Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bravo
Who ruined Teresa Giudice's family? Part one of three reunion specials for The Real Housewives of New Jersey, season 4, was like a summit meeting called to answer that question. This particular meeting, hosted as usual by Andy Cohen, was held at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. It included ladies in gaudy sequined dresses who "haven't been in the same room together since the night before last year's reunion," and featured lots of typical yelling and swearing. And not a lot of reconciliation. Watch the full episode here :
Heading into this reunion special, in the final episodes of season 4, viewers were able to see the incident that caused the riff between Teresa and the other women. In a nutshell, Teresa met Angelo, a man who claimed that her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, used to work as a stripper. That night, at a fashion show, Angelo happened to come by their table to say hello, giving Teresa the opportunity to challenge Melissa on camera about her alleged past. Jacqueline Laurita contended that Teresa orchestrated Angelo's on-camera appearance to embarrass Melissa. Teresa denied it, and suggested in turn that Jacqueline was setting her up as a troublemaker.
The upshot was a very tense start to an explosive reunion special. "I haven't spoken to my brother since the fashion show, because [Jacqueline] said that I was involved with that whole set-up," said Giudice, early in the show.
"You were," said Jacqueline.
"Prove it, bitch," snapped Teresa. Not three minutes into the special, and the claws had come out. So, who did ruin Teresa Giudice's family? Alas, talks broke down before the various players could reach an agreement.
"You were having a breakdown, because you ruined a family," Teresa told Jacqueline.
"She did not ruin your family," said Caroline Manzo.
"Teresa, do not say Jacqueline ruined the family," said Melissa. "That's like ridiculous. Don't say that."
"You ruined your family," Jacqueline told Teresa. "Don't put that on me. I did everything to help you with your family. The entire season I tried to help you with your family while you were trying to sabotage them."
Before the ladies could hash out who exactly had ruined the family, Andy Cohen stepped in and changed the subject. Viewers will have to wait for reunion specials two and three to see this tantalizing mystery discussed further.
But the claws remained out. A discussion of Jacqueline's struggle with her son Nicholas' autism turned into a Teresa pile-on when the other ladies accused her of not caring about Nicholas. "You and your Christmas pageant dress, sit down and shut the f--k up!" Caroline shouted at her.
Then Andy Cohen introduced a video montage of clips highlighting Jacqueline and Teresa's friendship, and pointed out that both women seemed to perk up while watching it. "Is there any hope of getting back to that place?" he asked. Neither woman looked especially hopeful.
Several other topics not related to the stripper allegations were discussed. Caroline owned up to what many fans felt was a mean-spirited turn in season 4. (Though she originally attributed her "bitchy" behavior to menopause, she later found out that her hormone levels were fine.) Her daughter Lauren defended her own decision to get lap band surgery, which resulted in a 35 pound weight loss. "I've done it the old-fashioned way my whole life," she said, and then insisted that she continues to diet and exercise daily.
At one point, the discussion began to sound like junior high girls brawling in the locker room. "You have three rolls: Blubber, blubber and blubber," Giudice snapped at Manzo, who replied, "I f--king wear them proud!"
Then she continued on that theme. "I have no Botox," Caroline snarled. "I have no fillers. I have no face lift."
"You should get some," said Teresa. "You're on TV."
It's catty, mean-spirited dialogue like that which keeps all these women on TV, and they know it. What viewer could resist tuning in for parts two (Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET) and three (Sunday, Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. ET)?
Ready for more? Check out what next week has in store for you!