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Last night the Real Housewives of New Jersey was all about giving thanks even if you don’t want to. Teresa is thankful her friends still put up with her after all her drama, Jacqueline is thankful that Ashley finally learned how to operate a vacuum cleaner, Caroline is thankful Vito hasn’t proposed so Lauren won’t be leaving her, Melissa is thankful that she has Non-Juicy (?) and Kathy is thankful she can bake. And if I were friends with Kathy, I would be thankful for that too.

The episode started out with Melissa and Non-Juicy grocery shopping for Thanksgiving where Melissa grabs some butt that isn’t Joe’s! Melissa spends the entire shopping trip whining at Non-Juicy until I just zoned out and pretended I was watching Extreme Couponing. Meanwhile at Kathy’s house more yummy cooking is happening since she is making all the deserts for the Gorga-giving celebration. Ruining a perfectly delicious scene is talk of Teresa and Non-Juicy’s “sibling rivalry.” Kathy’s hubby Rich mentions that if Teresa shows up at Gorga-giving something interesting might happen to prevent food coma like another BRAWL! Oh Rich, don’t give the Bravo editors any ideas… Kathy is so distracted by all the Teresa talk she burns some pies and freaks out.

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Giving us a scenic tour of New Joisee, Teresa and Jr. Mafia Joe are on their way to kill a turkey for their feast at a farm that specializes in meet and eat. Was anyone else momentarily traumatized by the idea of Teresa operating a gun? Teresa wants to know what they eat for turkey day in Italy. Joe explains that Thanksgiving – A CELEBRATION OF THE FIRST SETTLEMENT IN AMERICA – is actually not an Italian holiday. It’s pretty sad when Jr Mafia has to teach you something schooley – like US history.

At the farm the poor farmers are met with dead stares – stares deader than the birds on the rotisserie – when they explain about how the process works. Teresa and her Tami Faye Baker eyes decides since no one can speak turkey and figure out if the turkey is upset about its impending demise they have to get one that has already been butchered. Um… did she call ahead and find out if that turkey was OK with being slaughtered? When Jr Mafia suggested Teresa pay with a credit card, I noticed Teresa pretended she had never heard of that concept before, as if we all didn’t have a visual flashback of her running around Italy last season screeching “Chanel!” and demanding that Joe “Charge it!” Instead Joe whips out a fist full of dirty money and pays with untraceable cash.

More food shopping madness involves the Manzos visiting Vito’s parents’ deli. Albert Sr. makes a little joke about Vito’s family being in the Mob since they are Sicilian and Lauren quickly lets us know that her parents definitely aren’t in the mob either even though there may be rumors. At the deli, everyone keeps bringing up the scary “M” word. No, not mafia – MARRIAGE! After asking Vito’s mom to hold the Chanel purse Caroline bought her as a bribe to never leave home, Lauren quickly hops behind the counter to prove that she is marriage material and starts working that meat slicer. Meanwhile Vito’s mother is behind the other counter gently stroking the Chanel bag wondering if she can leave Vito Sr. for Albie’s deep pockets and deli-free existence.

At Apartment de Mamas Boys (that’s the actual address: 2 Mamas Boys Place) a wonderful, long-anticipated visitor arrives. Is it a male stripper to use that pole?! Nope! Only ASHLEY! The most dedicated little intern in history. Working her Lizzie Grubman orange spray tan to the max, Ashley cries and cries to Albie and Chris about the miles she must walk to get to work each morning, the hours she spends in the blustery cold waiting for the train each and every precious day. Yes – on the one day per week Ashley deigns to show up at her very important internship at the has-been PR firm for C-list “celebrities” like herself it is simply TOOOO much work to take the train so she deserves an apartment in NYC that her parents pay for. Um…

After more of Ashley’s ridiculous entitled nonsense about how stressful it is to not have a penthouse with allll her friends who are just using her for a chance to be on a low-rent reality show. Albie practically laughs in her face as he spells it out: “You. Don’t. Have. The. Money. And. You’re. The. Laziest. Person. Alive.” I think he also added that she doesn’t have any friends so there is no way she would possibly be getting a roommate. Chris suggests she be extra good at home to convince her parents she’s allowed to have a sleepover in the big city, so Carrie Bradshaw Ashley – who is what 20!? – cleans her room for the first time ever. Deciding this is the twilight zone and soon an apocalypse is near Jacqueline decides to just have some wine and make it all go away, starting with Ashley.

While planning for not really Friends-giving things are “batzo!” and Teresa lets us know her brother still hasn’t replied to her letter. Teresa is really cute with her little girls, who are helping her set up the table while Jr Mafia sleeps off his hang-over. Teresa explains to Melania that even though mommy wants perfection she’ll settle for good enough because, yeah once you’ve married Jr. Mafia, embarrassed yourself on national television by flipping a table among other things, and suffered a really really insane bankruptcy, the idea of perfect sort of flies out the window.

