THE REALHOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY: REUNION, PART 1
What happens at Posche stays at Posche — for maybe a second or two.
Thanks to Twitter, legions of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fans quickly discovered that something had gone terribly awry at the tiny Wayne boutique's annual fall fashion show. Again.
Naturally, cameras were rolling to capture the latest ruckus — for the fourth season of Bravo's "RHONJ," which won't even launch until next year. Bravo declined comment about the Sept. 27 incident. The network tries to keep future "story lines" under wraps — the third season, after all, just finished airing last Sunday, and the two-part reunion begins tonight — but in this age of Twitter, it's hard to keep secrets, since the series' stars can dispatch cryptic tweets that technically don't seem to violate their confidentiality clauses.
And tweet they did.
"Housewife" Jacqueline Laurita of Franklin Lakes suggested that she'd quit "RHONJ" (which Bravo exec and host Andy Cohen subsequently pooh-poohed in a tweet) and had skipped the taping of the third-season reunion. Why was Laurita a no-show? Because, she tweeted, "someone (not me) got set up" at the fashion show, held this year at Son Cubano restaurant in West New York.
"There are some sneaky people trying to make someone look bad and then play innocent on camera," she wrote, a few days later tweeting that onetime pal Teresa Giudice is "scum."
Giudice, of Montville, claimed innocence, tweeting on Sept. 28, "Breaks my heart that anyone would believe I would be part of something to hurt my family."
Meanwhile, Kim Granatell — aka Kim G., recurring pot-stirrer — tweeted that she watched the fashion show unfold from her "fabulous condo" overlooking the restaurant: "We were sitting on my balcony watching the hideous outfits parade in."
Actress Martha Byrne, a Bergen County resident, happened to be at the show and tweeted tidbits such as, "Fight in the bathroom. Teresa in bathroom with …"
The whole thing was like a game of Clue, with Miss Scarlet with Righteous Anger near the exit door, Mrs. White with Wide-Eyed Innocence in the lavatory, Mrs. Peacock on the balcony — and tweet-following "RHONJ" fans everywhere trying to piece together what had gone on.
There are actually two mysteries here. One, of course, is what exactly happened at Posche's 2011 fashion show? And the deeper puzzle: How did a sliver of a clothing shop, wedged between a barbershop and a jewelry store in the Preakness Shopping Center, again become the center of North Jersey's social universe? As depicted on Bravo, the boutique would be at home on Rodeo Drive.
But is Posche really that posh?
First question first.
Us Weekly summed up the prevailing rumor about the fashion show, quoting a source saying that Giudice, who made up with her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga in last Sunday's season finale (taped this spring), "chatted up a former strip-club co-worker of Gorga's at [the fashion show], quizzing him on camera about her past. 'She was trying to embarrass Melissa and imply she used to be a stripper,' says the source." (Us also spoke with Larry Guarino, Gorga's former boss at Lookers in Elizabeth. He backed up Melissa's own tweet, saying, "She was a bartender for a couple of months years ago, it was such a short time.")
Meanwhile, Joe Gorga — Melissa's husband and Teresa's brother — apparently blamed Posche owner Kim DePaola (Kim D.) for the whole thing — a story that Tom Murro of Franklin Lakes, who goes by "The Celebrity Magnet," says a reporter he had at the fashion show confirmed. "Joe Gorga showed up and had a screaming match with Kim D.," says Murro, who was on that balcony with Kim G. "According to my reporter, [security] had to hold him back. They felt if they let him go, he was gonna hit her."
Granatell used to be married to a stepbrother of DePaola, who did not return calls for this story.
But in August 2010, for a piece about businesses featured on "RHONJ," DePaola told The Record that she first met Laurita and her then-castmate Danielle Staub when they "randomly" walked into Posche together, sans cameras. DePaola later agreed to let "RHONJ" film Staub shopping there.
Suddenly, there was heavy traffic on her website, shopposche.com — where small leather clutches sell for $345 and dresses like the "Housewives" wear range from $209 to $1,245 — and she was getting online orders from all over the U.S. People were also calling and dropping by the 500-square-foot Posche.
"The most crazy was the day after the  fashion show aired," DePaola said. "People were coming in droves."
At that notoriously explosive event, held at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne, Laurita's daughter Ashley allegedly yanked out Staub's hair extensions and was found guilty of simple assault. And the venue's general manager sent a letter of apology to all its members, saying that " 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' cast and crew members are not welcome at the North Jersey Country Club."
In the show's second season, when none of the others wanted to deal with Staub, DePaola became an on-camera go-between, she told The Record. "I was the only person to get everyone in the room."
Posche didn't get much air time in Season 3, but the fourth-season episode featuring the fashion show should be juicy.
By the time that it airs, though, who knows what the hot "RHONJ" story will be? Bravo recently axed four members of the New York City "Housewives" cast, and rumors abound that Sirens Media has been actively casting for new New Jersey housewives.
If replacements are hired, Twitter followers will be the first to know.