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Real Housewives

Filtering by Category: RHONJ

RHONJ Season 7 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

After eighteen episodes of redemption, drama and bitter feuding, Season 7 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey has reached its conclusion. So, as has become tradition on That Housewives Guy, I'm breaking down the reasons I loved this season so much as well as what could and should change for Season 8. Plus, I give my take on where Season 7 ranks against years past in Jersey...

WHY IT WORKED

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  • Sincerely Siggy: Relationship expert Siggy Flicker burst onto the scene as the first Jewish Housewife in the Italian-dominated history of the franchise.  From the moment we met the Sig with her face wrapped in a scarf post-facelift and sipping lobster bisque through a straw, I instantly fell in love with her and she became an unforgettable addition in the Housewives canon. Initially introduced as a friend of Jacqueline Laurita, Siggy's goal throughout the entire season was to bring the feuding Jersey OGs together and help them heal from years of family feuds and friendships falling apart. All Siggy ever wants is peace. And while her strategy and relationship expertise seemed to work at first (the cast spa-cation in episode 7 was a standout for me), by season's end Siggy realized the wounds between the veterans may be simply too deep for her to fix alone. What endears Siggy to me the most is the light and positivity that simply radiates from her. She's hilariously funny, loves fiercely, is genuine, emotional and real - basically everything you want in a rookie Housewife. Siggy brought a new, distinctly Jewish perspective to the Jersey franchise and I am 100 percent here for it.
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  • Dolores Catania, Italian Whisperer: The other new addition to the Jersey gang this season was Dolores Catania, a longtime friend of both Jacqueline and Teresa Giudice with deep ties to former OGs Caroline and Dina Manzo as well. In fact, to call Dolores a "new addition" is a blatant misnomer considering that she's made frequent appearances on the show since the very beginning and - as revealed by Dina recently - was originally supposed to be a Housewife way back in Season 1 before she dropped out and was replaced by Caroline. Dolores also happens to be BFFs with Siggy and proved throughout the season to be the levelheaded voice of reason among the group. Having so much history with all the other women, she also had a particular knack for breaking things for viewers in her confessionals. Whether that meant explaining the fundamental differences between how Teresa and Jacqueline operate or providing insight into Italian-American culture, Dolores' commentary was invaluable for both longtime fans and brand-new viewers. But one word of warning: push the rookie 'Wife past her breaking point (like the drama did in Vermont) and you'll quickly see her Paterson side come out!
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  • War and peace: For the better part of a decade, we've watched the dynamics implode and rebuild and explode again between the Guidices, Gorgas, Lauritas (and Manzos). The connections between these women and their families are deeply entrenched and the history is centered on families and goes back decades. It's part of what makes RHONJ so different from other cities in the Housewives franchise. So, from the moment Teresa came home from Danbury, Jacqueline and Melissa Gorga braced themselves for a rollercoaster of drama. However, "Namaste" Teresa came home determined to make peace and - in a near miracle - she and sister-in-law Melissa put years of family feuding to bed once and for all. On the other hand, Tre's road to rebuilding with Jacqueline was much rockier, full of twists and turns as the former besties tried to navigate past years of hurt feelings. After a couple false starts, the drama exploded on the disastrous cast trip to Vermont as an argument over Season 4's Strippergate (of all things) drew a permanent line in the sand with Teresa and Melissa on one side, Jacqueline on the other and the newbies caught in the crossfire. The fallout was gripping and it went from bad to worse between the women, leading to Jac's great escape with poor Siggy and Dolores running after her fleeing Range Rover in the finale. The drama was vicious and seems insurmountable, but if there's one thing we've learned from the Jersey ladies it's to never say never when it comes to their relationships with each other. Yes, Italians fight hard but they love each other just as intensely. 

WHAT COULD CHANGE

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

  • Feuding family no more: Ever since the christening heard 'round the world in the Season 3 premiere, fans have watched the Giudice/Gorga family feud take center stage as the primary storyline driving RHONJ forward. From Strippergate and tabloid scandals to therapy sessions and a fistfight between Joes, we've seen the family go through some pretty dark drama. But this season, the relationships between Teresa, Melissa and Joe are fixed on all sides and the OG shut down the tension with Friends of the Housewives Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri, seeing her cousins' attempt at reconciliation as a ploy to get back in the spotlight after not reaching out to her once during her time at Danbury. The bond between sisters-in-law Teresa and Melissa seems genuine and solid, so can we finally call the family feud over and done with? The Jersey franchise has always been about family, but honestly, that dead horse doesn't need to be beaten one second longer. 
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  • Jersey girls go international: The cast trip is a cornerstone of every season of Housewives in every city across the franchise, but year after year the Jersey 'Wives have stayed stateside for their big vacations. From Napa Valley and Arizona to Florida and Vermont, the ladies have made it work and the drama has been far from disappointing, but next season can we please send them to some far-flung, exotic destination to watch all the drama boil over? I completely get that Teresa hasn't been allowed to leave the country for the past couple of seasons due to her legal issues, but now that they're in her rearview mirror, I'd love to see the ladies explore Siggy's roots in Israel (and perhaps visit the bomb shelter where she was born). Who's with me?
Photo Credit: Instagram @daniellestaub

