"... We can't go there 'cause that's fourth season, remember?" Teresa spat out those words during the reunion show last year when asked if the cast was still "like family."
Now readers, I just met you (and this is crazy) but it seems like someone grated a whole lot of foreshadowing over the spaghetti. Let's find out what led the "Housewives" to undo the ties that bind and attempt to choke Teresa with them, shall we?
Apparently, everything unraveled four months before the September Season 3 reunion. Historians have long referred to that era as B.C.: "Before Cookbook."
Summer has risen over the Garden State. Friendships (and bikinis) are hanging on by a thread. Kathy Wakile and Melissa Gorga's families are enjoying themselves at a poolside bash. Drinks are poured, hookah is smoked, and children are thrown violently in the pool. Juicy breasts are roasting ... some of which were actually on the BBQ.
Speaking of cooking, Kathy's husband Richie (a.k.a. the "Lebanese Jeff Goldblum") decides to help out by stirring the pot. Was the ribs recipe "from Teresa's new cookbook," he wonders? Everyone laughs and god-blesses her success, but Melissa isn't amused. She heard rumors of vitriol tucked between veal recipes, but she tried to do what most people who saw it in a book store would: Ignore it.
Her husband, Joe, really wants to get a look, but since he doesn't understand all those squiggly things on the page. So, some other semi-literate family member takes a stab.
"I see my brother, Joe Gorga, his wife Melissa, my niece Antonia and nephews Gino and Joey several times a week. I wish my baby sister-in-law didn't copy everything I do down to the shoes I wear and the chairs on my front porch. But you know what they say, you can't pick your family."
If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, it just sliced Joe's heart out. But he doesn't think the harsh words are enough to "rehatch" old problems. Jeff Goldblum quickly becomes my personal favorite when he suggests they "burn that bitch on a stake!" (One assumes that recipe is not in her book.) What's tan and white and read all over? A new, post-fame version of Teresa that her friends and family are starting not to recognize. Soon, she'll be a total stranger.
Meanwhile, Caroline "Life Is Short I Have No Room for Drama" Manzo has rearranged her schedule to fit drama in. It seems her family has heard about the book, too -- but when they go to Jacqueline's house for some hang time, they're all, "Oh we don't care. We're not talking about this endlessly because it bugs us or anything."
Luckily, Jacqueline's 20-year-old daughter Ashley sucks almost as bad as Teresa, so she's the new topic of discussion even though she's not present. Apparently, she looks different with platinum blonde hair and a whole mess of tattoos, but she's stayed true to her core beliefs: Go nowhere and do nothing in life.
Then, she's saved by the doorbell. Teresa, Joe and their youngest meatball spawn arrive for dinner -- and judging by everyone's faces, Teresa's head on a platter is the only suitable meal. In some cultures, brain is a delicacy. It's a shame she hasn't got one. Teresa knows why everyone's annoyed, but she hopes a meal can smooth things over. Caroline simply wants an admission of guilt, so they go out back to talk mama y mama.
Teresa says: "I think maybe you guys misread it 'cause if you really read it good, I didn't insult you. It was like a joke. That hurts me that you would even think I'd write anything bad about you or your children." She continues: "If I didn't care, you think my heart would be beating like this?" (Cardiologists say: Well, yes, since you're alive.)
Every time Teresa's put on the spot, she gets all frantic and darty-eyed like a dog that can tell it's going to the vet. She has endless excuses, and Caroline puts it perfectly when she says that Teresa "wasn't sorry [for] what she wrote; she's sorry she got caught." Then it starts to rain, because the 'Housewives' franchises makes God cry. They run inside, exchange sorries and smooches, and all is right with the world ... until the next commercial break.
When our heroes return, we're at Melissa's house where she, her husband and son Gino are packing for their trip down to the Jersey Shore. Joe throws some saucy "goodies" at Melissa and advises her to bring them to Toms River. Melissa tells her son that the whip dad's panting over is "to play with kittykats," and one can only imagine the therapy sessions and complicated tingly feelings Gino will eventually have toward felines.
Speaking of raging sexaholics, Kathy and Jeff Goldblum are also packing to hit the shore with the Gorgas and Giudices. "Stick it deep in the bag, Rich. Stick it in deep, all the way in!" is definitely how most people direct their husbands to place items in a suitcase. One can only assume the gross vignette was part of some larger subliminal viewer sterilization program paid for by the government.
Meanwhile, trip prep isn't going so hot for Teresa. She's trying to wrangle her three young daughters, or, as I like to call them, "living birth control." When Gabriella, 7, calls older sister Gia a "stupid whore," your tubes practically tie themselves. "I don't care about you, you always be gone!" she hollers at her loving mother later. Cutie!
At this point, the only person we haven't really checked in with yet is Jacqueline. With her Unemployed Barbie (downward spiral sold separately!) at home, she leans heavily on her life coach. Her daughter's endless self-destruction is defeating Jacqueline. During a walk with Caroline, she says the breaking point has come -- and this time, she's going to let things shatter. Ashley's aunt and uncle in Vegas are willing to take her in, and she has to leave tomorrow. That messes up her schedule of getting piercings and bigger lips, but this is non-negotiable. Ashley's leaving, but Caroline and Jacqueline are staying put. They won't be joining the other "Housewives" at the beach.
Speaking of which, it seems like that trip may not be too bumpy ... until Joe Gorga digs a pot hole. Apparently, Teresa called him and said that Melissa would leave him in a heartbeat for a richer man. He tells Melissa, who is horrified. But since this episode is brought to you by "Keeping Your Cool," she admirably lets it go as the ravings of a jealous lunatic who is probably unhappy in her own marriage.
As Teresa and Joe drive to the shore, that assessment seems right on the laundered money. Joe's-a-cheater rumors ran rampant, and though Teresa's mouth says it's false, the rest of her face calls bullshit. During the car ride she asks him about the previous night, and his admission that he was out with a few women ("I forget their names") doesn't go over well.
Even their eldest daughter is suspicious, and he eloquently responds with, "It was business, Gia. Shut up." Yeah, seriously Gia, shut up, everything is great! Just 'cause your daddy drove drunk and went to jail and maybe has a secret love meatball doesn't mean he's a bad man. Besides, it's not like your mom made your baby sisters pose for a photo (at the beach, in swimsuits) that accompanied an In Touch article entitled "My Life Without Joe."
While everyone around her is nursing emotional wounds, Caroline's suffering has been physical, too. She's getting migraines, she's tired, she's having mood swings, she's a stress beast. What could that be? Strange symptoms for an aging woman, right? According to the doctor, she's suffering from menopause/the dreaded "getting old" disease. A good way to fix most of those issues is "new friends" ... but unfortunately you can't write a prescription for that.
Luckily, all those things that are making Caroline sick are now at their homes in Toms River. It's "alls you need!" according to Teresa. The Giudices even have a boat, cleverly named "Giudice's Boat." Melissa and Joe also own a house, in which a "lot of Gorgasms" happen. Joe has installed soundproofing material so that nobody can hear their bleating. It's a perfect family spot! If the amount of times you talk about having sex is inversely proportionate to how much you're having it, then nobody's getting any at the Shore.
Finally, they put their differences aside, stuff their sausage bodies into some casings and head down to the water. Joe Gorga finally stops thinking about getting laid long enough to lay into Teresa -- and while defending his history as a good brother, he reveals that he loaned them $25,000. There must be something in the salty air (or her fruity drank) 'cause she doesn't start flipping sand chairs. Instead, they call a truce that, judging from the blood-curdling sneak peek at next week's episode, won't last very long.
The previews make it obvious that Ashley and Teresa are the show's super evil villains -- and in this Jersey fairytale, hate may actually conquer all.
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo