Real Housewives of New Jersey Premiere Recap: It’s My Party and I’ll Brawl if I Want To

Welcome to the third season of Real Housewives of New Jersey! This season – whew – it looks like we’re in for a wild one! While the Real Housewives of New York may have needed to be ‘re-edited’ for more drama – New Jersey probably needed to be re-edited for less!

Teresa Giudice is ba-ack: angrier, crazier, bronzer, bossier, and apparently less broke because “mama is bringin’ home the bacon!” Caroline Manzo is worried about her adult children leaving the nest (wasn’t that the same issue she had last season?), Jacqueline Laurita is still dealing with good old Ashley, and we are introduced to Teresa’s maybe crazier relatives new housewives Melissa Gorga and Kathy Wakile.

The 90 minute premiere episode was chock full of crazy as it opens with a Christening party for new housewife Melissa’s son, Giuseppe. It has all the attributes of a classic NJ Housewife Christening party: giant ice sculptures, an open bar, smarmy guidos with open shirts and gold chains, an oil painting of the baby, a lavish sit-down dinner, a knock down, drag out fight… Oh! Wait a second – maybe most Christenings don’t involve full-on fistfights. Well, Melissa had to one-up Teresa’s party from last year! See, Melissa is Teresa’s sister-in-law and is married to Teresa’s brother who is also named Joe, but is not Juicy. Teresa and Melissa are “not exactly best friends,” in fact they are pretty much enemies. As it was well documented that Teresa threatened to quit the show if Melissa was included, but then she realized mama needs that paycheck!


One week earlier, the pizzeria Jr. Mafia Joe was opening last season is now in business and it is … booming? Or at least it is for the night of Teresa’s book signing which apparently was being held on the premises. Joe is the chef and according to Teresa he loves it, except he is complaining about working all the time, which makes sense since Joe is obviously not used to working at all hence their financial issues. The always articulate Teresa admits that the bankruptcy they went through was “so not good,” no worries though, because NY Times Bestselling author Teresa is paying the bills with her cookbook Skinny Italian. Teresa seems a little more together this season, I must say. Her book signing is packed and Teresa explains she has been pounding the pavement because she has four daughters and a husband to take care of. Wait – is this the same Teresa from former seasons who thought work was shopping at Posche and driving Gia to her agent? Teresa also surprises us when she lets us know she has fans and that these fans bring her angels, crosses, and saints to encourage her and give her positive energy. Jacqueline and Caroline show up to lend some support and Jacqueline says that while Teresa’s brother hasn’t been around to support her endeavors, she and Caroline still are.

Meanwhile, Caroline is touring an apartment with her sons, Albie and Chris. She is happy to say that all is good with the Manzo’s for the moment – I guess this was filmed before her husband Albert was fired for defrauding the government with a faulty address. During the tour, Albie reveals a little secret – this is his apartment they are looking at! Surprise! Apparently since law school did not pan out Albie is starting afresh. He looked pretty excited to escape his over-bearing mother move into his own place. Except he’s not living by himself – he has another roommate. I’m guessing they’ll get along since they’ve lived together before, because it’s Chris Manzo! Caroline is so upset she says she wants to die. Do we need to do an intervention here? After letting the news sink in a little bit, she admits that you raise your children to leave but it’s hard when it happens and that she still has daughter Lauren at home – for now. Albert, as always, is supportive of both her and his children.

Next we cross the bridge into the big city – New Yawk! We see Jacqueline’s charming daughter Ashley and she has a job! I know – I had to rewind to make sure I heard correctly too. Oh, whoops – not a job – an unpaid internship. Ashley is actually unpaid interning for publicist Lizzie Grubman’s PR firm – who if anyone is up on their NYC gossip she is the woman who in a drunken rage drove her Mercedes SUV into a crowd of people at a Hampton’s bar a few years back. So I’m sure she is just an incredible influence for Ashley. Jacqueline is proud of Ashley for doing something – anything at all, besides yanking weaves out of former Bravolebrities hair – until she meets Ashley’s new boss Lizzie, who reveals Ashley isn’t even coming to work everyday! The reason is because poor little Ashley has a hard time waking up on time and commuting to work, so she needs her parents to pay for her to get a place in the city. Luckily no one is letting her get away with that entitled nonsense and Jacqueline calls her out in front of her equally unimpressed boss. So what does the mature, grown-up, career girl Ashley do – she starts crying at work about how her mean and unfair her mom is for expecting her to pay her own bills and storms out of the room!

