Earlier this week I spoke with Melissa Gorga. I had no expectations going into the conversation and I was very excited to get her perspective on the drama that has encapsulated her life since joining the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
First of all, I have to admit – it's very strange to speak to someone that you see on television. We as viewers are so close to these reality stars lives, yet so far away. We are offered a very limited glimpse of the truth and yet it feels far more personal than that. RHONJ has captivated fans more than any other Housewives series because, not only are the women former close friends, they are family and their drama is palpable and relatable.
Melissa understands this and was candid about discussing it. Watching the show last season I had so many questions to ask the women directly and it was amazing to get the opportunity to do so in person.
Melissa was open, honest, and heart-felt in her answers and was very forthcoming about her family drama, her feelings on reality television, and the opportunities it has presented for her and her family. She strikes me as a down-to-earth person who has a supportive marriage and a positive outlook on life. I asked Melissa questions I wanted answers to and she answered each one willingly.
It was more like a conversation than an interview. Sadly, she didn't say "Thank you, Jesus!" once. I was hoping for it! An excerpt from our conversation is below:
RT: What was your first season of being on a reality TV show like?
MG: "It was crazy, I guess. I wasn't used to it, but now it's kinda – I'm easy with it. When it was airing last season I was a little uncomfortable. I was, like, what did I do? Why am I putting my life out there like this? But now, it's just a way of life. Our show, it's about family and it's real. Everybody goes through it with family. Everybody has in-law issues, and sister-in-law issues, so we just kinda put it out there."
"I've been very lucky," Melissa adds. "Things have been good."
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Last night’s Celebrity Apprentice opened up on Awkardville, aka the terrified remaining team members with a ranting Arsenio Hall. Everyone looked like they wanted to avoid Arsenio’s gaze. Everyone except for Lisa Lampanelli, who finally found an outfit that looked flattering (It’s 2012. There are amazing plus size options everywhere. Look into them!). Hilariously, the self-proclaimed insult comic had a problem with Arsenio’s choice of insults for Aubrey O’Day. She yelled at Arsenio that he was about to ruin his image and career and that “every woman in America would hate him” after watching his tirade.
In his talking head, Arsenio recognized how ridiculous it was that Lisa of all people should be upset with his word choice, but on the other hand, Arsenio’s anger towards Aubrey seemed way out of line. In the war room, the team decides that from now on, the team follow Teresa’s lead to avoid future problems. Who woulda thought, Teresa Giudice would be the sanest person in a room? Lou Ferrigno and Dayana Mendoza come in from the boardroom and Lisa once again, does nothing to hide her disgust. She tells Penn Jillette that from now on, the two of them will be carrying their team. She’s not exactly wrong there.
The product placement this week is for entertainment.com, a company that no one can seem to refer to with a straight face. The teams have to produce 60-second commercials for the company. Dayana steps up as project manager for Forte and Teresa decides to manage Unanimous. Aubrey makes her return and she and Arsenio have something resembling an adult discussion, and Arsenio even comes close to apologizing, blaming his emotion on the charity work, both for his old friend Magic Johnson and his “cousin from Cleveland” who recently died of AIDS. They both agree to move on.
While a part of me is rooting for Aubrey, it was a huge letdown to see her make fun of Teresa in her talking head spots, especially after Teresa saved her in the last boardroom. Everyone knows Teresa should have brought Aubrey in, and didn’t due to their friendship/alliance, so watching Aubrey take down Teresa was too much. It just confirms what Arsenio said: it’s Aubrey’s world, and it’s all “I, I, I.” Unanimous ends up having a very peaceful week working, and they even blame Arsenio’s outburst for getting all the anger out into the open, but moving past it. This is just to grown-up for me!
Teresa recently took time out of her busy schedule to speak with The Huffington Post’s Dr. Shannon Kellog – a psychologist. Why aren’t ALL reality stars speaking to a psychologist? Dr. Kellog doesn’t diagnose Teresa, but she does quiz her about reality TV–most specifically the non-stop arguments that seem to make up Teresa’s chosen profession–and find out how she copes with the drama. An excerpt from the interview is below!
