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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: family

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 3 - Leopard Is the New Black

Glenn Rowley

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This week, The Real Housewives of New Jersey is all about Dolores as the newest 'Wife celebrates her birthday in true Jersey style with a leopard-themed party. Plus, Teresa and Jacqueline finally come face-to-face for the first time in years and Siggy's back after disappearing last week! Read on for my complete recap...

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It's only been roughly a week since Teresa Giudice's release from Danbury and she's still on home confinement, being constantly monitored by an ankle bracelet. As part of her home confinement, Tre has to always ask permission to leave the house, meaning she can't so much as walk her girls to the school bus in the morning. So, if anyone wants face time with the OG, they have to come to her, which is precisely what Jacqueline Laurita's decided to do. Showing up on Teresa's doorstep with two coffees, Jac takes her old frenemy completely by surprise. This is the first time the two OGs have seen each other since before Teresa went away - possibly even since the Season 5 reunion - and it's understandably a bit awkward at first. After the combination of Teresa's note from Danbury and her New Year's Eve phone call, Jacqueline doesn't quite know what to think and she needs answers. Referencing their Season 5 trip to Arizona, Jac reminds Teresa that they had the option of one of two paths: civil acquaintances or rebuilding their close friendship. At the time, Jacqueline thought they would repair and move forward, but that didn't exactly happen during Season 6. Teresa admits that she used to be unwilling to forgive, but her time at Danbury made her reevaluate her priorities and she wants a new beginning with her former BFF. This is music to Jacqueline's ears, and as the two tearfully hug it seems that Lucy and Ethel are finally back together!

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Meanwhile, Melissa Gorga is busy purchasing inventory for her new boutique at Place Showroom. In her quest to become a modern Italian woman, Melissa wants all the pieces at Envy by Melissa Gorga to represent her closet. However, her business partner Jackie has rather strong opinions about appealing to customers outside of Melissa's core demographic and warns her not to fill the store with only bandage dresses and cute rompers. But, if Jackie's going to make Melissa operate under a strict budget (a word she's never liked using), she's not about to sell a single item of clothing in her store that she doesn't personally love. Melissa is woman, hear her roar!

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After her sit-down with Teresa, Jacqueline stops by Dolores Catania' s house, where Siggy Flicker's already busy dreaming up a whole bunch of renovations. (Side note: after she was nowhere to be found in last week's episode, I'm overjoyed that Siggy is back and she's been enlisted her to help Teresa plan a birthday party for Dolores.) After popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, Jacqueline anxiously fills the newbies in on her conversation with Teresa. The two rookies are overjoyed to hear that Jac and Tre are going to attempt, once again, to rebuild their friendship and Dolores is particularly relieved that her birthday party won't turn into a war zone between the OGs.

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The next day, while Melissa drops by Teresa's house to vent about Joe Gorga's refusal to help her with the kids while she gets the boutique up and running, we finally get to learn more about Dolores' family and home life. She may have broken the old-school mold by getting divorced, but it turns out that Dolores is still incredibly close to her ex-husband Frank. So close, in fact, that he lives just down the street so he can help Dolores co-parent their two kids, Gabby, 20 and Frankie, 17. Over the years, Dolores and Frank have remained best friends, but she makes it clear in her confessional that they'll (in the famous words of Taylor Swift) never, ever, ever be getting back together. But God bless them for creating the perfection known as Frankie Catania and his abs. 

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On her way to meet Teresa for the first time, we also get more background on Dolores' fellow newbie Siggy. As she puts it in her confessional, when The Sig enters a room, the party begins. And boy do I believe that. The first-ever Jewish Housewife in New Jersey, Siggy was born in Jerusalem and is a well-known relationship expert and matchmaker. In addition to writing the book Write Your Own Fairy Tale: The New Rules for Dating Relationships and Finding Love on Your Terms, Sig also co-hosts the podcast Just Sayin' with Jersey Shore alum Sammi Sweetheart and has doled out relationship advice on every national talk show from The Wendy Williams Show to Kathy Lee Griffin and Hoda Kotb's hour of The Today Show. Meeting Teresa, Siggy is warm and welcoming, and the OG immediately takes a liking to her. The two 'Wives select the perfect, cozy room as the venue for Dolores' party and settle - naturally - on a leopard theme for the big day. I mean, is it really a true Jersey party if there's isn't any leopard print?

