It’s always been a wonder to me what goes on behind closed doors in Jersey. The Real Housewives of New Jersey franchise has always rested on the fact that blood is thicker than water. We’ve seen how family loyalty can trump almost any outright mistreatment. But what happens when the outside friendships start to erode the family ties?
The last few seasons we’ve seen Melissa Gorga and Teresa Giudice try to manage their “sister-act” alongside Teresa’s growing friendship with Jennifer Aydin. In the final reunion episode of season 11 it seemed new lines had been drawn. There was Melissa, Jackie Goldschneider, and Margaret Josephs on one side. The other side sat Teresa, Jennifer, and Dolores Catania. Yet there was no clear rift between Tre and Melissa in any of this.
Who doesn’t love a good Bravo-sphere crossover? If there’s one thing I crave more than just my regular reality TV drama, it’s mixing and matching the mayhem. Can we please get some Housewives on Below Deck!? I don’t think it’s too much to ask, really.
When the casts of these already wild shows start mingling, there’s no telling what might happen. Who can forget Bethenny Frankel being invited to a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills dinner by Kyle Richards. You know, the one where Beth essentially called Erika Jayne’s schtick for the garbage that it was. We need more of that.
At the beginning of Season 11 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, it seemed as though Teresa Giudice and Jackie Goldschneider would never be friends. Let’s get this straight — Jackie started as a fan, while Tre is the queen B of RHONJ. And Jackie was coming for her, and we all know what can happen when you try to go against Teresa and her four dorters. The analogy heard around the world was seemingly the nail in the coffin. But then, shockingly, Tre showed some growth. Just a little, but a lot for her.
By the RHONJ reunion, the two made up and even made plans to go on a double date. Yes, Evan Goldschneider was opening to hanging with the woman who spread rumors about him cheating on Jackie. That takes being a bigger person, and Tre looks like she may actually be learning a thing or two about accountability. Hell has frozen over.
If 2021 has brought us anything, it’s plenty of drama in the Real Housewives universe. Jen Shah’s arrest. Erika Jayne’s divorce and legal issues. Kelly Dodd and Braunwyn Windham-Burke’s firing. Kathy Hilton. The return of Heather Dubrow. And, arguably the most exciting development, is a Real Housewives All-Stars vacation spinoff with ladies from several cities getting together under one roof in Turks and Caicos to film a special. It’s like Christmas all year long for Bravo fans.
The Peacock spinoff featured a cast full of OGs. We had Teresa Giudice (dripping in macrame) and Melissa Gorga repping the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Cynthia Bailey and Kenya Moore were there for Real Housewives of Atlanta. OGs Ramona Singer and Luann de Lesseps represented Real Housewives of New York. And Kyle Richards went solo from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
It’s an odd bunch of women. While some are known for their pot-stirring and ability to throw shade (Tre, Twirl and the Ramonacoaster), others were unexpected picks. 50 Cynt hasn’t had a lot going on on RHOA aside from her COVID wedding and raunchy bachelorette party. God knows why MelGo was picked over Dolores Catania, who we all know would rip Ramona a new one. And why did no one from the Mean Girls squad join Kyle from RHOBH? I have so many questions.
Teresa Giudice, the Tom Brady of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, has gone through a lot during her 10+ years on the show. We’ve watched her daughters grow up (Milania [Giudice], Milannnnnnia I remember when you were first born). We’ve seen her lose her parents. She went “to camp” due to her legal issues with Joe Giudice. She dealt with Juicy getting deported, a divorce, and hopping into the dating scene after a 20-year marriage. And throughout she’s found time to battle it out with her brother Joe Gorga and Mrs. Sprinkle Cookies Melissa Gorga. Tre’s really had a lifetime of experiences on the show, and somehow it always feels like she’s still just getting started.
The last season of RHONJ brought Tre a new man to handle all of her pent-up
horniness emotions. Luis Ruelas, as Tre puts it, is a gift from her parents in heaven. She considers Luis her “soulmate” and he’s planning on popping the question any day now. Luis got approval from not only Tre’s girls, but Juicy, her brother and even Dolores Catania. Dina Manzo doesn’t even have that coveted stamp of approval and she’s been friends with Teresa for decades.
Dolores Catania and Teresa Giudice both had their love lives under the microscope during Season 11 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Dolores’ boyfriend, David Principe, finally had his house completed, but Dolores refused to move in without a commitment.
When David gifted Dolores a Porsche, her RHONJ co-stars took a poll to see if the gift was just a stalling tactic. That’s when “Patterson Dolores” came out to play. Of course, Dolores is still living with ex-husband, and roomie for life, Frank Catania. Frank always has her back.
Dina Manzo hasn’t appeared on the Real Housewives of New Jersey for several seasons, but maybe that’s because her personal life is like a scene straight out of the Sopranos. Since Dina left the show, she married a new man David Cantin and moved to Malibu to live her best zen life. She’s still close with Teresa Giudice, even though that worries Tre’s ride-or-die Dolores Catania. And while it sounds picture perfect, her ex-husband Tommy Manzo is making her life a living hell.
Back in 2015, Tommy allegedly hired a soldier of the Lucchese crime family, who plead guilty, to attack David with a slapjack outside a strip mall. No, you’re not reading the synopsis from the Godfather movies. The mobster, John Perna, received a discount wedding at the Brownstone, owned by Tommy and Albert Manzo, in exchange for the “job.” And Albert Sr. says they have no mob ties…
We could all use some kindness, but the last place you expect to see it is on Bravo. But damn it, call your friends and family because this story managed to melt even my hardened, dark, barely beating heart. Go ahead and grab a tissue because the sun might get in your eyes or you could be at risk of suffering a spontaneous allergy attack after this one. Bravo and the shows on Bravo are many things to many people, but sometimes it’s everything to one person. Today we meet Miss Bella Pape.
Bella loves reality television and all that it implies, her favorites are the Real Housewives and she’s quite familiar with the franchise. But Bella isn’t binge-watching shows on a rainy day, she was born with a disorder that has kept her in long-term care for most of her life. In 2020 Bella was hoping to attend BravoCon, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. The event has returned in 2021, but Bella’s health is deteriorating and traveling is no longer an option. So the troops rallied and brought BravoCon to Bella, thanks to Real Housewives of D.C. alum, Mary Amons.