Dr. Kellogg: On Celebrity Apprentice, you seem to have a different approach to getting along with others than we’ve seen in RHONJ. What was your strategy for getting along with the other players?
Teresa: I didn’t really have a different approach. I used the same approach I use in my everyday life: I give people my heart right away, I don’t hold anything back, but if you cross me, you will hear about it. What people forget is that I was on Housewives with some of my best friends and we got along great for the first two seasons. The only drama from me came when I stood up for my friends out of loyalty.
My strategy for Celebrity Apprentice was to go in being myself because I knew that would throw people off, that they would be expecting the table-flipping Housewife, and really, that’s only a small percentage of my personality. I have degree in fashion marketing, was a buyer for Macy’s, and wrote three successful cookbooks.
I think the big difference in the two shows is how they’re filmed. For Housewives, they film us here and there for months and months, and then pick and choose little pieces to show, sometimes out of order. Like someone can pick at your nerves for months, and when you finally blow, that’s the scene they show first. You could take the same 1000 hours of footage and give it to 10 different editors, and you’d come away with 10 different versions of who that person “really is.”
For Apprentice, they filmed us for two solid months, and we did so much during that time, so many tasks, that they have to use a lot more of the footage, and mostly in order. And we all lived together in Trump Tower with almost no breaks so what you see is real: our real tension, our real frustration, and our real bonding.
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Teresa Giudice finally gave Donald Trump the sparks he was asking for when she got into it with Debbie Gibson on last Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice. She even decided to insult Debbie’s choice of wardrobe for the occasion like there was some kind of dress code. In an interview with Zap2It, Debbie insists she was happy to be done with the show: “Once the potshots started, I was glad [to leave]. I can take constructive and professional criticism.”
Wait, so “your tits are hanging out” isn’t professional criticism? That explains a lot. What’s even more interesting is Debbie’s revelation that, post show, she found out she had actually fund-raised more money for the guidebook challenge than chopping block-mate Dayana Mendoza. That makes the inclusion of Aubrey O’Day, who raised less money than both of them, even more suspect. But we all know Dayana’s money is worth more to Donald because it came from Dayana’s model friends. If there’s one thing that man likes, it’s to look at, and discuss tall, thin women. It’s not hard to do the math here.
But, in Dayana’s defense, Debbie has this to say: “I don’t think she was the hardest worker or the most creative, but she certainly wasn’t a problem. They were calling her distracting, and I thought it was all a bit contrived.”
Does Debbie’s former ally Lisa Lampanelli know that Debbie was quoted saying something positive about Lisa’s Venezuelan nemesis? Is Debbie a new target for Lisa’s humor?
In another interview on Debbie’s post-firing tour, she tells The Deadbolt that she still doesn’t understand why Teresa was so angry with her in the boardroom. “Teresa never delegated anything to do with the visuals for the kiosk for where we were selling the book. She never delegated it. It wasn’t my job to wonder who she delegated that to.” I felt the same way when watching the episode. When Debbie brought up the kiosk to Teresa in the war room, Teresa looked at Debbie like she had four heads. The kiosk was kinda essential to their task and should have been a priority.
In response, Teresa blames the editing and says, “I’m the one who actually thought about that at some point later in the day and that translated to I was setting her up. If I was setting her up, I wouldn’t have brought it up at all and we would’ve shown up and had an undecorated kiosk.” Actually, if they’d had a bad kiosk, Trump would have taken that as poor management, not the under-handed strategy Teresa thinks. She would have been fired.
In the end, Debbie thinks she was let go for the very original reason of “jealousy.”I don’t really get it. I just think she wanted me gone. Maybe she was threatened at that point because I was a strong player. I don’t really know what her deal was.”
In other Teresa news, Real Housewives of New Jersey’s fourth season is just around the corner! So, it’s time for the ladies to do their media blitz. While watching the preview, it’s clear that Teresa will continue to be the odd man out, a complete turn around from the beginning of the series. In an interview with Star, Teresa shares how the show has destroyed her relationship with Jacqueline Laurita and Caroline Manzo.