Photo Credit: Instagram @daniellestaub

  • Cast shake-ups: Changes in the cast from season to season are almost inevitable in the Housewives universe (though RHONJ holds the record for keeping the same cast of 'Wives from Seasons 3 to 5). However, I feel fairly confident that I speak for the majority of Housewives fans when I say all the girls from Season 7 need to come back next year. I'm obsessed with thedynamic between these ladies and in my well-versed opinion, the Fabulous Five is near-perfect as a cast. Jacqueline has already confirmed on Twitter that she'll be back for Season 8, Teresa and Melissa are no-brainers and I'd like to see Siggy and Dolores continue to thrive and blossom in front of Bravo's cameras. The one major addition next season is the rumored return of Tre and Jac's fellow OG Danielle Staub, the iconic Housewives villain who helped turn RHONJ into a pop culture phenomenon back during the days of Seasons 1 and 2. As revealed in the finale's "Where Are They Now?" cards, Teresa recently reached out to Danielle and the two seem to be building a friendship again - hitting the yoga studio and attending events together. If Danielle's rumored return does happen, Season 8 will undoubtedly be one for the books.

SEASON RANKINGS

  1. Season 2: The Jersey 'Wives sophomore outing is undoubtedly the franchise at its most iconic. From Dina Manzo's abrupt exit following her showdown with Danielle Staub to the chaotic country club brawl between Danielle, Jacqueline and Teresa, Season 2 built on the foundation of the show's first year and reached a fever pitch. I mean, who can forget Danielle pulling a mannequin head out at the reunion to demonstrate getting her extensions ripped out or Teresa shoving Andy Cohen in a blind rage? 
  2. Season 4: Strippergate. The implosion of Teresa's friendships with Jacqueline and Caroline after the night on the deck. The surprise eleventh hour appearance by Dina. The Napa Valley RV trip. For many, Season 4 represents some of the very best drama that Housewives has to give. The issues between the women reached cataclysmic heights as Teresa found herself at war with each of the other 'Wives. By the time the epic, three-part reunion aired, it seemed the Jersey women would never be able to come back from the toxic darkness that had consumed the show.
  3. Season 7: In many ways, this season was a return to form for RHONJ and even while some fans were critical, I loved every minute. The drama may have been as dark as it was in the days of Strippergate, it turned out to be exactly what I didn't even know I needed. From Teresa's emotional homecoming and the addition of Siggy and Dolores to the hellish Vermont trip and Jacqueline's unraveling, the show returned from a long hiatus to tell a story that was real, authentic and ultimately heartfelt.
  4. Season 3: With the introduction of her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga and cousin Kathy Wakile, Teresa Giudice's family drama became RHONJ's primary storyline and turned her into the unequivocal star of the show. Upon airing, the chaotic christening was the highest-rated season premiere in the history of both the Housewives franchise and Bravo as a whole. However, the network's decision to film Seasons 3 and 4 back-to-back resulted in a confusing third season reunion with Jacqueline not showing up and the other women bitterly divided over events viewers wouldn't see play out for a full year. 
  5. Season 1: Teresa's iconic table flip. Cop Without a Badge. While the first season may seem tame and brief by today's standards, the Jersey 'Wives became instant celebrities when they hit TV screens back in 2009. In fact, it's easy to long for the relatively simple days when the Manzos, Lauritas and Giudices were united against villain Danielle Staub as a common enemy and Caroline Manzo uttered the famous words "Let me tell you something about my family..." 
  6. Season 5: The season began with Superstorm Sandy and ended with the Giudices, Manzos, Lauritas, Gorgas and Wakiles finally brokering a fragile peace treaty, but boy was it rough getting there. The cast trips to Lake George and Arizona were essentially settings for fist fights and extended therapy sessions. Add in the finale brawl at Kim D.'s second Posche boutique (which had to be largely edited out for legal reasons) and the introduction of minor players like Penny, Johnny the Greek and Jan stirring up trouble and cheating rumors about Melissa, and many aspects of the season were simply confusing. Still, the emotional payoff of seeing forgiveness and peace between Teresa and her brother brought tears to my eyes, though by the end of the reunion Caroline was ready to exit stage left.
  7. Season 6: I feel the need to start with the caveat that I actually really enjoyed much of Season 6. That being said, it's indisputably the weakest link in the RHONJ canon. The conviction and subsequent sentencing of Teresa and Joe Giudice cast a somber, dark shadow over production, which was truncated into a short, choppy run of episodes. Personally, I rejoiced in the return of Dina (namaste, bitches!) and immediately liked twins Nicole Napolitano and Teresa Aprea, but the less said about Amber Marchese and her husband Jim's stain on the show's legacy the better...

With that, it's time to say goodbye to Season 7 of RHONJ. Did you enjoy the season as much as I did? How would you rank the show's seven seasons from best to worst? Should all the ladies come back next year? Should Danielle Staub? Let me know in the comments!

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 10 - Cut the Cancer Out

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of Jersey, the years of family drama between Teresa, Kathy and Rosie finally come to a definitive end. But that doesn't mean the deep-seeded issues will go away quietly. Plus, Melissa proposes the season's big trip and Jacqueline is blissful over her daughter's engagement. Read on for a full recap of all the family drama...