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The following day, it's time to celebrate Dolores, and even her 102-year-old grandmother is dressed in leopard print for the occasion! Dolores is positively radiant in a red dress and all the 'Wives are there, but things get off to a bit of an awkward start when Teresa's cousins Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri show up in their best accents of animal print. Since her release from Danbury, the OG has mended fences with both Melissa and Jacqueline, but relationship with her cousins remains strained at best. In fact, the two Friends of the Housewives are even relegated to a completely separate table from the rest of the women as Teresa toasts to friendships and the walking perfection known as Dolores Catania. 

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Siggy gets the party started by opening up the floor for funny stories about Dolores and with the sangria flowing, it's nice to see all the ladies laughing and getting along. Melissa recounts how Joe Gorga always had a giant crush on Dolores growing up with Kathy and Rosie acting it out, and Tre even regales the room with a hilarious story about all the girl-on-girl action that happened at Danbury. Eventually, Melissa asks Teresa and Jacqueline how they feel about their latest reconciliation and both OGs agree that they're getting reacquainted with each other. Unlike her own familial relationship with Teresa, Melissa points out that it speaks volumes about how important Tre and Jacqueline are too each other since they technically don't have to be friends. Things between the BFFs are slowly getting back to "normal" and no one wants the peace to end anytime soon.

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After Dolores blows out the sparkly candles on her leopard-print cake, the party winds to a close and Melissa is completely wasted. Under the influence of alcohol, the veteran 'Wife becomes her own spirit animal, known as Melissa Motherf---ing Gorga, and Teresa's tasked with the role of designated driver to get her party animal sister-in-law home. Meanwhile, Dolores jumps into a limo with Siggy and Jacqueline to keep the birthday shenanigans going, and as the episode ends I'm struck with a shocking realization: we're ending yet another episode of RHONJ on a completely happy note! How long will this last?

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Do you adore Dolores as much as I do?Is Teresa justified in her feelings towards Kathy and Rosie? How great is drunk Melissa? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 3 - Lies in the Air, Sand in My Hair

Glenn Rowley

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This week, The Real Housewives of Orange County gather for a beach party thrown by newbie Kelly, where Vicki and Tamra attempt to hash out last season's drama once and for all. Can the OG truly make amends with her one-time soulmate and sister? Plus, Meghan starts IVF and Heather finds the world's fanciest kind of ice. Read on for my full recap of the drama...

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We begin this week's episode in Oklahoma of all places, or as Vicki Gunvalson referred to it in Season 9, "the forgotten state." Her daughter Briana is finally moving back to the OC, so Vicki's flown out to help her road trip back with grandsons Troy and Owen. (Briana's husband Ryan is still employed by the Marine Corps, so he's staying behind temporarily to put the house on the market and move everything.) The reasons for Briana's return to Orange County are twofold: first for better medical care with her team of doctors in California and second because Vicki bought the young family a new house. Always the level-headed voice of wisdom on the show, Briana has struggled with her health for years - battling a cancer scare in Season 7, having lymph nodes and her thyroid removed and now healing from an infection in her leg as the result of a surgical complication. She's on strict doctor's orders not to fly, which means she and Vicki are in for a 23-hour road trip from Oklahoma to Orange County with two toddlers and a car full of luggage. Still recovering from surgery, the long drive is no walk in the park for poor Briana, who spends much of the excruciating trip in pain. Thank goodness the OG of the OC was there to help lighten the mood and play grandma to the boys.

