The second episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey opens with a recap of the infamous Baby Christening Brawl. Every one wants to get the skinny from Teresa (she wrote Skinny Italian, remember?), so they all press her for the details of exactly what went down. Teresa confidently asserts that the Baby Christening Brawl was not her fault at all (excuse my iambic pentameter). From her perspective, she just went over to say “Congratulations,” and her brother flipped out on her. Not to take sides, but I completely agree with Teresa (Team Giudice over here). Interestingly, the Gorgas feel that Teresa is fully responsible for ruining their baby’s “big day.” After all, according to Melissa Gorga, it was her “moment to shine,” so how dare Teresa walk over to their table and politely say Hello and Congratulations? How dare Teresa exhibit good manners at her nephew’s Christening, because if there was one day that the Gorgas were not going to forgive Teresa, it was the day that their son got his original sin washed away by the holy rite of baptism.
Good luck to Teresa if she thinks she’s going to get forgiveness from a good Christian like Melissa! One thing is certain: Teresa shouldn’t count on her brother and sister-in-law compromising their Christian hypocrisy for the sake of reality television conflict. Like, I don’t think so honey (waiving an enormous, Swarovski-encrusted red acrylic in a circular motion).
It seems like everyone in Jersey is taking sides in the Gorga-Giudice conflict, but everyone also seems to agree that the Gorga-Giudice clan should find some way to end their conflict once and for all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Joe Gorga is ready to forgive his sister for all those years of her being “busy” and “ignoring” him at family functions. Furthermore, there are several people stirring the pot under the guise of wanting to “resolve the conflict.” When Joe and Melissa went over to Cousin Kathy’s house for dinner, I was reasonably appalled at their logic for how Teresa created the feud between her husband and her brother. Based on their collective (heavily flawed) logic, Teresa was solely responsible for the destruction of her brother and husband’s relationship because she “built her brother up” and “put him on a pedestal” that her husband simply couldn’t live up to, which caused her husband to act out and try to defame her brother in front of their father. That makes a ton of sense, right? I can’t imagine what Teresa was thinking, being “proud” of her brother’s success and affirming accomplishments. How dare she emasculate her husband that way!
Sadly, that said more about the heavily patriarchal nature of their psychology than anything else. Adding insult to injury, Kathy completely agrees with that logic by fully supporting Joe Gorga’s and her husband’s absurd notions of the root cause of Teresa and her brother Joe’s chasm.
If you think for one second I find Kathy Wakile’s “sincere” attempt to end the fight between Teresa and Joe Gorga actually sincere, you’d be smoking whatever Kim G. was smoking when she claimed that Teresa was “jealous” of her looks. By the way, that was probably my favorite part of the entire episode: the return of the Kims (Kim G. and Kim D., not just twin-names, but sisters-in-law ironically). Barely able to container their laughter, Melissa and Kathy have to cover their faces with their hands to hide their giggles when Kim G. said Teresa had a “fat, crooked ass.” I think they hid their faces because they didn’t want Kim G. to see how mortified they were for her making such an outlandishly delusional statement. To quote Mariah Carey, I think Kim G. is “delusional” and “all fired up with [her] Napoleon Complex.” According to Teresa, she’s just a “little old lady” anyway, so who cares, right? What I also find humorous is that Kim G. has the confidence to throw the “ass” stone when she just moved out of the “flat, crooked ass” house herself, recalling the episode last season when she did a “striptease” with Danielle Staub and left very little to the ass-imagination. Thinking about the “pancake-ian” nature of Kim G’s derriere, I was very surprised that she was willing to throw a stone at Teresa in regards to her “ass.” To each their own though.
Ultimately, the return of the Kims brings a welcome dose of humor, but it also means that there are two more people stirring the pot, pitting brother against sister in the Joe Gorga vs. Teresa Giudice conflict. When both Melissa and Teresa are asked to model in the Posch Fashion Show, it seems like a Skinny Italian recipe for disaster. In case you guys forgot (or are just tuning in), the very “chic” (think bejeweled jeans and hot pink boots [with the fur]), Posch Boutique is owned by “Kim D.” By asking both Teresa and Melissa to model in the show, it seems like Kim D. is intent on stirring the pot. All the while, she pretends to like both Teresa and Melissa, but we all know that the mirror does have two faces (and lot of eye shadow) when it comes to Kim D.’s allegiances.
On the subject of Kim D., there are a few things Kim D. does well: 1. She’s great at organizing extremely confrontational fashion shows, which always end badly (i.e. Teresa chasing Danielle Staub through a country club last season culminating with strands of Danielle’s weave being pulled out of her head). 2. She’s the first woman in scientific history to successfully wear two faces at the same time. Kim D. is just that type of duplicitous. Even worse than Kim D., Kim G. is openly trying to stir the pot by pledging allegiance to the flag of Melissa Gorga’s derriere, because she knows that type of attention will send Teresa over the edge (or so Kim G. hopes). Let us not forget, Kim G. is also the same woman who publicly claimed that she was going to buy all of Teresa’s furniture at the bankruptcy auction, and then sell it back at a profit. They should call her “Kim Gee Why-You-So-Petty?”
