‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’: Bad Mom (RECAP)
The Public Shaming of Melissa
Season 8 • Episode 4
One word popped into my mind when Real Housewives of New Jersey sisters-in-law and erstwhile BFFs Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga resumed their long-dormant hostilities at a fraught work meeting at Ristorante Plot Device.
“Unattended?” Or, in Teresa-speak, “UNATTENDED?!?!?”
You’ll recall that moment from early in the third season, when then-Housewife Kathy Wakile wheeled baby Audriana out of the way of short flailing Italian man named Joe. Teresa later accused Kathy of ducking out of the family christening/prizefight, which is when Kathy told her she was making sure Teresa’s daughter was okay because she had been left alone.
It is no secret that Teresa Giudice has a few, shall we say, triggers. Words like prison. Bankruptcy. Foreclosure. Pizzelles. Insinuations that she’s a crook. That her husband is a crook. That she doesn’t write her own cookbooks. But perhaps most of all, insinuations that she’s a bad mother. Nuh-uh, girlfriend. She will sic Milania on you for that.
To the uninitiated, the battle royale of the episode appears to have been the Dolores Catania/Danielle Staub confrontation, but ladies, we know that Teresa and Melissa’s detente couldn’t last. The sniping at the restaurant was merely an appetizer.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Relax, pour yourself a glass of Tre’s favorite Champagne, Verve Kerklo, and read on …
Siggy Flicker recaps her cheese fries-fueled diner showdown with Margaret Josephs to Dolores, which ended with an apology from Margaret, although it seemed to me Margaret was simply apologizing for making Siggy cry and not necessarily for anything else that happened in Boca.
Siggy tells Dolores that Margaret thinks Dolores is Siggy’s yes person (or Siggy’s soldier, to use Jacqueline Laurita’s parlance from last season), and that Teresa and Melissa think so too. Dolores, who has been friends with Teresa for years, is pissed, particularly because Dolores, in her words, “jeopardized my own credibility to vouch for Teresa a million times.” Hmmm. Credibility and RHONJ. Two words that do not taste great together.
Margaret and her husband Joe arrive at Casa Gorga for dinner. I swear I rewound that episode just to get another look at that antipasti platter. Over a game of pool, Margaret tells Melissa that she and Siggy have made things right, but Melissa is put out because Siggy never reached out to her to apologize. The conversation turns to menopause, a biological inevitability that Joe Gorga doesn’t quite seem to grasp. Probably not the only one.
I’m not going to waste more than a paragraph on Siggy sobbing over her son’s growing distance. He’s a teenaged boy, relationship expert lady. That’s who they are at that age. Siggy also tells us that she’s throwing a cocktail/retail party for her entrepreneurial friends and has invited the whole crew. Great. More things to throw.
Melissa arrives at Teresa’s house bearing cupcakes, about which Teresa sounds distinctly unenthused. (The cupcakes, not Melissa. At least not at the moment.) When Melissa tells her about Joe’s new restaurant, Melissa is shocked to discover that not only does Teresa already know about it, Teresa is Joe’s partner in the business. “It’s going to be all good,” Teresa enthuses. “We could be together every weekend!” That last is said with a glint in her eye. Hey, who introduced Teresa to the concept of irony? That could be lethal!
Melissa, Teresa and Danielle get together for an old school Italian lunch at Il Capriccio in Whippany—one of my 51 restaurants to eat at in New Jersey before you die, FYI. Danielle piously tells us that she would never want to the kind of person to say something that creates drama—yes, I’m quoting Danielle <Staub—but Dolores had something not very nice to say about Teresa a few weeks ago. “If Dolores doesn’t come clean, eventually I’m going to have to tell Teresa myself,” Danielle continues.
But not today. Danielle does ask Melissa and Teresa whether they’ve heard from Siggy or Dolores. Teresa says she had lunch with Siggy, and Siggy apologized for some of the things she said that night. (Teresa does not say that she also apologized to Siggy for Cakegate.) Melissa is now even more annoyed at Siggy. But not as annoyed as Teresa when Melissa starts schooling her on how to handle Milania, who has been handful since her grandmother died. And, let’s face it, since birth. “She’s totally working you,” Melissa tells Teresa. “You’re too nice to them because you never want them to be mad at you. You have to put your foot down with them a little.”
What Teresa hears: “UNATTENDED!!!” Teresa tells us she would never lecture another mother on how to raise their children, and that Melissa has the benefit of Joe to co-parent. (As we’ve seen, that’s debatable.) “I’m doing this all on my own,” Teresa says. (And as we’ve also seen, she seemed to be doing this all on her own when her husband was around, too.) Later, Teresa tells us that Milania doesn’t need more discipline. “She just needs more attention and more love.” Girl has grown up in front of a camera. She needs more attention?
Joe Gorga has called a meeting at Gorga’s Homemade Pasta & Pizza to discuss their soft opening for friends and family, and Teresa shows up first with family photos that they’ll use to personalize the restaurant. He’s glad to see Teresa and tells us, “If we could get Melissa’s ass here, we would be rocking and rolling.” My notes say, “Screw you, Joe.” Only I didn’t use the word screw.
