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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: season premiere

RHOC Season 12 Premiere Recap - The Great Divide

Glenn Rowley

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The First Ladies of Bravo are back for Season 12 of The Real Housewives of Orange County! With a former Housewife returning and wounds from last season still fresh, the divide within the cast is deeper and more painful than ever before. Read on for a full recap on the ladies' lives and feuds...

A new season means a new intro and brand-new taglines! Compared to last season's positively life-giving bunch, this year's one-liners are a bit of a mixed bag, but my vote for best tagline goes to Lydia McLaughlin. Now, this may be a controversial choice but I can't think of anything better than "If you can't handle my sparkle, then stay off my rainbow" to describe the fairy-like returning Housewife otherwise known as the "friendship whisperer" of the OC.

Quick thoughts on the others: Shannon Beador has been on a roll with her taglines the past few seasons and this year's clever juxtaposition between organic truth and artificial lies is no exception. Tamra Judge's quip about being "pint-sized, baptized and highly prized" is easily my runner-up for best tagline and most likely to be the overall fan favorite. Meanwhile, new mom Meghan King Edmonds is typically no-nonsense as she accuses her cast mates of acting like "babies," but I'm distracted by being simultaneously in love with her floral-print dress and repulsed by her #MomLife trucker hat. Kelly Dodd's "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you" is nonsensical, which is right on brand for the second season troublemaker, while rookie Peggy Sulahian has basically plagiarized RHONY's Kelly Killoren Bensimon's original tagline and made it about sports cars...And then there's OG Vicki Gunvalson, who emphatically proclaims "I go big or go home, and I am not going home." Oh Vicki, please never go home. 

The premiere opens on Shannon, who's gained both a new dog and 40 pounds since we last saw her. Archie is a welcome addition; the weight is not. Shannon contributes the weight gain to stress surrounding the allegations Vicki made last season that Shannon's husband David was physically abusive. Tearing up in her confessional, Shannon reveals that David is back to being distant with her and as she explains that she's "embarrassed" of her body and doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, it's truly heartbreaking. However, Shannon has always been no holds barred about sharing her life on camera and this new struggle is just another layer of vulnerability and bravery that makes her even more relatable. 

Meanwhile, Vicki's insurance business is booming and she's moving the Coto Insurance offices to a newer, bigger location. Kelly drops by for some mean girl banter about the other 'Wives, and within five seconds is comparing herself to Donald Trump. Because of course. Neither Kelly nor Vicki have seen or spoken to Tamra or Shannon since the Season 11 reunion, but the hurt feelings on both sides are still festering. Always classy, Kelly calls Tamra's fitness competition from last year "a race amongst pigs" while Vicki recalls that her one-time bestie spat in her face "like a testosterone psycho" on the bus ride from hell (which, I have to admit, made me laugh out loud). Kelly thinks her nemeses owe Vicki an apology, but the OG is confident that they're just mad she and Kelly are the "popular girls." But like...are they though?

Still on her Christian kick, Tamra heads to bible study at...Lydia's house! It's been four seasons since we last saw Lydia but it turns out that she reached out to Tamra after her baptism and the two have remained in touch. (For those of you who need a refresher on her first season, Lydia was the new Housewife introduced in Season 8 before famously walking away from the show when she was asked back for Season 9.) Obviously the show is completely different from the last time Lydia was a Housewife, so it will be fascinating to see how she fits into the new post-Heather Dubrow landscape. In fact, Vicki and Tamra are the only remaining 'Wives from her previous tenure on the show, and when she finds out that they are now mortal enemies, she's determined to get the former BFFs back together. 

Meghan's entire life has changed since last season. Shortly after the Season 11 reunion, she gave birth to baby Aspen and is now completely focused on being a mom. Apparently, having a new baby has also transformed Meghan's husband Jim, whom she swears up and down is more attentive and engaged than ever before. (Personally, I'll believe it when I see it for more than a five-minute segment in the first episode.) With all of her time and attention on Aspen, Meghan is her own little world and entirely disconnected from the other ladies' drama...so far.

After more than a few scenes catching up on the ladies' lives - Shannon and Tamra shopping for formal dresses with their girls, Kelly contemplating vaginal rejuvenation (no thank you), Vicki visiting her daughter Briana (who approves of her mom's new, retired homicide detective boyfriend), Lydia meets Vicki for lunch at Balboa Bay Resort. Upon seeing her for the first time in years, the OG describes the returning 'Wife as "Disneyland all the time" which is so on the nose you can practically hear the strains of "When You Wish Upon a Star" playing in the background. Ironically, their lunch spot is the same hotel where Tamra was baptized in Season 10, which provides the perfect segue into why Lydia asked Vicki to meet. Lydia brings up the good memories she had with the former besties during Tamra's bachelorette weekend in Mexico during Season 8, and wants to use her powers as the friendship whisperer to help the veteran 'Wives reconcile. However, Vicki breaks down all the drama Lydia has missed: Tamra is angry at Vicki for spreading rumors that her husband Eddie is gay, while Vicki's still holding a grudge over Tamra calling her a con artist at the Season 11 reunion. Among a million other things. As Vicki threatens that the "gloves are coming off" if Tamra (and Shannon) continue coming after her, Lydia realizes that her work may be cut out for her if she wants to heal this fractured friendship...

What did you think of the RHOC premiere? Are you happy Lydia is back? Is there any hope for Tamra and Vicki's friendship? Which tagline is your favorite? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

RHONY Season 9 Premiere Recap - Talk of the Town

Glenn Rowley

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The Real Housewives of New York City is back for Season 9 and the Big Apple broads remain at the top of their game. Between renovations, wedding plans and an eerily familiar presidential election, the show continues to progress faster than a New York minute. Read on for a full breakdown of all the exposition in the premiere as the women set the stage for what will be another fabulous chapter...

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A new season means new taglines... AND a brand new look for the intro! At first it's a bit jarring to see a giant "NYC" behind the ladies rather than the famous skyline, but I can confidently say that every single Housewife looks nothing short of spectacular holding her golden apple in a mix of red and black dresses. For the second year in a row, my vote for best tagline goes to Dorinda Medley for "I tell it like it is, but I always make it nice." It's sassy and iconic while making clever reference to her most famous one-liner from Season 8. 

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That being said, the rest of the ladies' taglines are equally fabulous; it's quite a strong bunch this season. Carole Radziwill comes in a close second for me with "In the politics of friendship, I win the popular vote." It's no secret that Radzi will be all about the election this season, so her tagline is a rather perfect tease to her storyline. Quick thoughts on the others: Ramona Singer's "acquired taste" and Sonja Morgan's "nothing grey about my gardens" zingers are both laugh-out-loud funny. Luann de Lesseps (now D'Agostino)'s tagline is my least favorite of the bunch, but she doing nothing short of slaying in that fab red jumpsuit. Newbie Tinsley Mortimer is trying to do damage control with a witty reference to her 2016 arrest, but I would've much preferred something about becoming an It Girl twice. (Have I come up with my own tagline for Tinsley? Yes I have.) Last but not least, Bethenny Frankel closes things out with a tagline inspired straight from The Wire, but who's trying to take down the queen of NY this season?

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It's fall in NYC and there's plenty to catch up on in the lives of the 'Wives: Bethenny's divorce has been finalized (hallelujah!), the Countess is waist deep planning her fairytale wedding to Tom and Ramona renovating away any last traces of Mario from her apartment on the Upper East Side. Coming off the contentious Season 8 reunion, Dorinda has a serious bone to pick with Sonja, who's avoiding any drama by starring in an off-Broadway production of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Never mind that it's the last night of the show and Lady Morgan still hasn't memorized her lines; she's winging it with her bawdy sense of humor and international following is eating her performance up. In other news Carole and Dorinda have renewed their lovely friendship, a decision I fully support and am more than a little happy to see.

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One positive result of her divorce being finalized is that Bethenny finally got her old Tribeca apartment back. You know, the one she bought once Skinnygirl blew up and her ex refused to move out of after they split. Well, now that it's finally back in her hands, all B wants to do is get rid of it once and for all. She enlists the help of friend and fellow Bravoleb Fredrik Eklund to do so, and insists on selling the property for a whopping $6.995 million. The Million Dollar Listing NY star isn't so sure the apartment can go for such a record-breaking number, but Bethenny reminds him that a private parking spot in Manhattan should be worth at least half a million alone. In less than a day, Fredrik manages to sell the apartment for the Skinnygirl's full asking price in cash. Watch out Fredrik, the B clearly knows a thing or two about Big Apple real estate...

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Under the guise of picking up hand-me-downs for Dress for Success, Bethenny stops by Sonja's townhouse and the 'Wives conversation quickly turns to the status of Sonja's friendship with Luann. From Sonja's perspective, the Countess seems too wrapped up in her picture-perfect relationship with Tom for friends these days. In fact, none of the women are even invited to the wedding other than Dorinda, and she probably only made the guest list because she's the one who introduced Luann to her fiancé in the first place. Lu claims she's not inviting her cast mates because she wants the wedding to be completely drama-free. Bethenny, however, reminds us that when one Housewife's dated Tom, another's slept with him and a third uncovered him cheating last year, Tom's inability to keep it in his pants may be the real reason no one is going to the wedding.

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Carole, meanwhile, has only one thing on her mind these days and it definitely isn't the guest list at Luann's wedding. All the veteran journalist can talk about is the upcoming presidential election, much to her BFF Bethenny's obvious annoyance. The Skinnygirl claims Radzi is "deep in the Hillary hole," but can you blame her for feeling hopeful about the possibility of the first female president in the nation's history? I know I certainly was back when the ladies started filming last fall. With the benefit (can we call it a benefit?) of hindsight, we all know Carole's Hillary-loving heart is in for nothing but crushing disappointment. And while it may feel like it's too soon to be reliving the 2016 election, I for one am glad the most intellectual Housewife in the franchise is bringing something she cares so passionately about to the forefront of the season. #ImwithHer.

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The premiere ends with a confrontation between Ramona and Luann about the latter's relationship with Tom. Isn't it always about Tom? The Countess has caught wind that Ramona's been doing more digging into Tom's past, even going as far as to call up his old girlfriend in the middle of the night in California for dirt. Now Ramona claims to have even more damning information involving Tom's past (and current) indiscretions, but once again Luann isn't interested in hearing about any evidence the Singer Stinger has unearthed. Even if what Ramona's suggesting is true and they have some kind of open relationship, Luann is happy with Tom and tells her frenemy point blank that it's time to stop the Nancy Drew impersonation and get on board. So, to demonstrate just how supportive she is, Ramotional delivers the most aggressive toast in the history of Housewives, promising that she wishes Lu "nothing but happiness" while saying she hopes the Countess doesn't "fall flat on [her] face with this guy" in the very same breath. Cheers to that?

What did you think of the RHONY premiere? Should Ramona give up snooping about Tom? Are you glad Carole's talking about the election on camera? Whose tagline is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

RHOP Season 2 Premiere Recap - Don't Let the Zip Code Fool Ya

Glenn Rowley

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Return of the 'Mac! That's right, The Real Housewives of Potomac are back for a second season of shade, pedigree and living by the Potomac playbook. I must admit, I've loved the Potomac ladies from the very beginning so I am beyond thrilled they are finally back on my screen. The drama starts from the drop, with a new feud erupting between Gizelle and Charrisse with Robyn caught in the middle. Read on for a full recap of the drama, dancing and diva moments from the premiere...

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First thing's first: new taglines! I must say I'm more than a little bummed that the intro is the exact same as last year's, just with Katie Rost being swapped out for the new girl. C'mon Bravo, couldn't you have put a little more effort into it? That being said, my vote for best tagline this season goes to newbie Monique Samuels for "I may be rough around the edges, but baby so are diamonds." (Though we don't see it this week since the rookie gets introduced in Episode 2.) The rest of the ladies' taglines are mostly fine, though a bit disappointing overall. Gizelle Bryant's "word on the street" one-liner was utter perfection last year and recycling it nearly word for word this year lessens its impact. I would've appreciated a "grande dame" reference by Karen Huger from way up on that pedestal, and Robyn Dixon seems to be clapping back at the insinuations from last year that she's not black enough. Thankfully, Charrisse Jackson Jordan dropped the condescension from her tagline this year - but is she really comparing her failed marriage to spilled milk? And Ashley Darby's may be my runner-up for best tagline this season. After spending last year desperately trying to fit in with the Potomac divas, the millennial is ready throw the book of etiquette out the window. 

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The premiere opens smack dab in the middle of a cold war between Gizelle and Charrisse. As she reminds her hairdresser Kal, Gizelle didn't take kindly to her frenemy insinuating during last year's reunion that she was a "whore." So, she retaliated by spilling the tea on #WWHL that Charrisse was dating a muscled up fireman despite still technically being married to her estranged husband Eddie. While both women had insulted each other and claimed the other was lying, things took a messy turn when Charrisse slapped Gizelle with a cease-and-desist in an effort to shut her up. However, if there's one thing we know about Gizelle, it's that no one no way tells her what she can and cannot say. No not never.

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Meanwhile, Little Miss Ashley's been recruited as a contestant in a DWTS-esque charity dance competition called Manifest Your Destiny. Unfortunately, her focus on the charity event (which Gizelle happens to be judging) is taking her attention away from Oz, the new Australian restaurant she opened with her husband Michael. At the end of last season, the couple made a deal that they would start trying for a baby once the restaurant broke even but instead, the business has started putting a strain on their relationship. These days, there's less baby-making and much more bickering over changing staff, lack of customers and whether grilled emu should be on the menu. 

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Charrisse has turned over a new leaf for Season 2. At least that's what she keeps insisting in her confessionals. This year, she's leaving her broken marriage behind and moving forward. Her estranged husband Eddie may be the one asking for a divorce these days, but Charrisse is all about being Sha Sha, her fun-loving alter ego that just wants to have a good time. She's even recruited her daughter's former cheer coach to play the part of a poor man's Mikey Minden, sipping champagne and working overtime to spill catty gossip as she holds an impromptu fashion show in her closet. Charrisse isn't one bit apologetic about sending Gizelle the cease-and-desist letter and insists her supposed fireman side piece is a figment of her frenemy's imagination. 

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In other news, Karen and the black Bill Gates are househunting to cope with their empty nest syndrome - they're not downsizing, just "resizing" according to the grande dame - while Robyn and Juan were forced to relocate to faraway Hanover, Md. when their house went into foreclosure over the hiatus. But even being 45 miles away from Potomac can't keep Robyn from feeling caught in the middle of Gizelle and Charrisse's brewing feud. Yes, she may be ride-or-die with Gizelle but she's actually been friends with Charrisse for longer - all the way back to when Eddie was coaching Robyn's ex Juan on the Washington Wizards. So when Gizelle makes the long drive to Hanover to see the new townhouse, Robyn isn't afraid to tell her she thinks Gizelle crossed a line by spreading the fireman rumor on national TV. While Gizelle respects her bestie's opinion, she stands her ground and insists the fireman story is true. In fact, she goes a step further and lets slip that Charrisse told her herself that she cheats on Eddie. And as Gizelle reiterates, if Charrisse is going to call her a whore, she'd better be ready for Gizelle to strike back. 

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All five women finally come together to support Ashley at the Manifest Your Destiny charity event at the Howard Theatre in D.C. Ashley and her partner Teon manage to dance their way into first place, with Gizelle even giving her the highest score possible, but everyone's eyes are on the obvious tension between Gizelle and Charrisse. In an effort to squash their beef, the latter pulls her nemesis into the back alley for a charged confrontation. Charrisse goes in guns blazing, demanding to know where Gizelle gets off making up lies about her, while Gizelle wants an apology for Charrisse calling her a "whore" at the reunion. 

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Naturally, Charrisse refuses to apologize for something she claims she never said, and accuses Gizelle of using the perceived slight as an excuse to justify her spilling the fireman gossip on #WWHL. And besides, Gizelle should consider herself lucky that all Charrisse did was send a cease-and-desist. At some point, Sha Sha takes over and blurts out a "don't let the zip code fool you, baby" reference but just like Gizelle, I'm not quite sure what that even means. But once Charrisse starts calling her "crazy," Gizelle checks out and is officially done with this argument. The dramatic confrontation ends with both women storming away and it would appear this feud is far from a peaceful resolution...

What did you think of the RHOP premiere? Are you Team Charrisse or Team Gizelle? How should Robyn deal with being caught between the two? Whose tagline is your favorite this season? Let me know in the comments below!

RHOBH Season 7 Premiere Recap - Stronger Than Ever

Glenn Rowley

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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is back for Season 7! Having suffered from a severe case of OC burnout and snoozing through a very stale Atlanta, I'm ecstatic my glittering and sophisticated Beverly Hills beauties have returned - and (hopefully) without a trace of last year's messy M-word slog. (I refuse to write it.) But before laying out the recap of the premiere, let's grade the new taglines, shall we?

