Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 4, Episode 5 of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."
Love is patient, love is kind, love doesn't tell you to go BEEP yourself in a leased car, does it? The show opens with a beautiful look into Teresa and Juicy Joe's incredibly supportive relationship. Since he wasn't at the pool party from hell, he has no idea that Teresa and her brother attempted to emotionally drown each other. How does he feel about their chat? "You're a BEEPING idiot for even going to BEEPING talk with your BEEPING retard brother," he shouts. Teresa explains that Joe reacts this way because he's a
loser douche-bag "total Gemini!" He puts the "ass" in astrology, that's for sure. He also mandates that their kids never hang out together again. He goes on to tell her to shut up, and notes that if his mother and father-in-law say anything, he'll kick them out of his house, too. In short, he's a real ray of sunshine. Still, Teresa defends him: "When he gets upset he babbles, like lalalalala." The only thing scarier than his verbal abuse is Teresa's utter lack of emotion. It's obvious that his venom has paralyzed her.
Off in Wakile-Gorga land, Joe and the Lebanese Jeff Goldblum are working on their fitness at a local sweat lodge. Between reps, the LJG plays therapist and gets Joe to spill his steroid-laced guts. Joe admits he gets a "little depressed" when he sees how other siblings can get along while he and his sister can barely be in the same room. "I called my sister an effing bitch and I feel guilty," he admits.
While Joe and the LJG are lifting weights, Lauren Manzo is still trying to lose some. She goes off to hit some golf balls into the water with her dad -- and perhaps it's her form (or that upsetting muumuu), but girlfriend isn't looking so hot. Luckily, daddy dearest is there to remind her that inner beauty is total BS. "Would you be more attractive if you were thinner? I guess." Then (in an off-camera interview), Caroline reminds us that nobody asked Lauren to her junior prom, so her brother Albie took her. They flash to a really horrifying photo so that all of America can relive the plus-size misery. Cue Caroline Crying. Cue all viewers downloading "8 Minute Abs."
Since we're apparently getting a glimpse into everyone's workouts, the next scene is an extremely sweaty Joe Giudice doing that sit up-in-a-chair workout in his garage. Inside, Teresa (who is the same golden brown as the tile in her bathroom) is simultaneously getting ready/chatting on the phone with Jacqueline. They're discussing world peace and the conflict in Israel. JUST KIDDING. They're rehashing the pool party again! Teresa says she has no idea what happened, and she didn't want to fight in front of her girls. "I just always try to be positive for my dawters!" Jacqueline points out that the damage to her spawn has already been done. But Jacqueline has bigger fish to fry: She wants to invite Teresa to field day. Teresa and Gia will represent the Giudices, as Joe and the other kidlets are hitting the shore for some sun, sand and illicit sex (the tots are total fiends).
Jacqueline and Lauren are going to shop for "athletic fun clothes," since Jacquline is hosting field day. They have an interesting dynamic: Lauren's like the kind, glad-to-be-with-her daughter Jaq doesn't have, and in return, Jaq tells Lauren she's not an oompa-loompa. It's a totally healthy relationship. The trip is a bust, pun totally intended because Lauren can't find a bra to fit hers. Even the contraption that looks like two swings for Teresa's youngest daughters is too small for her.
Speaking of Teresa's clan of cave girls, Gia, 10, has decided that it's time to go bra shopping. "You notice a difference, don't you?" she says. She undoes her little overalls and Teresa ... honestly, I would rather call Chris Hansen at "To Catch a Predator" then write about this scene. Though the whole thing sort of freaks Teresa out, she wants her girls to come to her "for anything" -- especially if the cameras are rolling. Then, it's full on "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret." There's a brief "birds and the bees" discussion and then tampons come up (Teresa didn't wear one until she got married).
Then, just to ensure that we're fully horrified, Teresa breaks girl code and tells Joe about the bra talk in front of Gia! "'Brah shoppin'? You take after your mother. You don't have nothin'!" But then it's Gia for the win. After telling her dad that he needs a bra, she tells Teresa, "You didn't get boobs till you were 23 years old. That's why you needed to get a boob job." Well played, A-cup. Well played.
Over at Jacqueline's, everyone's boobs are covered as they prepare for field day. For a change of pace, they all decide to talk about the pool party! Greg (Albie and Chris' roommate) has a brilliant idea: Why not put all the enemies on one team so they have to work together? Man, it's easy to be the smart one in this group.
Back in child porn land, Gia and Teresa head to a lingerie store to acquire Gia's first bra. Teresa cracks up the entire time, because teeny tiny bras and mortifying your child are really funny things.