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In the wake of her surprise appearance at last week's book signing, Friend of the Housewives Rosie Pierri meets with Jacqueline Laurita and Siggy Flicker to rehash the night's drama. Rosie and her sister's awkward encounter with Teresa Giudice didn't seem to make anything between the estranged cousins better, and Jac surmises that Teresa may not ever take up her cousins' invitation for a lunch sit-down. As the group's resident relationship expert, Siggy predicts that eventually things between the cousins will be fixed. After all, family is family and even if they're not on good terms right now, everyone will have to sit down for dinner at the same table at some point in the future. Right? Well, if Teresa had her way the answer to that question might actually be no...

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Later that evening, Jacqueline's daughter Ashlee Holmes is in for a major surprise of her own. A few episodes back, Ashlee's boyfriend Pete took Jac ring shopping and it's finally time for him to pop the question. Under the guise of looking for apartments, Ashlee's fiancee takes her on a stroll along the water in Hoboken, which culminates in Pete getting down on one knee and proposing at a lookout point. Ashlee is in complete shock, but manages to blurt out a tearful "yes" while Pete puts the ring he and Jacqueline picked out on her finger. By now, the thought of a date night is long gone, and all Ashlee wants to do is go home to tell her family the exciting news. Needless to say, Jacqueline is over the moon that her only daughter (and former trouble child) has gotten engaged to someone she and Chris approve of. It's a little bit of a miracle that Ashlee has come full circle and is turning into a mature, responsible adult. 

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The next day, Siggy and Teresa drop by Melissa Gorga's house for some chatting, cookies and champs. Ever since Tre came home, her relationship with Melissa has been better than ever. After years of estrangement and nonstop drama (fueled by being on the show together), the sisters-in-law are finally beginning to trust each other, and Teresa is even leaning on Melissa for support as Joe Giudice prepares to start his 41-month prison sentence. In all honesty, the one silver lining that's come out of this entire legal nightmare is that the Gorgas and the Giudices have really, truly healed their relationships. Now that Teresa's done with her supervised probation, Melissa wants the ladies to take a trip somewhere and suggests a ski weekend in Vermont. Siggy hilariously questions why they aren't going somewhere with sunshine and piña coladas, but Teresa's not allowed to travel outside of a specific radius...which happens to include Vermont. At first the OG is hesitant, but eventually relents and the trip of the season is officially booked!

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At the same time, Jacqueline visits Dolores Catania at her new gym. Dolores has promised her business partner she'd step up and start pulling her weight at the gym, and part of that means hosting a women's empowerment night. The event will effectively kill two birds with a single stone - giving the 'Wives an excuse to get together and helping Dolores meet her quota for new memberships, which is currently 300 women short of the goal. All season long, Dolores has been on a quest to reinvent herself and become an independent Italian-American woman, and planning this ladies' night out is definitely a step in the right direction.

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At yet another sit-down sponsored by Rails Steakhouse, Siggy and Jacqueline meet with Teresa to have a conversation with her about their dinner with Rosie. Donning her relationship expert hat, Siggy explains that Tre's cousins want to have lunch to work out the strained and complicated dynamic in the family, but from the get-go the OG shuts down. Teresa is still harboring a long list of grudges, including Kathy Wakile calling her father a "coward" at the Season 4 reunion and basically everything that's come out of Richie Wakile's mouth in the last three decades. But when Jacqueline tries to point out Kathy's side to the story, her former bestie is having none of it. Note to Jac: how have you not learned by now to not get involved in Teresa's family drama? Staying out of the crossfire is just better for everyone, and you won't end up with bullet wounds from both sides. Everyone needs to stop meddling in Teresa's family drama and respect her feelings about the situation.

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Attempts to mediate on the other side of the feud don't go any smoother. The Wakiles invite Rosie, Jacqueline, Siggy and the Gorgas over but the relaxing night quickly devolves into a conversation about the cousins' clash. Before we know it, a wide-eyed Kathy starts getting defensive, Siggy's in tears and Rosie's shouting about how her sister is the one who always gets dragged through the mud in the never-ending family drama with Tre. As Joe Gorga gently sticks up for his sister, Melissa tries to shut the entire conversation down, which promptly gets Jacqueline bothered and the domino effect has officially turned this into a powder keg. Once Richie snidely insinuates that he and Kathy have a happy marriage while Joe Guidice doesn't love Teresa. As Melissa points out in her interview, "what a dick thing to say." Joe Gorga explodes at Richie, explaining that if the Wakiles are going to throw stones about his sister, they can't expect him to take it lying down with a smile on his face. Now can everyone just relax and drink their wine?

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With some coaxing from Joe, Teresa finally agrees to sit down with her cousins and break the cycle of drama once and for all. While Kathy and Rosie are hoping for some sort of reconciliation, Tre's objective at this lunch is clear: to tell them she's absolutely, completely, 100 percent done. Her cousins will always be family, but Teresa simply wants to be left alone. Kathy concedes that her husband may be part of the problem, but Teresa also reveals that the entire time she was at Danbury, she didn't hear a thing from either of her cousins. Not a card. Not an email. Nothing. So now that she's home and "back in the public eye" (i.e. filming a reality show, Kathy and Rosie suddenly want a relationship with her again. Seems suspicious, doesn't it? At the end of the day, Teresa is determined to "cut the cancer out" of her life, and she's not budging when it comes to her cousins. After exchanging hollow sentiments that their doors are "always open" to each other, Teresa leaves the lunch in tears, but with the sense of closure she's been seeking for years.

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Are you Team Teresa or Team Kathy & Rosie? Do you think Kathy and Rosie's intentions were genuine or do they want to use Teresa to get back in the spotlight? Is Siggy's attempt to fix these relationships a lost cause? Let me know in the comments!

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 9 - Driving Miss Siggy

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, lingering family tensions threaten to spoil Teresa's first book signing while Melissa faces off with Joe over his antiquated, old school values. Plus, Kathy and Rosie (this season's official Friends of the Housewives) finally get their moment in the spotlight. Read on for a full recap of all the drama...

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In Jersey, family means everything, and for newbies Siggy Flicker and Dolores Catania, that means being a mom. As she's helping her daughter Sophie pack for a Jewish Federation trip, Siggy's 16-year-old son Joshua comes home from his driving test. The good news? He passed and is now an officially licensed driver! The bad news? The first words out of Joshua's mouth are "get me a car." Yikes. Not a good look Joshy. In her confessional, Siggy laments the entitlement of teenagers today, pointing out that yes, they want the best of the best, but they already have a much better life than she did growing up. So Joshua can hold his horses on the car situation. Just ask Dolores how great a teenage driver is - she's feeling abandoned at home ever since 17-year-old Frankie got his own set of wheels. In the wake of putting her dog Boo down, all Dolores wants is some support from her kids, but she's not getting it. Ah, the joys of raising teenagers...

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Meanwhile, Melissa Gorga's husband Joe is just about done with the Mr. Mom game he's been playing this season while she gets her new boutique off the ground. The second she walks through the door after a long day at Envy, Joe drags Melissa into a come to Jesus conversation to tell her just how over this working woman situation he is. When he cites the fact that he "wasn't raised to do this," Melissa fires back that he's got to be kidding. Not raised to be a dad? However, Joe really puts his foot in his mouth when he compares the money his wife's new store is making as "crumbs" to the "whole cake" he brings is as the family breadwinner. Now, I really love Joe Gorga, but he is 100 percent wrong in this situation and I'm proud of Melissa for standing up for herself and giving her old-school Italian hubby a reality check. Envy by MG isn't just about money Joe, it's about Melissa being creatively  fulfilled as a career woman. It's time to get with the program.

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Over in Franklin Lakes, Jacqueline Laurita has invited Teresa Giudice and her three youngest girls over for a playdate with five-year-old Nicholas. It's the first time any of the Giudice girls have been to Jac's house in years, so it's yet another step forward in repairing the relationship between the two once-close OGs. Seeing how naturally nurturing Milania is with Nicholas after learning he's on the autism spectrum is incredibly heartwarming for both the moms and every viewer watching at home. Tearing up, Jacqueline thanks Tre for helping her get used to this new normal and being so supportive, and the two formerly feuding BFFs hug it out. What a difference a month can make, am I right?

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While Melissa turns to relationship expert Siggy for advice on how to fix the issues with Joe, Dolores Catania stops by former 'Wife Kathy Wakile's new house for a chat with her and sister Rosie Pierri. The two Friends of the Housewives are fired up and ready to vent, unloading on Dolores their pent up issues with cousin Teresa. From Kathy and Rosie's perspective, they've been shut out and ignored by the OG ever since her return from prison and they're ready to heal and move forward as family. Kathy tearfully reveals that her daughter Victoria fainted not once, but twice earlier that day and the twentysomething's ongoing battle with a brain tumor have made Kathy realize what's really important in life. However, as Dolores wisely points out in her confessional, when Italians fight, it's like a war that's been going on for centuries: no one remembers what started the feud but the grudge will be held until the grave. Maybe then, they'll show up to the funeral out of respect. (For the record, as a fourth-generation Italian-American, I can absolutely vouch for this mentality.)

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After a couple quick scenes of Tre and Juicy Joe discussing his quickly-looming prison sentence while getting Thai yoga massages and Dolores working at her new gym, it's time for Teresa's big book signing! Hundreds of fans have lined up at the local Barnes and Noble to get a personally autographed copy of Teresa's new memoir, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again and all the Housewives are there to celebrate minus Siggy (who's busy surprising her son with a car at his birthday dinner in Manhattan). At first, the book signing is going great - we even catch another brief glimpse of Tre's friend Robyn Levy and her wife Christina - but the mood turns awkward when Kathy and Rosie make an unexpected appearance in the name of supporting their cousin.