At the Gorga Marble Mansion Melissa dons her fur apron(!) to “cook” in the kitchen while the men get trashed in the living room, demanding: “Where’s my food, bitch?” That’s, like, the Italian-way people. You didn’t know? Kathy arrives with the most elegant things the Gorga household has ever seen – beautiful and scrumptious looking deserts that she can pronounce correctly. As everyone is ooooohhhing and aaaaahhing about the amazing delicacies (me included!), Non-Juicy gets pouty that he is not the center of attention. Out-shining Kathy’s beautiful desert spread is the most romantic husband in the history of America with a very special “marital aid” for his wife – a mechanical bull!

Yep, Non-Juicy wearing yet another amazing hat, has procured a mechanical bull for the Thanksgiving festivities. Now hmmm… what does this have to do with being thankful for family? Making many lewd comments comparing his wife to the bull in front of her relatives and their parents, Joe reminds all of us to be grateful for our own families, which – thankfully – do not include HIM! Not to be one-upped in the yucky househusband category, when Kathy takes a turn on the bull Rich actually wacks her butt with a bull-whip. Inserting the requisite Bravo soft-core porn scene, Joe and Melissa churn everyone’s stomachs by having a groping, make-out session on the bull moments before announcing dinner. Melissa explains whenever she is near Joe things turn “sexual.” I just have one word to describe this entire scene: EW.

At Made for TV Friends-giving Jr Mafia is welcoming the likes of Kim D, The Manzos, and The Lauritas to celebrate. Jacqueline mentions that Teresa always knows how to throw a party and though she never complains about money it must be tough after this last year of living off only her Bravo paychecks. Teresa and Jr. Mafia give some sweet toasts to their friends that really are touching; comparing them to family and hoping for a better year and Teresa tears up. I actually liked Teresa this episode. Did I just say that out loud?

Everything is going well: Caroline reveals she can shoot a gun – um yikes! Teresa shrieks at her kids for something and warrants a phone call to CPS – Danielle are you on that?- and everyone talks about the fact that Lauren is not married – yet! Run, Vito, run! Caroline will be your mother-in-law – just remember that. Also, I swear – Teresa really was wearing a dress from Alexis Hoe-toure (which means like cheap). I think they must be selling them at Posche. Ashley bails out early to meet with her invisible friend, pissing Jacqueline off (no apartment for her!) and then someone brings up The Letter.

Jr. Mafia instantly annoyed, says Non-Juicy needs to respect his older sister, who put him on the map (which considering his recent TV gig is true) and gave him money at one time! Wait – the Giudices ever had money to loan to anyone? Joe also lets everyone know that he and Non-Juicy hang out all the time?! Did I hear that correctly? Kim “Dah-rama” D anxious to soak up some gossip to spread to Kim “Grandma” G listens intently to every word. Then Bravo shows us a clip of Non-Juicy and Teresa being sweet to each other at Teresa’s infamous housewarming party. Guess who else was there?! Melissa! Proving that last year they were getting along.

All of the sudden Teresa pulls out a 99 ¢ card, which she has been conveniently hiding under her plate all evening, and announces THIS is how sneaky Melissa is. She sends cheap greeting cards, the B*tch! Actually it’s what she wrote in the card that makes her sneaky. The card reads: “Congratulations on your re-done home.” Everyone gasps. The horror. Apparently Teresa and Jr. Mafia completely gutted their house and rebuilt it from scratch so it wasn’t really a new-new house like Melissa’s shining marble mansion. To get back at her for the “re-done” card Teresa started cookie-gate and threw away the cookies Melissa brought her last year for Christmas. As Melissa states: “You don’t throw away a pregnant woman’s cookies!” Everyone starts lecturing Teresa about how she has to get over it and talk to Joe and act like an adult; which confuses Teresa because she doesn’t even know what that word means, let alone how to behave like one – so she just nods, smiles, and agrees.

At the Gora-giving, Alexis Bellino lite aka Melissa starts things off with a prayer. Did she thank Jesus for letting her embarrass herself on television for our viewing amusement week after week? I think she forgot that. Everything is going great – food looks amazing, conversation and wine flowing, and then somebody mentions the “T” word. Not turkey – Teresa! Rich- anxious for camera time a brawl – suggests that Non-Juicy call her up and invite her over for desert. Non-Juicy – who clearly hasn’t had enough to drink, yet – doesn’t really react.

Non-Juicy Joe then brings up The Letter Teresa wrote to him and he was actually sweet and semi-sane about the whole thing – hopeful they will make amends. Melissa suddenly taking the high road; admits she and Teresa maybe need to get over their issues. Singing a drastically different tune from The Christening, Melissa’s family is in agreement that Joe and Teresa need to make up. Melissa describes why she loves Joe and why it is important for Non-Juicy and Teresa to make amends and it was a very sweet story about what a loving man Non-Juicy really is and how he reminds her of her father. I kinda even believe her… Melissa issues an ultimatum to Joe – either he talk to Teresa or she will. So, Joe agrees he will call his sister because he is feeling the love.

Next Week: Non-Juicy learns to use the phone, Melissa makes our ears bleed, Chris caves and buys Ashley a car(?!), and Caroline is getting paid to boss people around.

TELL US: WHICH IS WORSE – HALLMARK-GATE OR COOKIE-GATE? DO YOU THINK MELISSA IS GENUINE IN WANTING JOE TO MAKE UP WITH TERESA?

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