Real Housewives of New Jersey premiere recap: 'Shaddy Beach'
This season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey is gonna be a DOOZY.
There’s a new face joining the fold this year: Margaret Josephs, who wears pigtails but also runs her own fashion business and has no reservations about talking about “puff p—” sex juice. But there are also some throwback players — Danielle Staub and Kim D., both of whom are clearly here to just ramp up some drama.
But before we can really get into any of that, there’s the matter of Teresa Giudice’s major life change to address. Joe is still locked up, and she’s back home after nearly a year in prison, and if that weren’t enough for the family to go through, she’s also grieving the very raw loss of her mother.
The experience, along with their need to take care of their mourning father and children, has brought Teresa closer to her brother Joe Gorga, who’s trying to step up and give her a hand where he can while the man of the house is predisposed. But the Giudice girls are all clearly suffering from their losses — from Dad’s way of cooking bacon all the way up to Nonna’s very presence. It’s heavy stuff and a lot for Teresa to bear, so the rest of the RHONJ gang gets together a few times to take her mind off of all those troubles.
She might be on probation, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have fun with the girls.
The episode begins with us learning about the passing of Teresa and Joe’s mother, who suffered a case of pneumonia that proved just too difficult for her body to endure. Within a week, we see footage of her somber memorial service.
What’s worse is that their dad is taking it really badly; he doesn’t want to live in the house they built, so he’ll be staying with Teresa for a while. Joe’s not much better for the wear. He might still be spirited enough to play fun dad and fling pancakes at his kids, but he’s still pretty sour about the loss of his mother.
On the bright side, it’s brought him and Melissa closer together and offered them some perspective about the value of time spent with family. “I don’t want to live to work,” she says. “I want to work to live.”
Meanwhile, Dolores is making some interesting life choices right now. Her ex-husband Frank — yes, the same one who cheated on her — is moving back in for the first time in decades, despite the fact that she’s currently dating a very nice OB/GYN. They’re still best friends, in her view, so why not give him the guest room? Frankie might not be crazy about the idea, though, because he picks out a massage table for dear old dad to sleep on, which is not gonna cut the mustard.
And Siggy’s out and about running town with her motivational speaking events and book promotions, but her husband Michael is growing a little weary of how busy she’s been lately. Sure, she puts on a perfect dinner and has no hesitation about joining him in the bedroom as soon as he floats the idea, but her work schedule is getting too intense for him, so he’s telling her — not asking her — to dial it back a bit.
Melissa is delighted to finally restore her ENVY store after Jackie came in and claimed all its clothes to give to Kim D., Melissa’s arch rival, but at least now the store and everything in it is hers and hers alone.
They all manage to catch up at Teresa’s house for a moms’ night in, but they want to take it a step further and head to Siggy’s stomping ground in Boca Raton, Florida, to celebrate Melissa’s birthday in a big way. (Recap continues on page 2)
It doesn’t take long for newbie Margaret to insert herself into the group dynamic by talking about how she walked out on her ex-husband of 17 years with the contractor, with whom she was “meant to be.”
But what really seems to define the conversation on their first waterfront outing is how Teresa’s finally ready to admit her frustrations with husband Joe.
While the others knew she’d stick with him — despite having to serve jail time and then single-handedly parent their children while he finishes his lengthier sentence — the loss of her mother could certainly change that level of devotion. After all, she did lose almost a year of time with her mother as a result of being behind bars, and it especially stings that it was at the tail end of her mom’s life, even if she didn’t know it at the time.
Teresa’s newfound stoicism has also led her to mend fences with an old foe in Danielle Straub, who’s apparently been very gracious and uniquely empathetic to her throughout the whole process. Danielle lost her own mother before, so she makes a point of taking Teresa out for yoga sessions and spa days and allowing her to vent about her sadness.
Danielle joins the girls in Boca, which might be just dandy for Teresa and Melissa, but the rest aren’t all so convinced this detente will last.
And the conversation turns awkward when Danielle inserts herself in a chat about the proper amount of time a man should be able to demand from his wife; she’s a go-getter by nature, so she wouldn’t tolerate what Siggy’s being asked to do by Michael. But Siggy’s excuse for his demands is that she “married a man,” whatever that means. (To be fair, this woman also claims in the same convo that she’s “the most talented person on the face of the Earth,” so it may just be the red stuff talking at this point.)
But Danielle manages to be the least eventful part of Melissa’s birthday dinner out because Teresa and Melissa start toying with each other over sour grapes — like when Teresa ratted out Melissa for dancing with other men all night and put a wedge between herself and Joe for weeks.
None of their spitting is serious, though, and it devolves into them having a food fight with the elegant (“work of art,” per Siggy) cake that was designed for her day, which leads the rest of the group to be completely humiliated.
“We’re gonna have to explain to the restaurant we’re from Jersey,” Siggy says. And when Margaret pipes in with a suggestion that her new pals “take it down a notch,” she shows just how little she actually knows about these women because she’s treated to a “go f— yourself” in response.
From the look ahead, we’re in for a wild ride in season 8, y’all. There’ll be a trip to Milan, more family sad times, some marital spatting over Joe buying a restaurant without Melissa’s permission (gasp!), and, of course, Danielle and Kim D. becoming enemies No. 1 and 2 somewhere down the line.