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Teresa is, obviously, visibly shocked to see her estranged cousins at the book signing. The OG manages to take the surprise in stride, even agreeing to sign the sisters' copies of her book for them. Despite their angry words earlier in the episode, Kathy and Rosie have actually come to the bookstore in an attempt to make peace. Waving a proverbial white flag, Rosie asks Teresa to go out to lunch with her and Kathy in the coming days in an attempt to get their relationship back on track. After years of hurt on both sides, Tre is incredibly hesitant to embrace this invitation. Citing that her time is precious these days, the OG explains that she's trying to spend as much time with Juicy Joe and the girls before he leaves for his four-plus year prison sentence. However, in her confessional, Teresa explains that she's not particularly rushing to go to lunch with family members whom she's perceived as having stabbed her in the back.

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Rosie simply tells her cousin that she wants them to be close again, but Teresa reveals in her confessional that neither Rosie nor Kathy even attempted to reach out to her during her year-long stint in prison. As Dolores and Jacqueline watch from the sidelines, Kathy and Rosie retreat from the table - having been, at best, vaguely rebuffed. Rosie vows that she won't be trying to make things right again any time soon, especially after getting a warily dismissive greeting from Juicy Joe. Rosie attempts to apologize to Joe Giudice about the comment she drunkenly made out of sheer frustration during New Year's Eve, but it seems irrelevant considering that Joe didn't even know she'd said anything against him in the first place. Over the family tension that's invaded the book signing, the Guidices bolt from Barnes and Noble as soon as Teresa's signed the final copy, leaving uncertainty about the future of her relationships with Kathy and Rosie in her wake...

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Should Teresa accept her cousins' olive branch? Have you read Turning the Tables yet? Are you as proud as I am of Melissa for standing up for herself? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below...

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 7 - Spa-Cation

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the women escape the drama for a weekend filled with spa treatments and bonding. But will lingering tensions between Teresa and Jacqueline spoil the fun and relaxation? You may be surprised at the answer! Read on for a full recap of the trip...

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It's time for the first getaway of the season, and the ladies are heading to a spa weekend planned by Melissa Gorga at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ (which is about an hour away from where they live in the Franklin Lakes/Montville Township area). While the trip may just be a quick staycation to celebrate Teresa Giudice's first official weekend of freedom after getting her ankle monitor removed, the OG is less than enthused about the idea of being stuck under the same room as frenemy Jacqueline Laurita. In fact, in a strategic move to keep the peace, newbies Dolores Catania and Siggy Flicker even drive separate cars to keep the feuding veterans apart for as long as possible. 

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However, once the two cars arrive at the resort the tension is immediately palpable between Tre and Jac, prompting relationship expert Siggy to attempt to mediate an awkward reintroduction for the former BFFs. While Teresa jokingly asks whether she should throw Jacqueline down the stairs, the latter is determined to follow a strict regimen of "speak[ing] when spoken to." If Teresa is friendly, Jac will be friendly in return, but won't be going out of her way to make any type of small talk. The women decide to break the tension by getting ready to go out to dinner, and Teresa confides in Dolores that she isn't holding her breath for a reconciliation either. After all, Tre warns, she knows how to play nice and how to play not-so-nice...

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The 'Wives are escorted to the resort's private dining room in the wine cellar for their first meal, where Melissa has the unenviable job of sitting between her fellow OGs, with newbies Siggy and Dolores on the opposite side of the table. Over bites of yellowfin tuna, the rookies attempt to make small talk by bringing up their costars previous trips to Italy (in Season 2) and Napa Valley (in Season 4). Surprisingly, the conversation effectively thaws the ice between Teresa and Jacqueline, and they start to reminisce about the good old days in their "Lucy and Ethel" friendship. Shifting the conversation, Jacqueline brings up the stresses of raising a child with autism, (which, according to statistics, costs roughly $60,000 per year). Sensing an opening, Siggy puts on her relationship expert hat and gets the ladies talking about the hardships they've each faced in life. As they go around the table and trade stories of financial troubles, marriage, divorce and being a "ride or die bitch," the women's walls really come down and some genuine bonding starts to happen. With tears flowing, Siggy raises a glass and toasts to the fact that each and every one of the ladies is a survivor in some way or another. Cheers to vulnerability!

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After hitting up the fire pit for s'mores and more stories, the good vibes continue as Teresa decides on the spot to personally invite all the 'Wives (Jacqueline included) to her upcoming book launch for her new memoir, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again. After heading back to the room, the women decide to have an old-fashioned pajama party, including prank FaceTimes with their husbands and getting wasted during a game of wine pong. As Siggy points out in her confessional, as long as neither is bringing up or rehashing the past, the relationship between Teresa and Jacqueline actually seems to be capable of moving forward. Who would've thought this was actually possible just two weeks ago?

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Early the next morning, Melissa shows the other women a video of her son Gino competing at his wrestling meet, which naturally leads to a discussion of their children's various accomplishments. However, the mood turns when Jacqueline abruptly leaves the table and is in tears by the time Siggy finds her in a bathroom. Hearing the other 'Wives bring up all the milestones and moments their kids are having has gotten Jac emotional over her six-year-old son Nicholas, who is on the autism spectrum. The OG's "proud mommy moments" with Nick are markedly different from the other ladies' and through tears, she explains that she's worried he won't ever have the same kind of normal childhood his peers do. The victories are smaller and the work Nick puts in is so much greater, but Jac fears he'll one day be able to recognize how he's different from other kids. Eventually, Dolores, Melissa and Teresa come looking for their friends, and Jacqueline's tears provide Tre with a touching moment to comfort her. In her confessional, Teresa admits she can't even imagine how much Jacqueline is going through with Nick's autism and vows that if her former BFF needs a shoulder to cry on, she'll be there. 

