This week’s “Real Housewives” picked up the drama from the pre-Labor Day-break episode, in which Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo had an explosive argument about the events of this and the previous season and featured the long-anticipated (and somewhat anticlimatic) return of Dina Manzo.
First, however, the audience was treated to a nostalgic dose of cuteness as Teresa and her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga got their kids off to school. It was Antonia Gorga and Gabriela Giudice’s first day of first grade, Gia Giudice’s first day of fifth grade, and Milania Giudice’s first day of kindergarten.
Teresa was worried about “RHONJ” breakout star Milania’s first day, but not in the traditional sense.
“I’m worried about what’s going to come out of her mouth!” she said.
Gorga, on the other hand, was forced to run back to the house after she and Joe spent more time taking pictures than actually making sure Antonia was on time for the bus.
As soon as the girls were off, Teresa and husband Joe discussed the aftermath of the Napa Valley throwdown.
“To tell you the truth, I was kind of loving it,” Joe said. “I wouldn’t have even said the nice things you said.”
“Who cares about being friends with Caroline?” Joe asked.
“She pretty much only hangs out with…I guess, her kids,” Teresa said. “She doesn’t talk to many of her siblings.”
“Tre, that’s none of your business,” Joe said.
Joe maintained that Teresa did not mean to be friends with Kathy either, who they blamed for beginning the argument.
“My husband’s really really smart, when he says something, I trust him,” Teresa said.
And then, out of the blue, she addressed, yet again, the rumors that her husband has been cheating on her.
“Joe’s not going anywhere, unless he cheats on me, then I’ll break his legs,” she said.
Taking her one remaining daughter with her, Teresa went to pick up shoes she left behind in her abrupt departure from Napa from cousin Kathy Wakile’s house. The conversation, as often happens between these two, was circular. Wakile still felt hurt that she did not get to hang out with Giudice and Gorga that much on the trip, but again deferred the conversation to Caroline.
“What I was trying to say is they were quality friends,” Wakile said of the lead up to the Napa fight.
“It seemed like you were all for Caroline,” Giudice said.
After more rehashing, Teresa said, “If I have something to say to you I’ll say it.”
“And I want to be able to do the same thing,” Wakile, who still had not really addressed any of her own issues, said. “I’m known for keeping my mouth closed. I don’t want to be like that.”
Wakile had other thoughts on her mind, namely concerns about her daughter Victoria, who seemed to be set on going to college out of state.
“Growing up in a traditional Italian family, we just stayed home and we worked,” Wakile, a former hairdresser, said. “Going away to college; it’s not something that we see every day.”
Her husband thought she was being ridiculous.
“She’s been babied too long,” he told his wife. “By her going away she won’t be dependent on us.”
While Kathy got emotional, Rich said, “You know what, I love my children, but I’m anxious for them to go away so I can be alone with my wife and then we won’t need any more clothes.”
“I’ll cry before; you cry after, how about that?” Kathy told her husband. “‘Cause I’m going to have to wipe you off the floor.”
Nonetheless, both parents and son Joey joined Victoria on a tour of the University of Maryland. Both parents tortured the tour guides with questions, but the true shocker was when the tour stopped at a sample dorm room.
“I thought she’d be living in a dorm instead of going to prison. I think that might be the deciding factor of her staying home,” Kathy said.
Melissa Gorga went to visit Jacqueline Laurita, as she had not been able to see her before she accompanied the Giudices home. Laurita admitted she feigned sleep for the entire showdown.
“You know, I had already had my talk with Teresa, and I didn’t want to get back into it,” she said.
Melissa said she was hoping Manzo and Giudice could still work it out, but Laurita thought it was pretty clear that Manzo was done, done, done with the friendship, as she has been saying all season long.
Despite Giudice repeatedly saying that she felt everyone was against her, it is clear her brother and sister-in-law felt sympathy for her in this particular argument.
“Caroline ruined the last day of the trip,” Joe Gorga said.
Later, while visiting Caroline, Gorga confronted her about her antics.
“…You were upset out of nowhere,” she said. “It’s not really fair if you sit there and be a victim…we’re not in high school here.”
“I’ve never really experienced an argument with this with one of my girlfriends,” Gorga said. “I mean, maybe in high school. I mean, Teresa did apologize. What else is left?”
Manzo was not hearing any of this, and instead brings her entire family to New York to do a radio special on Sirius Radio. Their topics for the day are family vacations, ending friendships, and all of the other themes that so nicely fit this season’s happenings.
After opening this can of worms, Manzo deftly dodges a question from a listener about the status of her relationship with sister and former housewife Dina Manzo.
“Again, I’m one of 11 children. Our personalities change and sometimes you’re not on the same page, but I love my sister Dina to death….”
Coincidentally, or maybe not so much, Dina Manzo shows up to Teresa Giudice’s launch party for her “adult beverage” Fabillini.
Laurita, who was not invited to the party despite recently patching things up with Giudice, said “I think it’s nice that Dina went there to support her, but it does seem strange when she stayed away from her family for so long. Wasn’t at her nephew’s launch party, wasn’t there at the holidays, but at the time when drama between [Teresa] and Caroline is at its height, [Dina and Teresa] are close again. Why?”
(By “her family,” Jacqueline likely means the cast of the show, as Dina has admitted to distancing herself from all the other “Housewives” when she made the decision to quit in Season 2).
Still, in front of the cameras, she makes no effort to dodge Giudice’s questioning about Manzo’s sister and her behavior.
“What I wrote about Caroline [in her cookbook], did you think it was offensive?” Teresa asked.
“I know the whole style of the book is lighthearted and fun, so no,” Manzo said.
“You didn’t do anything to my sister to really hurt her,” she added. “To me, it’s kind of silly.”
Although it is not clear why, at some point, Giudice said “Blood is thicker than water.”
“Unfortunately, not always,” Dina said. “I used to think so too.”
She then convinced Giudice that her life is not any worse off for not having Caroline in it, and the two promised to grow old together “and have our boobs redone.”
“Teresa, she has an agenda to drive a wedge between myself and family members,” Manzo said, “and it is a constant struggle for me.”
The show airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.