with John, as though their mothers being friends would hurt their relationship.  Then came the real reason: Kim is friends with Danielle who has a vendetta, and who “lives to destroy them.”

I don’t want to give you a negative impression of the Manzo’s, who despite any jokes I may crack, are a nice, close knit family.  The Manzo’s look out for each other.  A good example of this would be when Albie and Lauren, Caroline’s other children, take the wayward Ashley and her boyfriend Derrick to a fancy restaurant where Albie browbeats the couple out of concern for his 18 year old cousin, who he says, “already has made a lot of bad decisions.”  Albie tells a frightened Derrick that Ashley doesn’t know “who the hell she is yet” and tells the camera that he can’t see Ashley making decisions that will affect the rest of her life when she’s 18 around some guy.  Ashley isn’t upset that Albie shot straight with them in the restaurant, in a sort of Michael Corleone moment, reminiscent of when he tells Connie in front of her boyfriend Merle, “I don’t know this Merle.  I don’t know what he does.”

Ashley is lucky that Albie’s not afraid to have the tough conversation with the kid, as did her stepfather Chris, who a few weeks back essentially told Derrick that he didn’t like him and knew he was just after sex.  But Ashley, who couldn’t graduate high school on time and strikes us as special ed all the way, insists to everyone concerned that she’s making good decisions.  To prove that she is, she points to the fact that she is using birth control, which just oozed wisdom.

Ashley’s mother Jacqueline, the caring sort, who in one fell swoop chided her daughter last year for flunking in her senior year, and then gave her a brand new Jeep Cherokee, showed her concern for her daughter’s situation this week by visiting Derrick’s mom.  Instead of taking the Albie approach, Jacqeline gets drunk on wine with Derrick’s mom, and by the end of a slush fest, they are laying in each other’s laps and feeding each other grapes.  Bizzare?  Indeed.  But we have not yet begun to dish the dirt on the last Mob Housewives of New Jersey, in which the main event was Danielle’s visit to The Brownstone, the Manzo family business.

Before we do so, I might be inclined to agree with my mother-in-law, who in spying closely Teresa’s hairline, emphatically declared, “her hair is not real.”  Weave?  Wig?  Plugs?  “Yeah,” my mother-in-law says, “something’s not right.”  then I went on a quest to get a good look at Teresa’s hair.

Looks okay (above), but wait…

But there (above), I’m feeling a little Jeff Van Gundy like hair plug vibe.

There too (above).  And at points, she wears these headbands that totally cover her hairline, so our family is actively wondering.  Their family happens to be getting the tatoos of every guinea named girl Teresa “popped out like a ping pong ball” branded to Joe’s right arm.

If you are keeping score, there’s Gia, Milania, Gabriella, and the newest arrival, Audrianna.  Since Gia’s birthday rolled around on this very eventful episode, we feel we must mention what the 9 year old’s birthday present was: a motorized quad, that the 9 year old and her 7 year old sister rode around on with no helmets.  Seriously, are these people crazy?  BTW, that’s the same gift that Carmine Agnello had shipped to one of his Growing Up Gotti boys, while he was still away at the federal clink.

One other bit of news before the main event.  Caroline, while drinking wine with Teresa and Jacqueline makes the startling admission to the girls that every day in the shower she shaves her face.  It’s not that we don’t believe her, but more that we can’t believe she said it.

Then, the show’s whole tenor changes, as they begin to show The Brownstone and its staff preparing for the cancer benefit.  At Danielle’s, a still nervous Danielle asks her friend Kim G if she’s going to be alright going to The Brownstone, to which Kim G replies, “this is for a baby that’s sick.  Let’s just go and have a good time.”  You know what?  Maybe it’s editing or whatever, but we feel Kim G comes off very poorly, and that quote didn’t help.  All praise to Caroline for negging Kim on that lunch date.

Danny Provenzano, our favorite New Jersey wiseguy, shows up at Danielle’s to escort the ladies to the party, and refuses a drink, because he is still on parole for another 6 days.  When they arrive, Caroline’s son Chris, who works at The Brownstone, greets them.  Danielle, on her encounter with Chris:

I wanted to shake his hand, like, as a little psychological F.U.

Now that’s the winning attitude.  Chris greets Kim G, his best friend’s mom, and tells her innocuously that she’s “in for a surprise.”  Danielle, who didn’t hear the comment, naarates for the camera that Chris was “very sadistic when he said you’re in for a big surprise.  I wonder whose son that was.”

Delusions of grandeur, maybe?  Hello?  Danielle?  It wasn’t a comment said, or aimed at you.  But Kim G has to rile up Danielle and Danny P, and the entourage of several mafioso and Hell’s Angels.  It’s true that a table wasn’t ready for Danielle’s party, but it’s also true that Danielle brought about a dozen people with her, unannounced, and that those people did not pay to attend the benefit, which Danielle kept saying to damn the Manzo’s, that it was for a little baby.  We learn that the event organizers did not want non-paying customers, which is very prudent.  Even so, the Manzo family did everything they could to accomodate the large party that made a spectacle out of this poor little girl’s cancer benefit.

