Amid all the petty squabbles continuing to go on in Ireland, something interesting happened. We got a very, very brief glimpse of what life in Bergen County could look like if Melissa and Teresa could just sit back, laugh, and get along.
Do I think this relationship will be saved? No. Do I think it should be saved? Probably not, after all this time. But do I think it could be saved? Based off of this episode, we get a glimmer of potential that maybe Teresa, Melissa, and Joe could possibly reach a stalemate and move on together, and not always lead with being offended. We know it won’t work out that way, but the most recent episode of RHONJ shows us that there is at least a way. (We saw this on the first Girls Trip as well.)
And that’s the problem. It’s that our OG housewife doesn’t know how to play for television viewers. She never relents. Melissa and Teresa are essentially the reality version of a supercouple. They fight, they travel together, they make up, they attend the same events, they share (real life) family and (onscreen, at least) friends. Their world is seemingly irrevocably connected. The nonstop fighting – which, let’s be real, typically starts with Tre pouting because she didn’t get her way and cherry-picking the one example out of one hundred when Melissa and Joe didn’t cave in to her demands – is exhausting and redundant by now. But if we could see the light at the end of the plastic surgery tunnel, then maybe the show’s ups and downs would feel more fun to navigate.
That happens fairly early in last night’s episode. Paulie’s mother, Claire, visits Dolores and thr gang in their castle as they eat breakfast, along with Paulie’s sister and niece. It turns out they have a kind running joke about how Claire called Dolores a hussy for shacking up with her son.
Tre, natch, makes it about herself and compares Nonno to Claire, and then looks to Melissa to back her up. That’s Teresa, always forgetting who she has wronged and supposed hates if she thinks in one moment they can give her the support she’s looking for. (See: Tre talking to Marge at the shore party after Melissa and Joe left…when Teresa mentioned how she hated Marge.) Melissa obliges, sharing a cute-ish memory about the first trip she went on with the family, and how Mamma Gorga (maybe) jokingly referred to her as a “puttana,” which is like the Italian word for “hussy” if “hussy” were “whore.” It’s a harshe word that really calls to mind the intent of its use, and points to the Gorgas never really being kind to Melisa. But the moment of shared kindness is nice.
And then it goes away. Jen A. has planned a hen party on this trip, which entails them going to a secluded Irish farm in the middle of the summer. They play “Catch the Cock,” in which several of the women at a time are locked behind a fence and try and pick up a rooster. Then they enter a room where, much like the ancient Sumerians, they paint images to tell the story of Teresa’s life. (Much credit to my fiancé for asking the urgent question, “Is this where they filmed Juliette Lewis for “Come to My Window?”)
Melissa paints a picture of her family in Italy coming over to America with her parents and brother. They both get teary thinking about it, and Tre even hugs her. This is what we call balance. Mix the good moments with the bad, the fighting and the catharsis, and then you have the show. Teresa then says she wants Melissa’s family in the wedding in some vague way. Sadly, us viewers know this will not come to fruition – and we also soon learn that Bill (!) will also be in the wedding. The other images are nice. Jen A., never forgetting the cameras are on her, paints the season one table flip.
In other news, Peter from the farm introduces the nine ladies to an Irish “spa,” a mud pit they all must jump and sink halfway into. Melissa and Teresa even hold hands as they jump. And pretty soon, this fun will be over. That’s RHONJ in a nutshell – a potential reunion, followed by nothing but crap.
Back in Jersey, we learn a few other things as the men gather to smoke up at Marge’s house. Lexi is now staying there, since she and her husband have separated. We learn that Frank was “contacted by the cannabis industry” to get into business there. (Joe Gorga says he rarely plays with the green party favors, but he gives in; Marge rarely drinks, but says she’ll indulge in the whiskey tasting Dolores has arranged at the castle.) We also learn that the show has ordered a brightly lit food truck parked right by the men’s table at Chez Marge that they all pretend doesn’t exist until Joe B. points it out.
And then we end with a whimper, as newbie Danielle dances as fast as she can for air time, continuing her fight with Rachel. Melissa rightly points out Marge should really be mad at Jen A. and Teresa for telling both women not to trust her (and for talking to Laura) but it’s become more of a shoot-the-messenger thing, where Danielle and Rachel say they delivered the same message differently and therefore should be treated differently.
Danielle ups the ante and again singles Marge out for ruining Jen’s family by airing the truth about Bill’s past infidelity (again: when Jen turned a weak apology into a fight against Marge, the person she was supposed to be apologizing to!); Danielle tells Marge that she will forgive, but she won’t forget. “That is why you are gonna have problems with your family for your whole life,” Margaret retorts. “You will never have a clean slate if you keep bringing up old shit. And that’s a fucking fact. You can forgive, but you can’t forget? You pull that shit your whole life; you will never move past anything.” I mean, she may be right or wrong, but it hits Danielle’s supposed weak spot, so she cries crocodile tears and runs away. I don’t play this game. You don’t get to play victim and villain. Choose a side and commit to it.
And I guess that is where we are with the Gorga girls. With the infamous wedding two weeks away, we seem to be inching closer to them taking a final stand against each other. Too bad. This episode showed us that there was actually a way out for them.
See you next week!