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Having had enough tears for the day, the ladies change into their swimsuits and head to the resort's pool to lay out. However, when Dolores decides to dip her feet in, Melissa follows for a chance to talk to the newbie away from the other girls. Out of everyone in the cast, Dolores has been friends with Teresa the longest - we're talking 20+ years - so Melissa wants to get some advice from the show's resident voice of reason on how to move forward with her sister-in-law. Of course, Jacqueline notices her fellow 'Wives' chatting by the pool and manages to pick out both her and Teresa's names and the words "bringing up the past" in a crude attempt at lip-reading. Any bets on what this is going to do to Jacqueline's paranoia level? Even though both Dolores and Melissa insist the conversation wasn't about her (which it wasn't), Jac's suspicions have officially been raised.

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Later during spa treatments, Melissa joins the newbies for mani/pedis while Teresa and Jacqueline get massages - leaving the former BFFs truly alone for the first time the whole trip. While Siggy laments that she just wishes Jac could see that Teresa has truly changed since coming home from prison in the nail salon, the two OGs bond even more. Tre specifically promises Jacqueline that, despite their falling outs in the past, she'll be there the second her bestie needs her. At the time Nicholas was diagnosed with autism, the Giudices were going through the darkest part of their legal issues. So even though Tre wasn't available to support her friend back then, she is now. In turn, Jac apologizes for hitting below the belt when she's upset and...are we having a real breakthrough? This is actually happening, RHONJ fans!

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While Joe Giudice has a surprise reunion in Little Italy with former Jersey Househusband Rino Aprea, the ladies stay in for the final dinner of their spa vacation. During the meal, Melissa declares that she would have no idea Teresa and Jacqueline had yet another epic confrontation just a few days prior if they hadn't told her themselves, but after the lip reading at the pool, the latter's paranoia is on high alert. Ever the observant matchmaker, Siggy pinpoints the essential differences between the two OGs (Jacqueline wants to go deep in every single moment while Teresa's intentions are usually simpler), but when Jac catches Dolores and Melissa whispering again, she starts to lose it. Screaming that she's had enough of the side conversations, Jacqueline starts pointing fingers, but the other 'Wives promise yet again that they weren't discussing her at all. Calm down Jac, your paranoia is getting the better of you...

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The next morning, the women wrap up the trip with an early yoga session led by Teresa, who discovered how therapeutic the practice was while in prison. I'm a fan of Namaste Teresa 2.0, even when she has to explain the definition of "queef" to poor, naive Siggy. All in all, the vacation seems to end on a positive note for all the ladies, with new friendships strengthened and old bonds renewed. Could this be a new chapter of peace in New Jersey? Namaste bitches!

Tell me in the comments if you enjoyed this episode of RHONJ as much as I did! Was Jacqueline being overly paranoid? Has Teresa really changed? Is Siggy just the perfect mediator for these women or what?

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 5 - Dinner Interrupted

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the fragile peace between Teresa and Jacqueline gets blown to pieces in a single, ill-fated dinner, while Melissa cheers her kids on at New York Fashion Week. Plus, Siggy deals with parenting problems and Dolores continues her reinvention by opening a new gym! Read on for my full recap of the drama that went down...

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As always on RHONJ, it's family first and this week is no different. Melissa Gorga's three kids have been asked to walk in a show at New York Fashion Week, so she and Joe Gorga have brought the kids into the city for their fittings. As Antonia, Joey and Gino try on the clothing and practice their walks, Joe asks Melissa how things are going with Teresa Giudice. Melissa says that her relationship with her sister-in-law remains copacetic since they agreed to move forward following Tre's release from prison. Melissa explains, though, that she won't actually feel close to Teresa until she can tell the OG she disagrees with her. (Hmm...any bets on how long that could take?) She did, however, invite Teresa to come to the kids' fashion show and the two sisters-in-law will be sitting side-by-side on the front row. So that's some kind of progress, right?

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Meanwhile, Jacqueline Laurita visits her husband Chris at the offices for The Little Kernel, which is the Lauritas' latest snack food startup. While she's basking in her relationship with daughter Ashlee coming full circle, Jac remains cautiously optimistic about her renewed friendship with Teresa. In fact, she and Chris have invited the Giudices over for dinner and both couples seem to want to get back on track with each other. Ever the pragmatist, Chris advises his wife to go easy on Teresa and Joe when they come over, gently reminding her that no matter what Tre may say, they're still going through an incredibly difficult time. The start of Joe's 41-month sentence is looming ever closer and Chris urges Jacqueline to forget everything that's happened in the past and move forward - really and truly this time. 

