THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY -- "Reunion" -- Pictured: (l-r) Dolores Catania, Teresa Giudice -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Bravo)

Real Housewives Of New Jersey Season 13 Premiere: Is Teresa Giudice Actually Growing Up?

The stars have realigned and all is right with the world because Real Housewives of New Jersey is back on our TVs. Season 13 is gearing up to be explosive as ever, obviously due, in part, to Teresa Giudice’s epic wedding to Luis Ruelas. The Jersey crew may be old school, but the drama is as fresh as ever, even when it comes to Tre vs. the Gorgas.

RHONJ kicked off its Season 13 with a supersized episode titled “New Friends, Same Jersey” that couldn’t have been more appropriately named. We see age-old tension bubble back up between Tre, Melissa Gorga, and Joe Gorga (as always). However, we meet plenty of new faces to the RHONJ universe that seem like they’ll fit right in without a hitch. Here are the five main takeaways from the Season 13 premiere of RHONJ.

Teresa Is Actually… Growing Up?

RHONJ is the Teresa Giudice show. We all are well aware by Season 13. Tre’s entering a new and exciting stage of life this season that’s a welcome refresh from years of legal woes. She and Luis are in love love love, and those positive vibes seem to actually be rubbing off on her in a beneficial way. Tre has been seeing a therapist and working on being less reactive which is a major win. It’s putting it lightly to classify Teresa as stubborn, so we love some growth. Even if Luis’ shady antics are what it takes to guide her there.

Tre shows some major growth during this premiere when it came to her relationship with Margaret Josephs. Tre will recognize as soon as anyone how good of a friend the Marge can be, especially in tough times. She has a get-together at her house (chaperoned by Luis and Joe Benigno) to actually make amends with Margaret. Tre explains that she’s really sorry for her nasty behavior toward Margaret, which is something that rarely comes out of her mouth. Marge is even skeptical of whether or not Teresa is genuine or just trying to appease Luis, and Teresa gives the most on-brand response ever. “I’m being raw as a cucumber right now,” she replies. What could that expression possibly mean? Who knows. That’s the beauty of it.

RHONJ Has Some Welcome Fresh Faces

RHONJ is one of those Real Housewives cities that actually seems to be at its best with a consistent cast. Since the likes of Jennifer Aydin and Jackie Goldschneider joined the show, there hasn’t been an obvious gap in the cast. However, Bravo is smart in knowing that viewers don’t like to get bored, especially after multiple seasons of watching the same women. It’s why Season 13 of RHONJ is all about abundance.

The premiere episode introduces three new women to the RHONJ scene. We meet Jennifer Fessler, who already feels like she’s going to be a background character as a friend of Margaret. Rachel Fuda is a fellow newbie introduced via MelGo, as their kids are friends. She does her best to get involved in the drama, but the biggest standout is that she doesn’t warm up to Jennifer Aydin, which is a red flag in my book.

Danielle Cabral is the star of the RHONJ newbies (obviously — she’s introduced via Tre). Danielle gets her tough attitude from her Staten Island roots and her fun sassy side from her time in Jersey. She has a 4-year-old daughter named Valentine who is giving major OG Milania Giudice vibes. She flips off the camera and hates waking up for school, if that’s any indication. Danielle is also goo-goo ga-ga for her husband and a freak about gelling her 7-year-old son’s hair, so it seems like she’ll be an eccentric addition to a cast of big characters.

RELATED: Joe Giudice Shades Teresa Giudice Over Instagram Post Amid Feud With Melissa Gorga

The Return Of Paterson Dolores

Dolores Catania is an RHONJ staple, but she’s entering Season 13 with a different vibe. She’s learning to set boundaries with her ex Frank Catania, especially as things get more serious with her man Paul Connell. Dolo is also head over heels for Paul, which is atypical for her. The only major issue in her relationship (ironically) seems to be his relationship with Frank Sr. It’s obvious this trio will have some growing pains throughout the season, and the seeds were set in the debut episode.

Dolores also spends the majority of the RHONJ episode having beef with Jennifer. Jennifer Aydin is my spirit animal. Sure, she’s messy, but I can’t quit her. Dolo and Jennifer’s beef boils down to the last RHONJ reunion. Mrs. Aydin calls Dolo a disloyal friend and Paterson Dolores retaliates by calling her friend the C-word. Messy. The two avoid one another during the majority of the group get-togethers during episode one.

But when Dolores hears Jennifer talking about her at a party in her own home, she goes off, Paterson style. The two end up swearing one another out of the party and agree to disagree. The unfinished business is paramount, as Jennifer calls Dolo the C-word in return on her way out. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have RHONJ back?

The Gorgas Are Back To Scheming Away

It’s honestly laughable how hard Mr. and Mrs. Gorga try to have a moment during the debut episode. Tarzan spends all of his screen time ruminating on the fact that his wife isn’t going to be one of Tre’s bridesmaids. Yes, after years of problems, this is the hill that Joey G. is going to die on with his sis. MelGo also doubles down on painting herself as good while Teresa is nothing but an evil sister-in-law. *I think I’ve seen this film before, and I didn’t like the ending*

Honestly, the beginning of the latest Gorga fight just isn’t that interesting. Sure, I’ll be invested once the Gorgas skip out on Tre’s big day. But it’s obvious they’re already prepared to stretch this moment into another year on the show.

It’s also interesting to watch Tre’s response to her tension with the Gorgas. I’m not saying Tre is right by any means, but she’s not this villain the Gorgas want her to be. Instead of holding onto the toxic relationship with her brother, Tre is deciding to choose happiness and embrace her new hubby’s family in full force.

Teresa has always been vocal about how she loves family even though she comes from a small tribe. She feels at home with Luis‘ family who accepts her with open arms. Tre and Luis’ relationship might be full of red flags, but it does seem like a healing moment for Tre that is much more beneficial than her trying to cuddle up to MelGo.

Love Them Or Hate Them, The HouseHusbands Are Back

One of the stand-out group scenes from the episode is the Real HouseHusbands of New Jersey gathering at Marge’s house to shoot a sexy calendar. Dolo is making her softball charity event bigger and better this year by selling the calendars. All of the men are invited, including the hubbies of the newbies. Joe Gorga, as anticipated, has way too much fun oiling himself up for his modeling debut. Evan Goldschneider also shows off his devilish good looks, despite his wife’s demotion. Bill Aydin goes all sexy doctor (too soon?), while Joey B. shows off his dad bod on a Harley.

The RHONJ men can be too much at times. For example, Tarzan sometimes gets way too involved in women’s business, especially when it comes to Jennifer. The men of the show obviously want to be reality TV stars in their own right, so at least they deliver over-the-top scenes sprinkled with drama to stretch their 15 seconds of fame.


[Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo]