Why RHONJ Has Entered Its Twilight Zone Era

Photo Credit: Ralph Bavaro/Bravo via Getty Images

The Real Housewives of New Jersey has always been a popular franchise among Bravo viewers. Between the mob-like mentality, old Italian tradition, and table flipping, it was pretty hard to find a Real Housewives franchise that compared. But with the dawn of Season 14, long-time followers are starting to feel like they have entered an alternate RHONJ dimension.

Shifting alliances

One thing has always been perfectly clear when it comes to the Real Housewives of New Jersey: There was always going to be Team Teresa and Team Melissa. The OGs of the Garden State, Teresa Giudice, and Melissa Gorga, have never seen eye to eye. Since Season 3, fans have had to watch the same storyline regarding the dramatic family feud. Over the years, their co-stars have taken sides.

On Team Teresa, there has always been Dolores Catania, Jennifer Aydin, and now Danielle Cabral. On Team Melissa there was Maragret Josephs, Rachel Fuda, and Jackie Goldschneider. But something in the wind changed, leading to a shake-up of the alliances. The RHONJ fan base has been left unsettled. Left wondering where in the world Rod Serling is when you need him the most. 

With friends like these…

Perhaps the most unsettling issue is the fact that Margaret and Jackie are now mortal enemies. I didn’t see this coming. The two women were extremely close. But after last week’s episode where Marge sent diabolical texts written by Jack, it’s all over. It was at this moment I had the into from the famed 1959 series enter my head- “A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!” The newest season opened up with Jackie making a pit stop at Teresa’s new home. The two hung out like friends. They even trash-talked the other women together. 

Then add Jennifer Fessler and Jennifer Aydin breaking some bread over lunch. First, I was shocked they allowed carbs to be sitting on the table. But then, to see them share a gigantic margarita almost sent me spiraling. The two didn’t discuss anything as deep as the upcoming presidential election but rather how they were willing to be friends with their rivals no matter the cost.

We are in unchartered waters

I am about one episode away from putting myself on a voluntary psych hold because, let me tell you, these women are messing with everything I know to be true. With the premiere of RHONJ Season 14, the series has crossed over into uncharted territories. Somehow, in a period of one winter, the women have forgotten all the wrongs they have done to one another. The years of literal hair-pulling, rancid rumors, and discredit just flushed down the toilet. I can’t help but question if the yearning for the spotlight has not so secretly taken over their bodies like a parasite. 

These new friendships seem to be missing some pretty important details. We have yet to be given a solid explanation for Jackie and Teresa’s budding friendship. The two told the cameras that they always liked one another, which seems to be discredited by the video footage of all the name-calling. Jackie went as far as to state, “It felt good to have people concerned about how I feel and wanting to really be friends.” With Teresa smiling and replying “We really are a lot of fun.” But it was Jackie’s last statement that threw me for a loop as she added, “[The] energy coming from you and Jen is just so much more lighter.”

The math isn’t mathing

It’s hard to keep a clear head regarding the newfound friendship because, lest we forget, Jackie was a Teresa fan before she was on the show. She made the pilgrimage to Bookends in Ridgewood to get a signed cookbook. But my main concern is, what does a former buyer for Macy’s and a lawyer even talk about? Analogies?

Honestly, about 70% of the conversation could just be Jackie teaching Tre how to pronounce words correctly. In Jackie’s book, The Weight of Beautiful, she even says Teresa was the cause of her relapse when she first joined the series. So, how could these two find common ground? Clearly, there is only one logical answer: I’m living in the Twilight Zone. 

Catch up with RHONJ streaming on Peacock.