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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: lauren and vito

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

Glenn Rowley


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...


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.


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?


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. 


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?


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.


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. 


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!

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!

Manzo'd With Children Ssn 3/Ep 3 - Planting a Seed

Glenn Rowley


This week on Manzo'd With Children, Caroline and Chris engage in a matchmakers' war to find the perfect girl for Albie, while Lauren and Vito contemplate starting a family of their own. Read on for a full recap of all the hijinks and Manzo meddling...


We kick the episode off inside Albie Manzo's new Hoboken bachelor pad. Mama Caroline Manzo explains that her eldest child is nearing his 30th birthday and things seem to be going (mostly) well for him. He's got a new, grown-up apartment all to himself, he's building a new consulting business and yet, Albie still worries. Plus, in the words of every Italian mother ever, he's "too skinny," which worries his mother. Albie insists in his confessional that he's finally taking control of his life, but Caroline's solution to his problems is simple: chill out, relax and maybe get married.


Back at the Manzo house, Vito Scalia seems to finally be feeling right at home - much to wife Lauren Manzo's dismay. Lauren reminds him that they decided to live with her parents after getting married as an excuse to save money for a house, not to get comfortable and stay a while. However, this plan seems to have blown up in Lauren's face because the last thing Vito wants to do now is move away from the comforts of his in-laws' family abode. Besides, houses are too pricey for the young couple to afford right now, Vito argues as one of Lauren's Chanel bags comes into focus over his shoulder...Yet, if the newlyweds are going to start trying for a baby soon, it may be a good idea to get out from under her parents' roof.


Meanwhile, Chris Manzo is doing more research for his second children's book and has enlisted Caroline for a lesson at an archery range. (The youngest Manzo refuses to tell anyone what the book is about, but I suspect his "research" may just be an excuse to get his family doing as many nonsensical things throughout the season as possible.) Naturally, the archery lesson quickly devolves into a friendly competition between mother and son, and right before she hits a bullseye, Caroline opines that maybe she can finally get Albie a girl with the help of a poisoned dart. Imagine that, Caroline Manzo as a poisonous Cupid! Chris argues that his older brother doesn't know what he likes in a girl, but the way Caroline sees it, Albie simply doesn't know what's best for him. With that, a secret wager is formed: Caroline and Chris are going head-to-head to see who can find the best match for Al.


The next day, Caroline's busy pursuing her new soap-making hobby with Walter White-style paraphernalia strewn about the kitchen while Lauren gets a surprise package over at her new salon. To the utter dismay of her older cousin Candice, Lauren has ordered what is essentially a baby-making kit containing dozens of pregnancy tests, dietary supplements to "support egg quality" and "promote cervical mucus" and a disturbingly large vaginal thermometer that will even text Vito on the best day to procreate. What?? For now, Lauren's keeping this a total secret from the rest of her family, and vows to make the pregnancy a giant surprise when/if it actually happens.


For her side of the matchmaking bet, Caroline's chosen to stake out a local grocery store with Lauren's mother-in-law Denise Scalia. After lamenting over the price of baby food, the two Italian mothers take to hunting down girls at the fish counter for Albie. (Don't worry, Denise thinks Albie's too skinny too.) Caroline is absolutely fearless when it comes to approaching any girl who could remotely be her future daughter-in-law, flashing pictures of Albie and taking down phone numbers left and right. 


Eventually, word reaches Albie of his family's meddling and he promptly summons his mom and brother to an emergency meeting. Even before he opens his mouth, Caroline and Chris can tell Albie is less-than-pleased and he informs them that Vito's mom let slip their matchmaking adventure and the grocery store. The oldest Manzo reminds his mother and brother that he's on the verge of turning 30. He's already well aware of that gnawing feeling in his gut that it's past time to settle down, and doesn't need any help from anyone in his family. Hilariously, Chris argues that the bet didn't actually have anything to do with Albie himself - it was Chris and Caroline trying to see who knew him best. However, Albie's decided that his family's constant meddling in his personal life is actually slowing the process down rather than helping speed it up. From here on, Albie simply wants to be left alone to make his own choices when it comes to dating, though Chris wins the last word by inquiring how his older brother might feel about girls who shoot bows and arrows at bears...

What did you think of this week's Manzo'd? Is it time for Albie to settle down? Is the Manzo family's meddling helping or hurting his cause? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!