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Back in the OC, Meghan King Edmonds is officially begin her IVF treatments. Since her husband Jimmy is off in Florida for MLB spring training, Meghan's creating a video diary to document her first round of shots for him. (Though I suspect it's really just a clever way to get the footage for viewers rather than for Jimmy.) Apparently, IVF involves a series of shots that have to be injected every day to help the ovaries grow, which doesn't exactly gel well with Meghan's deathly fear of needles. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a syringe in hand, it takes the mom-to-be roughly 11 minutes of psyching herself up before she's able to give herself the shot. It's a small, personal victory that brings Meghan to tears, but it's also the first of many to come, so she might as well get used to overcoming this particular phobia. 

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That night, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge meet newbie Kelly Dodd for dinner at Casa Ranchero. The meal is a chance for the veteran 'Wives to get to know Kelly a bit better, especially considering that the initial impressions she made at Heather's yacht party and Meghan's kitchen demolition have been a mixed bag at best. However, Tamra almost immediately puts the newbie on the spot by forcing her to tell Heather she had lunch with Vicki. Oh boy. This is not the best way to get on the rest of the 'Wives' good side Kelly. Once again, the other ladies air their grievances about the OG, trying to give the rookie some context about why they feel the way they do, but to no avail. Really though, Kelly would be better off staying out of last season's fray, no matter how much she sees herself in Vicki. In other news, Heather also informs the women about the upcoming party to celebrate the launch of her and Terry's book, but Kelly interrupts to invite them all to a beach party at her house. So the beach party comes first, I guess...

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While Vicki is playing supergrandma for Briana - who's been admitted to the hospital - Tamra's training for her fitness competition at CUT Fitness with Mia, her personal trainer/unofficial priest/spiritual mentor. Tamra explains that with so much chaos going on in her life, the fitness competition gives her something she can actually be relatively in control of. She's still concerned about the relationship drama between her son Ryan and his fiancé Sarah, but Mia reminds her to pray and give it all up to God because remember Tammy Sue's still a Christian now. (Side note - am I the only one who just can't help but wonder what Alexis Bellino thinks of it every time Tamra brings up Jesus on the show?)

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Meanwhile, Heather's still busy singlehandedly overseeing the construction of the Dubrow Chateau. The house still isn't finished, but she's finally getting to shop for the fun things, like $7,300 pizza ovens for the backyard and a 54-inch grill that her chef can use - Terry doesn't flip burgers. Most importantly, Heather's making the final decisions on which shapes of ice each refrigerator and ice machine will produce throughout the house and settles on fancy hexagonal ice for the subzero freezer. Who knew there were so many options for ice? I mean, hexagonal ice is apparently jewelry for your glass!

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It's beach party time! All the ladies descend on the beach that basically serves as Kelly's backyard for an evening of food, fun and a little bit of volleyball. As the hostess, Kelly has thought of every single detail and I must say, the party looks gorgeous and relaxing. Heather's sporting a "Brunettes vs. Blondes" t-shirt while Shannon arrives in full beast mode, ready to crush the competition in any game the gang is going to play. But of course, all eyes are on Vicki as she waltzes into the party, the last to arrive. Heather's the first to make conversation with the OG, asking her for an update on Briana's health now that she's been released from the hospital, but Shannon avoids Vicki like the plague - adamant that she has nothing to say to her former buddy.

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As the golden hour approaches, Vicki and Tamra find themselves alone and sit down for a much-needed heart-to-heart. Vicki opens up to her longtime BFF that she's still trying to heal and move on from the "sh--storm" that was last year, but admits that she misses having the other 'Wives in her life. Tamra bluntly counters that she still doesn't believe there was any possible way Vicki couldn't have known Brooks was faking cancer. Yet, Vicki continues to maintain that she was innocent in the cancer scandal and Brooks pulled the wool over her eyes just like he lied to the rest of the world. Tamra points out that she thinks Vicki lied because she wanted everyone to like Brooks and feel bad for him - specifically citing the OG's admission at the Season 10 reunion that she fabricated the story about Terry Dubrow and the IV. However, Vicki still claims she was simply blinded by love and this conversation is turning into a never-ending hamster wheel. Please, can we just get off yet?

