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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 5 - Meat the Scalias

Glenn Rowley

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This season of Manzo'd has a clear formula: the focus is on Lauren's impending wedding while Caroline deals with the changes and the boys provide the hijinks. This week was no exception. After a "previously on..." featuring Caroline cleaning the oven, the episode opens on Lauren and Caroline doing some wedding planning. As the mother-daughter duo try to figure out where to seat 380 guests, a mysterious figure comes walking up the driveway pushing a dog in a stroller. It's Denise Scalia, Lauren's future mother-in-law! She's come to the house to teach Princess Lauren a thing or two about how to take care of her beloved son including how to fold his clothes properly (with an As-Seen-on-TV tool), what kind of peanut butter he has to have (chunky) and why he needs two different types of milk in the fridge (whole for PB&Js, 2% for cereal). Oh, and also to invite the Manzos to a family dinner at the Scalias' restaurant in Monroe. I'm not sure what would be more stressful - having an Italian mother or having an Italian mother-in-law.

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Later that day, Caroline and Chris take a trip to the Wayne Public Library to do some research for the youngest Manzo's newest career path: Chris is going to write a children's book. Caroline explains in her interview that this new project is right up Christopher's alley. After all, his imagination is on par with a four-year-old's so it's pretty much a perfect fit. While Caroline browses the magazine section, Chris takes over the kids section, looking through his prospective competition. Seeing a grown man browsing the kids section all by himself, a library worker approaches Chris and asks if he's there with his daughter. The budding author assures her he doesn't have any kids, and she tells him that the room is only reserved for patrons with children. If you're not at the library with a kid, go to the adult section. Christopher points out in his interview that the worker is essentially asking him to kidnap a child so he can stay in the kids' section, but figures it's worse of a crime to acquire a child in order to do so. 

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That night, Albie is, for some inexplicable reason, attempting to jam out on an electric guitar on the front steps when Vito pulls up to the house. The future Mr. Lauren Manzo bemoans having to move into the house to his old college roommate and Albie points out that no one else in the family knows what it's really like to live with Vito the Roommate. So why not show them? Caroline, you wanted Vito to live with you, now you're getting what you wanted. Be careful what you wish for Mama Manzo. Inside, Lauren and Caroline are going over merchandising for Cafface when Vito shuffles into the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of underwear and Lauren's open robe. Making a beeline for the fridge, Vito inspects its contents and promptly begins taking swigs out of multiple cartons to Caroline's shock and horror. Lauren screams at him to stop and throw the now-contaminated containers away, but Vito just wants to live, OK? In the iconic words of Bethenny Frankel, get off his jock Manzos! Caroline can't even think of what to equate that type of behavior to - a toddler doesn't even act that way. You know what does? A dog. Vito Scalia is like a dog. The reality is that Vito has simply been pampered his entire life by a doting Italian mother just as much as Lauren has. In their joint confessional, Vito explains that there are certain things he expects Lauren to do for him including - get this - turning up his bed every morning and turning it down every night. Lauren doesn't believe he's had an in-home turn-down service every day of his life and calls Denise mid-interview to ask her. Mama Scalia's answer? Absolutely. Lauren hangs up the phone in disgust and tells a robed Vito to go upstairs - Caroline can see his penis. A wide-eyed Caroline doesn't even know what to say about this whole display. What the hell was that?

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The next day, Caroline and Albie are by the pool when Christopher arrives bearing the first draft of his manuscript for Oliver Brightside: You Don't Want that Penny. As he tries to read the story to his mom and brother, Albie repeatedly interrupts, not understanding the story. Is Oliver a dog? Why does a dog want a penny? How can he pick a penny up with his paws? Chris doesn't know proper manuscript-reading etiquette, but this can't be it. Albie thinks he should start meeting with publishers immediately to show the book to as many people as possible, while Caroline jokes that she stopped having kids when Chris came along because he was the perfect child. This is why Albie is closer to his dad, people.

Meanwhile, Caroline's still reeling from Vito's show the night before. Vito Scalia in Lauren's robe has now been forever embedded in her brain and she pulls Lauren aside to talk about it. She's never seen that side of her future son-in-law and if that's who he really is, it's a problem. Vito comes in and Caroline admits that she now has a couple of teeny tiny concerns to talk about with him. Vito doesn't understand. What did he do wrong? "HONEY YOU DRANK OUT OF THE CARTONS IN THE REFRIGERATOR!" screams Lauren. Vito admits that he's concerned with living in Caroline's home and was trying to test the waters. Caroline tells him to stop playing the games - there's nothing he could be concerned about that they can't talk about as a family. She presents him with a packet of V stickers to put on his drinks in the fridge. If something has a sticker on it, it's his to drink any way he wants, but nothing else. In her interview, Caroline says she's confident Vito is trainable. Mama Manzo can tame the beast that is her future son-in-law.

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The Manzos arrive at Vito's family's restaurant, Scalia and Co., for Denise's family dinner. Via confessional, Lauren says she loves her future in-laws but doesn't expect merging the two extremely opinionated families to be anything less than a nightmare. The Scalias are all there including Denise, Vito Sr. and Vito's brothers Marco and Pete. As dinner starts, Albie asks if Lauren and Vito are serious about maintaining all the old Italian traditions at their wedding. Lauren says she likes the tradition of the almonds, which are meant to wish the couple a happy life full of prosperity. Caroline explains in her interview that the Scalias are very old-school Italian. The Manzos are traditional but recognize that it's 2015; the Scalias think it's Brooklyn, 1954.

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Conversation turns to the issue of where Lauren and Vito are going to live once they're married. Denise is insistent that honeymooners should be honeymooning and Vito Sr. agrees, asking how they intend to make a baby with Lauren's mother and father in the next room. This is important to Vito's parents - Denise announces that she considers Lauren to be the vessel that will bring her a grandchild. The look of shock on all the Manzos' faces at this statement are priceless. Chris says he's heard his sister be called a lot of things, but can't describe the feeling of hearing Lauren be referred to as a vessel. VesselGate 2015! Caroline quickly points out that the couple have a long life ahead of them, but when Vito says he doesn't want to have kids for three years, the idea doesn't exactly fly with his parents. Vito says he wants to travel though, and Albert pulls out his one-liner of the night: they'll be traveling all right, from Franklin Lakes to Monroe and back! In her interview, Caroline explains that when you marry someone, you marry their family. It's important to her that the two Italian clans start thinking of themselves as one big family rather than the Manzos vs. the Scalias. Cheers to famiglia!