When Caroline Manzo was a core member of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast, she was consistently the only voice of reason. Acting as a mother figure to all of the other wives, whether they were directly related to her or not, she doled out advice and offered support when needed without having to be asked.
As such, she stuck out as a woman who was more mature than the other wives and could rise above drama instead of being sucked into the fray with the rest.
Now anchoring a show centered around only her family and her in-laws, she seems more comfortable interacting with the cameras and offering up details about her personal life and children. “Manzo’d with Children” is an apt name for this half-hour look at the Manzo’s day-to-day antics, as it is much more a reality sitcom than a show hunting for drama and screaming matches.
With each of Manzo’s three children getting more time in the spotlight than they ever did on “RHONJ” everyone seems much more three-dimensional than the background supporting characters they were in a much larger ensemble.
Chris and Albie benefit from goofing off in their few minutes of screen time rather than the show delving too deeply into their personal lives just yet. They get to be all smiles and charm instead of causing any trouble for their mom.
The first half of the two-part premiere focuses mostly on Lauren and her hunt for the perfect wedding dress — and the perfect wedding day solution for her profuse sweating. Following her trips to the plastic surgeon for armpit Botox and to the boutique for a photo shoot finds the right mix of humor and sweetness.
The rest of the show finds that same balance, with lighthearted interactions letting the audience in on a completely different side of the Manzo family right away. Caroline could be anybody’s rich Italian aunt and it gives the show a feeling of warmth that the “Housewives” shows just don’t have.
Do you want Caroline to come over for a big Italian dinner at your place? Or did this view of the Manzos leave you as cold as leftover meatballs? Let us know in the comments.