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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.

Filtering by Tag: caroline's soaps

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 6 - For Better or Worse

Glenn Rowley


This week on Manzo'd With Children, an opportunity for Caroline gives the family an excuse to plan a trip to the West Coast. However, Lauren gets angry when Vito doesn't want to go and a sudden health scare for Caroline may sideline all the fun. Read on for a full recap of this week's family drama...


The episode kicks off with Chris Manzo going on yet another completely random adventure in the name of research for his next children's novel. This time, he's enlisted sister Lauren Manzo for a kendo class in Harlem, otherwise known as the art of Japanese fencing. In her confessional, Lauren explains that this is totally something she and Chris would do together. Ya know, since they're the fun siblings who just like to go with the flow and do crazy stuff. Now, I for one don't think of the adjectives "fun" and "easy-going" when I think of Lauren Manzo, but maybe I just don't know her well enough after watching her on my TV screen for almost eight years. Also, the further Chris gets into this research phase, the more convinced I become that he's using it as an excuse to get his family to try the strangest things he can think of.


Meanwhile, Caroline Manzo is all business, since Albie Manzo has set up a pitch meeting with the local Foodtown about selling her soaps. The genius of Caroline's business model is that she buys every single ingredient for her bath bombs, soaps and shower bombs in the aisles of the grocery store and now wants to sell it back to them as retail product. Albie does most of the talking in the meeting with the Foodtown manager, selling his mom's products so well that she can just sit back and stay humble about her newest enterprise. Since the store doesn't sell anything like handmade, custom soaps, the manager promises to think about the offer before making a final decision.


The good news keeps coming for Caroline! Over dinner that night with the kids, she reveals that her dream of doing a talkshow somewhere has come true: she's been asked to fly out to LA to guest co-host the (now-cancelled) chat fest, FABLife. (Which, if you remember, is the extremely Housewives-friendly daytime lifestyle show hosted by Tyra Banks, Joe Zee and Bravo super-fan Chrissy Teigen. Since the show films in California, Caroline proposes they make a family trip of it and all go to LA together. Lauren is quick to point out that the trip lands on her birthday, and the princess promptly suggests they go a day early to visit buddy Greg Bennett in San Francisco. Vito Scalia, however, is on the fence about taking more time off to go to California when he just piggybacked onto the Manzo man trip to Vegas. This, of course, infuriates Lauren and the conversation spirals into bickering between the husband and wife over Vito's inability (or unwillingness) to spend time with Lauren. 


Later, the flood of good news comes to an abrupt and frightening stop when Caroline discovers a lump on her breast while she's getting ready for bed. Consulting with her husband Albert Manzo in her robe, the Manzo matriarch reveals that the lump happens to be in the same breast she had biopsied 20 years earlier. In an attempt to calm her fears, Albert tells Caroline not to jump to conclusions or worry to much. After all, the biopsy two decades ago turned out to be benign, so there's no reason to assume the worst. However, he calls a doctor friend right then and there to set up an appointment to get the lump checked out. In the meantime, Caroline vows not to say anything to the kids or anyone else because it would just create unnecessary worry. 


After the kids have a sibling night out in an attempt for Albie and Lauren to bond (they have a weird relationship ok?), Albie meets with his mom for a follow-up meeting with the Foodtown manager. It's more good news! Even though there's no real precedent for the product, the grocery store has decided to go into business with Caroline and sell her soaps! Now Albie has to come up with packaging, a pricing model and an actual brand for the product. But while Caroline should be over the moon at this latest development, the lump is at the forefront of her mind and she has bigger things to worry about than selling soap.


Lauren is still angry over her argument with Vito and has resorted to giving her husband the silent treatment. Even when Vito tries cracking jokes and coaxing an "I love you" out of his wife, she responds with a curt "don't talk to me." In Lauren's mind she cannot understand why her husband of just a few months would be resistant to going to California for her birthday, but Vito reminds her that he's working at the deli every day for the sake of their future. Still, this isn't a good enough excuse for the birthday girl and she will remain mad until Vito gives in and comes on her birthday trip.