“Jacqueline and I had a wonderful relationship for about 10 years. We were great friends, but not anymore. It’s so sad. We actually went through a ‘friends divorce,’ which is so hard. Then, Jacqueline basically attacked me on the show about a magazine article that said I was going to jail. She was upset that she hadn’t heard it directly from me, but I wasn’t going to jail … the whole thing was so ridiculous.”
She says both Jaq and Caroline “take everything that is small, and turn it into something serious.” Like an innocent joke in a cookbook. Loosen up Manzo-Lauritas!
Teresa also has choice words for her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga, saying “I felt deceived.” It’s not hard to see why, when it’s clear that Melissa was cast to not only bring the real tension they’d been experiencing for years onto the show, but also to create more drama. That Christening episode last season is still one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen on television. And as you all know, I recap Bad Girls Club! But the issues between the Gorgas and Giudices are so deep and so ugly, and I can understand why Teresa would be upset.
Sadly, she reveals she’s estranged from her brother Joe. “I haven’t spoken to my brother since before Christmas. We haven’t gone this long without talking in my whole life! I’d have to say that reality TV ruined our family, and it’s a disgrace.”
DO YOU THINK DEBBIE WAS FIRED UNFAIRLY FROM CELEBRITY APPRENTICE? DO YOU THINK REALITY TELEVISION RUINED TERESA’S FAMILY?
“Silicon Valley” Bravo captures the intertwining lives of young professionals on the path to becoming Silicon Valley’s next great success stories.
“Life After Top Chef” For the first time cameras are taken outside of the “Top Chef” kitchen and into the lives of Bravo’s most beloved former cheftestants as they reach milestones in their personal lives and culinary careers. From opening their own restaurants to expanding their growing franchises, viewers will follow Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, Richard Blais in Atlanta, Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles and Spike Mendelsohn in DC.
“Below Deck” The upstairs and downstairs worlds collide when this young and single crew of “yachties” live, love and work together onboard a luxurious mega yacht while tending to the ever-changing needs of their wealthy, demanding charter guests.
“Huh?” Ever wonder who is behind those hilarious cat memes? Bravo goes inside the office of Ben Huh and his eclectic staff at icanhascheezburger.com, one of the largest humor publishers on the Internet known for their popular LOLs and FAILs.
“Miss Advised” These single relationship experts can’t seem to practice what they preach as Amy Laurent in New York, Emily Morse in San Francisco and Julia Allison in Los Angeles struggle to stay afloat in the deep end of the dating pool.
“Newlyweds: The First Year”From the moment they say “I do” to their one-year anniversary, cameras capture diverse couples across the coasts experiencing the trials and tribulations of their first year of marriage.
“Gallery Girls” Viewers are introduced to seven young women who dream of living a chic and fashionable existence in New York City. All share a passion for art, but are divided amongst their Manhattan and Brooklyn lifestyles with vastly different attitudes and tastes towards fashion, art and men.
“LA Shrinks” It takes one to treat one! The professional and personal lives of dynamic experts are exposed as they counsel a wide array of clients at some of the top private practices in Los Angeles.
“Decades” Renowned boutique owners, Christos Garkinos and Cameron Silver, show off their exclusive and glamorous world of vintage couture filled with Givenchy, Balenciaga and Chanel.
The official preview trailer for all the new reality gems is below!
And now for the list of returning shows. I was surprised to see Chef Roblé & Co and Pregnant in Heels (although I kinda liked that show) coming back. Also returning is Flipping Out, Tabatha Takes Over, Top Chef (including Last Chance Kitchen), Top Chef Masters Million Dollar Listing, Million Dollar Decorators, and Inside The Actors Studio – which will feature the cast of Mad Men.
And branching out, Bravo also announced the arrival of two scripted shows! “22 Birthdays” focuses on the sordid and scandalous activities of a group of parents at an exclusive private school, with each episode centered around an extravagant and lavish birthday party. And “Blowing Sunshine” is set at a fictional private rehabilitation center and follows its staff and high profile patients.
