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Real Housewives

RHONJ: Teresa Checks In Part 2 - Mr. Mom For Shore

Glenn Rowley


Part 2 of Teresa Checks In starts on July 1, 2015 - five months before Teresa's release from prison. The Giudices continue moving forward with their lives while their matriarch carries out her sentence with Joe is playing Mr. Mom to the girls. Melissa has written numerous letters to Teresa but has yet to hear back. Joe Gorga tried to get Melissa on Tre's email chain too, but apparently it was "full." (Mind you, not too full for Andy Cohen to gain a spot on the coveted list.) Housewives conspiracy theorists are sure to see this as an intentional diss and never let the Teresa/Melissa feud die, but Melissa brushes it off, determined to let go of the past and move forward.


Part of that moving forward involves helping take care of the Guidice girls while their mom is away, and Melissa plays the fun aunt role by taking Antonia and her nieces out for a spa day - complete with pedicures and girl talk. She asks Gia how things are with only Joe at home, and the 14-year-old admits he's doing the best he can but it's nothing like having your mom there. Melissa also presses the teenager on dating and boys, assuring her that if she ever needs to talk to a woman, she's always there. Out of all the girls, Gia is most like her mom, an expert at putting on a brave face and smiling through hard times. However, Melissa points out that it's important for Gia to still be a kid and do teenage things - a 14-year-old shouldn't have to feel the pressure to be invincible. 


Meanwhile, Juicy and Joe Gorga had to the gym for some brother-in-law bonding. After talking some smack about who can lift more, Joe Gorga crosses a million lines by asking whether Joe and Teresa have phone sex while she's in prison. Let me repeat that: Joe Gorga is asking about his brother-in-law's sex life over the phone with his sister. HIS SISTER. That is just wrong and TMI on basically every level. The continuation of the conversation is something I don't even want to type here. I guess it's thoughtful that Joe is concerned about every aspect of his sister's life while she's in prison? No. Nope. Still way past crossing a line. Someone pass the mental bleach, please.


Later, James Leonard, Teresa's lawyer, comes to the house bearing a gift for Joe: the diary she's been keeping in prison. In its pages are all the things she's not saying over phone calls and email. One day when they're old enough, she wants the girls to read it so they can understand what she went through. (In the meantime, it's being published in February 2016 as her official prison memoir, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again.) According to her diary, Teresa's busy on the inside breaking up fights and navigating the wild drama of prison life. In a particularly touching excerpt, she writes about paying another woman to do her hair curly for Joe's weekend visit, simply because she knows he likes her hair best that way and how it was all worth it because Joe commented during their visit how pretty she looked. The little things are clearly what mean the most to Tre while she's in prison. Also, I don't quite understand why this lawyer is so involved in the family's life. Camera-hungry much?


The next day, the Guidices and Gorgas get together with Teresa and Joe's parents to celebrate the end of the school year. According to Gia, Teresa was insistent in her email that they use the Gucci plates for the dinner. Clearly, some things about our beloved Tre never change. As everyone arrives, Teresa calls. It's the first time Melissa's heard her voice in over seven months, and she immediately starts tearing up. However, she does everything in her power not to get emotional since it upsets Teresa's dad. Once Teresa runs out of her last seven minutes for the month, the family sits down for dinner and conversation turns to plans for the 4th of July. Joe was planning on taking the girls down to their shore house, considering that it's due to go up on the auction block soon, and Melissa suggests they all take the trip down together. 

Teresa's lawyer appears again in the next scene to discuss the possibility of deportation with a cagey Joe. Being deported back to Italy probably isn't the most exciting thing for Joe to think about, and he shuts down the conversation by saying he'll cross that bridge when it comes. The issue of deportation won't even happen until after he serves his 42-month sentence, so it wuill be a while. Plus, he may not even be deported at all; it'll be a completely separate case for the prosecution to win. However, he admits that he and Teresa have discussed the possibility, and if it were to happen she and the girls would obviously go with him. 


Teresa calls again on the 4th of July to tell Joe about a plane that's been circling the prison, flying mysteriously low in an effort to snap pictures of her for the tabloids. According to Tre, if people think being on Housewives is dramatic, they should see what happens inside the prison - it would make the paparazzi's heads spin. Melissa and Joe arrive in two cars and the families are off to the Jersey Shore. On the way, they drive right past Fort Dix, where Joe will be sent when his sentence starts in March. Once they arrive at the shore, it immediately feels weird without Teresa there in her, but the void is soon filled when she calls for a second time. Watching the girls talk to their mom with giant smiles, the gravity of the situation once again hits Melissa, sending her into a flurry of emotions.

Meanwhile, Juicy gathers the girls on their boat to talk about the impending changes in their lives: next year mom will be back and he'll be "working." The little ones automatically start asking questions - is it in the same place as mommy? For how long? It's honestly heartbreaking to watch as Audriana says "daddy, don't go." However, Joe is determined to make the most of the time he has left before his sentence, promising the girls he'll do everything he can to make the summer fun and be there for all their adventures. As the day comes to a close, the girls and their parents all gather to shoot off red, white and blue confetti poppers. The shore is where the Giudices and Gorgas come together as a family and even as things continue to change, they're looking forward to many more summers together. 


Back in Jersey, the holiday is over and Teresa calls for her daily phone call. After talking the girls, she asks Joe to go in the other room so they can't hear. Once he's alone, she informs him that she got in trouble for asking Gia to send out a tweet from her account thanking all her fans for their support, cards and letter. What's worse, she got shaken down and strip-searched because the prison guards thought she was hiding a cell phone. Yikes. This news makes Joe visibly upset at the thought of his wife going through such a demeaning process. However, she doesn't want Gia to think she did anything wrong and makes sure Joe won't tell the girls what happened. 


The episode ends with Joe taking a trip to Little Italy, courtesy of his electric bike and a train ticket of course, to meet with his lawyer and a convicted felon to learn about the realities of prison life. The meeting takes place at Angelo's, the restaurant owned by Rino and Teresa Aprea from Season 6 of RHONJ and I perked up at the sight of Joe's fellow Househusband. Joe sits down in the back room for dinner with Angelo Lutz, who served a federal sentence for gambling as a bookie. Joe admits that at one time he had the opportunity to get involved in "all that" but chose to walk away and work hard instead, and yet is still going to jail. To this day, Joe insists he wasn't ever trying to do anything wrong and pleaded guilty to avoid a lengthy trial. Angelo fills him in on what to expect in prison, from buying toiletries in the commissary to how to spend the time inside. He counsels Joe to consider what he'll do once he gets out, while at the same time admonishing him not to focus on what's going on out in the real world since he can't control any of it. Joe readily admits what worries him most is the thought of leaving his wife and four daughters for nearly four years, but after talking to Angelo he feels much more prepared and ready to get his sentence over with. The final frame of the episode informs viewers that two months after filming, the bank repossessed the Guidices' house on the Jersey Shore...