After five seasons on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Caroline Manzo was ready to leave the crazy drama behind for more family friendly fare. Enter spin-off, Manzo'd with Children, where viewers can get a weekly, more in-depth look at the Manzo family and Caroline's role as Manzo matriarch.
For years, Caroline served as the voice of reason amongst a sea of housewife delusion - a position she was more than comfortable filling considering her many years of experience as a mom.
And in Manzo'd with Children Season 1 Episode 1, Caroline got to fulfill something every mother of a daughter hopes to do - watch her daughter try on wedding dresses.
Lauren Manzo, who many remember as the overweight, insecure girl from Real Housewives, has gained a lot of confidence. She has opened Cafface, her makeup beauty bar, and is engaged to be married to her long-term boyfriend, Vito. On top of that, she is preparing for a wedding photoshoot with Glamour. Nice!
But first, she has to fix her sweating problem. That ain't cute. Her solution? Botox in the armpits, which is supposed to reduce her over-perspiration.
Jacqueline, Caroline's sister-in-law and former New Jersey housewife (current housewife? unsure of her status at this point), is on board with Lauren's plan. All you have to do is look at her face to know why. Caroline, on the other hand, isn't too keen.
Lauren's already had lap-band surgery and a breast reduction; the last thing Caroline wants is for Lauren to always rely on the quick fix. She suggests deodorant. Such a mom thing to say.
Lauren goes for the botox. And in true Caroline fashion, even though Lauren didn't take her advice, she's right there beside her.
So now all that's left is for Lauren to try on wedding dresses. And she won't do that without Greg, her bridesman. Greg, for those of you who didn't watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey, is the former roommate of Chris and Albie, as well as the gay best friend of all three Manzo children.
He's in town for the weekend from San Francisco and wants to drink, party, and rage - you know, the Jersey way. Just add some wedding dress shopping and Greg's got the perfect little vacation.
As no surprise, when Lauren walks out in her first dress, Caroline can't help but cry; she's watched Lauren overcome her weight issues and seeing her healthy and happy is enough to bring more than a tear to her eye.
Speaking of weight...the second part of the one-hour premiere focused on Caroline's own issues with weight.
It's never been easy for Caroline to stick to her diet, but with Lauren getting married and the prospects of future grandchildren high, Caroline is determined to stay as young and healthy as she can. She wants to be a hip, hot grandma! You go, Caroline.
The only problem is...now that Albie and Chris are living at home again, they've brought their junk food with them. Caroline wants to throw it all out, but Chris is not okay with the disposal. Neither is Albert, Caroline's husband, who is a huge fan of artisanal cheeses. Who knew?
Caroline thinks it's her boobs. They weigh her down. Soliciting the help of Albert, who carries the weight of Caroline's "bubbies" in his hands, Caroline weighs herself without the added boob weight. It's true; she would be lighter without them.
Albie and Chris claim to be scarred for life by the whole scene. For some reason, I get the feeling they've probably seen worse, no?
But Caroline decides to focus on the exercise part of losing weight. She heads to bootcamp with Albie, where she questions her physical ability; she even resorts to working out with Jacqueline, whose crazy energy leaves Caroline questioning that decision. HA! You gotta love Jacqueline.
Hoping to boost their mom's confidence, the Manzo children decide to help their mom overcome her fear of heights. Caroline isn't fond of the idea until her kids remind her how many times she forced them to do things they were afraid of.
Hanging high up on a trapeze, at the urging of her instructor, Caroline lets go. For a brief moment, Caroline swings. She ultimately comes down to earth in tears, but the overall lesson was learned. Caroline Manzo can do anything she puts her mind to!
How quickly the students become the teachers.
Overall, a pretty solid first outing. The Manzo family is full of love and character. And if the previews are any indication of what's to come, loads of Housewives-worthy drama, too. So maybe Caroline wasn't able to escape that completely.
What did you guys think? Were you happy to see the Manzo family back on TV? Go watch Manzo'd with Children right now if you need to catch up and then sound off below!