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Tamra presses Vicki to just be honest, and questions why - out of all the other 'Wives - she would ever choose Brooks over her best friend. There's way too much blame shifting going on, but eventually an overwhelmed Vicki starts breaking down in tears and admits that Tamra is right. She meekly, tearfully asks whether Tamra can forgive her, and making the decision as a good Christian, Tamra says she can. The episode ends with Tamra encouraging Vicki to continue trying to make amends with her friends no matter how hard it may be. And with that, we're slapped with a "To Be Continued" and will have to wait until next week to find out what happens next...

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Should Tamra forgive Vicki? Is Kelly wrong for getting involved in last season's drama or is she just trying to integrate herself into the group? Do I need hexagonal ice in my fridge now? Let me know in the comments!

RHONJ Season 7 Premiere - Jingle Bells and Prison Cells

Glenn Rowley

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Jersey is back! After what seems like a million years away, it's finally time for Season 7 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Teresa is home from prison, Melissa is becoming a modern woman and Jacqueline is back as a full-time Housewife. Plus, newbies Dolores and Siggy join the show! Read on for my full recap of the season premiere we've all been waiting for...

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The premiere starts in the early hours of December 23, 2015, the day Teresa Giudice was released from Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. As flashbacks of past seasons play on the screen, Teresa's long nightmare is finally over  After making the long-awaited drive back to her home in Franklin Lakes, Tre walks through door and just as we hear Joe Giudice say "Hi honey, welcome home"...we rewind to two weeks prior. Such a tease! Before we see Teresa's homecoming, we get to catch up on what her fellow 'Wives have been up to since Season 6 ended way back in 2014. First up is Melissa Gorga, who's becoming a modern woman by opening up a clothing boutique of her very own, Envy by Melissa Gorga. To turn the boutique into a reality, Melissa's found a business partner and invested all her own money - the only way Joe Gorga is helping is as a hired contractor to renovate the space. Teresa's brother isn't exactly fond of his wife's new business venture, complaining that it takes away from Melissa's job as a full-time wife and mother. However, Melissa is determined to make the two worlds work - she is woman, hear her roar!

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Next we get an update on Jacqueline Laurita, who's back after spending Season 6 as a last-minute, part-time Friend of the Housewives. Ever the vigilant mother, the OG's focus remains on her family - particularly youngest son Nicholas and his journey with autism. Nick has continued to improve since he was diagnosed back in Season 4, and has reached the point where, though he's not speaking conversationally, he can say phrases like "I love you" all the time. Jac's oldest daughter Ashlee has also moved back home to New Jersey temporarily, so the Lauritas are all under one roof for the holidays. 

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We're introduced to new 'Wives Dolores Catania and Siggy Flicker through Jacqueline as well. Dolores has been friends with the original Jersey 'Wives for decades. In fact, she goes back with Jacqueline, Teresa, Dina and Caroline more than 20 years, so she seems like a completely perfect fit. We've even seen glimpses of her in the early seasons of the show (like the gang's trip to the Catskills back in Season 3). She and Jacqueline arrive for lunch at a dimly-lit speakeasy and Siggy shows up with her entire head wrapped in bandages because...she just got a facelift! Talk about possibly the most iconic intro in Housewives history! I could not get over how hilarious the relationship Siggy is, whether she was sipping her lobster bisque through a straw or trying to figure out how to get in the restaurant's secret door via bookshelf. And she adds a new dynamic to the Jersey franchise as well - as an Israeli Jew born in a Jerusalem bomb shelter during the Six-Day War, The Sig is the first non-Italian Housewife in RHONJ history. All I know is I love these two ladies already.

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The Gorgas are planning to host the traditional Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve at their house with family. Since it will be the day after Teresa's release, the OG will have to get special permission from her probation officer to go celebrate with them per the rules of her home confinement. In the past year, things have been great between Melissa and her in-laws, so she's understandably a bit wary about her sister-in-law re-entering the picture - particularly considering that she hasn't spoken to or seen Teresa since the latter went away to Danbury. It's going to be a fragile situation, but everyone is hoping for the best when Teresa comes out, and want to just be one happy family again. 

