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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: pregnancy

Manzo'd With Children Season 3 Finale - Startling Surprises

Glenn Rowley

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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 7 - I'm Ovu-Leaving

Glenn Rowley

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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!

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

Glenn Rowley

manzod-with-children-season-3

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...

caroline-manzo

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!

Southern Charm Ssn 3/Ep 14 - Reunion Part 2

Glenn Rowley

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In Part 2 of the Southern Charm reunion, Kathryn and Landon go head-to-head over their hatred for each other, while Thomas must face the consequences of his tirade at the dinner party from hell. Plus, Cameran relives her past on MTV's The Real World and a pregnant Jennifer Snowden joins the couches for some much-deserved redemption. Read on for a full recap of the drama...

Kathryn Shuts Down the Haters

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Part 1 of the reunion ended with Kathryn Calhoun Dennis walking off the set after Landon Clements alleged that she had failed a drug test in the wake of her custody battle with baby daddy Thomas Ravenel. However, the dramatic moment turns out to be unnecessarily short-lived (at least with editing), as Kathryn returns to her seat on the couches before we even see the title sequence of the episode. Upon her return, Andy Cohen asks Kathryn point blank if the drug test rumors are true, but she refuses to comment on anything relating to the custody of Kensington and St. Julien. Andy also gives the redhead the opportunity to clear up any other rumors and she promptly shuts down the misconception that she doesn't want to co-parent peacefully with Thomas - insisting that she simply wants what's fair for the kids' sake. Kathryn also addresses the drama from the disastrous family day at the polo fields, explaining that she was angry because certain sketchy friends of Thomas (who aren't cast members) happened to be present. 

Pregnancy Complications and Manipulation

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Moving on, Andy brings up a viewer's suggestion that Kathryn faked a pregnancy complication in order to manipulate Thomas into cosigning the lease on her house, but both she and T-Rav deny such a suggestion. Landon, however, stands by her comments throughout the season that Kathryn uses the kids as pawns to get what she wants from Thomas. No matter how much heat she's taken from viewers over her "callous" attitude, Landon doesn't back down - though it's pointed out that bleeding during pregnancy isn't something to scoff at. Either way, the on-off couple agrees that they have a love-hate relationship with each other and several of the other Charmers suggest that they'll likely end up with each other years down the road.

Jennifer Snowden Redeemed

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Next, recurring cast member Jennifer Snowden joins the couches. Heavily pregnant and glowing in a chartreuse and purple maxi-dress, Jennifer finally has a chance to tell her side of the story regarding her alleged affair with Thomas while Kathryn was pregnant with Kenzie. According to the mama-to-be, she and T-Rav never dated and nothing salacious was done on her part (though she refuses to confirm or deny whether she and Thomas ever slept together.) Since she never felt she did anything wrong, Jennifer had no problem befriending Kathryn, and ultimately became the fiery redhead's strongest ally among the group. Jennifer also calls Landon out for exacerbating problems between Thomas and Kathryn by purposely touching on the latter's hair triggers, and she's probably not wrong. Once again, Landon plays innocent and argues she has the right to post pictures with T-Rav on social media, but Jennifer accuses her of pouring gasoline on the fire by trying to get under Kathryn's skin. Surprisingly, Thomas's feelings about Jennifer have changed drastically since their clash at Patricia Altschul's flamingo party, and the former politician apologizes for lashing out at her. Things for Jennifer seem rather copacetic these days, and the blonde admits that it feels nice to be validated after so long that she's not really the villain Thomas tried to make her out to be. (P.S. congrats on your bundle of joy, Jennifer!)

Charleston's Dinner Party from Hell

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After a quick yet unremarkable tangent into the life of Whitney Sudler-Smith, Andy brings up one of the most contentious moments of the season: Thomas's explosive dinner party, in which each and every cast member came under the orator's fire during his opening toast. First, Landon and Kathryn spar over Thomas insisting the brunette be invited to the party in the first place. Did Kathryn lock him in the room? No. Did he need to jump out the window to avoid the conversation? Also no. Talk about overdramatic. Naturally, Cameran Eubanks's husband took major issue with Thomas calling his wife "self-righteous" and "sanctimonious" during the dinner, though she's forgiven him. (And note to Craig Conover, I didn't know what sanctimonious meant either...) Landon once again denies being "catty" toward Kathryn - which Thomas accused her of - but the clips from the season pretty much speak for themselves. In hindsight, Thomas recognizes that he was out of control that night, and admits his actions during the dinner party were an example of terrible breeding. Ultimately, he retracted everything negative he had to say about the group and everyone seems to have moved on.

Landon & Thomas: Did They Or Didn't They?

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Finally, the Charmers arrive at the crux of the season's major tension: did Landon and Thomas hook up on their trip to London? Did Landon really proposition T-Rav? Sparks immediately fly as last season's dramatic trip to Jekyll Island gets brought up, but Andy quickly puts a pin in the that conversation by threatening to murder himself if the Charmers go too far down the Season 2 rabbit hole. Changing the subject to their showdown at the Founder's Ball, Andy presses Kathryn on the reason she wanted to confront Landon in the finale, and the redhead bluntly accuses her nemesis of refusing to take accountability for sleeping with Thomas. According to Kathryn, Thomas took Landon on the trip to London he had planned with her for Valentine's Day, and she alleges to know the truth behind what happened regardless of Thomas and Landon's protestations otherwise.

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Several of the other Charmers surmise that the pair sleeping together wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility, and Andy points out Landon's friend Robyn giving the final word in the finale that they did indeed sleep together. However, Landon continues to deny anything ever happened, drunk pineapple selfie on Instagram notwithstanding...With Kathryn not knowing who to trust and both Thomas and Landon firmly insisting nothing happened, we may never know the truth about their alleged hookup, at least until Season 4 rolls around.

Final Thoughts

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Andy closes out the reunion by asking the Charmers for their final thoughts on the season. Cameran reveals that Kathryn and Whitney shockingly made peace during the break, even going as far as hugging it out and agreeing they don't need to hate each other anymore. Though Landon remains annoyed that her integrity is continually called into question, the rest of the Charmers agree that their time on the couches has been mostly cathartic and that progress towards some type of peace has finally been made. Shep Rose ends the reunion with a toast to Charleston, and to his fellow cast mates all being good people in his book. And just like that, the best season yet of Southern Charm comes to a relatively happy end.

What did you think of the final reunion installment? Did Thomas and Landon really sleep together in London? Should the Charmers forgive T-Rav for the dinner party from hell? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!