Melissa, who I will remind you was informed of, not asked about, Joe’s decision to purchase this restaurant, arrives 45 minutes late. “Must be nice,” Joe says. “I own a business and I have three kids,” she reminds him. (Four, Melissa. You have four children. One just happens to be oh, 5 feet and change and maybe 150 pounds.)
But Teresa’s not going to let this one go. “And I have four kids,” she snipes. Melissa tells her that she was working the store solo today. “You knew we had this meeting … ” Teresa tells her.
Melissa sees where this is headed — right back to where these two started, when Teresa thought Melissa was an entitled princess. Teresa, still seething over the parenting advice, take issue when Melissa says she wants to be hostess at the opening. “Yeah, I don’t want to cook. I already warned him,” Melissa tells Teresa. Tre: “Would you waitress if you had to?” Nope. “You know when she’ll be here?,” Teresa says. “She’ll be here Fridays and Saturdays, drinking wine, getting drunk. I want you to work.” I am totally on Team Melissa here, in case you couldn’t tell.
Danielle arrives at Teresa’s house to pick her up for Siggy’s party, and girlfriend can’t wait one second longer to tell Teresa what Dolores said, although she prefaces it with, “I don’t like to get involved in other people’s relationships BUT…”
Here is what Dolores allegedly said: “Teresa is many things, but she is not concerned about anything or anyone except money.” We can argue about whether the sentiment has any truth to it, but I have a hard time believe Dolores said that. I can believe that said something that Danielle deliberately misconstrued. I can certainly believe that it’s one big fat producer-fed fable. But to recap RHONJ is to suspend megatons of disbelief. Teresa is appropriately shocked and immediately itching to take this tale to Dolores herself.
But first OMG Siggy. Within a few minutes of Melissa’s arrival at her party, it’s back to Cakegate. You know the drill: Siggy is angry about the cake; Melissa is pissed about being called an animal; Siggy denies it; the videotape confirms it. Melissa is done talking about the cake but guess what? Siggy isn’t.
In fact, Siggy screams — literally screams — to the rest of the party, “I want everybody to shut up. If I have a cake made for you for your birthday and it’s three tiers and it’s your birthday and it’s being thrown across the restaurant, how many people think that’s being rude, raise your hand?”
I want everyone to shut up. If I have a party and then scream at my guests and purposefully embarrass a so-called friend, how many people thinks that’s being rude, raise your hand?
I don’t think a jury in the land would convict Melissa for, say, aggravated weave-pulling right now.
Somehow, this debacle ends with Siggy on the floor, arms spread, saying, “That’s all I wanted.” Confirmation via humiliation? Even Dolores is starting to look concerned about the state of Siggy’s mental health.
Too bad Teresa and Danielle missed the show. They’re aghast as Melissa recounts the episode. Though Teresa is still upset with Melissa, she tells us, “Family comes first. I’m not going to let someone humiliate my sister-in-law.” Yeah! That’s Teresa’s job! (I know I’ve made that joke before but IT COULD NOT BE HELPED.)
Everyone gathers on Siggy’s porch to once again rehash Cakegate. Melissa and Teresa remind Siggy that they actually ate the freakin’ cake before they started throwing the freakin’ cake. Of course, somehow the fight ends up being about Dolores and Teresa. Because producers.
Dolores tells Teresa she’s been sticking up for her for years, but Danielle drops her bomb about Dolores’s comment about money-grubbing Teresa. Dolores denies it in no uncertain terms and turns on Danielle — in fact, marches over to her and yells in her face, “You’re a crazy scumbag! Welcome back, scumbag.” Danielle says she has no reason to lie. Except producers.
Then Dolores turns to Teresa and points out the painfully obvious: “Do you think that she’s coming around after the things that happened in the past because she wants to be your friend? She’s a starving hungry bitch.” (Dolores wins for best quote of the night.)
Teresa pretends to be torn about her loyalties. In a nutshell: “On one hand, Dolores has stuck with me through thick and thin for decades. On the other hand, she’s been very distant with me recently. Like, right around the time we started taping this season. On the other other hand, why would Danielle Staub, a woman whom I nearly flattened with a piece of furniture and called a prostitution whore in front of her children and much of America lie to me? On the other other other hand, I star on a reality television show built on fake drama. Hmmm. I really don’t know who to believe.”
Danielle storms off, and Teresa tells Dolores that she and Melissa are going to take Danielle home. Dolores thinks Danielle is there for revenge, and she tells Teresa she’s afraid for her. Teresa dismissively says, “Okay, all right,” and walks out. “I warned her,” Dolores tells Siggy. “I warned her.”
Will Season 8 end with Teresa and Melissa on the outs? Are you Team Dolores or Team Danielle? And what in the world is up with Siggy? Diagnoses, please.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Wednesdays, 9/8c, Bravo