The famed Bravo franchise may be called the Real Housewives, but the focus isn’t always on the ladies. It depends upon the city, to be fair, but these days, the men are getting just as involved in the drama of the day, and this Bravo fan loves it. On Real Housewives Of New Jersey, Dolores Catania’s ex-husband and life partner, Frank, lives with her, even though they’re not romantically involved. Because of his proximity and knowledge of the New Jersey group, he has a lot to say these days. And a lot of makes sense. Which is why I declare Frank Catania from RHONJ is the best significant other we've seen in a LONG time. He may look tough, but on the inside, he’s a big, cuddly, dependable teddy bear. And he's lowkey hilarious.
Let’s get something out of the way first — Frank was an attorney, and the New Jersey State Bar Association disbarred him due to the mishandling of his client’s funds. According to a complaint filed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Frank reportedly borrowed money from the escrow accounts and trusts of his clients, which is ethically dubious. He was unanimously disbarred in the summer of 2017. So he's not a hero in everyone's eyes.
People are more than the worst thing they’ve done, and Frank’s bad judgement doesn’t make him evil. He made a mistake, and he’s making up for that mistake in my eyes by being the voice of reason amongst all the infighting between the women of the Real Housewives Of New Jersey this year. In fact, Frank is way more interesting to watch than either of the new cast members, Jackie and Jennifer, who seem to be gunning for screen time.
Frank is just being Frank, and provides not only some comic relief, but also mellows people out, which is definitely needed this season. Andy Cohen — are you hearing this? More Catania, all the time. Let him do security at the reunion at least. (But a spinoff where him and Dolores flip houses is totally something I could get into.) He also feeds his tiny dog "people food," while letting Dolores rant about her wild friends, which makes me like him all the more.
Case in point: Frank and Joe Gorga, who have known each other for years, go out for a dude’s lunch in the most recent episode. Joe gripes, trying to stir the pot a little in the wake of that disastrous Bimini wedding and Frank just nods, not getting into any of the drama.
They talk about work, and it’s an easy thing. And then Frank drops the knowledge that Joe has been needing, telling him that he needs to spend time with his dad before its too late to do it and that Theresa kinda has a point. It needs to be said that he offers sage wisdom while eating the biggest soft pretzel ever shown on Bravo. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
You know what else is great about Frank? He wants to help. He knows all of Dolores’ friends. Frank is giving Teresa pointers for her bodybuilding competition. He knows what's up about the drama. When he goes to a party with Dolores, he’s in it for the appetizers (same). But he also knows who is fighting with whom and why, and he has opinions about it. When Jackie’s newspaper article about Jennifer’s spoiled children hit Frank’s kitchen counter, he was as ready to talk about it on-camera as Dolores is.
Shows like the Real Housewives are commonly seen as frivolous fodder for women to indulge in, and when a man who looks like Frank — muscular, rough, and tough — wants to jump in and gossip, it’s an amazing equalizer. The women can bring home the proverbial bacon, and the men can talk sh*t about someone's parenting skills, fully disproving that men always stay above the fray. Can you imagine Bill, Jennifer’s husband, giving credence to the gossip of the moment? Nope! But Frank is secure in himself, so he doesn’t give a hoot if he’s talking about plumbing or how much trouble Jackie is going to be in when Jennifer sees that article.
Beyond Real Housewives Of New Jersey, Frank seems to be a good man. It’s not like I know him personally, but his Instagram is devoted to his children. He and Dolores are in an amazing place and you can see how much respect he has for her. Frank supports LGBTQ rights, shames abusive men, loves dogs, and talks about crying when he drops off his daughter at veterinary school.
Second only to Dallas, New Jersey is the Real Housewives franchise with the strictest gender roles. Men like Joe Gorga have spouted sexist diatribes on these shows before, but at least there are men like Frank who pay homage to their ex-wives, support their kids, and own up to their mistakes. And know how to order all the best snacks at the bar. The world could certainly use more of them.