Real Housewives of New Jersey recap: 'Growing Up Jersey'
I was hoping that this week’s episode would jump us right back into the action — when not even a heavy helping of Parmesan could heal the deep rifts of the group — but instead it looks like we’re first going to have to endure watching Siggy get injections in her tush. Nothing comes for free, my friends.
If you’re also a fan of Real Housewives of Orange County, Siggy’s trip to the doctor will feel very familiar. Just a few nights ago we tagged along as Shannon, with Tamra in tow for moral support, learned that her estrogen and progesterone levels were low. Siggy is the Shannon today, and Dolores is the Tamra. And guess what: Siggy’s estrogen and progesterone levels are low. Once the levels are restored, the women have balanced moods and supercharged libidos to look forward to. Andy Cohen, listen: I know I’ve pitched you a lot of shows, but you practically came up with this one yourself.
Hear me out: Siggy and Shannon rent a gaudy McMansion, inject each other with hormones, and try to make their husbands have sex with them. Siggy will not have an issue with this; Michael Campanella clearly adores her. Shannon and her husband aren’t doing as well, but — if my dreams for Shannon come true — she’s going to have an amicable divorce that benefits both of them (and their three kids) and she will find a boy toy who is obsessed with her. (Could also be a lady toy, as Shannon is always first to stick a dollar bill in a belly dancer’s G-string when the occasion arises — and it arises more than you’d expect.) Anyway, we’ll call it Siggy and Shannon: Hot Mamas (get it, because they’re having hormone issues?), and it’ll be the new No. 1 show in the over-54 demo.
As important as all that obviously is, the most important part of Siggy’s doctor’s appointment comes from Dolores. D is the kind of person who bites her tongue and keeps her opinions to herself — until she doesn’t. And when she lets loose, stand back. Enraged (understandably) about Teresa and Danielle judging her — remember that she lives with her son and ex-husband, but also has a boyfriend — she goes after both of them: “Teresa visits her husband in jail. Danielle’s been engaged 22 times. And they’re telling me my relationship’s weird? Thank you, now I know it’s good.”
And that’s before she addresses cheating allegations against Joe Giudice. Uhboy. Teresa is not going to like this one bit, and I’ll be honest: It’s not a twist I saw coming. For the record, Dolores isn’t saying anything we don’t already know, but Teresa is one of those people who believes that if you don’t talk about something, it isn’t real. It’s why she never says she went to jail, she says she “went away.” Even though we’ve pretty much seen televised proof of Joe’s cheating — he once excused himself from lunch at a winery to “take a work call,” and let’s just say that if he was indeed on a work call, based on what we heard Joe should get comfortable in prison. Anyway, it’ll be a different thing entirely for Teresa to hear that Dolores is throwing shade behind her back. Siggy jumps to Teresa’s defense, saying her judgment is cloudy given all the trauma she’s gone through recently, which OH MY GOD, SIGGY, I said the very same thing when you wouldn’t give her a break about that stupid cake! Grrrrrrrroan. Dolores has more right to be angry at Teresa (for believing Danielle over her old friend) than Siggy ever did (for throwing a cake). But listen, none of this matters nearly as much as the fact that in this very same scene, we get to see Siggy’s naked butt. Cool.
Marge Sr. pops over to Margaret’s in her “beep-beep” to say hi, and when she does, she has the exact same pigtails as her daughter (my love for you continues to grow, Marge Sr.). Margaret says she felt sorry for Dolores when Danielle gave her a hard time about her living situation. She actually said as much in the moment, but she got drowned out by all the shrieking brunettes. Here’s the thing: Danielle doesn’t actually have a problem with Dolores’ living situation, she just knows it bothers her when she talks about it. It’s the same way she (deep-cut alert) once derided Teresa for putting her young daughters in leopard print, saying she put hers in lace and crinoline. She later put her teenage daughter, whom she forced to model, in 8-inch heels. So grains of salt everywhere is what I’m saying.
