Half of our heroines are still currently in Chicago, staying in the Hotel Sax. That sounds so much like 'sex,' but with an 'a.' We're off to a good, mature start on my end already. Jacqueline's husband Chris is just lounging around, reading In Touch like most red-blooded male Americans. Of course he has a relatively good reason: Teresa and little Gabriella (I think) are looking all perky and "Terrified of Being Pale" on the cover with the headline "I'm Terrified of Being Poor." They also appear to be at the beach. Perhaps they are using that little beep-beep machine to find metal? Jacqueline and Chris get a real kick out of the dog that Teresa, a notorious hater of all things fuzzy (with the exception of her cro-mag husband), is snuggling. But what they find inside is not so funny. We see the words "Bullied by Friends For Being Broke" and Jacqueline gasps "Caroline?!"
Speaking of which, the Manzos are prepping for the big wedding by ordering fruit platters and cocktails from room service. Fabulous friend Greg forgot his toothpaste, so he went downstairs to grab it and hey, whaddaya know, the tabloid stand -- with In Touch! -- was right near the fang care section. Now we get to see what joy lies beyond the cover. The headline "They Can't Stop Publicly Insulting Her" is above four photos of Caroline, Kim G., mid-conversation Melissa and eyes-wide-open Kathy. Caroline's quote ("When Teresa talks about her issues it's very 'don't worry, we're fine'") isn't all that awful. "It's not bashing, it's fact," she explains. The other gals' quotes have gotten all twisted up. Caroline's shocked that she's "being called a bully by a bully," but over in her own suite, Jacqueline still seems amused. It's a lot easier to laugh at a rag when you're not the one being mopped up with it.
Caroline's perplexed that Teresa even bothered to come to the wedding knowing that the magazine would be hitting the stands. Now instead of he said/she said crap, Teresa's truly hateful feelings are out there for the whole world to see ... and buy. So what's Caroline going to do? She's not open to a conversation, that's for sure. "Shut your mouth and suck it up. I don't care what it takes, don't give her what she wants, don't play the game, shut up." With those bitter words of wisdom, Caroline, Greg and Lauren toast to "taking the high road," and because I am evil, I wonder if Lauren has plans to do some walking of her own after slurping down those liquid calories.
Speaking of evil, it's time to see if anyone's dropped a house on Teresa yet. Darn, she's still with us -- and in bed with her partner in hate crime no less. She jumps on Joe and asks why there's "lubricant" near the bed. He alludes to needing some special Chicago alone time. Teresa quickly moves on and urges him to get ready for the wedding. "I don't think it's really a wedding because you can't get married in Chicago, it's called something else," Joe mumbles. Luckily Teresa knows what it's called: "Civil rights." Yes, thank you for that clarification, Teresa. Now maybe Joe will just get up and put some clothing on that magnificent body and ... oh wait, just one more thing. "The one thing about gay people is they keep things running very, very nice." Sigh. Teresa reminds us that people don't really get Joe's very complex humor. She still can't believe the great "butt hole" joke from the previous night didn't have them rolling in the aisles.
Back in Jacqueline's room, she prepares for Teresa's arrival by displaying the tabloid in all its pathetic glory. Once inside, Teresa reminds Jacquline to channel the princess "Kate Hudson," because she can rock the socks off a fascinator. (It's a mandatory hat wedding, as you recall.) Then they laugh and laugh and everyone wonders how Teresa is able to breath, speak and talk with a brain that small. It seems like an awful lot of work. Since Jacqueline is really good at awkward segues, she randomly asks Teresa if she's acquired a puppy as of late. "Wasn't he cute? I'm so scared of dogs and those dogs, well, In Touch brought the dogs," Teresa explained. "I have nothing to do with what they write on the cover. What did they write this week? That I'm afraid to be poor? Would you want to be poor?" Wait. So, you had no idea you were going to be on the cover, but you managed to give them an interview all about your financial situation. Plus, you word-for-word reiterated a headline that you'd never seen in your life? That's actually very impressive. Hats off to you, Kate Hudson of Jersey!