Jacqueline and Ashley head to lunch where they meet up with Jacqueline’s husband Chris and tensions are still high. The argument continues with more of Ashley’s complaining and Jacqueline snarking at her while making valid points. Chris tries to moderate and reason with Ashley, but unfortunately he keeps talking over Jacqueline in the process, finally telling her to listen – so the mature, grown-up, mother of three Jacqueline storms out of the restaurant because she is being ignored. I don’t know how Chris puts up with those two, but I’ve always felt he was a bit of a saint for doing so.

Teresa and Jacqueline are taking a walk to chat about the tensions between sister-in-law Melissa and Teresa. Apparently Teresa and her brother were besties until he married Melissa and then things changed. At first Teresa was excited about him marrying and wanted Melissa to be like a sister to her, but Melissa kept blowing her off. Teresa says it is her brother who ignores her and he didn’t even show up at one of her book signings, because Melissa apparently felt they needed to be personally invited. Teresa brings up the bankruptcy and claims she never knew they were having financial issues until her hubby dragged her to the lawyer’s office. But she has changed her ways now and is being “conservative” and is “done with the big parties” – which is good, because I don’t think I could handle another Marie Antoinette serving sushi from her skirt.

Few times in my life have I been rendered speechless, but upon meeting new housewife Melissa Gorga it happened. Melissa begins describing who she is by admitting she is very spoiled – “so what?” and thanking Jesus for this. She thanks Jesus often and also makes the sign of the cross and kisses her hand often. Meet Alexis Bellino 2.0 – Guidette edition. Melissa’s hubby is Non-Juicy Joe Gorga, brother of Teresa. And he makes out with his wife’s toes on national TV before asking her if he can lotion up her butt cheeks. What kind of soft-core porn is Bravo pedaling this year?! It is quite nauseating. They have three children, two boys and one girl. According to Melissa, “Joe is not only hot but he is one of the best developers in New Jersey.” To show off his real estate developing prowess he surprised Melissa with the blueprints for a 15,000 square foot house for Christmas – Teresa was apparently jealous that Melissa has a tackier marble mansion than she does because she never even commented on how beautiful the house is – “ugh.”

Melissa fills us in on her relationship – or lack thereof – with sister-in-law Teresa, including showing some home movies of Teresa as a bridesmaid in her wedding. According to her, as Joe and Melissa started to build a business together Teresa and Joe’s relationship started to diminish and Teresa became competitive with her. Melissa doesn’t care though because she is a mommy and a wife, which is what she does best. Another thing Melissa does – she takes naked pregnancy pictures of herself wrapped in her grandmother’s lace tablecloth and displays them prominently in her home.

Per the Italian way, Joe expects that his wife will cook, clean, have dinner on the table every night and have perfectly behaved and clean children. Melissa thinks it’s fair given how strong her husband’s work ethnic? Or ethic? is. Whatever it is – he works hard. And so does she. Joe also admires his wife’s work ethic and considers her his hero, which was sort of nice, except then he told his son that cleaning is “women’s work.” What else do you need to know about Melissa and Non-Juicy Joe? Not much except they do not like Teresa and Jr. Mafia Joe. At all.