A few days later, it's time for Caroline's doctor's appointment and the usually stoic mom is wracked with nerves. As Albert explains in the couple's joint confessional, Caroline is the rock of the Manzo family and if something happened to her, it might as well be happening to Albert too. Rather sweetly, his voice cracks with emotion as he explains how unimaginable his life would be without her by his side. As they walk hand in hand to the car to drive to the doctor's office, it's clear that Caroline and Albert Manzo's love will be able to get them through anything that will come in the future, health-related or otherwise.

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Should Lauren be angry with Vito? Are you worried about Caroline's health? Let me know in the comments!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 5 - Newlywed Games

Glenn Rowley


This week on Manzo'd With Children, it's a twist on the newlyweds game when Lauren and Vito switch jobs for the day. Plus, Albie works to grow his consulting business and Caroline comes up with her next goal to accomplish. Read on for a full recap of the hijinks and hard work...


Albie Manzo's in the consulting business, people. In order to get his new company up and running, the eldest Manzo child is consulting for a number of different start-ups specializing in everything from skincare and pet supplies to poultry farming. The catch, though, is that Albie doesn't get paid as a consultant until these start-ups are successful, so it's crunch time to sign as many clients as possible. One of those clients looks to be Albie's own personal trainer, whose gym, Core Rhythm Fitness, is responsible for Al getting - according to virtually everyone in his family - "too skinny."


Back at the Manzo house, Lauren Manzo and Vito Scalia are having the classic newlywed debate over whose job is more difficult. Vito's certain that his job at his parents' deli is more labor-intensive than Lauren making girls feel pretty all day at Cafface, but his wife shoots back that it's much harder than making sandwiches. The bickering moves upstairs to the kitchen, where matriarch Caroline Manzo seizes the chance to intervene. If they both think they have it so hard, why don't Lauren and Vito switch jobs for a day? This idea is pure genius on Caroline's part; the newlyweds have been bickering so much this season, it'll them both some good to walk in the other's shoes for a while. Challenge accepted and the battle of the newlyweds is officially on.


While Chris Manzo has a meeting with his publicist about the success of Oliver Brightside (with a cameo by #RHONJ newbie Dolores Catania's hunky son Frankie!), Caroline pays a visit to Albie's Hoboken bachelor pad to talk business. Since the success of the Sugarloaf craft festival, Caroline isn't sure what direction she should take her new soap-making business in, and turns to her oldest son for advice. Albie suggests turning Caroline's soaps into a legitimate brand and before we know it, mother and son are going into business together! 


Later, Caroline and her husband Albert get waterfront seats at Chart House Restaurant for a date night, and it turns out the Manzo matriarch has more than soap her mind. Her conversation with Albie has got her worried about where his mind is at with turning 30 and manages to prod Albert into promising to have a little father-son chat with his namesake. Caroline's also started thinking about the next step in her personal evolution, and come to the conclusion that her real dream is to host a talk show somewhere. Could Caroline be the next Bethenny? Or the Italian Oprah? Based on her past success as a radio host, it seems to be a good bet that Caroline would be a hit as a no-nonsense talk show host.


The day of Lauren and Vito's job switch arrives and it becomes quickly apparent who the winner of the challenge will be. While Vito bumbles through shampooing and blowing out a client's hair, Lauren reveals an innate knack for making sausages and creating sandwich art. She's so good, in fact, that her in-laws Vito Sr. and Denise are about ready to kick Vito to the curb so she can work at the deli full-time. The most hilarious moment of the day, however, comes when Caroline volunteers to give herself up to the mercy of Vito's rudimentary makeup skills. By the end of the appointment, the poor woman looks like a veritable clown and it's obvious Vito needs to leave Cafface to the professionals...


True to his word, Albert takes his oldest son for an afternoon at the batting cages. During an innocent game of catch, he sneaks in a fatherly heart-to-heart where Albie reveals that growing up, it felt like the Manzo patriarch was never around because of work. In fact, a young Albie even joked that his dad could leave him at a far-off Little League tournament and never actually come back for him. Obviously this upsets Albert to hear, but he points out that he did what it took to take care of his family. After all, they weren't always signing contracts with Bravo and being followed around by camera crews for our amusement. Albie admits that he puts pressure on himself and his success because he never wanted to be the guy who rested on other people's accomplishments, even his own father's. Giving the validation his son so clearly yearns for, Albert claims Albie is on the right track and tearfully tells him he's proud with baseball glove in hand.


