"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" marked its second thoroughly difficult viewing week Sunday.
We continue seeing the argument between housewife Jacqueline Laurita and her daughter Ashley Holmes, and once again see Montville Township sisters-in-law Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga exchange jabs at each other during an otherwise pleasant social event.
The show picks up where last week’s left off, with Laurita, her husband Chris, her ex-husband Matt and his wife Jodi trying to discuss Holmes’ future with her. Last week, Jacqueline stormed out when Ashley brought up the fact that she was not pregnant at 20, like Jacqueline was with her.
While Chris follows Jacqueline, Matt and Jodi tell Ashley that she has to apologize to her mother. She disagrees, saying it is both of their faults and she is tired of always apologizing. Indeed, even Chris tells Jacqueline that she is “always ready for a fight.” Ashley does approach her mother, but the talk is unfruitful. They are both far too emotional to talk it out, and instead begin arguing once again.
Viewers are torn between Jacqueline, who feels she has put so much work into Ashley she should be able to enjoy the final product, and Ashley, who feels she is being blamed for the sacrifices her mother chose to make to have her. (Note: Both Ashley and Jacqueline have now stated that Ashley was a planned child, not a mistake as earlier episodes seemed to imply.)
And, as always, we wonder why they let the cameras follow this one particular discussion.
With no resolution evident, Matt and Jodi fly back to Texas still wondering if Holmes needs to “hit rock bottom” before she can learn to respect the people who care for her.
A Zen Jen cleanse
Meanwhile, Kathy Wakile is preparing to have a tasting party for the other housewives, as an experiment for her proposed catering business. To prepare for that, she invites “Zen Jen” to come cleanse her home with sacred sage. “Zen Jen” was last seen cleansing former housewife Dina Manzo last season, which begs the question: who is this girl? Richie and Joseph Wakile clearly have the same question, as they give looks and make sarcastic comments through the entire process.
“Richie Wakile does not believe in voodoo or black magic,” Rich says, “but I’m glad that Kathy is throwing a tasting party.”
“She can show her friends and family that she really can cook,” he adds, “that she’s not stealing recipes from her mother and mother-in-law and putting them in a book.” This is clearly one of Wakile’s famous jabs at Teresa, in reference to her new “family cookbook,” "Fabulicious."
Meanwhile, Giudice receives a judgment about the lawsuit against her and her husband Joe. While Teresa was cleared of all charges, Joe owes $260,000 for forging his ex-business partner’s signature on a legal form. Joe admitted to doing so, which both he and Teresa say was a mistake.
“See? You have to lie,” Teresa says.
Montville auction update
The audience also gets an answer as to what happened to the much publicized public auction of the Giudices’ personal items that was to take place last fall. The Giudices’ lawyer explains that Teresa has been allowed to buy the items with her own personal funds. Millions of disappointed fans aside, Joe says, “At least Teresa gets to keep her shoes!”
The episode shows all of the other housewives reacting to the news of the decision as they read it in the paper. They all express frustration that Giudice always acts as though everything is fine, and so they really do not know what is going on. However, all of them are happy that her legal troubles are over and that her family can move on with their lives, including Wakile.
Inexplicably, Wakile has invited Giudice to the tasting party, despite the last interaction between the cousins being less than civil. In fact, Wakile and her husband went into the bathroom after their last altercation at Melissa’s Christmas party so that Kathy could call Giudice numerous names and Rich could threaten to burn down the house. The footage of Kathy agonizing over the decision to invite Teresa must have been left on the cutting room floor.
Giudice is, of course, late to the tasting, and the other housewives plus Lauren Manzo discuss the Ashley situation. There is a lot of discussion of physically punishing her, which makes the episode even more uncomfortable (and possibly damaging to someone who has gone through such things). Saying one should “take out the wooden spoon” is one thing, but saying she should have been “picking her teeth up off the floor,” as Caroline Manzo does, takes it to a whole new level.
Leave it to Victoria
Laurita’s hurt over the situation is clearly not helped by 16-year-old Victoria Wakile, who politely tells her mother she wants to wait for “Aunt Teresa” to show up before she goes to study—on a Friday night.
“I feel like I’m at the Cleaver’s house!” Laurita says.
When Teresa arrives, everyone begins to sample the food and make a huge fuss, except Teresa. She looks somewhat disdainful throughout the entire party and even takes Wakile’s assertion that she sees her as a goddess because “when things seem to be going crazy around you, you can just put a smile on and just bring it.”
“I just hope that was a compliment,” she says.
Tensions arise when Giudice objects to Gorga saying that they had not spoken for years when Gorga began to socialize with Kim “G,” who has caused many problems for Giudice.
“Why do you say years? Did you not come to Audriana’s first birthday party?” Giudice asks.
Restaurant announcement and, thankfully, a belly dancer
Gorga asserts that she meant they did not speak on the phone or get involved in each other’s personal life, but Giudice will not let it go. She also interrupts Wakile talking about her catering business by announcing that she and Joe are going to open a restaurant.
“Oh my goodness. If it’s not her moment, then it’s not going to be anyone’s moment,” Melissa says.
Luckily, Wakile diffuses the tension with a belly dancer. Thank God for belly dancers.
The tension in the Laurita home is not so easily diffused. When Ashley comes into the kitchen one day, she announces yet again that she is moving to California to go to school and get a job. She claims this was her mother’s idea to begin with, which sets Laurita off yet again. After a long fight which features Ashley calling her mother the “b-word” and Jacqueline saying she should just move out now, Ashley storms up to her room. While Jacqueline reads a book to her two sons, CJ and Nicolas, Chris tells Ashley to have a friend come pick her up and to get out of the house.
And so comes yet another heartbreaking ending for the show, which seems to get more depressing and less entertaining every week. The knots in viewers’ stomachs will likely not loosen any time soon, as next week’s promo features a meltdown between the two Joes: Giudice and Gorga.
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.