As I feared last week, things got ugly really quick on the second episode in the RHONJ Jersey Shore trip. After the requisite “morning after” opening, where all the husbands/partners talk about their hangovers, the various teammates – er, housemates – gather to air their sides of the conflict they are about to air during the brunch Rachel is to host later that day.
Then something odd happens.
An offscreen producer asks both Joe Gorga and Teresa if something happened between him and Luis to make them at odds with each other. It turns out there is, but the story we get is both completely unclear on all sides and also really has nothing to do with the ongoing conflict afoot this season – certainly not on this trip.
What I pick up from the confessionals is this: Joe had an idea to peddle pizza ovens, or some kind of specialty pizza, and approached Luis (why would he do this?) to partner on it. Luis lays out $250,000 (from where?) in cash (!!!) to get the project started. Luis says that he wanted to give Joe only five percent of the company for coming up with the idea. Joe wanted 50 percent, so Teresa, who also said she doesn’t think family should go into business together, told him that if he wanted that much, he must also put some money up, or else Luis would run off with the bulk of profit from Joe’s idea, which also includes being named for Nonno.
Somehow this business concept moved forward – Joe says that he asked a nephew (one of Kim’s or Lysa’s sons, maybe?) to help, but in the meantime boxes for the pizzas or the pizza ovens arrived, with imagery of Teresa and her daughters on them, instead of branding that featured Joe and Teresa.
I’m not sure I understand this, nor do I believe it. Joe and Luis already hated each other. And where did this money come from, if not from Teresa? But also, does this mean that there wasn’t any bad blood between Joe and Luis other than this business deal gone awry? And that the producers made them break the fourth wall with a real explanation? I doubt it. Because there’s just so much other stored-up hate going on. But we’ll get back to that.
Danielle is raging, first against Marge, because Rachel told Marge that Danielle told her what Teresa and Jen A. said about Marge’s “arsenal.” Follow that? Meanwhile, it’s a lot of arguing and ignoring that the only true evildoers here are Teresa and Jen for trying to isolate the new girls and conscript them to their team, away from Marge, whom Teresa never really forgave and who is smart enough for Teresa to fear and loathe.
Danielle isn’t done either, because she yells at the woman, primarily Jenn F. and Jackie for talking about her family situation behind her back. She says it should be enough for her to say she blocked her brother on Instagram and that was all he wrote – which is true in life, but this is a reality show, and one steeped in talking about each other behind backs. (That’s essentially the definition of a confessional.) There’s a big tease when Jackie says to Danielle, “That’s not the story. Say it. You know what it is,” and I thought one of the two was going to say what more there is to the story, even if it was just to the camera. Maybe we would even find out more about Jackie’s relationship with her sister, which the producers never seemed interested in including in the past. But we learn nothing. This non-rivalry between Jackie and Danielle is so interesting, and so poorly portrayed.
Danielle and Tre have also riled each other up when it comes to people talking about them or poking holes in their stories. First, Danielle leaves, as Marge and Rachel appropriately call her out as a drama queen, taking Nate with her. (Though later on Nate is still in the background of scenes, so there is some fuzzy editing going on.)
Then Luis pulls Melissa, alone, aside to mend fences about not inviting her family to their wedding (and he insists on holding her hand in doing so), Tre can’t handle it. She starts besmirching Melissa’s family history, stating the fact that Melissa’s father died when she was a teen left her with “daddy issues ”but implying that she has an unhealthy, manipulative relationship with Joe that is somehow the ongoing cause of Teresa’s problems.
Jackie says that this isn’t nice. Teresa tells her to eff off. Glad therapy is going well.
Tre then starts going around in a rage, trying to villainize anyone she and taking zero accountability. She joins Luis and Melissa (there is now a used plate next to him on the couch that wasn’t there before – more fuzzy editing), ruining a moment. She calls Joe over and says if he wanted Donna Marco to be invited, all he had to do was call her. Like a good lawyer, Joe pulls out precedent and says but when he has called her in the past (when Melissa was upset to be excluded as a bridesmaid), in addition to Gia and Luis, she didn’t budge.
It’s all just so obvious here. Right and wrong are obvious. The hypocrisy and the transparency are obvious. She can’t see anyone else’s side, and always change her tune just to feel smug and right in any given moment. Then Tre thinks she’s got her ace in the hole, returning to her telling Joe and Melissa to tell Marge to shut up last year when she was asking Teresa about the Luis videos – which, of course, was Marge trying to be helpful and have her get in front of the story instead of making it weird. But Teresa, scared of her own shadow, ran from the truth, made it weird, then blamed Marge. She doesn’t even see how idiotic she is.
Also, Melissa speaks up and mentions that Teresa didn’t defend Joe when Jen A. called him a “crook” and a “bitch boy.” Tre says she did, we see the footage of her agreeing with Jen A. She never takes their side, and constantly demands they take hers, even as she insults them and theirs. They still kowtow to her, and she finds one instance out of a hundred when they did not and sloppily weaponizes it against them. (We also see a lot of signs of Luis’ temper here.)
Teresa doubles down on the blame, saying that Melissa is unhappy, and is the reason she and her brother do not have a seamless relationship. That’s right, she insults the wife of the brother she says she wants things to be right with and then demands she do more to bring them closer together. She’s so stupid. You’re either going to see it one way or the other, but the way I see it is, while Tre isn’t the center of drama on the show, she is the cause of all the drama that does center around her. And anytime push comes to shove, she leaves – or she swears, or gets violent and swears, and leaves, dumping the burden completely on someone else and constantly shirking her own accountability.
And in watching this exchange, for the first time, I can see why they didn’t bother going to the wedding. I wouldn’t. She’s objectively terrible. She’s abusive. But also, this ongoing feud has nothing to do with some bad pizza business that never got off the ground. It’s because Teresa grew up in love with her younger brother and never emotionally matured beyond the age of eleven. All the TV money in the world can’t fix that.
See you next week!