After a long day of wreaking havoc at his wife's salon, Vito returns home to make dinner for a triumphant Lauren, who's basking in the glow of basically being better at her husband's job than he is. Vito's attempt at making a poor man's fajitas is yet another failure in his day, but both he and Lauren admit to an increased appreciation for what the other does and who they married. But before the moment can turn any sappier, they're back to bickering with each other. So I guess in the end the experiment was a win?

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Did Vito stand a chance against Lauren? Should Albie put so much pressure on himself? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 4 - Craft Sales and Orgy Tales

Glenn Rowley


This week on Manzo'd With Children, the Manzo men head to Sin City for some male bonding while Caroline takes a big step in turning her new soap-making hobby into a business. Read on for a full recap of the episode...


It's time for the annual Manzo man trip!  This year, Albert Manzo is taking his boys to Las Vegas (where he happens to be moderating a breakout session on catering weddings) for some good old-fashioned male bonding. And since he's officially married into the family, even Vito Scalia gets an invite - though Albert insists that his new son-in-law's inclusion is strictly on a trial basis. Since the women are being left behind for the weekend, Caroline's decided to expand her soap-making hobby by entering a local craft fair. As she explains in her confessional, Caroline's dedicated her entire life to this point to being a mom. Now it's time for the evolution of the Manzo matriarch to really begin, and that starts with selling her soaps at the Sugarloaf Art Fair. 


The men make it to Vegas and are greeted by the biggest diva of the RHONJ universe. That's right folks, Greg Bennett is crashing the boys' trip! First on the itinerary are front row seats to Zumanity, the erotic Circque du Soleil at the New York - New York Hotel and Casino. Now, I can't think of anything I'd want to do less with my new father-in-law, but Vito seems particularly pumped about the idea of watching topless acrobats fly sensually around in the air. Chris Manzo chalks this excitement up to the promise of what he calls UFB, a made-up acronym standing for "unfamiliar boobie." Since Zumanity is an interactive experience, it's no surprise when the drag queen performers pull Albie Manzo onstage and promptly start pulling his shirt off and undoing his belt. However, all I can think of during the entire performance is that NeNe Leakes did it first on RHOA, honey. BLOOP!


Back in New Jersey, Lauren Manzo pouts to her cousin Candice about feeling left out of the man trip. She doesn't understand how Vito can jump at the chance to run to Vegas for a weekend with her brothers but never takes her out anymore. The honeymoon phase certainly seems to be over for these two newlyweds. Plus, the man trip has gotten in the way of their baby plans; Lauren's ovulating while Vito's off experiencing the joys of UFB. Guess the baby-making will have to wait until next month...


Bright and early the next morning, the guys head to the breakout session Albert is moderating while Caroline packs up her soaps and heads to Somerset, New Jersey for the craft festival. With Vito's mother Denise Scalia helping as her assistant, Caroline sets up her booth and quickly realizes she may be in over her head. Other vendors at the fair have massive displays and the Manzo matriarch clearly had no idea what a major deal this festival was. After a few awkward encounters with fairgoers turning their noses up at her soap, Caroline finally makes her first sale of the day and the customers start pouring in. It seems like Caroline's new business venture could be on its way to becoming a runaway success. 


On their last day in Vegas, Vito bonds with Greg by revealing he and Lauren are trying to get pregnant while Chris is in for one last Sin City surprise. After the show the night before, the Zumanity performs invited the Manzos to come back the next day for a special backstage tour. What they didn't know was that the tour would involve a very special transformation for the youngest Manzo man in the form of a drag makeover. Clad in a blonde lace-front wig, stripper heels and dangly clip-on earrings, Chris is introduced by the Zumanity MC as Miss Limoncello, the "most beautiful woman in the entire world." The rest of the family can't help but die of laughter, including Caroline and Lauren, who see the big reveal via FaceTime. Now that one of the men has been morphed into a Vegas drag queen, it may be time to head back to Jersey before things get even more out of hand...

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Would you buy one of Caroline's soaps? Did Chris make a fabulous drag queen or what? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!