Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 4 of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," titled "Everything Is Coming Up Rosie"
This week we open in Melissa's home, where she's at the computer pretending that she's not actually dictating the contents of her book to a ghost writer. Apparently she's decided to cash in on her daddy issues, 'cause the theme she didn't want to include previously is now the first thing she brings up in conjunction with her tome. She never wants her daughter to see the cheating atrocities she grew up with ... but atrocities in general? Hopefully those are fine, 'cause Joe is pulling into the driveway spouting vitriol. Though he nudges his little one out of the room, she's listening at the door like any curious, aware-that-her-parents-are-batshit-crazy kid would.
Joe flops on the bed and relays the details of the guerrilla warfare class he and Teresa attended at the gym. He brings up the whole Twitter bag fiasco -- but instead of joining in his shock, Melissa just smirks. "I gave her a taste of her own medicine," she says. Joe's stunned. "It's her way of mindf---ing you," Melissa says, obviously not interested in admitting she stooped to Teresa's level (when Teresa's in flats).
Meanwhile, Teresa fills Joe in as they watch young fascist-in-training Milania flout the rules on an indoor soccer field. Since Joe only has two settings: outraged while sober and outraged while drunk, he is, of course, outraged. He says Joe has "that Napoleon thing," but Teresa corrects him. "You mean bipolar." Actually he means Napoleon complex, but I'm impressed that he knows any word with more than four letters. Luckily, his Rhodes Scholar moment is followed by the statement that Melissa "straps one on and sticks it in Joe's a--," so the stupidity balance is once again restored in the world.
Since Teresa is desperately in need of someone with big enough balls to handle this mess of a situation, she calls the most obvious person: Caroline. It's actually quite stunning that Teresa, queen of saving face and duchess of denial, is reaching out for help. This is quite possibly the most vulnerable we've ever heard her ... but still, she won't totally take ownership. Then, Caroline blows my mind by actually saying she's going to step out of the situation. Caroline saying she can't do anything to help is like a doctor handing you a business card for a local hospice.
Speaking of almost dead, let's talk about a relationship that's on life support: Kathy and Rich, the Lebanese Jeff Goldblum! It looks like Rich has gotten the wrong boxes for Kathy's cannolis, because he is, of course, deliberately trying to sabotage her business and ruin her life. "We're not selling gasoline here," Kathy says.
Over in Hoboken, future restaurant owners Albie and Chris are making garlic bread the Paula Deen way: Rub it with an entire stick of butter and then heat with the power of scathing racial slurs. Dinnertime conversation is a light discussion of how Caroline's kids think she never sees her husband/how their dad is a workaholic they never really knew. Then, Chris explains that being a parent is a lot of pressure because you have to A) keep the kid alive and B) ensure it's not a whore if it's a girl. Note that "B" only applies if said girl is attractive, because they don't seem worried about a chubby one getting into much trouble (see: sister Lauren).
While Teresa sought council with Caroline, Joe makes a slightly less helpful choice and seeks out Rosie. Now don't get me wrong, I love everything about Rosie ... but she's not exactly Dr. Phil's protege (unless he's looking to do a new show where feuding people are worse off post-intervention). She does, however, urge him to give Teresa one more chance. "I would love to see that old Teresa come back to you," Rosie says.
Next, we're taken to Jacqueline's house, where she and Nick aren't having their best day. They're both so frustrated that they can't communicate, and Jacqueline breaks down. These moments, painful as they are for the Laurita family, are necessary interstitials for the audience. Wrapped up in the Giudice drama or even the little tiffs in your life? Here's a reminder of what real struggle looks like.
... And then Caroline and Albert realize that the flame on their stove is not as strong as they'd like, and I realize that Jacqueline has it easy.
Back in Kathy's world, she's getting a surprise from her husband. He's brought her to a gorgeous kitchen outside of the house that is "all hers." Kathy's stunned. "Just like that?" she says. The owner, who is 18, says he'll send along the lease, but Kathy's not about to sign on the dotted line. Rich took an idea and ran with it, and she feels blindsided that he didn't consult her. His good intentions are totally misguided, and once again an effort to please his wife has gone totally awry. Apparently Rich is having a hard time adjusting to Kathy's desire to be more than a homemaker -- and he's treating her more like an employee than a partner. After two+ decades of marriage, she seems to be at her wit's end. So far, a whopping 14 "Housewife" couples have failed ... and it seems Kathy fears being unlucky number 15.
Meanwhile, Teresa is typing her "blog." Since she seems to only use one finger and also whisper everything as she writes it, she's not getting very far. Her phone rings, and since there's just one button there, she has a much easier time dealing with it. It's Rosie, calling to ask if they can "iron sh-- out." Teresa's not so sure -- after all, when someone threatens to "cut your tongue out," you think twice before getting anywhere near them. Still, since they're family, Teresa decides to take the risk. She may not be bright, but she knows post-accident sympathy can really bump a cook book way up the NYT bestseller list.
Speaking of books and highly esteemed authors, let's see what Melissa's up to. Her mom, Donna, has come for a visit, along with her sister, Lysa. This family really can't get enough of that "issa" suffix, huh? Apparently the point of the visit is to bring Melissa some photos of her father ... or so they think. The real reason is obvious: To find out how much of their life Melissa can divulge without really pissing them off. "I don't want to sell anybody out," she says. Here's what I don't get, dear readers. Hasn't she essentially already done all the above by making their secret history public knowledge on a TV show? Why is putting words she's already spoken to a national audience down on paper somehow different, or more delicate? Seems like girlfriend wants to have her cake and cheat on it, too.
Teresa and Rosie are skipping dessert in favor of alcohol -- and given what they're about to discuss, that may be a wise choice. Rosie's pretty intense right off the bat, calling her cousin out the minute she hands her a drink. Teresa immediately makes a grave mistake, blaming Rosie's beloved sister (Kathy) for lots of their issues. Rosie checked her inside voice at the door, and I'm wondering if someone has spiked her drink. "MY SISTER! ALWAYS MY SISTER!" she shouts, smashing her fist against the table. Now, since words are failing them, they move into a sort of beautifully choreographed Dance of the Pointed Fingers. As the digits fly, I fear mightily for Teresa's manicure and worry that they'll take the phrase "an eye for an eye" way too literally. There are so many bombed bridges in this family that I can't really follow their conversation, but I'll try to break it down for you. Basically, everyone hates everyone. Got it? Great.
Like a baby that's totally worn itself out post-tantrum, Rosie is suddenly calm. In fact, she's downright proud of herself, noting that if everyone just yelled and "let it out" like they did, all the inter-personal issues on the show would be solved. Teresa listens and nods, but she's got a different plan. Turns out there's this "stress-relief telistic healing for the weekend" thing she wants to try. Rosie's super impressed. In fact, she thinks the whole family (and even the Manzos and company) should try the "telistic" approach. Keep in mind that she's definitely hammered and probably smashed every bone below the wrist.
Apparently small minds have similarly small memories, because they quickly leave and give each other lots of hugs. The camera pans back to the bar. Pub 611 claims to offer a "unique experience," but it was probably more "uniquely painful" for Rosie's throbbing hand (see what I did there?).
If this scene of aggression and verbal abuse is how two on-the-outs cousins finally patched things up, then I have no idea what to expect for the great Teresa/Joe confrontation. Let's hope "telistic" sessions go down in padded rooms, or else Bravo! is going to have to do a whole "Hospital Housewives" spin-off in whatever bedazzled wing of a hospital the psycho siblings end up in. I, for one, am not going to risk the life-long trauma that seeing the back of Joe Gorga's gown would inflict.
"Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.