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As Joe Giudice and the four girls prep the house for Teresa's return, the Lauritas are planning a holiday party at their house for all the 'Wives both past and present. However, Jacqueline is feeling more confused than festive ever since Teresa's attorney sent her a note from her former BFF from prison. Mockingly imitating Tre's voice, Jac reads the note aloud to Chris. While what Teresa wrote is light and friendly, Jacqueline can't help but throw in a few digs at her expense - even questioning Teresa's motivations behind sending the note in the first place. And yet, in the very next breath, Jacqueline is lamenting her broken friendship with the OG, and saying how much she wants their old dynamic back. Flashbacks from Seasons 4 and 5 roll across the screen as we're reminded of just how bad the pair's feud got at its peak as Jacqueline explains that they never quite recovered from the fallout, despite their attempts following the trip to the healing retreat in Arizona back in Season 5. At this point, can this friendship ever be salvaged? 

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The night of the party arrives, and while Teresa's attorney heads to Danbury to pick her up, Melissa and Joe head over to the celebration at Jacqueline's house. Along with Dolores and her family, the party is filled with plenty of familiar faces, including Teresa's cousins Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri (who are both official Friends of the Housewives this season). Still preoccupied by Teresa's note, Jacqueline pulls Melissa aside to question her about it. Keep in mind, the most amusing part of this exchange is that Tre sent Melissa a note too, but the latter didn't feel the need to let it consume her or even mention it to Jac...As Joe Gorga chats with Dolores's very attractive son Frankie, Jacqueline openly wonders what has changed for her to think that Teresa reaching out is sincere this time around. Melissa empathizes with the situation, but Jacqueline concludes on her own that she'll really know how she feels once she actually sees Teresa for the first time. All everyone can hope for is peace on Earth and good will toward Housewives...right?

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Making a fashionably late entrance, Siggy arrives with a "happy holidays everybody!" and thankfully, her face is finally showing signs of movement. After commiserating over the agony of facelifts, the subject of Teresa's impending release is brought up and Dolores explains via confessional that Tre was like every other girl who grew up in her neighborhood - with strict Italian parents and always following the rules, until one day she had to tell her mom and dad that she was going to prison for a year. How could something like this happen? As the party winds down, Jacqueline gathers everyone for one last toast, wishing everyone a merry Christmas and tearfully reminding the Gorgas to enjoy their holiday with Teresa finally home.

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Four hours later, the day of Teresa's freedom arrives and we're back where the episode began. After the long drive from Connecticut, avoiding eager paparazzi the whole way, Teresa is home. She walks through the door to be greeted by Joe before all four girls nearly tackle the mom they've only been able to visit once a week for the past year with screams of pure joy. As little Audriana jumps into Teresa's arms, I'm already sobbing and tears continue to stream down my face as Teresa breaks down at the homecoming she's waited eleven and a half months to experience. You guys. I can't even begin to imagine how this day felt for Teresa, Joe and especially those four little girls. I'm getting teary again just thinking about it. 

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The premiere ends with Teresa reveling in simply being back with her family. After enduring an endless nightmare since 2014, Teresa expresses in her confessional that she's finally made it. It's over. She explains that her naivete was really what landed her in prison, and she won't be making the same mistake twice. Teresa is back, and ready for a new chapter that will be better than ever. I couldn't be happier for her, or for the season ahead.

What did you think of the premiere? Was Teresa's homecoming as emotional for you as it was for me? Are you happy Jacqueline is back full-time? What's your first impression of Dolores and Siggy? Tell me in the comments below!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 2 - Making Friends But Not Amends

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of Orange County, the new girl cozies up to Vicki but makes a strong second impression on the other girls at Meghan's demolition party. Plus, Heather jets off to Turks and Caicos for some much-needed family time with Terry and the kids. Read on for my full recap of this week's drama...