A preview of the upcoming explosive season was revealed and it appears that the rumors of Pinot Singernot getting along with any of her fellow Housewives are confirmed! She goes to battle with everyone and may soon find herself on the Jill Zarin side of things if she keeps this up! The new ladies were shown banding together in an act of solidarity against “mean girl” behavior.
Among last night’s surprising events was the conspicuous absence ofTeresa Giudice! The entire Real Housewives of New Jersey cast was spotted together on the red carpet and participated in the Housewives East vs. West Battle Royale, but there was no Teresa in sight! It is well established that Teresa is not speaking to any of her castmates and rumors have been swirling that she’s headed for a spin-off following the explosive fourth season, airing later this month!
Also interesting was that Lisa did not sit with her fellow RHOBH castmates and instead took the stage solo for a sit-down with Andy. She also skipped the Housewives battle. Perhaps confirming the casting gossip that Taylor Armstrong and Kim Richards are returning next season was their attendance. Oddly,Brandi Glanville was not in the audience!
Finally, the most troubling events of last night were the musical performances of Melissa Gorga and LuAnn de Lesseps. Now I love you both, but please believe – you cannot sing! Step away from the microphones…
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SHOWS – WHAT WILL YOU BE WATCHING? ARE YOU EXCITED FOR KANDI AND LISA’S SPIN-OFFS? DID YOU WATCH THE ALL-STAR PARTY LAST NIGHT?
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Last night’s Celebrity Apprentice was so long and intense, I feel like I need therapy just to process all the emotions I now feel. At least the three hours finally made the show interesting.
In case you already forgot, Patricia Velasquez was the one to go last week for her failure with the branding at the Crystal Light event. Dayana Mendoza is sad to have her one ally leave. I loved that moment last week when Patricia told Dayana it was going to be okay in Spanish while they were both waiting to be called in with Donald.
At this point, Dayana is like this show’s Highlander. She refuses to die, no matter how badly Lisa Lampanelli wants her to go. Throughout this whole episode, Lisa is like a dog with a bone. She refuses to see any of Dayana’s positive qualities. It makes it so hard to root for Lisa when she just looks like a jealous hater.
Last night’s show featured two tasks: the first featured the teams making and selling celebrity guidebooks to New York, using a Toshiba tablet, or as I like to call it, not an iPad. The second task was for each team to create a 15 minute presentation and boxes on Walgreen’s new walking initiative.
We got new project managers for the first task: Teresa Giudice was project manager for the guidebook task and Dee Snider was task manager for the men’s team. Both of them were pretty hands-off. If there were any sources of drama for this episode, it once again came from Lisa and Aubrey. If Lisa is hard to root for due to her almost senseless rage towards Dayana, Aubrey became downright evil, especially during the second task when she butted heads against her new teammate Arsenio Hall.
But, back to the first task. Debbie Gibson was the sacrificed celebrity during the first task. Teresa’s one conflict as project manager was with Debbie, who rightly asked for direction on the women’s kiosk. At the boardroom, Teresa and Debbie got into it, with Teresa defending herself by saying that at this point, the team should know what to do with minimal direction. She has a point, but it did really seem like Teresa forgot they needed to design a kiosk to sell the guidebooks.
On the men’s team, it was sad to see Arsenio try to fund raise, but get ignored by his former celebrity friends. His friend and NBC pet Jay Leno promises to FedEx Arsenio a check. Both teams actually make it rain pretty hard with their fund-raising, Teresa has Juicy Joe come by the kiosk with donations from their friends. Does anyone think Melissa Gorga donated to Teresa’s efforts?
Anyway, in the boardroom, Debbie is fired and she’s visibly pissed off. The world’s most famous elevator attendant even smirks as Debbie storms off after she’s fired. The fact that Debbie was fired and Aubrey (who fundraised the least amount of money) was kept, feels really producer-driven to me. If the task was about who made the most money, then clearly Aubrey should have left, based purely on numbers. But, she and Dayana live to see another day.