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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: joe gorga

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 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!

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 2 - A Very Hairy Christmas

Glenn Rowley

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It's the holiday season on this week's The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but not everyone is feeling very festive. Teresa attempts to mend fences with both Melissa and Jacqueline, but only one of her fellow 'Wives is feeling the spirit of the season. Plus, we learn more about Dolores's life before Housewives and Siggy is nowhere to be found. Read on for a full recap of the drama...

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Since we didn't get to see it in the premiere, let's analyze the new intro and taglines before jumping into this week's episode, shall we? My vote for best tagline of the bunch goes to Teresa Giudice for "I used to flip tables. Now, I'm turning them." Not only does it reference the iconic Season 1 table flip that cemented the OG's place in Housewives history, it also rather cleverly ties in the title of her new memoir and tells us we're dealing with Teresa 2.0 this season. Quick thought on the others: Melissa's is great, if a bit on the nose regarding her storyline of becoming a modern Italian woman. Newbie Dolores Catania's is classic Jersey - she'll fit into the show's modus operandi like her last name was Manzo. Fellow rookie Siggy Flicker elevates her line through delivery alone. She may be "too much," but I'm sensing a star being born. Lastly, fans should be happy Jacqueline Laurita is back full-time after spending last season relegated to part-time Friend of the Housewives status, but her tagline is easily the worst of the bunch. It's never a great sign when a Housewife's tagline is clearly targeted at someone else on the show - it rubs me the wrong way and just proves her critics' assertion that she's obsessed with Tre. (Also, it's weirdly aggressive and threatening, which makes me even less of a fan...)

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Now, on to the episode. It's the morning of Teresa's release from Danbury. As the other 'Wives watch via smartphone and laptop, Tre's lawyer James Leonard, Jr. holds an impromptu press conference in the Giudices' driveway - wishing the gaggle of reporters a happy holiday and sending everyone on home. The moment has Jacqueline all sorts of mixed up - one second she's wiping away tears thinking about how happy Tre must be to be home and the next she's making digs about the brand new Lexus in the Giudice's driveway. Wise as a sage, Dolores sees right through Jac's facade and calls out the real, emotional reaction she's having. Jacqueline can't deny the history she has with Teresa, admitting that while she's been upset with her former BFF, she's never stopped loving her. Now that Teresa's reached out, Jac doesn't know what will happen next between the pair...

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It's the day of Christmas Eve and the Giudice house is still being swarmed by dozens of paparazzi. In her confessional, Teresa explains that all of her businesses essentially hit rock bottom when she went to prison and she needs to start bringing in the money again. To do this, she's given People Magazine an exclusive on her first few days home, including pictures of the morning of her release and the first Christmas photo of the entire family. After all, as Tre wisely points out, the price tag on her face will never be as high as it is right now. To avoid the photographers parked outside the house, Joe Gorga comes to the rescue - giving the entire family a ride to his house and covering Teresa with a coat to avoid any snooping flashbulbs as she makes her grand entrance through the Gorgas' garage. This is the first time Melissa's seen her sister-in-law in more than a year, and while she didn't quite know what to expect, Teresa immediately acts like nothing ever happened. Literally like she just got back from a year-long trip to the grocery store. The entire family sits down for Christmas Eve dinner and when Melissa goes to the kitchen, Teresa seizes the opening to talk one-on-one. 

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The OG opens the sisterly chat by reiterating how much she wants things to go back to the way they were when Melissa first married Joe. You know, those storied off-camera days when the Gorgas and Giudices apparently got along perfectly. Melissa agrees, but wants their relationship to finally...finally be real. In the past, she feels Tre has put a wall up and only tried to make their relationship copacetic on a surface level. Teresa counters that she was only guarded because she didn't feel like Melissa was being genuine and all of a sudden it feels like we're back on the hamster wheel of Seasons 3 and 4. But hold the phone. This is Teresa 2.0 and we're all going to be real, ok? The sisters-in-law eventually agree to not rehash the past and move forward with the promise that they'll always have each other's back. Sisters and best friends from here on out. Peace on earth, good will towards Housewives, it's a Christmas Eve miracle!