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We have a brand new intro, with the 'Wives sparkling in their best glittery, gold (and the lightest pink) palette. As a group, the ladies' taglines this season are strong and memorable, and I'm giving my vote for best of the bunch to miss Erika Girardi for "I may be two people, but I'm not two-faced." Not only does it perfectly capture the dual nature of her alter ego Erika Jayne, but it wins most improved from last season's enigmatic, cash-wrapped riddle. Thoughts on the others: Lisa Vanderpump boldly asserts her status as queen bee of Beverly Hills, but I fear that the moment the crown is acknowledged atop her head is the moment it doesn't deserve to be there any longer. Lisa Rinna's is characteristically aggressive but I really like it for a couple of reasons: first, she's moved on from referencing her lips and second, the "hustler" double entendre is so tongue-in-cheek I can barely handle it. Eileen Davidson leans on a well-worn idiom with the "hear/speak/see no evil" reference, but it pretty perfectly communicates her place in the cast as the kind, observant voice of reason. Newbie Dorit Kemsley seems defensive of her (faux?) accent but looks stunningly pretty, so maybe it's a draw? And last but certainly not least, Kyle Richards revealed during the season's press tour that her new tagline actually came from the mind of a fan, but now I just need to know who she's identifying as the resident "fake" in this year's cast...

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It's perfect that Erika has my favorite tagline because the premiere opens on her birthday! Miss Jayne is turning the big 4-5 and while she jokes that it's all downhill from here, the diva seems better than ever. Her life as pop star Erika Jayne has absolutely exploded in the last year (thanks in large part to the Housewives platform) and her massively successful lawyer hubby Tom has lovingly gifted her with an original Chagall painting AND a $78,500 Panthère de Cartier ring - her second of three by the way. Seems like entering into your mid-forties isn't so bad when you're Erika Girardi.

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Meanwhile, Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle and their husbands meet newcomer Dorit and her husband PK Kemsley for dinner at Pump. The new 'Wife is a friend of LVP's, who's known her talent manager husband for longer than he and Dorit have even been married. PK happens to be the manager for iconic 80s pop star Boy George, who also happens to be the Kemsleys' permanent houseguest and godfather to their four-month-old daughter. (This connection instantly endears her to Kyle, who just finished competing on the new Trump-less season of Celebrity Apprentice with the singer.) From the looks of it, Dorit lives a luxuriously charmed life, with a full-time staff that includes a baby nurse, multiple nannies, three housekeepers and an assistant. It's a brief introduction but my first impression is very positive. This newbie is drop dead pretty and I like what she's bringing to the show - affected quasi-European accent and all.

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The next day, Kyle meets Erika and Eileen for a separate lunch where topics ranging from family tragedy and death to TV pilots and Housewives drama are on the menu. Eileen reveals that her mother passed away right before the Season 6 reunion, but the only 'Wife she told was bestie Lisa Rinna because she didn't want the news to affect the rest of the women's behavior toward her on the couches. Kyle's career continues to take off with the development of American Woman, a new show  on TV Land based on her life as a 70s child star. Kyle also brings up the lingering issues Lisa Vanderpump is holding onto with Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson. However, I agree with Kyle that we never need to hear the words "manipulative," "own it," or that other "hauschen mauschen" m-word ever again so let's just leave it at that. 

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For her birthday, Erika is throwing a raucous Studio 54-themed bash, complete with Pussy Control of Prince-adjacent fame taking names at the velvet rope. The 'Wives are all decked out in sequins and big hair - Rinna's sporting a long wig, LVP's in a sky-high half-pony and the birthday girl is rocking a waist-high slit - but the tension is palpable as Erika's party is the first time they've all been together since the reunion. Eileen gives Erika the guest part of her choice on The Young and the Restless, which officially makes the soap actress the best gift-giver in the history of birthdays. Lisa Vanderpump makes the rounds to introduce Dorit to the group but doesn't seem all too pleased when her nemesis Eileen engages in warm, friendly conversation with her pal. 