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The episode picks up right where the premiere left off: in the midst of Vicki Gunvalson's conversation with Heather Dubrow at the latter's yacht party. Vicki asks Heather for forgiveness regarding Brooks Ayers's fake cancer scam last season and just wants to be friends again, but Fancy Pants isn't letting her off the hook that easily. Heather rightfully points out that she doesn't care what the OG's ex-boyfriend did, she only cares about Vicki's involvement in the lies. Vicki still stands by her claim that Brooks lied and pulled the wool over her eyes as well, though none of her fellow Housewives believe that story. However, Heather graciously ends the conversation by reiterating that she cares about Vicki and advises her to talk to each of the girls to individually make amends. What the other 'Wives do with Vicki's olive branch is up to them. The OG bursts into tears on the way home, telling former Housewife Jeana Keough that she just doesn't want to talk about it anymore. No more Brooks. No more cancer. No more medical records. Can't everyone just leave the whole mess in the past and let her try to be happy again?

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The next morning, while newbie Kelly Dodd engages in the classic mother/daughter warfare of getting Jolie to school and Heather's packing for the Dubrow family's trip to Turks and Caicos, Tamra Judge is dealing with her own family drama. It turns out that things aren't all sunshine and romance for her son Ryan Vieth and his fiancé Sarah Rodriguez. In fact, the fighting has gotten so bad that Ryan's moved out to an apartment while Sarah continues living in the house Tamra spent $8000 on last season with the four girls. Ryan explains to his mom that most of their fights revolve around petty issues like Facebook and Instagram, but truthfully I'm too busy staring at his incredible beard to focus on all the details. Of course, Tamra's husband Eddie is less than pleased to learn that his wife is starting to get involved in Ryan and Sarah's drama and demands she stay out of it. Any bets that Tamra will do what Eddie said and take a step back from the family drama? Didn't think so...

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Apparently it's February in Orange County, because Shannon Beador and her husband David are celebrating Valentine's Day at The Ritz. Watching the couple during dinner, it's clear that the Beadors' marriage has come so far in the wake of David's affair. However, David's still not quite the perfect husband, as evidenced by Shannon unwrapping her Valentine's Day gift from him. Upon seeing the slightly garish pearl necklace, Shannon's face freezes into a deer-in-headlights smile as she assures David that she loves it. (According to her confessional, David has a long history of picking out gifts that his wife would never buy herself and this seems to be an extreme instance to add to the list.) But hey, at least Shannon continues to wear the necklace she so clearly hates through the rest of dinner. And that, folks, is what true love's about...When the yacht party comes up, Shannon makes it clear that she has nothing to say to Vicki - she has no intention whatsoever of rebuilding any sort of friendship with the OG after last year's cancer scam. According to Shannon, forgiveness means moving on, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to go back to being BFFs.

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While Vicki hosts a Chamber of Commerce mixer at Coto Insurance back in the OC, Heather's soaking up family time in the Turks and Caicos sunshine. Their trip to the Beaches resort looks like a total dream, and includes a full-service butler named Ainsworth for the length of their stay. This family vacation is particularly important to Heather, who explains in her confessional that Terry says yes to so many things when it comes to work that he barely ever spends time with the kids anymore. Heather laments that her husband is missing the kids growing up, but in his own confessional Terry sheepishly admits that he doesn't actually feel all that bad about working so much. He's more creatively and professionally fulfilled than ever. Plus, someone has to pay for the Dubrow Chateau, right? Ouch. I guarantee that's not what Heather was hoping to hear when she watched this episode back to write her Bravo blog.

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Despite Meghan King Edmonds' warning at the yacht party, Kelly decides to cozy up to Vicki by asking the OG to lunch. Vicki's "whoop it up" radar goes off when it comes to the new girl, and the two women immediately bond over their love of having fun and the fact that they share a height and a shoe size. Vicki also opens up about her love life, lamenting that she's been alone for seven months since she broke up with Brooks. However, Briana and the boys are moving back to Orange County from Oklahoma soon, so she won't be alone for long. I for one find it hilarious that Kelly pretends not to know anything about Vicki's relationship with Brooks, considering that last season's scandal made national headlines all over the internet. Give me a break. My mom even knows what happened with Brooks and she's never seen a single episode of any show in the franchise.

