Teresa and her brother Joe celebrate Thanksgiving in different homes. Which is a good thing because I don't think Teresa can ride a mechanical bull.

By Jessica Shaw
Updated June 07, 2011 at 05:00 AM EDT
Tommy Garcia/Bravo

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

S3 E4
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Let’s talk about cooking. Hell, let’s talk about Thanksgiving cooking in honor of tonight’s holiday-themed episode. You know how some years you go and buy that turkey, you let it sit in juices, you shove it full of stuffing, and then it’s to-die-for-delicious. And then other years you do it all again but somehow something goes awry and it comes out pretty nasty. That’s how I feel about reality television. The ingredients of media-hungry people + tragic need to share family issues occasionally makes for incredible television. And other times, well, it makes The Real Housewives of New Jersey, season 3.

For a season that started with such a ba-da-bang at the Gorga christening, it’s been pretty tepid lately. There’s a lot of griping and gossip, but no real drama. Tonight was so lame, in fact, that it seems like even the producers couldn’t take any more. They decided to ditch the housewives for Chris and Albie Manzo. Or, worse, Chris, Albie, and Ashley. Yes, things have gotten bad.

But tonight was Thanksgiving (strange, considering that chances are it’s humid and about 3000 degrees out wherever you are today) so I will try my hardest to abandon at least some negativity.

Oops. Sorry. Can’t just yet. The show opened with Melissa and Joe Gorga shopping for their holiday feast. “I’m an ass man,” non-juicy Joe announced to the staff of the supermarket, while holding up a piece of meat. Why is it that Joe feels so compelled to talk about sex every single time a camera is pointing at him? Does he think it’s funny? Or is he so insecure with his sexuality that he has to constantly talk about it? I honestly don’t know. But it’s getting really disturbing.

On the opposite end of the gross-out spectrum was Kathy, adorable while cooking her Italian treats. I don’t believe for a second that Rich didn’t know how to pronounce “tiramisu” but rather wanted something to say to justify the Bravo camera people filling up their kitchen. Kathy probably bakes by herself in the kitchen, not with family members crowding around saying things like “I just hope there’s no brawls tonight” to make for drama. And wouldn’t you know it, all the extra energy made her cute little cakes burn.

Oh, well. Things weren’t going so well for the turkeys over at the Goffle Road Poultry Farm either. Teresa and hubby Joe got a tour and nearly chose to, as one employee said, “meet it before you eat it.” But they couldn’t pull the trigger, as it were, so the bird was spared until the next hungry Thanksgiving host came a knocking. “I just felt too guilty. So I got one that was killed the day before,” Teresa said.

Meanwhile, Caroline, Albert, and Lauren went over to Vito’s family’s deli for a little awkward visit. I wasn’t interested in Lauren’s makeup artist career and I’m not particularly interested in her personal life, so this story line wasn’t so exciting. We found out that when Caroline first saw Vito the Sicilian she said “There’s your husband” to her daughter. And she likes prosciutto balls. And Albert grew up poor and feels “bad for rich people because they don’t know how to be poor.” Wise man, that Albert. And while we’re on the topic of the Manzo spawn, some things we now know about the brothers: Chris likes to wear Albie’s jeans. Chris once lived in a room with Lauren and Ashley, but not Albie because, according to Ashley, “he’s Al.” The insight that girl brings to this show is staggering.

Speaking of Ashley, she hasn’t given up on her “dream” to “be Carrie Bradshaw [insert annoying giggle here]” but thanks to the sobering advice of the brothers Manzo, she has decided to stay home rent-free and do things to not seem like such a freeloader. So tonight we got to see Ashley walk the dog! And talk about how she’d cleaned the kitchen and her room! Should we really be impressed? Sure, if Ashley were four years old.

NEXT: Cookiegate at Teresa’s

Finally (and I mean finally!) it was time for the Thanksgiving meal. Melissa was about to take off her mink apron (seriously) when Joe Gorga announced he had a Thanksgiving gift for her. “In Italian culture the women are generally in the kitchen cooking. We fuss around the men and the men just kind of sit around and they’re like, ‘Where’s my food, bitch?’” Melissa explained. So no doubt she was thrilled at the prospect of a gift from her husband. What would it be? A car? A hundred flowers since she’d been slaving in the kitchen all day? Nope. A mechanical bull. “It keeps our marriage alive, baby doll!” said Joe, before adding “Now I know what my wife feels like” and then riding that bull with Melissa like it were in their private sex shop. Damn, I feel for their children.

Over at Teresa’s, things were less lovey. She wanted Joe to help, but he was stewing in his own juicy-ness in bed while she did everything. Gabriella was mad at Gia for something or other, Melania was digging into a brick of cheese with a knife the size of an axe, and the other one was hitting and not saying she was sorry. Worst of all, Kim “D” was on the invite list. Wasn’t she just trashing Teresa with Melissa’s sisters at the Posche fashion show? “Happy Friendsgiving,” Jacqueline said in her most irritating baby voice when she walked in the door. Hardly.

Once the sex talk was done at casa Gorga, Joe conceded that he wants to have a relationship with his big sister. “My sister is my sister which means everything to me. She’s my only sister,” he says. Um, what? Could this guy have any more personalities? “We were an amazing family…I don’t know what happened. I’m lost,” he said. Yes to the lost part. As for what happened, I’m guessing it had something to do with you melting down, threatening violence, pounding your fists, and cursing? Just a hunch. But Melissa sees goodness in him. Or at least sees her deceased father in him. “I really feel like my father brought Joe to me,” she wept.

Teresa wept over at her dinner too, but over the tough year she’d had. At least people had brought over her favorite cookies. Wait – spignolis or sprinkles? Turns out, spignolis which are Kim D’s favorites too! Yay, Kim D! Way to put yourself in the favorite cookie storyline! But there is history in the cookie choices and Teresa recounted a story about a card Melissa gave her that read “God bless you guys in your re done home.” And then dared to bring over sprinkle cookies on Christmas. Somehow that was a one-two punch worthy of Garden State fury. Thank the Lord, Caroline decided to pipe in at this point and point out the insanity of tonight’s episode and even the season so far. “It’s not about cookies and cake. I don’t want to talk about the cookies and I don’t want to talk about the card. Because if you’re looking to repair things don’t bring it up.”

Hallelujah, Caroline. Finally, something to be thankful for.

Episode Recaps

What did you all think of tonight’s episode? Now that you’ve seen the previews of Melissa singing “Amazing Grace,” are you terrified Mrs. Gorga will try to get a recording contract?

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

The Jersey housewives and extended clans keep the Garden State interesting.
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