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LVP exchanges awkward pleasantries with Lisa Rinna, including a jab by the Vanderpump about ripping her frenemy's wig off and Rinna warning Dorit not to put too much stock in the OG's opinions of her and the other 'Wives. However, in the end Lisa Rinna sees the interaction as a step in the right direction. At least the Lisas are back to playfully ribbing each other. That has to count for something, right? To me, Lisa Rinna has the right attitude: life is too short for petty squabbles and she's letting last year's drama go, regardless of LVP's steely ability to hold a grudge. As the women hit the dance floor to the tune of Erika's single "PAINKILLR," Lisa Vanderpump vows that she's coming back to the group stronger than ever. I have a feeling the same can be said for this fresh, new season in the 90210. 

Are you as happy as I am that RHOBH is back? Do you think the 'Wives can really let last year's drama go? What was your first impression of Dorit? Let me know in the comments below!

RHOMelbourne Season 3 Premiere - Join The Club

Glenn Rowley

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Months after airing in its native Australia, The Real Housewives of Melbourne has finally arrived stateside for a scintillating Season 3! This is the very first international installment in the Housewives franchise I've covered on THG, and I'm pretty thrilled about it. In the season premiere, we catch up with each of the ladies' lives and meet the newest Housewife (who seems to have joined the show with a major vendetta against one of the OGs). From book club to baking days, the drama kicks off from the get-go, so buckle up because it's going to be quite the ride. Read on for my full recap of the premiere...

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First up, let's talk opening taglines and the intro. I'm loving the all-black theme this season, especially compared to last year's white and gold looks. My vote for best tagline goes to Janet Roach for "I'm not everyone's drink of choice, but I'm my cup of tea." That being said, queen bee Gina Liano comes in a close second with "Persistence is king, and I'm the queen of it." Quick thoughts on the rest of the bunch: Chyka Keebaugh is as sunny and fashionable as ever while Lydia Schiavello addresses the gossip of her alleged affair with cricket star Shane Warne head-on with hers. I definitely appreciate Gamble Breaux's reference to her "Wolfe" pack, though I'm a bit surprised she didn't tie her wedding storyline in at all. Jackie Gillies is far and away one of my favorite 'Wives but her tagline this season seems incredibly generic, and I'm disappointed she didn't keep her trademark "shine" going for a third consecutive year. Pettifleur Berenger's is completely nonsensical = I mean, is someone going to question that she's in great shape?. It would easily be the worst of the bunch if it weren't for newbie Susie McLean, who commits the unpardonable sin of recycling Kathy Wakile's Season 5 tagline from RHONJ literally word for word. Seriously? How did no one at Arena (the Australian equivalent of Bravo) not catch that?

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The premiere kicks off with Jackie and Janet arriving at Chyka's house for book club. Don't worry, it's not the type of book club you're thinking - all the women do at Chyka's book club is sit around talking about their lives and gossiping about other women. Chyka's also invited new Housewife Susie to start integrating her into the group. Susie has connections with many of the other women, having known Chyka for almost 20 years and both Janet and Gina for over 10. The Housewife she has the longest history with, though, is Lydia - whom she's known since they were both teenagers. Yet almost right away, the newbie alludes that she and the OG have basically been longstanding frenemies rather than BFFs.

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This news is more than fine with Janet, who's not on great terms with Lydia either ever since the two got into a Twitter feud during the off-season. (Apparently her fellow Housewife called her an "old grandma" and she fired back, calling her co-star a "Lydiot." Just hilarious.) Janet also has her own tea to spill to the book club: Shane Warne, legendary cricketer and Lydia's close friend, asked her on a date and when she claimed to be busy, he turned the invitation into a late-night booty call. Once she learned of this development, Lydia was less than pleased, which made Janet wonder if there was any weight to the rumors around Melbourne that her relationship with Shane was more than "just close friends." Hmm...

