Amidst the tragedy of Teresa and Juicy Giudice's federal indictments, and Gia Giudice crying continuously, and Melissa Gorga searching for a storyline, and these new cast members with their horrible Househusbands, can we all say a prayer of thanks for the perfection known as Dina Manzo and her armless Chihuahua?
Yes, Dina is back! And she's separated from her husband (though still living with and boning him, oy) and getting ready to send her daughter, Lexi off to college, and also still estranged from her sister and erstwhile Jersey housewife Caroline Manzo. This means that she has the time to worry about her fucked-up pets, and also grace us with her presence, thank God. "It's nice to want the unwanted," says Dina Manzo. Maybe this is also why she gets along so well with Teresa?
So yeah, Teresa. She and Juicy have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, and bankruptcy fraud, and could be sent to the clink for half a century. Given this rather dramatic situation plus last season's reconciliation efforts, Melissa and Joe Gorga have squashed their feud with the Giudices and are determined to stand behind them. What this means is that Melissa Gorga now has no purpose.
Or, I mean, we'll see, I guess. But her possibly lying about not knowing that an old friend has cancer is not in remotely the same stratosphere as that time in the "Adirondikes" when she begged Teresa on her knees to stop hurting her family.
And listen. I'm not trying to be a total jerk here, but during this episode I felt this weird sort of pang between my sternum and stomach, and much to my horror I believe it to be empathy. Teresa and Juicy may occupy a prominent place in the Cesspool of Humanity, but there's something about Gia saying things like, "I obviously know what's going on. Like, I'm old enough to comprehend and understand what's going on," before her face scrunches up with tears and she cries into the shoulders of her parents. She's in this weird hinterland between being a child and being grown, and having the worst moments of her life displayed for entertainment and judgment on TV screens around the country, and honestly that just kills me a little.
Thank goodness Milania is still there, abusing hairdressers and corrupting her cheerleading squad and yelling things like "NOW SHUT YOUR BUTTHOLE! I love it!" and telling Teresa that her Fabulicious tiramisu sucks and narrowly avoiding being indicted for homework fraud. If the Giudices go to jail, could I maybe adopt her?
Anyway, Gia's college fund is totally going to attorney fees, and Teresa is living a nightmare, and longing for the normal old days when she could just flip tables and get a Sizzle Tan and have her husband call her a c-u-n-t with no legal implications.
In related news, our OTHER big curveball is that Juicy Giudice has quite possibly become rather thoughtful and sympathetic. I KNOW, I CAN'T BELIEVE I AM TYPING THESE WORDS. The entire Giudice clan—and I mean, like, 60 of them—comes together for a family portrait, in honor of Juicy's grandmother's 80th birthday. Teresa tells us that the portrait is really for Juicy, I guess in case he gets deported and never sees them again? But also to remind him how much love and support he has.
Juicy stands on the balcony inside his house, much like a very squat Evita, and talks about his grandparents emigrating to the U.S., and how the family did good. They've got doctors in the family, they've got hygienists, they've got the federally prosecuted. And whenever anybody's in trouble, says Juicy, the whole group is there in a minute. He ends his speech with a round of God blesses and an enthusiastic, "I love yous all!" and, like, I actually felt an emotion. I'm not proud of that, but in the interest of transparency I felt like I had to tell you. This was only intensified by Gia telling him that he did a good job, and then crying and saying she loves him so much, and then HIM wiping his eyes too.
Teresa comes in yelling, "WHY YOU CRYIN?" because it is her mission in life to ruin every poignant moment. But then Juicy's dad Frank comes in to comfort them and says, "I wish you a hundred years!" (I'm guessing he's not talking about sentencing) and then we learn that Frank died last month, so, just add that tragedy to the pile. And can I just say…stop trying to make me feel feelings, Bravo. It's throwing me off my game!
I guess we have to talk about the new girls now. First I will say that I don't miss Caroline or Jacqueline at all, at least not yet. And I definitely don't miss the Manzo children, because that one season when I was mildly in love with Albie Manzo is but a distant memory. Put some BLK water in a champagne flute and toast to that!
I think that Kathy Wakile is going to be a "friend of the Housewives" this season, mostly so we can still get a dose of Rosie, thank goodness.
So, we now have Amber, an old friend of Melissa's from her single days.
Amber has a master's degree from Columbia in exercise physiology, and wastes little time in throwing some maple-level shade at Melissa by interviewing, "We had a lot in common. We both wanted to be successful. We had just different ways of going about it. So I went the school way…Melissa wanted to marry money." Amber has four kids and a husband who thinks it's hilarious to scare said children with a giant pig carcass. Also her daughter picks her nose at the table.
Also new are twin sisters Teresa and Nicole. And, like…they couldn't find someone with a name other than Teresa? I don't care that it's pronounced Ter-EH-sa. Is life not traumatic enough for people who write about The Real Housewives of New Jersey professionally? Can I just call her Harriet? One thing I've learned for sure about Italian people over the course of this show is that they have a pool of exactly 12 names to choose from. And their family gatherings are usually very civil.
Anyway, Twin-Teresa has a husband named Rino who owns two restaurants and, shall we say, really seems to fit in with the caliber of Househusbands found on this show. Nicole is divorced (after "something happened" in her relationship) and has a boyfriend named Bobby, with whom she makes fish tacos. That is not a euphemism! Nicole says, "A woman only needs two things. Dunkin Donuts and oral sex." Oh, wait, so maybe it is a euphemism also? Where do the donuts come in, though?
Amber apparently knows Twin-Teresa and Nicole in some totally made up way, and winds up throwing a Fall Harvest Party to which, through various convoluted shenanigans, the entire cast of housewives is invited. Dina and Teresa, who are still good friends, travel to the party together. When Dina asks if Teresa is nervous about the reaction she'll likely get, she says, "You know what stinks is that other people are probably going through the same thing." Really? A federal indictment? But she's vowed not to hide, since she can't stop the world from gossiping.
When they do enter the party, there is definitely a record-scratch moment, like, what did these people expect when they saw a film crew and signs saying Real Housewives of New Jersey? In other party happenings, Amber uses the non-word "Ettiquacy" (though wouldn't you TOTALLY buy a copy of The Guidette Book of Ettiquacy?) and Rino tells a story about being circumcised at 27: "The doctor goes how do you feel? I said keep the tip!" So, we have him to look forward to all season.
Teresa seems to take to the twins, saying that they remind her of her former self—e.g., they're idiots. Dina has the quote of the evening when she says, "I'm not bitter, but I think that most of the people in between the children and the old people tend to be assholes," followed up by, "Just because I'm Zen doesn't mean I'm gonna put up with assholes. I mean, nobody's that fucking Zen." OH HOW I LOVE HER! Despite her strong feelings about assholes, she does seem to connect a little with Nicole around issues of divorce, and with Amber as they talk about Project Ladybug, Dina's foundation for children with cancer.
As it happens, Amber is a cancer survivor. She got breast cancer at 31, and it changed her as a person. And speaking of cancer, when Amber talks with Melissa about how she fell out of touch and Melissa says Amber wasn't exactly blowing up her phone either, Amber pulls out the following trump card: "You know I went through the cancer."
Melissa says that no, she did NOT know that Amber went through The Cancer, and Amber is all, "What about that message you sent me on Facebook that I now can't find?" and admits that she has some ill feelings resulting from this incident. So, I don't know what happened and can't really say that I give two shits. Melissa is peeved about it, however, and shares with Teresa and Dina that she doesn't like being accused of things that aren't true. Teresa is all, "I KNOW THE FEELING!" I think that's probably the entirety of her legal defense.