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In a hilarious scene, Siggy Flicker is dealing with some major parenting problems. Picking up her daughter Sophie from detention, The Sig is ready to lay down the law. This is the second time Sophie's gotten in trouble for using her phone at school, so the obvious solution to Siggy is to take the phone away. However, this punishment barely phases Sophie, who interrupts her mom's lecture to ask if they can make a stop at Dunkin' Donuts. This request floors Siggy, but Sophie amusingly points out that she doesn't see what getting donuts has to do with her phone being taken away, so why not? In her confessional, Siggy admits that she may be a relationship expert, but she doesn't have the best track record for following through on her threats to her kids. Looks like it's time for Siggy the Supermom to step up to the plate and stop being a such a softie! 

The day of the Gorga kids' big fashion show arrives and Teresa brings Milania along to support her cousins. This is another big step in the right direction for the Giudice and Gorga clan and it's honestly really nice to see Teresa and Melissa together on the front row cheering the little models on. Antonia, Gino and Joey all positively rock the runway, and afterwards the whole family goes out to dinner in the Big Apple to celebrate. Melissa explains in her confessional that, while they've supposedly made up many times in seasons past, this time is different between her and Tre. This time, they're both going out of their way to genuinely support and be there for each other and their families...and it's great. At exactly the perfect time, little Joey interrupts the dinner conversation to sweetly express how much he loves everyone at the table. For the first time in their five seasons together on the show, it seems like everything is great between the Giudices and the Gorgas.

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While Dolores Catania meets with her business partner at her newly-opened gym and Siggy has a major communication breakthrough with her kids, Teresa and Joe head to the Laurita home for dinner. Keep in mind that this is the first time Tre has been to her former BFF's house ever since their blow-out fight on Jac's deck way back in Season 4. After the initial awkward small talk, everything seems light and breezy between the two couples as Teresa and Joe fawn over CJ and little Nicholas. However, once the men retreat to the den with their prosciutto, the air grows thick with unresolved tension between Jac and Teresa. Tre explains that all she wants is peace in her life, so any and all toxic people need to stay away. Neither 'Wife wants to rehash the past, but the conversation takes its first turn south, though, when she reiterates how alone she felt when Jacqueline, Melissa, Caroline Manzo and Kathy Wakile were all against her during the dark days of Seasons 4-5. 

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Jacqueline rather snidely shoots back that Teresa was the one who isolated herself from the rest of the 'Wives due to her various issues with each of them, but the OG still sees it as a big gang-up against her. This is not going well. Teresa points out that the last time she came to Jac's house, she got ambushed on the back deck over tabloid gossip, and flashbacks of that fateful night show lots of finger pointing and yelling between the two BFFs before matriarch Carolineunexpectedly shows up to take sister-in-law Jacqueline's side. Is this ringing a bell? Jacqueline, however, insists that she merely wanted to know the truth out of concern for Teresa and all of a sudden, we're back to arguing about the tabloid stories of Season 4. How are we still fighting about this?

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In her confessional, Jacqueline opines that Teresa clearly hasn't changed, but when Tre brings up her brother's advice that their true friends wouldn't turn against her, it quickly becomes clear that Jac's the one who's stuck in old behaviors. Teresa assumed at the time that that comment from Joe was a warning not to trust Jacqueline, but Jac fires back that he was actually telling her not to trust his sister. Then, to settle the issue, Jacqueline inexplicably decides to pick up her phone and call Joe herself. Teresa is (rightfully) floored that her frenemy would have the audacity to pull her brother into this quickly-escalating argument, but Jac seems to revel in stirring the pot between the siblings. (Of course, Joe denies ever saying anything about trust to either of the 'Wives and besides, aren't things all good now? Let's keep the peace.) In the words of Teresa's confessional, "who the hell does something like this?"

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The tabloid fight continues to intensify, with Jacqueline claiming ignorance and Teresa not understanding how her then-bestie couldn't know better than to believe every word written in an issue of InTouch Weekly. However, Teresa's larger point is that she feels Jacqueline shouldn't have asked about the gossip rags and legal drama in the first place. After all, the Lauritas were going through their own issues with the Signature Apparel bankruptcy at the same time, and Teresa never questioned Jacqueline about it. But Jac shoots back that she and Chris didn't file a fraudulent bankruptcy like the Guidices did, and argues that Tre can't compare her criminal case to their bankruptcy. This low blow, my dear readers, is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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Feeling that her former bestie has hit below the belt, Teresa's ready to leave but Jacqueline's not done fighting. Teresa reiterates that all she wants is peace, but Jac accuses the OG of not taking accountability for her actions - opting instead to blame her criminal case and prison sentence on everyone else. Huh? How exactly is Teresa not owning her mistakes? Hello, the woman went to prison for eleven and a half months! Who is she blaming her legal issues on? Jacqueline's claim just doesn't make sense. With that, Teresa storms out of the house with Joe in tow, leaving Jacqueline proudly standing in the rubble of the "rebuilt" friendship once again. And the worst part of it all is that no one even got to eat dinner!

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Are you Team Teresa or Team Jacqueline? Who is at fault? Who hit below the belt? Give me all your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 4 - A Life to Envy

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the ladies get to work on everything from boutique openings to celebrity memoirs. However, Melissa struggles with Joe's lack of support as she prepares to open Envy by MG and Siggy questions Teresa over the rampant tabloid rumors about her marriage. Read on for a full recap of this week's drama...