Teresa went on to explain that she never said anything derogatory about her pals. "They ask me questions, I answer," she explains. It's just a way to make a buck -- and it's not the last time she'll trade her pain for a pay day. She merrily explains that the next cover will put rumors of an impending divorce to bed because she and Joe will renew their vows!!! She says this with such forced joy and a dead-behind-the-eyes stare that it's almost depressing. Even Jacqueline admits that Teresa's "life is being manufactured into this fantasy that doesn't exist" -- and for someone trying so hard to dispel rumors of poverty, this is a pretty cheap move.
Now that everyone's shellacked and stuffed into dresses and hats, it's time to ride the bus to gay wedding town! Lauren's in a demure white dress, but she has a troubling growth attached to her head. It's supposed to be a flower, but it's about as delicate as a venus fly trap. Maybe she has a delicious snack stored inside, eh? Meanwhile, Caroline's all Kermit the Frog chic. Her hat looks like a lily pad with a poached egg on top. It's like that song Kermy used to sing, how'd it go? Like "It's not easy being a fashion victim." Teresa's fixed a head of lettuce and a peacock feather to her dome, and Jacqueline's isn't so bad. It's like a polka dot explosion, but it's more Kentucky Derby than Royal Wedding. Everyone tries to get in the spirit by speaking in British accents ... everyone except Teresa, that is. Since she can barely manage English with an American accent, her attempt is hilarious. It starts kind of Spanish-y and just ends in dirty Jerz, but it has the bus cracking up. If you hadn't seen the previews/realized that this show runs on the fuel of hatred, you'd assume things were going to be just fine.
Back in Jersey, Melissa proudly flashes her new shore house and old boobs. She has a disorder that makes wearing shirts painful, so she must suffer silently in tiny bikinis. Kathy has a similar condition which makes wearing normal sized shorts almost impossible. Luckily alcohol and proximity to a pool can cure what ails them. The Gorga/Wakile BBQ is about to really pop off when Joe enters with some party supplies -- the infamous Teresa tabloid included. Melissa's eyes almost pop out of her head when she sees the cover, and the dog is discussed yet again. They quickly move past the furry and onto the fury when they see themselves inside. The quotes attributed to them are total BS, and the photos are even worse. Melissa reminds us that Teresa's getting paid to do this -- but at the end of the day, you can't put a price on loyalty.
Back on the bus, the laughter has subsided and Joe is in rare form. "Tre, your tits are hangin' out!" he explains. Then he calls her a whore and she tells him she's going to knock him out. In 100 years, scientists will study this bizarre mating ritual and learn a great deal about habits of the less intelligent subset of humans. (Don't tell anyone from 2012 what I have shared with you from my contacts in the future.) But I digress. After that demented display of affection, Chris makes an exciting announcement: His company just signed on to represent a big brand of wine, and that means a trip to Napa! He invites everyone to go on the road trip -- Teresa included. Even Jacqueline is kinda confused, but smart viewers know it was pretty much just a plug for that fancy wine. Cheers to not-so-subliminal messaging?
Caroline turns to her notes (she's reading a speech at the wedding), and Teresa decides it's a nice time to begin harassing her. She's all "I like your hat! What a pretty hat! I can say the word hat! Isn't it funny how a word stops sounding like a word when you say it a lot of times" and Caroline's all "Shut up, I know about your stupid article." She's seriously o-v-e-r it. No more Mrs. Nice Hat.
Finally, they pull up to Jaime's home. There's a harpist, lots of little snackies, a few LBGT-friendly swans (which Joe thinks are "pelicans") being released into a little pond ... you know, typical garden party accouterment.
The husbands-to-be enter in a horse drawn carriage, beaming in head-to-toe white. Caroline starts crying immediately, and it's hard not to tear up as Chris talks about how proud he is to be at the big event. It's been a long 13 years, but Jaime and Rich are ecstatic to enter into a civil union. Jaime shares some incredibly touching words, and Rich lets him in on a "little secret": "You've always asked me why I'm able to sleep like a baby, and why I wake up with a smile. I'm able because you're everything I ever hoped for, and you're everything I will ever need." He can barely get the words out, and even Teresa is reduced to sobs. Later, Joe admits that he "teared a little," too. Now that the entire crowd is soggy, it's Caroline's time to talk.
