Let us all put our tissue boxes (or axes depending on which side you’re on) away after last week’s premiere and the return of the prodigal Housewife, Teresa. Now that her return to the Jersey Housewives fold has been cemented, it seems that Bravo is ready to unleash those opening taglines on us, the hungry viewers. Special nods to new Housewife Siggy “I got a facelift” Flicker for her wonderful choice: “Some people think I’m too much. They’re absolutely right.”
We begin episode 2 with Teresa’s lawyer Leonard explaining to press that she has, in fact, returned home and that the press should take Malania’s suggestion from last week to “get the hell home!” Well, in Tre’s words, “I wish you all a Merry Christmas and you should all go and celebrate with family.” Watching via iPhone are Teresa’s brother and her sister-in-law turned frenemy Melissa, glad that the Giudice family can have a happy holiday in 2015. Melissa and Teresa have had rocky relations as put upon sisters-in-law (who can forget Teresa screaming, “I never called you a stripper!” at Melissa), but Joe reminds her that family is the most important thing to cling to in these turbulent times. Melissa agrees to put her best foot forward (according to Joe both feet are the best) with Tre — when she’s not busy at her new boutique, of course.
Jacqueline, the former BFF turned enemy turned frenemy turned pen pal, is also sharing the press moment with the other newcomer, Dolores. Jacqueline is still reeling from the Silence of the Lambs inspired letter she received from Tre; she wonders if she should reach out to build a bridge or just let the feud continue. Dolores urges her to stay strong, let Teresa reach out to her, and enjoy the holidays after all that she’s been through. After all, if they were best friends once, why can’t they be again?
Before she can see about building a bridge of cannoli’s over those troubled waters, Teresa has to finalize the details to her New Year’s Eve party. To begin that arduous process, Teresa luckily has the media on her side, specifically People magazine, who have paid her for a chance to take some Christmas photos of her family (and full disclosure: our sister publication). “All my businesses went to s—,” says Teresa (she said it, not me!) during the yuletide photo shoot. Amidst the festoonery was a lot of “Put your chin up, Dad!” and “Shut the hell up, stupid!” from the kiddies. Ah, the holidays. Brother Joe enters the scene, ready to escort the hot commodity and her family to the Gorga home. First, they have to fight off paparazzi, or as Juicy Joe Giudice likes to call them, “Jerkoffs.”
Meanwhile, Melissa is busying herself in the Gorga kitchen, wondering how her interaction with Teresa will go seeing as how their history is tumultuous. To remind us, Bravo replays the infamous “sprinkle cookies” conversation to show Teresa’s anger over the baked goods being offered to her. When the two do meet, Teresa throws up her wall and explains she can’t be seen by anyone other than People magazine in order to retain her “exclusivity.” Talk about a PR maven, right? She quickly breezes past Melissa and puts on her high-pitched voice to greet her perpetually sleepy looking father. Dinner is then served, with a quick anecdote from Juicy Joe (we’re calling Joe Giudice that from now on) about the real meaning of Christmas, which according to him is the resurrection of Jesus Christ — not his birth.
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As all the Italians slurp on their pasta and guzzle down their wine, Melissa decides that she needs a glass of water; a task that Teresa assumes takes more than one person. Offering her services, she follows Melissa into the kitchen, where the fight goes off the rails. “I just want to say, I’m glad to be here tonight,” Teresa sweetly says to Melissa. “I just want us to get back to how you were when you first married Joey because after that, you know,” which Teresa follows up with a hand motion that looks similar to a roller coaster, or a very enthusiastic traffic officer. The moral of the story here is Teresa still believes that the entire family strain stems from Melissa’s actions and not her own. She pushes this further by bugging her eyes out and brandishing (I mean cleaning) a knife and exclaiming: “I want you to be my sister!” Of course, the infamous christening scene where we first met brother Joe screaming, “You’re my father!” is played to remind us all just how deep the issues run for the Giudice/Gorga clan.
NEXT: Dueling New Year’s Eve parties
Thankfully, the festivities end there and we’re transported to two days later to be more acquainted with Dolores during her therapy session. Apparently the new Housewife went through a terrible divorce 17 years prior after her husband cheated on her while she was pregnant and raising a one-year-old. The guy sounds like a real winner. She has some great sleuthing skills, as she was a detective who would transport prisoners and handle a cell block. She was even engaged once more, but that man’s “extracurricular activities” kept them from keeping the romance alive. The doctor assures Dolores that she isn’t crazy and she needs to take care of herself for the first time.
Equally taking care of herself is Jacqueline’s daughter Ashley, the starry-eyed L.A. bound girl that returned to her roots of Jersey to “find herself.” Thankfully, the ongoing feuds between Ashley and her mother have ended, simply devolving into catty but cute remarks about Jacqueline being “too loud in bed.” TMI doesn’t seem to mean much on the Jersey Shore. It’s nice to see the kids of these ladies finally showing some respect.
Speaking of kids, Mr. Mom Joe Gorga escorted the kiddies to see his “part-time wife” Melissa at her Envy boutique. Joe is feeling that her new “business model” is taking away from his manhood, even to the point that milk is producing from his nipples. “What?!” remarks Melissa’s no-name assistant from the background, echoing the thoughts of all of us watching. If the TMI time wasn’t enough with one Gorga, Teresa steps in to keep the ball rolling. She reveals that her ingrown toenail hurt more than her labor to Dolores, who changes the subject to share she wants to have a party, a party that will include Jacqueline.
Before that party, the Laurita and Giudice clans decide to have dueling New Year’s Eve parties. “How does this look?” asks Joe Giudice of a Teresa applying a healthy layer of lipstick. She does not approve, and neither does the anonymous Giudice daughter whose response says it all: “Ewww!” As the guests slowly begin to arrive at the Giudice home, we are treated to the arrival of Kathy and Rosie to Jacqueline’s house, who is constantly worried about sporting a camel toe in her leather leggings. Apparently the cousins weren’t invited to Teresa’s house, bringing into question the relationship for that side of the family. Meanwhile, the turmoil at the Giudice party revolves around Gia wanting to leave the family shindig for a friend’s hangout. Of course, Juicy Joe isn’t having a second of that idea, cursing her out in front of the beloved guests, stating that she must return before midnight. Cinderella does eventually leave for the ball, but it’s up in the air if she’ll be home before her glass slippers disappear.
With both parties in full swing, glasses clinking, loved ones laughing, Teresa decides to dampen the mood and call Jacqueline. “I’m having a party with my closest friends and family of 36 people,” Teresa states as subtly as a flaming bag of hammers to her frenemy over the phone. Teresa makes sure to share this large number after realizing that she is, in fact, on speakerphone where her uninvited cousins can hear. As Jacqueline points out, the awkwardness of the speakerphone situation allows the Wakiles to realize that Teresa does not consider them family anymore, despite their blood connection. Teresa shares her good deed with Melissa, who congratulates her on finally being nice.
With all of the drama out of the way, the “Happy New Year’s!” can whoop their way through each of the parties. Young Gia returns to the family fold in time for Juicy Joe to share a touching moment with the oldest daughter. As happy as things seem to be with Teresa free from prison, the Giudice clan is mere months away from Juicy Joe’s time in the slammer. As the tears run down Gia’s face and her dad holds her close, the looming storm cloud covering a hurricane-drenched season begins to appear. Until next week!