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Speaking of Lydia, she's across town meeting Pettifleur (who's decked out in Chanel, lace and the highest of high ponytails) for lunch at Botherambo. Pettifleur informs us that out of all the ladies Lydia is her closest friend, which seems a bit random and appropriately full of foreshadowing. After Lydia fills Pettifleur in on her recent trip to London, which included rumor-fueling stop at a charity gala for the Shane Warne Foundation, the latter is practically chomping at the bit to start trash-talking her nemesis Gamble. Pettifleur is still smarting from last season's controversy over her book, Switch the Bitch, and blames Gamble for the ensuing legal mess that resulted in her receiving a legal letter that basically accused her of copyright infringement and plagiarism. Now Pettifleur is on the offensive, gleefully informing Lydia of a rumor that Gamble allegedly met her now-fiancé Rick on a dating site called SugarDaddy.com. Scandalous! Shockingly, Lydia doesn't take Pettifleur's bait, instead defending Gamble and poorly paraphrasing to Pettifleur the old adage that two wrongs don't always make a right. Immediately, Pettifleur is petulantly bothered that her so-called closest friend isn't feeding into her trash-talking and ends the conversation by calling Gamble a "black widow" (meaning she mates to kill). Ouch.

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Naturally, Lydia runs right to Gamble with the gauntlet of gossip and name-calling Pettifleur just threw down about her, using the excuse that she's trying to bridge the chasm between the two sophomore 'Wives. Busy planning her upcoming wedding, Gamble is both taken aback that Lydia would even have an issue with Pettifleur - whom she points out adores the "Lydiot" - and completely blindsided by this mud-slinging. First of all, she insists she met Rick on eHarmony and that she was looking for a life partner, not a sugar daddy. Secondly, she doesn't understand why Pettifleur seems to have it out for her at every turn. A black widow? Really? Gamble obviously doesn't take kindly to such a low blow, and vows to confront her nemesis face-to-face about what's being said behind her back. Don't mess with Gamble's Wolfe pup or you can bet the claws are going to come out...

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Thankfully, newcomer Susie has planned just the venue for all these feuds to finally come to a head: a baking day! This isn't exactly the kind of activity you'd think the Aussie 'Wives would excel at, but at first things actually seem light and fun as they don their aprons and the scones and cakes make it into the oven. However, once Lydia and Pettifleur make their respective grand entrances, tension starts filling Susie's kitchen like the smoke off a burnt pavlova. While Pettifleur pulls Gina (her latest ally) aside to recount her sob story about kicking her son out of the house, Susie presses Lydia for details about her relationship with Shane Warne. Once again, Lydia swiftly denies the rumor as idle gossip, even when Susie asks her point blank if the two are "bonking." According to Lydia, she and Shane are nothing more than good friends (she's also an ambassador for his foundation), though Susie confirms in her confessional that she's "absolutely" sure Lydia is interested in the cricketer/philanthropist romantically. 

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Conversation turns to Lydia's issues with Janet, and the two decide to address the Lydiot-shaped elephant in the room with Jackie and Pettifleur backing them up for moral support. The 'Wives exchange barbs over who called whom a "dirty cow" but considering that we didn't even see this social media war take place, I'm less than riveted. No one can seem to conclude which Housewife was actually in the wrong by attacking first and nothing gets resolved. Eventually, Gamble joins the conversation and calls out Pettifleur for trashing her behind her back. When it's revealed that Lydia told Gamble about the "black widow" comment, Pettifleur becomes enraged, seeing it somehow as a major betrayal on Lydia's part. Lydia insists she's merely trying to mediate the situation, but now Pettifleur wants nothing to do with her supposed bestie. (For the record, I really struggle to see why Petti has any right to feel backstabbed when she was the one spreading nasty gossip, but maybe that's neither here nor there.) 

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Gamble feels that Lydia was justified in telling her what Pettifleur was saying about her, and now she's fired up. Calling Pettifleur "deranged" for thinking she's to blame for her book's legal problems, Gamble stands by her opinion that her nemesis ripped off the title of her "bloody scribbling of a book" from American reality star Omarosa Manigault. However, when she can't get a word in, Pettifleur explodes, screaming "just listen to me SugarDaddy.com," which promptly sends the room into a stunned silence. Janet wisely points out that families and partners should be off-limits when it comes to Housewives feuds and Gamble loses it, calling Pettifleur a "lying piece of s--t" and threatening to sue her "to the end of the f---ing Earth" for slander and defamation if she's not careful. With one final "go f--k yourself Pettifleur!", Gamble storms out of the room and the premiere ends with the rest of the 'Wives stunned.

What did you think of the premiere? Are you Team Gamble or Team Pettifleur? Was Lydia right in telling Gamble what Pettifleur said? Is Janet to blame for the Twitter war? Let me know in the comments...

RHONJ Season 7 Premiere - Jingle Bells and Prison Cells

Glenn Rowley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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