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As an excuse to get together, Meghan invites Shannon, Tamra and Kelly over to help demolish her new kitchen. Shannon arrives as her lesbian alter ego, Deb the Contractor and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Please, please, please let us see more of Deb this season. Donning hard hats and googles, the ladies take turns putting hammers through the walls and sawing two-by-fours and part of me is shocked that no one cut off a finger. Retiring to the sitting room for some champagne in red Solo cups, Kelly reveals to her new friends that she went to lunch with Vicki the day before. Naturally, this is met with wide-eyed stares and awkward silence from the veteran ladies, who are less than pleased that the newbie is deliberately choosing to befriend the one 'Wife on the outs. Then, Kelly takes it a step further by claiming she thought the other 'Wives were "mean" to Vicki at the yacht party. Whoa, Kelly. Slow your roll. Shannon and Tamra curtly remind the new girl that she wasn't around last year, so she has no context for the group's current dynamic and should really stay out of it. This is not a great second impression for the new girl on the block.

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It gets worse. After telling Shannon she found her to be standoffish at the yacht party, she manages to make Tamra cry by asking about her relationship with ex-husband Simon. This naturally turns the conversation to Tamra's estranged relationship with her oldest daughter, whom she hasn't seen or had any contact with in two years. Tears start to fall as Tamra expresses her fear that she won't be invited to her daughter's high school graduation, and now Kelly's feeling awkward because everyone hates her. Oops. In an attempt to redirect the conversation, Kelly reveals that she and her husband Michael filed for divorce and were separated for two years, but eventually decided to get back together. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, Kelly then drops the bombshell that her husband has  a narcissistic personality disorder, which he discovered after undergoing a 730 psychiatric evaluation. As for whether she loves her husband, Kelly merely responds that he's "a really nice person." Hmm...not sure what you're going for here Kelly, but you're leaving quite an unforgettable impression in just a couple of episodes. What could the new girl possibly do next week?

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Should the 'Wives just forgive Vicki already and move on? Is Kelly setting herself up as a lightning rod or what? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOD Season 1 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

After just 10 episodes and a one-part reunion, Season 1 of The Real Housewives of Dallas is in the rear-view mirror. Bravo has yet to announce whether the Texas ladies will be back for a second season, so for this week's feature I'm breaking down what made the first year in Dallas great and what needs to change if it comes back next year for Season 2.

WHY IT WORKED

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  • The Dallas difference: In order for any city in the Housewives franchise to stand out, it has to add its own unique flavor to the legacy of the cities that have come before it. Texas was certainly new territory for the mostly-coastal Housewives universe, and the new perspective it offered had both positive and negative elements. While the ladies' emphasis on the "Dallas charity world" seemed like overkill to some fans, I personally liked that philanthropy played such a key role in establishing the show's identity. From Mad Hatter's to the Grace Project Conference, the many charity events featured on-camera gave the Housewives ample opportunity to interact and engage while using the limelight to do some good. Plus, who didn't love watching the women argue over petty grievances like their social status and standing in the charity world?
  • Old-school OC vibes: When Andy Cohen announced that we'd be getting two new Housewives franchises this year, he assured us that they reminded him of early seasons in Orange County and New York City. And while the Potomac 'Wives gave off echoes of Manhattan, the ladies of RHOD were brimming over with shades of vintage OC. Dallas reminded me of the flagship series in the franchise because, at its heart, it was all about these women and their families. Whether Tiffany Hendra was trying to persuade her rocker husband and his perfect hair to move to Dallas permanently or Stephanie Hollman was visiting her hometown of Coweta, Oklahoma, family came first for the Dallas Wives...just like it does in the OC. In particular, Brandi Redmond's tumultuous family life was the source of endless fodder for the cameras. From the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader's marital strife with her checked-out husband Bryan to watching her cope with her brother's PTSD-related suicide attempt and meeting her estranged grandfather for the first time, Brandi let us completely into her world. Talk about shaking all the skeletons out of the family tree...
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  • LeeAnne Locken, carny queen: Whether you love her or love to hate her, there's no doubt that the fiery queen bee of Dallas simply made the show this season. LeeAnne's journey from a childhood spent on the carnival circuit to becoming a self-made socialite through sheer grit and determination of will was Housewives gold in terms of backstory. And if you don't believe me, consider this: over the course of a single season, she managed to feud with literally every other member of the cast - including an epic curbside shoving match with her BFF Tiffany where one of Bravo's cameras became collateral damage and threatening to gut Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes "carny-style" on the cast trip to Austin. Every show in the franchise needs a breakout star, and while she's nothing like Bethenny Frankel or Teresa Giudice, LeeAnne is the bright pink blush-wearing OG-in-the-making that Dallas never even knew it needed. 