En route to field day, Joe "Emotions" Gorga shares the text that he sent Teresa the day after their fight. Well actually, Melissa reads it while Joe looks straight ahead, like a wounded poet. "I feel horrible of what happened yesterday. I don't know how to get past all this hurt and try again. I love you and remember: I'm your brother and I will always be there for you if you want me." Of course, Teresa lied to Jacqueline and said Joe had never reached out to her. Verrrrry interesting. Now, nobody knows what's real or fake anymore -- and I'm not talking about Teresa's chest.
When Teresa walks in, Jacqueline's baby has a massive crying fit, but people are much more focused on something a bit ... smaller. As the camera pans down, we realize that Melissa is wearing the tiniest shorts in the history of shorts. They're like a teeny cloth reminder of all that Lauren will never be able to wear without some emergency lipo and prayers to Jesus. To add insult to a fat ass, Kathy enters with a ton of desserts. Life's tough.
Now that everyone's here, people can split off and torture each other. Joe Gorga decides to start with not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman Gia. "No matter what me and mommy argue about, don't take it a hard way. We're gonna make up. We both hurt each other." Gia reminds him that he "cries," which doesn't further the conversation, but amuses me. Next thing we know, Gia's in the dunk tank and Joe's assuring her that his aim sucks, so she'll never fall in. He dunks her on the first throw.
Meanwhile, Melissa and her booty shorts enjoy the international slut activity, trampoline jumping. The camera zooms in and we get a nice jiggly cellulite shot, which is a real relief for those of us simultaneously writing this and eating Baskin-Robbins ice cream. (Speaking in hypotheticals here.)
Then, it's time to start the First Annual Jacqueline Laurita Field Day!
Activity number one is an ancient and honorable sport with origins in China. The story goes that the sun and moon battled over the light and darkness in -- you guessed it -- a tug-of-war. In this case, it's a fight between tan and self-tanner.
Everyone's like "oh, it's all in good fun" -- but these bitches are seriously out for blood. I mean, did you SEE Gia's snarling face after her side lost? When she fixed her murderous sore loser gaze on the blue team, I was waiting for her head to split open so a demon could crawl out and eat a few fabulicious faces.
But let's back up. So, we've got the red team (which I'll lovingly call "Satans Mistresses") and the blue team (no good name, and I'm too mature to make the obvious balls reference). In a fun twist, the families are all mixed up, so Teresa, Melissa and Joe have to root for each other, kids are against parents, etc. Everyone forgets their differences for the good of the game, and laughter fills the tainted Garden State air.
Joe Gorga wins the potato sack race and gets so excited that he can't remain upright. It's nice to see him re-direct his sexual energy at the grass as he collapses and thrashes around like Old Yeller before the Old Shooting. (Vaccinate your pets and husbands, ladies.) But as Caroline notes, the families can't channel their rabid aggression into tug-of-wars every day -- and the fact that this "unity" is founded upon trying to defeat each other is pretty ironic. Don'tcha think?
After tug-of-war and potato sack races, it's a one-to-one tie. The next game is a three legged race, which was only included so that Joe Gorga could make the obvious male anatomy joke. The blue team's Teresa and Jacqueline are on fire, and Gia's shrieks "YOU CHEATER" as soon as she feels her team's lead slipping. There's way too much Gia in this episode, and I'm personally left wishing that a training muzzle came with those bras.
She dissolves into tears and throws a tantrum of epic proportions. Teresa chalks it up to the fact that she's "taught not to cheat in school," but Jacqueline is less supportive. She wants to break Gia of her poor sportsmanship. However, Caroline sees something beneath the tears: anger. "Children learn what they live," she says. In that moment, it's hard to be annoyed at Gia. She probably hears the word "cheater" at home an awful lot -- and it has a very different meaning there.
Jacqueline decides to read an obviously exasperated Gia a book about being a bad sport. That goes over very well. She basically cries in every room of the house until admitting to her mother that she's angry at her uncle. Kathy sums it up very well: Gia is mature enough to know that there's tension in the ranks, but does not understand why it exists. She's truly internalizing everyone's pain, and it's confusing. Well, either that or she needs to be exorcised.
Of course, Teresa's not happy that the women "reprimanded" her child, and the fact that Gia has her mom convinced that she was basically water-boarded doesn't help. Caroline's not a fan of the message Teresa's sending Gia: "No matter how badly you behave, if you feel hurt, they're wrong. That's not the way the world works."
Now, Kathy tries to comfort Gia, and because Kathy is made of rainbows and unicorns and puppies eating cupcakes, she succeeds. Gia smiles and decides not to murder anyone in their sleep.
The afternoon ends with everyone eating and Jacqueline awarding the winning team a real Italian gold medal -- a "block of Provolone." Lauren looks at it longingly and whispers, "Someday, my love." (In my head, at least.) Instead, Jacqueline gives the milk-based trophy to Gia as some sort of pasteurized apology.
Turns out, you really do get cheese with your whine in Jersey.
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" airs at 10 p.m. ET on Sundays on Bravo.