Melissa is having a crazy weekend preparing for her youngest son, Joey’s, Christening. She is very excited about “welcoming him to God’s kingdom.” Coming over to discuss all the issues with Teresa is other new housewife Kathy Wakile. Who happens to be Teresa and Non-Juicy’s first cousin. While Melissa and Kathy are very close – almost like sisters – Teresa and Kathy not so much. Over lunch they talk about guess what – Teresa and Jr. Mafia Joe! They will be at the Christening, but the relationship has suffered because Teresa has a brand new, made for TV family named Caroline and Jacqueline. Kathy is concerned about how Teresa is able to keep the façade up about everything being fine in her life with, you know, the bankruptcy and Joe’s arrests. She is also concerned about Teresa’s growing distance from her “blood” (i.e. real family). According to Kathy, Teresa admitted to her that family sucks, but in Kathy-land even if family doesn’t like you, they love you unconditionally. Good to know Kathy, good to know.

Departing from the Gorga’s enormous marble palace we travel to Kathy’s house – and it looks normal! Kathy is not married to an Italian – her husband Rich is Lebanese (scandal!), but he still believes in the same God in case you are wondering as Kathy’s father was, because Jesus was born in the Middle East. Kathy and Rich have been married for 19-years and Kathy’s husband is a bit of a kook, but he seems pretty fun. How hot is he for his wife after all these years of marriage? Sizzling. Kathy has two teenage children, Joseph, who plays with knives on his bed and Victoria, who takes glamour shots and decorates her entire bedroom with them. These people are DEFINITELY Teresa’s relatives. Kathy seems way too normal and down to earth for this show already. I expect that will change soon if she wants a season 2!

It’s the day of Melissa and Non-Juicy Joe’s keg party Christening party and Melissa reminds her sisters not to get drunk before welcoming her little boy to Jesus. Melissa also advises her sisters to behave when interacting with Teresa. We get more information on just what the Teresa/Joe feud is about. Their father is ill and Jr. Mafia Joe spends a lot of time with his father-in-law while Joe Gorga is working. The relationship between Joe Giudice and his father-in-law really, really bothers Melissa’s hubby, because he feels Joe is putting a bug in his father’s ear about the amount of time he is working, but as Melissa explains: “We have bills to pay and we pay ours.” Melissa explains it’s sad for her husband because, like all grown men, he just wants his father.

Teresa is running around in zebra-striped pajamas getting ready for the Christening, trying to get all the girls dressed and losing the baby in the process. Thankfully her make-up artist had his eagle eye out and found little Audriana playing on the stairs. Melissa’s Teresa’s hairstylist Evelyn finally shows up to do her hair about the time they need to leave and Joe is in the garage moving things around! Joe announces he is not going because he has the runs. T.M.I. Joe miraculously recovers just as they are leaving for the church but he isn’t dressed and has to stay home…

Predictably, Teresa is late for the Christening and she shows up at the church after it starts but is definitely in time for the party afterwards. As Melissa elaborates: “That b*tch will never miss a party, especially when someone else is paying.” The Christening happens and it is very sweet. When Teresa talks to her brother at the church, her brother and his wife are a bit cold to her. Melissa is mad that both Joe and Gia have missed the Christening, because in her house “family comes first.”

At the Christening party, despite Joe Gorga’s warnings to his wife about “no drama,” things begin to get interesting as Non-Juicy Joe gets drunker and drunker. Jr. Mafia Joe has joined the family at the party and we get a glimpse of Teresa and Melissa’s tit for tat over who has the better (and bigger) party, clearly they both think their own was superior. Things seem to be starting off ok, until Non-Juicy wants Jr. Mafia to do a shot and he turns it down, because he hasn’t eaten anything due to his ummm… stomach issues. Well, that right there is where things start to go wrong. Joe Gorga feels he was reaching out to his sister’s husband and is rejected. This family feud is all so high school.

Giving us some more background information,Teresa lets us know she has called Melissa’s sister Lyssa to talk sh*t, errrrrrr… I mean, for help in repairing the feud between her and her brother, and Lyssa agreed that Melissa can be a “cold bitch sometimes.” She also reveals that Kathy and her husband were really close to her about three years ago, but because they were always questioning how much money she was spending she became annoyed – and we all know Teresa does not like to quell her shopping impulses! Even if it means foreclosure, bankruptcy, and lawsuits.