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Two days later, Dolores goes to therapy, where we finally get to learn a little more about the newbie's backstory. Turns out that Dolores divorced her husband way back when her now-20-year-old daughter Gabby was only three years old and she was nine months pregnant with Frankie, now 17 due to his cheating. For six years as a single mom, she worked as a cop, transporting prisoners from the cell block to the courtroom. Following the divorce, Dolores never remarried - going as far as to get engaged before breaking it off (due to what she refers to as her then-fiancé's "extracurricular activities"). Now, she's living back in the house she shared with her husband and is ready to rediscover and reinvent herself. After years of selflessly taking care of everyone around her, it's time for Dolores to put herself first for once.

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While Jacqueline banters with her daughter Ashlee about their respective sex lives (cringe), Joe Gorga takes the kids to visit Melissa at the construction site that is quickly becoming Envy by Melissa Gorga. However, while Joe may be remodeling the space, he's still not very enthusiastic about the project. Melissa maintains that Joe should step up to the plate if she needs extra help with the kids as she gets the boutique running, but he doesn't exactly appreciate being Mr. Mom. He throws out a dig about not signing up for a "part-time wife" when they got married, and thankfully Melissa puts a stop to that line of thinking right then and there. Joe may be old-school Italian, but Melissa is well on her way to becoming a 21st century housewife.

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Meanwhile, Dolores sees Teresa for the first time since her release from Danbury, and is taking the OG out for an afternoon of manicures. As Tre fills her old friend in on what life was like in prison, it's nice to see the easy, natural dynamic between the two and I'm struck again by how seamlessly Dolores fits into the show. After Teresa invites her over for New Year's Eve, the newbie reveals it's her birthday. Dolores may not love making herself the center of attention on her big day, but she sees Teresa's insistence at throwing her a party as a way to get all the ladies in the same place - Jacqueline included. Just call Dolores the friendship whisperer of RHONJ.

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New Year's Eve rolls around and it becomes quickly apparent there are two dueling parties with Teresa and Jacqueline as the respective hostesses. In the Giudice corner, we have Teresa, Juicy Joe Melissa and Joe plus the entire extended Gorga/Giudice clan. Well...not the entire extended family: over at the Laurita house, Jacqueline and Chris have invited Rosie Pierri and Kathy Wakile, Teresa's cousins and this season's official Friends of the Housewives, along with Kathy's Jeff Goldblum lookalike husband Richie. Then there's Dolores, who's left to ride the fence by juggling both parties. (Fellow newbie Siggy Flicker was in Boca over New Year's and is absent for the entire episode.) It's a slightly strange dynamic, which Jacqueline makes crystal clear when she asks point blank why the cousins aren't celebrating with Teresa and the rest of the family.

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Ever the peacemaker, Dolores hits Teresa's party for the first part of the evening, and helps Tre navigate the tricky waters of letting Gia go out with her friends for the night. When it comes time for her to head to Jacqueline's, Teresa decides to call up her former BFF to wish her a happy New Year and let her know Dolores is on her way. Tre is once again extending an olive branch but Jacqueline isn't sure what to make of it, and the conversation quickly turns awkward when Kathy and Rosie chime in from the background. Caught off guard, Teresa asks Jac to take the phone off speaker, but it's too late. The chat has soured. After hanging up, Jacqueline starts to spiral, describing the call as "cold" and "distant" and claiming it felt less than genuine. Once Dolores arrives, she questions the newbie about Tre's motivation behind the call and hesitantly brushes off the idea of rekindling their old friendship. Happy New Year?

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Was Teresa's attempt to make amends with Melissa sincere? Was the phone call with Jacqueline? Let me know in the comments below!

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!