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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: rosie pierri

RHONJ Season 7 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

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

WHY IT WORKED

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

WHAT COULD CHANGE

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

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

Photo Credit: Instagram @daniellestaub

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

SEASON RANKINGS

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

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

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 10 - Cut the Cancer Out

Glenn Rowley

kathy-wakile-rhonj

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...

ashlee-holmes-engaged

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.

teresa-giudice-rhonj-season-7

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

teresa-giudice-book

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 4 - A Life to Envy

Glenn Rowley

melissa-gorga-envy

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...

joe-gorga-rhonj

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 3 - Leopard Is the New Black

Glenn Rowley

dolores-catania-rhonj

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!

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!