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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 manzo

Manzo'd With Children Season 3 Finale - Startling Surprises

Glenn Rowley

caroline-manzo-lump

This week on the season finale of Manzo'd With Children, the party for Albie's thirtieth birthday turns into the setting for major confrontations between both Al and Vito and Chris and Albert. Plus, Caroline receives a diagnosis from her health scare and shocks the family with the news. Read on for a full recap of all the family drama...

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Still high off his success as a children's book author, the finale kicks off with Chris Manzo pulling up to the Manzo mansion in his brand new, bright orange car. Does a lavish purchase get any more typically Chris Manzo than that? Didn't think so. All Caroline Manzo can do is shake her head and laugh - though inside she's mighty proud that her youngest was able to make this kind of investment with money he's earned completely on his own. Turning her attention to Albie Manzo, who came along for the ride, the Manzo matriarch reminds her oldest son that the big 3-0 is just a few days away. She also surprises him with the news that she's taken it upon herself to put together a small waterfront party at La Marina to celebrate Albie's big milestone. What the boys don't know is that planning the party is Caroline's way of distracting herself from the dreaded wait for her test results to come back about the lump in her breast.

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The next day, Caroline and Albert have a heart-to-heart in their backyard garden. Fulfilling the promise she made last week, the Manzo matriarch unveil's Christopher's plans to move to her husband in an attempt to pave the road for a conversation between father and son. Albert agrees with Caroline that they can't hold Chris back from going after his dreams, but warns that his youngest son may not like to hear what he really has to say on the matter. Albert is still of the opinion that everyone in the family should want to stay together, and the idea that Chris would want to pack up and leave isn't sitting well with him. 

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Meanwhile, Albie's distracting himself from the drama with his brother-in-law by clinching another deal for his business consulting company. This time, Albie's set his trainer Roderick up for a meeting at Eat Clean Bro to pitch the idea of a meal prep service to go along with his Core Rhythm Fitness workout brand. At first, the Eat Clean Bro executives are wary of letting someone else come in and use their business infrastructure but when they hear that Roderick's clientele would be adding 1000 meals per day to their production, you can practically see the dollar signs in their eyes. This is the first official deal Albie has locked down for his fledgling consulting business and now he's ready to go into turning thirty with some upward momentum. 

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On the day of Albie's birthday party, everyone in the Manzo family is nervous. Vito's nervous to see Albie for the first time since their blowout fight, Chris is nervous about telling his father he wants to move and Caroline is nervous about getting the results of her final ultrasound. So nervous, in fact, that the normally tough-as-nails mom breaks down in tears in Albert's arms as she waits for the results. Just as she lets herself start contemplating the possibility of her family going on without her, the doctor calls with the results she's been waiting for all these weeks...

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Cut to Albie's 30th birthday bash in Upper Manhattan. The whole gang shows up dressed to the nines and one confrontation after the other is on the party's itinerary. First up is round two of Vito vs. Albie. The brothers-in-law haven't spoken to each other since Vito's spiral caused a huge fight between them over the deli business deal, and Vito is finally ready to apologize. Admitting he wasn't thinking about all the effort Albie put into securing the pitch meeting for him in the first place, Vito own his part of the argument. At the same time, Albie confesses that it was selfish of him to push Vito into the deal if he didn't feel ready and next thing we know, the besties turned brothers-in-law have made up and hugged it out. On the other side of the party, Chris finally broaches the subject of moving with his father. Albert beats him to the punch by explaining he already knows what his son is thinking. Chris reveals that he's considering New Orleans as a possible option and while Albert is far from overjoyed at the prospect, he won't hold Chris back. That being said, he also wouldn't be surprised if Chris only lasted six months away from his family back in Jersey. Plus, what will Chris moving mean for Manzo'd Season 4?

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As the party winds down, Caroline and Albert gather Albie, Chris, Lauren and Vito for a surprising and somber family meeting. Caroline breaks down almost immediately, revealing through tears everything about the lump she found in her breast before the family went to San Francisco. This bombshell sends the kids into a panic - particularly Lauren, who turns to her brothers with a distressed "I told you something was wrong." However, the scare has a happy ending. Caroline got the results of her second ultrasound just before the party, and it turned out to be nothing more than an infection. Caroline not sick, and she's not going anywhere. Thank goodness the Manzo matriarch is healthy, with a new perspective on just how important it is to appreciate the life you have while you're living it.

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If you thought that was the happy end of the finale, the Manzos have one last surprise up their proverbial sleeve. Cut to two months later and Lauren's got big news: she's pregnant! That's right, Caroline is going to be a grandma! Obviously, the Manzo mama is over the absolute moon about this development; it's everything she's ever wanted since Lauren and Vito started dating. And with that, Season 3 of Manzo'd has officially come to an end. Personally, I enjoyed this season much more than I anticipated. As I live-tweeted during the finale, the show this season represented real life and real family moments, people. Do you want to see the Manzos back next year for Season 4? Let me know in the comments!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 9 - Holy Bologna!

Glenn Rowley

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This week on Manzo'd With Children, the Manzo boys are turning their momentum into success as Chris holds a book signing and Albie sets up a pitch meeting for Vito's new business venture. But when bombshells and roadblocks threaten to disrupt the celebrations, can Caroline hold everyone together? Read on for a full recap of this week's family drama...

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Everything's coming up roses for Chris Manzo, who's holding his very first book signing for Oliver Brightside at his hometown bookstore. Several familiar faces are in the crowd for Chris's big day, including the whole Manzo clan, Jacqueline Laurita's daughter Ashlee Holmes and RHONJ newbie Dolores Catania and her gorgeous son Frankie. Naturally, Caroline Manzo is beaming with pride over her son - the author! - and Chris is absolutely in his element reading his book to a rapt audience of kids. Now that Oliver Brightside is a bonafide success, Chris is aiming his sights higher...and further than the Jersey roots he's always known.

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After a celebratory barbecue back at the Manzo house (where Ashlee admits she was nervous to tell Lauren Manzo she was accidentally pregnant), Chris decides to finally have the difficult conversation with his mother about everything that's been weighing on his mind lately. He's considering either Nashville or New Orleans as an option for finding new and different life experiences, but when he tap dances around the news, Caroline calls him out and essentially forces his hand. Chris finally admits he's thinking of moving and while Caroline is obviously less than enthusiastic at the idea of her youngest leaving, she ultimately gives him her support in whatever decision he makes. Of course Caroline will be heartbroken if any of her kids leave New Jersey, but she also refuses to hold them back from going after their dreams. 

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Meanwhile, Albie Manzo has set up a huge opportunity for Vito Scalia to pitch his deli idea to a potential angel investor. The Manzo son-in-law is anxious to use all the new skills he picked up in etiquette class a few weeks back, but when the meeting starts, Vito immediately proceeds to knock his chair over while greeting Eric, the potential investor. That's one way to break the ice... However, once Vito actually starts pitching his idea, he's pretty impressive as he explains his idea for an old-school, authentic deli that offers the very best Italian sandwich in NYC. The investor is into it and asks the big question: how much capital would Vito need to start his new business? The answer is a cool million dollars, at which Eric hardly blinks an eye. He's officially intrigued and the meeting ends on a positive note with the promise of more follow-up in the future. Score one for Albie and Vito!

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At the same time, Caroline and Chris pay a visit to the Wayne Public Library to hunt for a copy of the latter's book in the children's section. As Caroline pulls two copies of Oliver Brightside from the "M" section, it's yet another proud moment between mother and son. Just a year earlier, they had stood in that very same spot in the library and imagined what it would feel like to see Chris's name on the front cover of a book there. What a journey from reading books in the library as a kid to where Chris is now. Caroline's son, the author! Promising to help lay the groundwork for Chris's conversation with his dad about moving, Caroline encourages him through tears to "blaze [his] trail" and follow his dreams wherever they take him - as long as he remembers to call home. 

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Arriving home from their meeting in NYC, Albie proceeds to excitedly tell Caroline about just how great everything went...until it all goes blows up in his face. During the car ride back, Vito has inexplicably had a change of heart triggered by the amount of traffic on the FDR. Huh? Before Albie can wrap his head around what's happening, Vito is mentally spiraling that he's not ready to take such a big risk with everything else going on in his life and wants to cancel the whole deal. Obviously, this bombshell gets Albie all kinds of upset since he's the one who made the connection for Vito in the first place through is budding consulting business. And Albie has a right to be upset. After all, it's not every day someone puts a million dollars out on the table as investment in a business idea. The conversation turns into a screaming match between the brothers-in-law with Albie eventually storming out of the room to figure out how to take apart the whole deal.

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Will Chris really leave New Jersey? Should Albie be angry with Vito? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 8 - California Dreamin'

Glenn Rowley

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This week on Manzo'd With Children, the family heads to LA to watch Caroline's dreams come true as a guest talk show host. Plus, Lauren's birthday celebration involves a vineyard, a bus ride and one very long zipline adventure. Read on for a full recap of the family vacation...

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Finishing up last week's adventures in San Francisco, the Manzos and their friend Greg Bennett hit up Twenty Five Lusk for a nice family-style lunch. Once appetizers are ordered, Chris Manzo decides it's the perfect time to bring up the idea that's been bouncing around his head about potentially moving. Couching the subject in a hypothetical scenario of how the family would react if Albie Manzo were to pick up and leave New Jersey. Unsurprisingly, Caroline Manzo responds with the classic Italian mother reaction of "kill me now. Kill. Me. Now." However, the real shock for Chris comes from his dad, who bluntly expresses just how disappointed he would be if one of the kids wanted to leave the nest. See, from Caroline and Albert's perspective, they've worked hard to create a family environment that the kids would want to be a part of, and having any of them pack up and ship off to somewhere far away would be a sign that they've failed as parents. Yikes. No pressure, Chris.

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And with that, it's time for the Manzos to head to start the second leg of their trip, saying goodbye to Greg and San Francisco as they head to LA. It's officially Lauren Manzo's birthday, and Vito Scalia promises he's planned a day full of surprises for his wife (despite having to spend most the day in a large van). In fact, he dares the whole family not to be impressed with what he's cooked up by the end of the day - though his father-in-law won't be holding his breath to be blown out of the water. 

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Three hours later, the bus stops in Santa Margarita for Vito's first surprise: ziplining! A 1500-foot-high zipline over the vineyards of Ancient Peaks Winery, to be exact. As someone with a well-documented phobia of heights, this is Caroline's worst nightmare come true. Yet, being the fabulous mom she is, the Manzo matriarch is willing to conquer her fear for the sake of Lauren's birthday. Plus, the mystery of the lump in her breast has provided added motivation that she appreciates every day because, as she points out, "life is for living!" Taking a leap of faith with tears in her eyes, Caroline proves to her kids that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and they each promptly follow her down the zipline.

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The zipline adventure is followed by a special birthday luncheon for Lauren overlooking the vineyards, set up specifically by Vito. Points for Scalia! In fact, the scene is vaguely reminiscent of the trip to Napa featured on Season 4 of RHONJ, when the Housewives and their families celebrated Caroline's 50th birthday, but without anyone calling their wife the dreaded c-word in a mysteriously ill-timed phone call. Over lunch, the Manzo kids reminisce about how far they've all come since the early days of RHONJ. Lauren reveals that her real passion in life would've been following in her father's footsteps at the Brownstone, but Chris claims to be perfectly content with how everything in his life has turned out. However, at the end of the day, Caroline and Albert are proud of the family unit they've built - no matter what happens with her health scare, the Manzo mom can't say she has any regrets of not doing enough as a family.

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The next day, having finally arrived in LA, it's time for Caroline's big day co-hosting FABLife. For some reason, the daytime chat fest only gave Caroline one seat in the audience, so she chooses to bring Chris with her - proving possibly once and for all that he's the favorite child. Caroline is nervous as the car pulls up to the studio, but this moment is a dream come true for her so she's going to soak it all in and just enjoy the ride. (Side note: while we see a teasing shot of her on the show's poster, Bravo superfan, walking goddess and FABLife co-host Chrissy Teigen is sadly nowhere to be found. You missed a perfect opportunity for a very meta crossover moment, Bravo!) It turns out the episode Caroline is co-hosting is the show's Mother's Day special, which is something she may have a teensy bit of experience in. And she knocks it out of the park, chatting with the hosts, cracking jokes and distilling her motherly wisdom on the masses of daytime TV watchers. Closing the episode, Caroline reiterates her mantra from earlier in the half-hour: life is for living, so you better appreciate it while you can - and that means reaching for the stars, making your dreams happen and living life to the fullest. And what a fab life it is...

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Can you believe Caroline conquered the zipline? WHERE was Chrissy Teigen?? Are you ready for next week's super-sized, two-episode season finale? Tell me in the comments!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 7 - I'm Ovu-Leaving

Glenn Rowley

manzod-with-children-recap

This week on Manzo'd With Children, the Manzos take San Francisco to visit their BFF Greg Bennett. While Chris contemplates making a huge life change, Lauren's keeping a secret from her mom. But for Caroline, a cloud is cast over the vacation as she harbors worries about her health. Read on for a full recap of all the California adventures...

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The entire family is off to San Francisco to celebrate Lauren Manzo's birthday, but she's still furious that her husband Vito Scalia is bailing on the trip. So furious, in fact, that she's barely speaking to him as she packs. When their plane lands in San Francisco and her call to Vito goes straight to voicemail, she jokingly pretends to be an airline employee calling to inform him the plane crashed and his wife is now dead. Ok, not the funniest joke in the world, but her mother has described Lauren more than once as a "bitch on wheels" when she's angry. Don't upset Lauren Manzo Scalia, people. Especially if you are her husband and it's her birthday week.

