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.