She speaks of Jaime and Rich's story. It's one made up of minds; some narrow, some broad. She shares her memory of when Jaime came out, and how happy "mommy and daddy" were that Jaime was finally "free." She wishes them love and peace forever and always. Then they kiss and let a bunch of tortured butterflies out of a box. It's a beautiful affair as long as you're not a member of PETA.
Back at the shore, the drinks are flowing and the families and friends are gathered around the pool. Joe announces that they're going to start the summer off right -- and listen to Melissa's new song, "Rock Stars." Some man named Bobby hits the song, but Joe directs the crowd to look at him as he gyrates to the jungle rhythms. The song's pretty bad, but his moves are scarring.
Rich Wakile decides it's a perfect time to usher Joe away for a chat about the status of his relationship with Teresa and possible therapy. Joe explains that she hasn't even responded to his text, but he's still very willing to do what it takes. Rich urges him to text her again while she's at the wedding without the children of the corn. After some thought, he types "Hi Tre, I'm at the shore thinking about you and the girls. I miss you guys. Call me so we can talk about it." It's kinda a cute role-reversal to see two dudes struggling over the perfect way to word a text. It's also a perfect opportunity for me to remind everyone that real friends don't let friends drink and text. If you wouldn't say it sober, you shouldn't say it with three solo cups of vodka in your system; but there's something to be said for liquid courage.
Speaking of drunks, the rest of the gang finds themselves back on the bus post-ceremony. They're talking about who they'd be if they were on the Titanic (what?!), and Lauren announces that she'd be one of the wealthy people. Joe, however, thinks she'd be "the lady who had a lot of money who talked a lot," aka the unsinkable Molly Brown. Ooh, burn notice. Poor Lauren. Even in a hypothetical historical situation she's the one who needs to go to Weight Watchers. It's just one of those quickie between-commercials scenes, but it's interesting: When we see the cast in those little snippets, they're all getting along famously. It's a little reminder that there's more to these relationships than pre-planned quips in interviews and intense fights with a full camera crew.
At the reception, everyone's focused on chowing down -- especially Joe. He may not support "the gays," but he sure as hell supports their buffets. Teresa announces that she got a text saying her book's on The New York Times best-sellers list! She thanks everyone at the table for all of their support even though only two people actually said a half-hearted "yay." "Can anybody have anything? Anything?" Caroline wonders. But before Teresa can ask everyone, "What is The New York Times best-sellers list," it's time to toast Jaime and Rich.
Speaking of toasting, we've got a pool full of toasted "Housewives" back at the shore. The adults are throwing each other into the pool and generally acting like kids while the kids look on, horrified. In a moment of "Varsity Blues" craziness, the men spray each other with whipped cream and pretend not to like it. If I were more intellectual, I'd probably use words like "repressed sexuality" and "latent erotic inclinations," but it's getting late and I really just want a sundae, hold the innuendo.
Back at the wedding, there's plenty of dessert, but nobody's wearing it. Everyone's dancing their sweat glands off, Caroline included. When Jacqueline and Teresa take a break, Teresa sees the text from her brother. She reads it aloud and admits that it's nice to be thought of, "But the whole therapy thing ... very uncomfortable. This is something that's between me and my brother and I know 110 percent that I don't need therapy." Jacquline insists that a mediator wouldn't be so bad, but Teresa's vehemently opposed to dredging up the past. She insists she doesn't have any grudges, but then lets the whole truth slip -- her husband is the one who feels therapy is a bad idea. She doesn't want to go against him. Jacqueline is doing that whole slooowly-closing-eyes-drunk-girl thing, but she seems shell shocked, too. She's basically the last "Housewife" who truly cares about Teresa -- but this new info is the last straw. She feels Teresa is "too far gone."
As the evening winds down, Rich and Jaime send off some "wish lanterns" for peace. They urge the members of the crowd who have any mental capacity to send out silent wishes, too. Joe Giudice is totally shocked by it all. "That's like, one of those balloons. Hot air balloons! I just like watching them fly away!" He wished for peace and "to help all the sick people in the world, and for maybe a little boy or something." As they flutter away, it's all very symbolic and a bit sad. Those glowing orbs aren't the only things that have flown away from their friends and family. Teresa and Joe are the human lanterns -- and unfortunately, not everything that drifts off course can be found.