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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: family vacation

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

Glenn Rowley

manzod-with-children-recap

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...

chris-manzo-moving

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.

albie-manzo

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...

lauren-manzo

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. 

caroline-manzo

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. 

lauren-manzo-pregnant

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!

Don't Be Tardy Ssn 5/Ep 5 - Home on the Range Part 2

Glenn Rowley

dont-be-tardy-recap

This week on Don't Be Tardy, the Biermanns experience even more Montana livin' in part two of their trip to Kroy's hometown. From seeing the field where Kroy played high school football to visiting the ranch he worked on every summer, the family gets a full experience of the life that made him who he is. But can Montana really handle more of Kim's diva antics and craziness? Read on for a full recap of the hijinks and sweet moments in the country...

brielle-biermann-snapchat

It's day three of the Montana trip and Eagle Lodge is in complete chaos. While Brielle Biermann snaps selfies with the puppy dog filter, the four younger kids are attempting to tear the lodge down by jumping like a pack of hyenas onto Tracey Bloom and wrestling the chef to the ground. As Brielle points out, this is what happens when Kim Zolciak-Biermann and Kroy Biermann aren't around. The major reason for this trip was for Kim and the kids to see where Kroy came from, so the itinerary today is all about explore the NFL star's past. First up is a tour through downtown Hardin - which includes a courthouse, a jail and a single dentist's office - before arriving at Hardin High School.

kroy-biermann-hardin-montana

The family wanders through the halls of the school and the teacher in every single classroom they stop by remembers Kroy by name. Some have even saved old assignments from when he was a student, including one questionable presentation on date rape drugs...Kroy seems genuinely adored at his alma mater, though he insists that even if he wasn't in the NFL people would still know who he is because it's such a small town. However, it's pretty much a guarantee that teachers aren't asking any of Kroy's former classmates for an autograph, and his status as a real hometown hero in Hardin becomes crystal clear when Kim and the kids stumble upon a plaque dedicated to him in the hallway of the school. Yes, Kim and her beloved wigs are definitely famous, but she's the first to admit there isn't a plaque dedicated in her honor back in Windsor Hills, Connecticut. 

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Next, the family shares a poignant moment out on the field where Kroy first played football for the Hardin Bulldogs. While Kroy throws a football around with KJ and Kash, Kim reflects on how far her man has come and how big his dreams must've been as a high schooler on that very same field. She admits that Kroy probably won't realize the importance of this moment until after they've left, but it's still incredibly special nonetheless.

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On their last day in Montana, the Biermanns stop by Lammers, a local Native American trading post. Unsurprisingly, the four youngest kids all seem fascinated by the rifles and ammo, but before KJ can talk his way into getting a BB gun of his own, the family heads to the cattle ranch Kroy worked on as a teenager. Kroy's excited to show the kids what his summer job as a kid was all about. From feeding cattle and moving hay to riding horses, the day at the ranch couldn't get the family any more authentically immersed in Montana culture. Kim is fascinated to see Kroy at home in his element and admits the ranch is the best part of the trip, but Wig is ready to get back to her Starbucks. 

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Back at the lodge later that night, Kim wonders aloud at how different her and Kroy's worlds were growing up when he gets an unexpected phone call from his agent, Buddy Baker. He's calling with an update on the status of Kroy's free agent status in the NFL. Apparently a multitude of teams have expressed interested in signing Kroy, and now it's just a question of what the smartest long-term move is for Kroy. After all, he's still in the prime of his career, so it's appropriate to be thinking about the long game rather than making a hasty decision to benefit him in the short term. With that abrupt reminder, it's time to get back to reality and say goodbye to Montana.

What did you think of this week's Don't Be Tardy? How much would you pay to see a spinoff of Kim working on a ranch? Leave your thoughts on the Montana trip in the comments below!

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

Glenn Rowley

manzod-with-children-recap

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...

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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.

caroline-manzo-soap

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!