Back at the Manzo’s, Southern dinner has not worked out they way they planned as the biscuits are burned, and things are pretty much boring mellow. Jacqueline, Chris, and son CJ arrive for dinner to partake in some “nipple glazed” butter – Freduian slip, Jackie? Over dinner, Caroline and Lauren start harassing Lauren’s boyfriend about when he is going to propose and it is announced that Chris Manzo will no longer be working at The Brownstone once he moves to NYC. Caroline also makes the very astute observation that Teresa and Melissa appear to be pretty much the same person; they both use the same hairdresser, they both dress the same, they both talk about how spoiled they are, they both spend waaay too much money, they have pretty much the same house…. I could go on.

Everyone at the Christening is talking about how Teresa and Non-Juicy don’t get along and Joe lets us know he ignores Teresa because she excludes them from her life, but then he admits – its actually because he does not approve of her husband Joe. Basically he doesn’t like Jr. Mafia Joe because Joe files for bankruptcy doesn’t like to work, gets DUIs drinks a lot, and hangs out with his father-in-law all day. Dinner is served, there is dancing –Teresa’s brother does not dance with her which is like a knife in her heart, but he does get drunker and drunker – so drunk that he starts rambling nonsensically. We also discover that Joe Guidice owes Melissa’s sister Lyssa and her husband money! Why am I not surprised?

Everything seems fine until Teresa comes over with Gia to congratulate the less than thrilled looking Melissa and Non-Juicy Joe at the dinner table and he tells her to do what she does every day and “walk the f*ck away.” Then he calls her garbage! Yeah – those two are definitely brother and sister, no DNA test required there! He didn’t flip the table (yet) but he did pound on it! When Teresa asks why she was invited then, Lyssa – Melissa’s sister – who is angling for a spot on HW next year, says “I think it was a technicality” Burn! Teresa then reveals that Lyssa and her spoke on the phone and she is playing both sides of the fence. Which go figure, Lyssa denies. The most shocking thing that happens in the midst of all this is that Teresa walks away from the fight! She leaves.

And then for some odd reason, after pounding on the table, Non-Juicy Joe jumps up and starts lunging towards Jr. Mafia Joe! Or maybe it was the other way around – I couldn’t tell? Melissa claims that Joe Guidice was “charging” her husband and her. Nothing says bless this child in Jesus’ name like a full-on drunken brawl at a Christening party. No one can find any of the children, except poor Kathy who rounds up Teresa’s neglected daughters as everyone is trying to calm the fight down. In fairness to Teresa, she was worried about her father who has had two open-heart surgeries and does not handle stress well. Joe Gorga is inconsolable and cannot be calmed down and starts attacking some other guy in a blue shirt – did they think he was Joe Guidice? What was going on!? A Bravo camera person was knocked asunder, Jr. Mafia Joe’s sister gets in the mix trying to calm things down. It was a madhouse!

Melissa and Non-Juicy Joe again cite Joe Guidice as the reason for the family unrest and for ruining her husband’s relationship with his father. In fact his father’s neglect breaks his heart into millions and millions of pieces, as he confronts his parents about what he perceives as them choosing Jr. Mafia Joe over him, crying hysterically, screaming at his parents. Seriously – someone get the alcohol away from this man!

Teresa and Jr. Mafia leave and thankfully they remembered to grab all four of their children who I imagine they were easy to find with the giant head bows and everything – I’m not sure if Melissa was able to find all of hers though! Melissa says she is heartbroken that her husband is forced to defend himself against his own family. Things end with Kathy stating they can’t change what happened, but they have to move forward; comparing a broken family to a war that has many casualties. Oh these Jersey girls are so drama!

So what did you think of last night’s episode? Are you Team Teresa or Team Melissa? Will you be watching this season?