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Caroline Manzo inexplicably happened to rent a castle she found on the internet for San Francisco leg of the trip, but before they can reach the rather unique lodgings, Chris Manzo urges the driver to pull over so he can get a view of the city. Like any good Italian mother, a petrified Caroline stays behind, but Albie Manzo follows his younger brother up the mountainside. Overlooking the city, Chris opens up to his brother that he's been toying with the idea of leaving New Jersey for a fresh start. The youngest Manzo has never truly lived away from his family or been on his own, and with the success of Oliver Brightside, he finally has a chance to make a big change. Albie's supportive of the idea, but before the conversation can get much deeper the boys are summoned back to the car by their panicked mother via a text from Lauren. Classic Italian mom moment, amirite?

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Once the family finally reaches their castle, Lauren promptly reveals to her brothers that one of the reasons she's so upset with Vito is because she's ovulating and he's not there to make a baby. Obviously, this is something no brother ever wants to hear from his sister and the boys promptly bolt with Lauren yelling after them to keep the whole ovulation thing a secret. Hmm...any bets on the chances of that? No takers? Leaving the castle behind, the Manzos finally meet up with their friend Greg Bennett, a longtime recurring figure on both this show and RHONJ (even after he moved across the country to San Francisco). In his confessional, Greg points out what a big deal this moment is. The Manzos have never actually visited him in San Francisco - they tend to never stray far from the family home, so a trip across the country is kind of a major event. 

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After showing the family around his tiny apartment, Greg is ready to hit the town by taking his old friends to meet his new friends at a hipster miniature golf hangout called Urban Putt. Two t's, very San Francisco. Immediately, Lauren and Greg split off to drink with his gaggle of gay buddies, leaving Caroline, Albert and the boys to mini golf by themselves. Seeing an obvious opportunity, Albie wastes no time informing his mother that despite her slamming shots back at the bar, Lauren's mind is 100 percent on prepping her oven for a bun. Caroline is understandably taken aback and completely baffled by this news, wondering aloud why Lauren would confide in her brothers but not talk to her. Do Albie and Chris feel bad for spilling the secret? Not one bit. As Albie points out in the brothers' confessional, everybody likes spreading a juicy tidbit of gossip, right?

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The next morning it's the day before Lauren's birthday and the princess is taking her frustrations about Vito's absence out on pretty much everyone. Good thing she has no idea about the surprise she's in for, because if she did, maybe she would stop being completely nasty to her entire family. As the official start of Lauren's birthday celebration, Caroline's arranged for a tour of San Francisco and the family takes off on one of the city's iconic trolleys to see the sights. Little does Lauren know that as she's cruising past landmarks like the famous house from Full House and Knob Hill, Vito is waiting to surprise her in a jaunty captain's hat. It turns out that surprising his wife for her birthday was the plan all along and good old Vito managed to pull it off. In her confessional, Caroline asks whether the grief Lauren put the poor guy through was worth the payoff. In Caroline's (and any sane person's) view, the answer to that is obviously a resounding "NO," but who can argue with two kids in love. All that matters is that Vito's here now and Lauren can stop throwing her never-ending tantrum.

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Saying goodbye to the trolley, the family heads to San Francisco bay, where Caroline's organized an afternoon outing on a sailboat. While Albert helps hoist the sails, the rest of the group divides into pairs for some heartfelt chats. With the Golden Gate Bridge glinting in distance, Chris asks Greg if he's happy in California and confides in his longtime GBF that he's thinking of moving away from New Jersey. Out of all Christopher's friends, Greg is the only one who has successfully packed up and moved somewhere else, and his buddy encourages him to do it now while he can. However, Chris questions how his parents would feel about the prospect of him moving across the country and laments that coming out to them would be easier than telling them he's leaving. This idea is bound to go over well with Caroline and Albert. And no, for the record, Chris Manzo is not gay. 

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On the other side of the boat, Caroline pulls Lauren aside for a chat about her big pregnancy secret. Caroline questions why Lauren didn't open up to her about the baby plans, but for a second all Lauren can focus on is the fact that her brothers betrayed her by spilling the tea. She admits she wanted the whole thing to be a surprise to Caroline when she finally got pregnant, and is quite frankly bummed that it hasn't happened yet. In her confessional, Caroline admits that she understands where Lauren's coming from better than her daughter knows: she's keeping a secret about her cancer scare in order to protect her family, and maybe Lauren was doing the same thing for a different reason. Either way, Caroline promises that whenever Lauren gets pregnant, it's going to be a surprise...and a good one at that. Next week, the Manzos' California vacation continues as they head to LA for Caroline's big moment hosting a daytime talkshow!

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Should the Manzos be keeping their various secrets from each other? Is there a chance Chris will really move away from New Jersey? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!