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Melissa Gorga's dream of opening her own boutique is close to becoming a reality. But while she's busy working at the store, Joe Gorga is left to hold down the fort and Tarzan is not a happy Mr. Mom. Joe is old-school Italian and this arrangement is not what he signed up for when Melissa walked down the aisle 11 years ago. He thought he was getting a housewife who would cook, clean and take care of the kids, not a modern Housewife who wants success on her own terms. Now, I love Joe Gorga, but it's awfully frustrating to sit back and watch his antiquated views on marriage and gender roles get in the way of supporting Melissa's goal. C'mon Joe, I know you're better than this. As Melissa so boldly tells him, it's time to "man up" and be happy for your wife.

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Teresa Giudice is also busy advancing her post-prison career. In a miraculous three-week turnaround time that would surely have Aviva Drescher screaming "GHOSTWRITER!" Tre has managed to turn her diary from Danbury into a memoir, and it's time to record the audiobook version! En route to the offices of Simon and Schuster, the OG's lawyer delivers another piece of good news: he's sent in her final restitution check, which means she no longer owes the government a single dime. Hooray! Watching Teresa tear up as she records the dedications to her daughters is slightly heartbreaking as she reflects on the time with them her prison sentence took away. Two hours later, she heads to an editorial meeting where the publishers reveal the memoir's cover for the first time. Just like in her tagline this season, Teresa explains that the title of her book, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again, is a cheeky reference to just how far she's come since her iconic Season 1 table flip.

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Meanwhile, Jacqueline Laurita meets Siggy Flicker for lunch, where the topics at hand include the struggles of parenting and, of course, Teresa. As a newbie to the Jersey crew, Siggy was happy to hit it off with Tre while they planned Dolores Catania's birthday party while Jac remains cautiously optimistic that this new chapter with her old BFF will stick. However, as a professional relationship expert, the Sig is also concerned with the constant stream of tabloid articles that have come out in the wake of Teresa's release claiming that she and Joe are splitting up. Considering her career, Siggy feels qualified to help quell the rumors, but Jacqueline warns her that Teresa may not appreciate being questioned about anything in the tabloids (as she clearly knows from experience). Yet, Siggy's already set up a date to go rock climbing with Teresa and Dolores, so there's no stopping the rookie now. 

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So, while Melissa takes another stab at rallying Joe's support, Siggy brings her daughter Sophie to meet Teresa, Gabriella, Dolores and her daughter Gabby at the climbing gym. While the kids race to the top of the wall, Siggy puts on her relationship expert hat, comes right out and addresses the tabloid rumors to Teresa. The Sig explains that Tre can always come to her for an opinion or advice entirely free of bias and, shockingly, the OG actually reacts well. Laughing, she informs the newbie that she and Joe's relationship is stronger than ever and the stories circulating in the media are just a bunch of lies. See, Teresa 2.0 really is a different person than she was before going away...

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The time has arrived for the opening party at Envy by Melissa Gorga! The entire gang turns out for Melissa's big night, including Friends of the Housewives Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri, Jacqueline's daughter Ashlee Holmes and Teresa even brought Gia instead of Juicy Joe. The champagne is flowing and everything seems copacetic when Chris Laurita approaches Teresa to say hello for the first time in years. Jacqueline's husband is particularly disappointed that his old buddy Joe Giudice didn't come to the party, but Tre informs him that Juicy is off celebrating his grandmother's 82nd birthday instead. Chris suggests that the Giudices come over for dinner soon to catch up and it looks like things really may be going back to old times between the two couples, despite Ashlee's suspicions that Teresa 2.0 is merely a "publicity stunt" meant to restore the OG's reputation following her prison stay. 

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In the midst of the shopping, Melissa gathers everyone to deliver a speech, thanking her family and friends for coming to the opening and always supporting her in her various business endeavors. (She even makes a point to specifically say how happy she is Teresa could be there along with her two sisters, which is proof of the progress made in the Giudice/Gorga clan.) After the whole room raises a glass and toasts to Melissa's success, Joe pulls his wife aside and rather sweetly tells her how proud he actually is and that - despite his constant grumblings about the boutique - there's truly no better wife and mother for their family. This doesn't exactly make up for the episodes-long grief he put Melissa through about opening her store, but it's definitely a start.

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The day after the grand opening, Teresa spends time at home with Joe, and even manages to coax her husband into doing yoga with her. Via confessional, she explains that her new passion for yoga is what got her through her prison sentence, so she's hoping it can provide similar benefits to Joe as he prepares to go away to Fort Dix. However, with all the tabloid gossip once again intruding on their lives, the rumors are also on Teresa's mind. Point blank, she reminds her husband that if he did ever cheat on her while she was away, there would be no forgiveness. Namaste Teresa only goes so far, and that most definitely does not include infidelity. Juicy Joe grunts his confirmation that he understands, but while this type of gossip in the press could've maybe had more credibility a few years ago (that infamous call during the Napa trip, anyone?), it seems that these days, the Giudices' relationship is more unbreakable than ever.

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Should Joe Gorga be more supportive of Melissa's boutique? Were you impressed with how Teresa handled Siggy asking about the tabloids? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!