Danielle (above), with Danny, bitching about nonsense outside The Brownstone.  Danielle would conclude with:

You call me garbage?  Look in the mirror, sisters.  They did this to a baby.


I have a good grasp on reality.  but they…don’t.

Um, Danielle?  If that were true, there would be no show, and they’d have to find another crazy bitch to fill your shoes.  And even the great Andy Cohen might have trouble pulling that off.

–Crack (


RHONJ stars, Teresa (L.), Dina (C.), and Caroline (R.)

So I was watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey last night, looking at Teresa Giudice in her hospital bed, wearing her spotted leopard skin pajamas, having just given birth to baby Audrianna, and then Dina Manzo, whose husband, like Carlo Gambino I presume, is too uptight about being seen on camera, comes in and Teresa asks Dina how it feels to be holding her new god daughter.

I said to my wife, “Audrianna?  Adrianna?  I wonder if Silvio Dante is gonna pop her while calling her a ‘dirty whore’ some day.”  While that was just a joke, so are many truths.  Do I buy in to Italian stereotypes?  Let’s put it this way: if you are making sauce in your driveway in advance for the whole year, like Teresa Giudice, a geep of all geeps classic move, well, you might be connected.  If your husband has 22 inch biceps, speaks in grunt, and sponsors you for breast implants, you might be connected.

If you have a semi-automatic rifle, among other weapons and God knows what in a safe the size of a refrigerator, like Jacqueline’s husband Chris Moltissanti, um, I mean, Chris Laurita, and your favorite refrain is “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”, then, well, do I have to say it?

 Caroline’s husband, Albert Manzo, in this past episode, was sporting the old Passaic Police Academy sweatshirt (above).  A few weeks back on the show, him and his brother, the guy who is too camera shy to appear, threw a big bash for the county sheriff.  Who do you think fills the coffers of local law enforcement, district attorneys, and politicians?  Where I come from, it’s people who need favors in return.  Like Don Corleone the Senior said to Bonasera who wanted justice for his daughter, “who kept her honor”:

Some day I may come to you asking for a favor.  That day may never come.

Right, but if these ladies hate Danielle as much as they seem to, then that day may be on the way.  There have been 4 episodes so far this season, and none of the ladies have had more than a text encounter with the villainess, a very brief phone conversation, or a voicemail, and the Jersey housewives are on high alert, led by Don Caroline, who also happens to live by the credo, “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.”  Caroline said she’s on to Danielle’s game, when she heard that her mortal enemy, Danielle, would be presenting some check to a cancer kid at her family’s establishment, The Brownstone.  “She doesn’t bother me” said Caroline.  “I’ll call her garbage to her face if I have to.  I’ve done it before and I will do it again”, and she closed with the very omnious and direct, “Ultimately I’ll win.” 

The ladies have a sitdown (above).  Probable topic: Danielle (below).

Danielle might be a dumber bitch than Kelly Bensimon even, in the tri-state area real housewife dumbness hierarchy, and she has pissed some people off, sure, but she’s just going to a benefit for a little girl with cancer, though garbage she may be.  And bringing Danny Provenzano as her date, a felon/New Jersey wise guy/actor (This Thing of Ours) to the cancer party is a bad move, but one that dumb Danielle feels is necessary because she is entering enemy territory, and she’s still un-nerved that the enemy has called her garbage. 

The shame in this is that for all Danielle’s faults, she has two extremely nice, pretty young daughters, who her mother got called garbage in front of.  And yes, Danielle’s eldest daughter was a model at fashion week, and Danielle did throw a party in her daughter’s honor but she forbade the kid from inviting any of her friends, because Danielle, who was also photographed as an afterthought by none other than Gilles Bensimon (Kelly’s ex), wanted that spotlight all to herself.  But next week at The Brownstone, she’ll be sharing the spotlight with Danny P (below).

Danielle, Danny, and other wiseguy (above).

“How would you feel if someone called you garbage?”  Danielle asks Danny.

“I have a theory on that.  People need to shut the fuck up.”  Danny replies.

Follow that link should you wish to peruse Danny’s criminal record and the details of his racketeering conviction. 

Don’t be surprised if all hell breaks loose next week between the New Jersey housewives–at the cancer benefit.  Look, I’m not saying these people aren’t nice.  Actually, aside from Danielle, and the ultra bossy Caroline–who is still to us a way better person than say, her red-headed NYC counterpart, Jill Zarin–everyone on the show seems extremely nice and way more likable than our favorite, bitchy new York housewives who aren’t really housewives.  What can I tell you?  Some of the nicest people I know happen to be criminals.

Teresa Giudice (above), just before her shining moment in last season’s finale.

They’re nice alright.  Doesn’t mean a housewife like Teresa won’t flip over a table and scream, “PROSTITUTION WHORE!”  Why?  Because she gangsta.

–Crack (