The Real Housewives of New Jersey begins at the Lauritas, where Jacqueline is filling Chris and Ashlee in on the spa weekend. Chris is glad that the experience was positive, but is also positive that fresh stupidity is just around the corner. Ashlee and Chris share a laugh about Jacqueline’s tendency to overanalyze stupid drama, but the laughs turn to tears, as we shift over to Dolores, who has said goodbye to her sweet dog.
Siggy airhorns her arrival for a condolence visit, and brings Dolores gifts and a comforting hug. Dolores shares she never cries, and that the viewers should note that her tears over Boo are unprecedented. We leave the snooze-fest, and join Melissa at Envy, complaining to Jackie about an unacceptable order of jackets. Jackie lies and calls Melissa a size zero enigma — so Melissa gets over it. Melissa is second guessing herself about this whole boutique idea, especially with a partner who has big-girl taste. Melissa feels guilty about missing her kids’ moments, but Jackie tells her to buck up, because business ownership ain’t for scrawny sissies.
Over at the Giudices, Teresa is driving Gia crazy with her swine squeals, as Joe gushes out compliments, about Teresa’s beauty. Gia mouths off, and Joe mouths off right back, like the older inebriated brother, she never had. Teresa shares that Joe is really unraveling, and probably won’t be able to pull off ruling the roost like a boss, from the clink. Joe reminds her that his post-prison bod will have the felon groupies panting, upon his return.
We next sit through a riveting convo between Siggy and her son Josh. They discuss such hot topics as classroom boredom and school vacations, then Siggy saves the day by plowing over a trash can lid. Josh, permit in pocket, takes over the wheel. Josh claims his driver’s seat manhood, and tells his his mother to quit pawing him like a baby.
Back at the Giudices, Joe is drunk and threatening to smash Teresa’s head if she doesn’t can the incessant yapping. Teresa blames the alcohol, and pre-slammer stress. Dolores phones in, and Teresa complains about her verbally abusive man-child. Dolores assures us that Teresa will never leave Joe, and offers her dry-eyed counseling services to Teresa if she ever needs them. Teresa is worried about being both mom and dad, and actually paying bills, instead of ignoring them.
The Lauritas are having a poker night, and are happy that Rosie is coming to join the fun. They are excited that Rosie will be able to hang with Joe again, because she has missed the ol’ drunk. Meanwhile, over at the Gorgas, Melissa is enjoying her kiddos, while struggling to remember why she actually wanted a career. Joe arrives home, and reminds her that he has claimed this night out, and won’t be available to sling hash for the kids.
Rosie arrives at the Lauritas, and is greeted warmly. Rosie shares that she feels badly about spouting off on New Year’s eve. Rosie says that she stuck with Joe during Teresa’s camp stint, and wonders why things are so challenging since her release. Joe Gorga arrives, and poor innocent Pete is thrown into the mix. Joe is a no-show, and calls to give the poker crew a hangover update. Rosie is peeved that she may not see Joe before his freedom exit, and storms out. She pulls it together, and returns, deciding to be a good sport. Joe calls his sister and asks what her hubby’s deal is, and she reveals that Joe is hiding under his bed, with the pre-prison heebies.
The mundane excitement never ends with the rookies, who are now sorting bills, and dramatically opening mail. Siggy is coaching Dolores through the harrowing process, as Teresa arrives to add a nasally dimension to the snoozery. Teresa escaped her plastered chunk of a husband, so even another’s paperwork looks great. Teresa reminds us all of her fiscal responsibility, and her commitment to share her bill-paying prowess to those less fortunate — so prison won’t just “happen” to those she loves. Dolores is struggling, because between opening a gym and the power bill, she is overwhelmed. Siggy assures us that Dolores is ready to take the reins, and rip open those envelopes like an independent woman.
It’s the night of a sweet daddy/daughter school dance, and Melissa is helping Antonia get ready. Melissa curls Antonias’s hair, and tells her daughter that she’s beautiful. Joe gets dressed, and tells his reflection the same thing. Melissa assures her daughter that her absence for this
stupid career storyline is temporary, as the gals chat about Antonia’s plans for her future. Melissa’s mission is to break her daughter out of the old-school caveman mentality, at least until the finale. Antonia makes her grand entrance, and she looks lovely. Joe gifts his daughter with a wrist corsage, and the scene is precious.
Meanwhile, Teresa and Gia are headed out for a mommy/daughter sushi date, and Gia wishes she could just score the sushi minus the blather. They discuss the resident drunk’s departure, and Gia shares that she is ready for her father to get lost, and get thankful. It’s hard for Teresa to hear those words, but she knows that Gia is right. Teresa reminds her that they are a strong family, and that they will weather their next incarceration like champs.
The gang is getting ready for the launch party, and everyone is ready to celebrate Teresa’s triumphant return to to the top. Bravo hops us between two cars — one with the Giudices and the Gorgas, and one with the Lauritas, Siggy, and Dolores. Teresa is excited, but bogged down with the trials that come with being the wife of a criminal lush. Chris jokes about the weirdness of riding to an event in a tacky limo with a gaggle of women, as Joe receives a call from “Chris C” aka one of his felon buddies. Teresa’s legal watchdog clues her in that Joe’s friend isn’t allowed in, due to his criminal past. Teresa informs Joe that his underage son shouldn’t be around a felon either, but Joe doesn’t understand why “the law” must be obeyed. Teresa rolls her eyes, as Joe tells Chris to give an appearance a shot — because breaking the rules is no biggie.
The party is hopping, and we enjoy a quick flashback with Rino and the trashy twins. E News is there to capture the action, as we get a glimpse of Siggy’s husband, Michael, and the yet to be seen cast members, lesbian couple, Robyn and Christina. Joe is summoned outside, and is seen in an argument with Lenny the lawyer, over his felon VIP. His felon brother loses it in the street, mic’ed and performing like a flunky extra from The Godfather.
Teresa’s publisher prepares to make the expected announcement, and Joe makes it in from the failed mobster audition, in time to hear that the book is a NYT Bestseller hit — courtesy of Bravo. The show closes with a touching speech from Teresa, and Lenny sharing that she has beaten the Pope’s ass on the book list. Joe decides that this news is worth a few dozen drinks — so CHEERS!
Bravo gives us a glimpse of the rest of the season as we look to next week.