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When The Real Housewives of New Jersey finished shooting season four, it was the end of a Bravo experiment. The network shot two seasons back-to-back and cast member Caroline Manzo doesn’t think that will ever happen again.
“It was just too much wear and tear on so many different levels with the ladies watching it and the production team,” Manzo tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was overwhelming. It’s a very, very time-consuming process. And when you talk about the production team that has to take this from raw footage and make it into a show, it really becomes difficult because it’s almost in essence putting two shows on at once.”
A good example of that would be season three’s reunion special – shot the day after season four shooting wrapped – when Jacqueline Laurita refused to appear after something went down with Teresa Giudice.
“The reunion made for a great season four, because it was a phenomenal cliffhanger but the seasons certainly collided without a doubt,” Manzo says. “It kind of gets muddy, because your attitude, of course, flip-flops as to what you see. You’re spending time with this person and you just saw something and now you have an attitude based on what you saw. Then, you’re bringing it into a new season that the viewers as a whole won’t understand. And you can’t say anything about it, because it’s for the next season. And so logistically, it wasn’t a good idea.”
THR spoke to Manzo about the issues going into season four and what to expect as the action unravels.
The Hollywood Reporter: Teresa has said that she felt that your loyalty had moved toward her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, and her cousin, Kathy Wakile. What do you think of that claim?
Caroline Manzo: I am going to answer your question with a question. There were never supposed to be sides. So, why is Teresa saying, ‘You are on their team now’? There were never supposed to be sides. It was my understanding that Jacqueline and I were brought into these people’s lives, now to be clear with that, we were brought into their lives by Teresa on the guise of “fix my family.” We found out that that wasn’t the case. I did very early on. And I made a decision not to play. In deciding not to play, I became the enemy. There are no sides. I thought what she wants is harmony, so why are there teams?
THR: Have you been able to watch Teresa on Celebrity Apprentice and are you impressed by her?
Manzo: I am actually friends with Lisa Lampanelli and I have watched. And I became friends with Lisa after the filming of The Apprentice, just in case anybody needs to know. I’ve watched maybe three episodes. Sunday night, I am usually at my brother’s house and with cooking and cleaning, it is Bedlam. I did watch two or three episodes and you know what? Teresa has been very quiet. Beyond that, I have nothing else to say. Am I not watching because she is on it? Absolutely not. My friend is on it. I have more reason to watch it, because my friend is on it. But my schedule is crazy to put it mildly and when I can watch, I do. And when I can’t, I don’t.
THR: On the season premiere, you go to the doctor and it looks like you may be going through that life change, menopause. You don’t seem thrilled by the diagnosis, but has that changed?
Manzo: That was my decision to put it on camera. Clearly, I think millions of women go through it. You don’t want to hear it. I constantly joke and I joke with a straight face. Christopher gets his sense of humor from me. Maybe, the viewers will see it and say “That’s it, I will fight it to the death.” Of course, I am not going to fight it, but listen I don’t have any plastic surgery. I don’t do botox, OK? I color my hair. That is what I do. My boobs are real. It’s real. This is who I am and guess what? I am going to be 51 in August and so are a million other women. So, if I can go through this process my way with dignity and try and do it fabulously, I will. Nobody likes to get old, but it is what it is.
THR: What are you looking forward to this season?
Manzo: We go on a road trip and it’s just chockfull of everything you can imagine. There is humor. There is drama. There is slapstick. It was just a fun trip. I don’t know what is going to play out, but there were times that we would literally belly laugh laying on the floor. Then there were times that I was absolutely sobbing or angry. So I think as far as that goes, the emotions played out on that trip were pretty good — looking forward to it. So, I don’t know what you are going to see. So, I really can’t answer that. The happiest day was probably that trip. It was my 50th birthday while we were out there and I had a really nice surprise while I was there. So, that might be it. If it shows, I don’t know.
THR: Is there something that you would change, something that you think you are going to cover your eyes if it airs?
Manzo: I am sure there is. Again, you are asking me to think about my life in the past year, what uh-oh moments I have had. I have had plenty of uh-oh moments and I have had plenty of shining moments.
The fourth season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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