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Spinoffs & Other Shows

Recaps, opinion pieces and analysis of Bravo TV shows including Don't Be Tardy, Manzo'd With Children, Ladies of London, Tour Group, Shahs of Sunset and Southern Charm.

Manzo'd with Children Ssn 2/Ep 8 - The Tale of Two Families

Glenn Rowley

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The Manzos and Scalias are going to Italy! Caroline's hoping the two families full of strong opinions and traditions can go on this vacation and come back as one big, happy family. Vito is particularly excited as it's his first time going to the motherland. As they board the plane, Caroline explains that this trip is important as a celebration of Lauren, but even more importantly it's a farewell to Lauren Manzo. The princess already had a bridal shower farewell, a bachelorette party farewell, a snatchelor party farewell and now a family vacation farewell. How many farewells to Lauren do we need? Honestly. As they land in Naples, Caroline is still harping on how when a woman gets married, she loses her name and joins a new family. Albert doesn't agree, calling the mentality "old-school." He's sure Lauren will want to be a Manzo forever, but SHE IS LEAVING MANZO BEHIND AND GOING FORWARD AS A SCALIA! OK Al? Don't argue with Caroline about this.

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The villa they've booked for a week is gorgeous, with stunning views of Positano. As Caroline, Denise and Lauren pick out bedrooms, Albert would rather play around with his GoPro and tell Caroline she's asking stupid questions than think about all the impending changes for his favorite daughter. The dependency of both Lauren and Vito on their parents is more than mildly concerning. Lauren may have packed everything on the trip for Vito, but his mother is still holding his wallet for him...

On the way into town, the kids concoct a plan to cook a nice dinner for the adults that night with Lauren taking the lead, Christopher playing sous chef and Albie judging everything they make from the sidelines. The oldest Manzo is more of a going out to eat kind of guy, and so is Brittany. Meanwhile, Christopher came to the conclusion that he would be alone in his later years, so he might as well learn how to cook in his younger ones and have something good to eat. To Christopher, the only woman who loves him is his mother; Lauren is on the fence, both of his grandmas like him a lot, but love is a big word.

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Before hitting up the shops in Sorrento, the families decide to stop for some gelato. At the next table over sits a beautiful Italian girl, and Caroline and Lauren both prod Christopher to go introduce himself. Who knows? The girl could be his Apollonia (a Godfather reference). Lauren takes matters into her own hands by going over and starting a conversation with the girl, whose name turns out to be Margarita. Lauren introduces Chris and invites her to join them at their table, where the poor girl is immediately peppered with questions from all sides. Yes, she's from Sorrento; no, she doesn't have a boyfriend; she likes blue eyes better than brown eyes and yes she knows where the kids can buy groceries for dinner. Caroline is excited about this new development, explaining in her confessional that Christopher isn't dating anyone, and tends to be rather stealthy when he is - he doesn't tell Caroline anything about his love life. Leaving Margarita in the hands of the kids, the families split up to do some shopping.

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Now recruited as a guide, Margarita takes Albie, Chris, Lauren and Vito to a salumeria (the Italian word for deli). Owning a pork shop back in Jersey, Vito is immediately in his element, ordering prosciutto and mortadella and admiring the shop's slicer. However, the kids quickly realize there's something strange about this particular shop when they notice the bags of penis-shaped pasta for sale. Pasta di cock! Meanwhile, Denise and Caroline are shopping for old-school tablecloths for Lauren and Vito, which Denise is positive her son will love. Caroline can't help but crack up as Lauren's future mother-in-law freaks out over the Christmas tablecloths draped on the walls. SOMETHING FOR CHRISTMAS! After thanking her for taking them to a deli/sex shop, the kids air kiss Margarita goodbye and head back to the villa.

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While Lauren and Christopher cook dinner, Albert and Vito, Sr. convene on the deck, where Papa Manzo starts getting sentimental over Lauren's impending wedding. For the cocktail hour before the reception, Albert reveals he's hired a Dixieland band in memory of his late father, who passed away before his wedding to Caroline and never met any of their kids. In her confessional, Caroline explains that her husband is a proud man who doesn't typically let people see his weak moments. It's only a matter of time before the patriarch implodes due to all the emotion he's bottling up.

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Dinner is served and the families gather around the table for limoncello chicken and potatoes with the gorgeous Italian sunset in the background. After Vito's mother makes a toast to her future daughter-in-law, conversation turns to the state of Albie's relationship with Brittany. As is typical, Albie stutters through an explanation that things are fine, but he's getting old and doesn't want to lead Brittany along if things aren't headed toward marriage. However, Albert predicts that Christopher will be the next one to get married and have kids before Lauren and Vito. With the spotlight now on his brother, Albie mentions the comments Chris made in the car earlier about never getting married. Obviously upset, Caroline demands to know if that's what Chris actually said, and balks at his announcement that he doesn't ever want to get married. When Caroline insists he would be such a good father, Christopher breaks her heart by informing her that he doesn't want to have kids. 

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Now, Christopher's not saying he won't ever change his mind. If the right stripper named Cinnamon came along and got knocked up, he would happily bring her home, OK? However, the prospect of her youngest son is the worst thing Caroline can imagine. After all, a mom is only as happy as her saddest child, right? Moments like this blended family trip to Italy are things Caroline doesn't want Christopher to miss out on, and she launches into a touching speech about the purpose of family. To Caroline, those moments are what family is all about - you grow together and take parts of each other's families and make them your own. And that's what she's hoping this Manzo/Scalia trip will signify for Lauren and Vito and their families. When she's done with her speech, Albert is in tears and Caroline explains that it gives her a great amount of peace to look at her kids and say "our job is pretty much done." So, Vito says, if we're following the old ways and old traditions, the women get to clean up after dinner, right?