Teresa’s family is in Puerto Rico, and my heart hurts. (I know I said this last week, but it’s hard not to repeat every time I type the words: If you want to donate to helping Puerto Rico, you can go to UNICEF, Foundation for Puerto Rico, United for Puerto Rico, and loads of other places.) While we’re there, we travel around with the Giudices seeing the island, frolicking in the ocean, meeting the locals…JK, Teresa just sits on a chaise lounge and does exactly what she does at home, which is talk on the phone to one friend about another. Today that first friend is Danielle, and the second one is Dolores. Teresa doesn’t understand why Dolores came at her at the pasta tasting. I’m not sure either, but I feel like it *might* be the fact that Teresa and Dolores have been friends for 20 years and yet Teresa chose to believe Danielle — whom she once threw a table at — when she bad-mouthed Dolores. That’s just a hunch, though. (Recap continues on page 2)
Over at Melissa and Joe’s, it’s dinner time. Joe high-fives his 7-year-old son when he says he has three girlfriends, and then tells his 11-year-old daughter, Antonia, she’s not allowed to leave the house because she’s beautiful. Listen, I really like the Gorgas. They love each other and, as important, seem to really like each other. And maybe I’m being sensitive — especially given recent events — but I actually don’t think I am: This sort of messaging so early on worries me. Little boys are studs if they date around; Antonia can’t be let out of the house, because who knows what will happen to her. Melissa tries to talk some sense into her husband, who shuts her down immediately by insinuating (jokingly, you guys, I know!) that Melissa is ready to get their daughter birth control. I’m trying to bite my tongue here, because the whole point of this scene is to juxtapose what Teresa is like with her kids — lenient — but still. I don’t like. All kids should be careful, not just girls. Why not instead take your time and energy and put it toward teaching your sons about respect for women instead of teaching Antonia to be fearful? Oh my god, we’re only 15 minutes into the episode. Moving right along.
Margaret and Dolores’ dinner does not initially go as I’d hoped, mainly because Margaret doesn’t open with the fact that she took up for D at the Great Pasta Incident. And Dolores, god bless her, keeps defending Siggy against Margaret’s accusations that she’s a bit of a drama queen, while in her confessional agreeing that Siggy has been a bit unbalanced. Seriously, this woman is loyal. (Teresa, you bet on the wrong horse.) “If I have an opinion about Siggy’s behavior, I’ll share it with Siggy and only Siggy,” she says in her confessional. Sure, she’s also telling Bravo viewers, but I’m going to respect the fourth wall here because I desperately need a hero right now and Dolores is the closest we’re going to get. Dolores and Margaret actually get to the real stuff — Margaret shares that two of her kids won’t talk to her anymore — and this is officially the No. 1 new friendship I’m rooting for.
Back in Puerto Rico, Teresa talks to Milania — which I spell “Melania” every time and then remember that she’s named after “Milan,” which makes me happier — about her nonna and her dad. Teresa tells us that she was taught not to cry (which makes so many things make sense) and that she doesn’t want her daughters to grow up like that. Honestly, say what you will about Teresa Giudice — or even Joe Giudice, for that matter — she’s a good parent. Or at least…she really loves her kids and seems to have four really good ones.
The Gorgas are good parents, too — evidenced by Melissa’s shopping trip with Antonia. Melissa is trying to connect with her kid and asks what she should do to get her to open up more with her. Antonia says she’s too strict. (Over in Puerto Rico, Teresa feels a surge of power rip through her.) Later, as the Giudice girls give their mom attitude during a photo shoot, she says, “Melissa was right.” And THEN, at a trampoline gym, Joe Gorga tells Antonia that he’s going to trust her more. You guys, I just don’t know anymore. This is all very heartwarming, and I wasn’t prepared for it.
Ultimately this week was about the group seeing eye to eye, about empathy, about looking at things from a different perspective — growth that will undoubtedly be undone at next week’s Siggy-sponsored overnight retreat, where the central empowerment activity seems to be standing in a circle imitating and screaming at each other. I can’t wait.