Supplementing the LOL’s, when Kim D. and Kim G. showed up at Melissa’s house for Halloween, I personally wanted to verify whether it was Kim D. and Kim G.; or whether the drag queens impersonating Kim D. and Kim G. somehow got lost for their Drag Race Auditions and ended up at Melissa’s house by mistake. How those two drag queens ended up at a party in Franklin Lakes is still very confusing to me, but I digress; because Melissa and Joe’s costumes were very, very atypical of what I expected from them in both literal and sarcastic ways. For starters, Melissa completely blew my mind (wink wink) when she dressed up as a “sexy cat” like Meow! Hiss! Duh! She’s a cat! And when Joe Gorga dressed up as Snooki, I was actually quite impressed with his comfort level in drag, despite his overt macho mentality. However, I wasn’t surprised to see that his wife got visibly uncomfortable at the sight of her “Juicy Joe” dressed up in a dress (that’s for women!). Apparently, Melissa still found him “hot,” because he’s the “Real Juicy Joe,” practically dripping juice and cheese and sweat all over the place! He’s so juicy I had to dab my flat screen with a napkin, but poor Melissa still couldn’t get behind her husband in drag: “I am just not attracted to a guy in a dress-just not for me.” Don’t expect Melissa to feign in any interest in a little gender reversal! Admittedly, Joe Gorga was a good sport about it, although I completely disagreed with everyone viciously saying he looked like Teresa in a dress. That just wasn’t necessary (Team Giudice).
Speaking of Team Giudice, I thought it was undoubtedly, super cool of Teresa to dress up as her own super hero/alter ego: “Super T.” According to Teresa, “Super T flies around the house keepin’ the family together. You know, she tries to do it all.” And that seems to be the reality of the situation. Personally, I think “Super T” is Teresa’s very own “Sasha Fierce,” and she invokes “Super T” when she feels the need to assert herself, be the ultimate wife and mother, or “cause a raucous.” Adding the “price” in “priceless,” how adorable was it that Teresa’s girls were all pop-star vixens for Halloween? From oldest to youngest: Gia was Katy Perry, Milania was Lady Gaga, Gabriela was Ke$ha, and finally, Audrianna was…Sue Sylvester? I spit out my diet coke when Joe Giudice hugged Audrianna, dressed in her Sue Sylvester costume, which consisted of a red Adidas track suit and short, parted hair. Not at all acknowledging the obvious, he just says, “Audrianna! You look like a little boy!” That was quite entertaining indeed.
Perhaps nothing was more “entertaining” than the truly, madly, deeply uncomfortable vibe at the Posh Fashion Show. Since we all knew both Teresa and Melissa would be modeling, we knew that the evening had explosive conflict potential. Adding more pressure to the situation was the site of the Posh Fashion Show: the Brownstone (aka Caroline Manzo’s family business). Admitting that she probably would not have attended had it been anywhere else but her home; Caroline Manzo takes great precautions to make sure that no conflicts go down in her “home.” For most of the episode, Caroline acts as a benevolent, protective presence and keeps it real (as she usually does). Whether she was supporting her daughter Lauren’s new ‘beauty bar” business adventure, or whether she was being a good friend to the seemingly stressed out Teresa; Caroline maintained solid ground on loose gravel.
Even when Melissa’s antagonistic, Teresa-hating sisters, Kim & Lysa, start “causing a raucous” by openly sipping on their Teresa-haterade; Caroline’s protective, motherly instincts shield Teresa from any real conflict. When Lysa mouthed, “What the f***!?” while looking in Teresa’s direction; I wanted to let her know that the auditions for one the trashy, foul-mouthed sisters in The Fighter had already passed. Luckily, the only conflict that went down was quickly squashed by Caroline, who intervened when Kathy tried to “sincerely” talk to her cousin Teresa about her family’s issues at the fashion show. Clarifying her allegiances, it was no surprise that Caroline stops the conversation (after Teresa storms off while speaking to Kathy), because Caroline draws clear lines: “Teresa is my friend: there is a history there. I don’t know Kathy. We’re not going to be buddies until this mess is cleared up. Not interested.” Even though Teresa claims that “Melissa don’t phase me (does she look phased?),” it’s very obvious that her cousin, Kathy, does; so it seemed like Caroline did her a real solid by conveniently engaging in the difficult task of familial conflict management. In the beginning of the episode, when Teresa proudly proclaims, “Caroline, I don’t need any advice. I know how to handle my family. I’m the Matriarch of my Family,” it seems as though Teresa has all her bases covered and is asserting her role as “matriarch” against another “matriarch.” Despite this assertion, it’s very obvious that Teresa does need Caroline’s help, whether she’ll admit it or not. It seems to me that in a town full of patriarchs, the matriarchs really should focus on sticking by each other and helping each other out.
Lastly, if there is one lesson in conflict resolution I learned from tonight’s episode, it’s that sometimes it’s better to sip on your Malibu Bay Breeze, take a deep breath, and walk away. Stay tuned for more Bravo Housewives recaps and life lessons!
Edward Hansen is a writer, entrepreneur, and occasional ingenue. He lives in Los Angeles and is not a K.D. Lang impersonator.