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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: talk show

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.

lauren-manzo-birthday

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. 

caroline-manzo-zipline

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 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...

chris-manzo-book

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.

lauren-manzo-vito-scalia

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. 

caroline-manzo-lump-on-breast

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. 

albie-manzo-consulting-business

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.

caroline-manzo-health

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

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

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

Glenn Rowley

manzod-with-children-recap

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-core-rhythm-fitness

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."

lauren-manzo-vito-scalia

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.

frankie-catania-manzod-with-children

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! 

caroline-manzo-manzod-with-children

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.

lauren-manzo

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...

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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.

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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!