WHAT COULD CHANGE

  • No more poop jokes: While getting a peek into the Dallas charity world was a positively unique thing RHOD added to the franchise, the cast's preoccupation with poop, farts and juvenile humor made the show stand out for all the wrong reasons. When Brandi brought up the first poop joke in the series premiere, I was hoping the immature humor was a fluke, but I was unfortunately very wrong - not a single episode went by without some mention of fecal matter. Even more frustrating was the fact that a number of the season's major plot points revolved around some form of poop. From the scandal of Brandi's poop-themed hat at Mad Hatter's to the humiliation of LeeAnne's poop story from 15 years ago becoming common knowledge on the trip to Austin, we literally couldn't get away from the disgusting subject. Quite frankly, every mention of it was just gross and in poor taste. If the show gets a second season, any and all potty humor or poop talk needs to be banned by production. 
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  • Step up the reunion, please: I was honestly shocked when, after everything that had occurred over the preceding 10 episodes, Bravo chose to make the Season 1 reunion just a single episode. Yes, they claimed it was "supersized" by adding an additional 15 minutes to the hour, I find it hard to believe that after an entire day of filming, Bravo's cameras only got enough footage to justify a one-part reunion. Whether the 'Wives simply didn't engage enough on the couches or it was a choice made by production, the reunion needs to be at least two parts next season. Hear that ladies? Get ready to bring it for Season 2.
  • Cast shake-ups: Tweaking the lineup is an inevitability in the Housewives universe, and in the case of RHOD, it's an exercise the show could benefit from if it gets a chance at a second season. It's no secret that the Texas franchise had significantly lower ratings than any of the other Housewives cities including fellow newbie Potomac (and even its lead-in Southern Charm), so production would be wise to shake things up and perfect the Dallas recipe. In theory, the idea of two sets of BFFs - LeeAnne/Tiffany and Brandi/Stephanie - held significant promise, but didn't pan out quite as explosively as I suspect Bravo was hoping it would. In fact, while Brandi started out the season as the primary foil to LeeAnne's intensity, Cary Deuber ended up being the dark horse who became LeeAnne's only formidable foe by season's end. First and foremost, if the show gets a Season 2, Marie needs to be upgraded to full-time status. And if someone has to be cut loose, my vote would be to lose Brandi. Not only would that solve half of the poop problem mentioned above, but Brandi's admitted on Twitter that she's not even sure she has it in her to do another season. Therefore, my ideal cast for Season 2 would be for LeeAnne, Cary, Tiffany, Stephanie and Marie to return along with a brand new sixth Housewife. If they need a Friend of the Housewives to round out the group, I'd nominate Heidi Dillon, who made a few controversial appearances this season. Any way casting shakes out, the show would benefit from growing in a different direction and upping the overall glamour, wealth and luxury to get on par with the rest of the cities in the franchise. 

OVERALL GRADE

Since I don't have any other seasons of RHOD to rank Season 1 against, I'm going to give it an overall grade of B-. While the Dallas 'Wives gave us some entertaining moments over their first 11 episodes, the show didn't quite live up to fans' expectations or its own potential. There's significant room for improvement if Bravo decides to give the Dallas franchise a Season 2. Until we find out, don't forget that if you associate yourself with garbage, your charity world will go down in flames. Bow at me!