Season 13 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey kicked off on Feb. 7 with Dolores Catania revealing how “smitten” and “happy” she is with her new boyfriend, Paulie Connell. Meanwhile, Teresa Giudice recently celebrated her 50th birthday, but Joe and Melissa Gorga had no interest in going to any party to commemorate the occasion — especially after last season’s reunion ended on a sour note. Dolores and Jennifer Aydin are also not speaking after the reunion — Jennifer’s still mad at Dolores for defending Margaret Josephs amidst their ongoing feud — so everything’s in turmoil.
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Anyway, just moments after last season’s reunion, when Teresa defended her decision to not include Melissa in her wedding, Melissa texted her sister-in-law and said it was fine and they should all just move forward and not let it cause any more issues. Teresa, however, never responded. Then, two months later, Teresa sent Joe and Melissa a text message, inviting them to attend her 50th birthday celebration, which took place in Tulum with the “closest people” in her life. They decided not to go because Teresa didn’t even want them in her wedding and she didn’t reply to Melissa’s text. But Melissa still invited Teresa to her summer kickoff party, which ended up being an 80s-themed roller skating event, and Teresa attended, but more on that later.
Over at Teresa’s new house — you know, the one she shares with Luis Ruelas — she was busy entertaining Luis’ extended family. She was seen getting chummy with Luis’ sisters, Veronica and Jennifer, who were both asked to be bridesmaids in the wedding. But when she and Luis were alone in the kitchen, they talked about how “childish” Joe acted at the reunion, but Teresa said Melissa’s to blame. “He just follows [her] along,” Teresa said, while Luis said Joe is “weak” and “immature” — “his insecurities are screaming,” he proclaimed. Teresa seemed a bit caught off guard by Luis’ comment, but she eventually shrugged her shoulders and agreed. “Well…. yeah…,” she said.
Then, when everyone sat down for dinner, Teresa told her daughters that she never wants them to fight like she’s currently doing with her brother. They said that’ll “never” happen, as though they can predict the future, and Teresa told them she “loves that”. Milania Giudice said, “sisters are different”, and Teresa said that’s why she “wishes” she had a sister, but before she could finish her sentence, she said she does “now” and pointed to both Veronica and Jennifer. So did Melissa never exist? Awkward.
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After fast-forwarding to Melissa’s roller skating party, things became a bit more upbeat. This was also the event where the viewers were introduced to the new cast members, including Margaret’s friend Jennifer Fessler (a “friend of”), Teresa’s friend Danielle Cabral (a full-time housewife), and Melissa’s friend Rachel Fuda (another full-time housewife). As mentioned, a lot of the cast members hadn’t seen each other since the reunion, so this was the first time everyone was coming together again in two months.
Obviously, issues had to be dealt with, and some of the newbies tried pushing conversations between the veterans (Teresa and Margaret, who also fought at the reunion, as well as Dolores and Jennifer), but nothing everyone was receptive. Teresa actually invited Margaret to her house for cheese and crackers, so that seemed promising, but Dolores didn’t really want to speak to Jennifer Aydin and that infuriated her.
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Dolores did, however, want all the husbands and boyfriends to pose for a sexy calendar (for charity), so she had to speak to Jennifer in order to invite Bill, but that was the full extent of their conversation. So even though they didn’t get their issue settled at Melissa’s party, everyone reunited at Dolores’ house for the calendar photo shoot, so maybe it’d happen there? Well, not exactly.
But before we get to that, we have to discuss Margaret’s visit to Teresa’s house. Teresa told Margaret how hurt she was by everyone spreading rumors about Luis. And Margaret tried explaining herself, but Teresa kept cutting her off, so Luis stepped in and reprimanded her. He told her to be quiet and let Margaret talk. Margaret said she and the other ladies were just worried for Teresa, and they were looking out for her. Teresa said she’s now seeking therapy and no longer holds grudges so she wanted to move on, but Margaret made a point that Teresa’s still holding a grudge against Melissa and Joe. And Teresa said she’s mainly mad at them “because of” Margaret. She said that when Margaret brought up the rumors about Luis, Melissa and Joe should’ve stepped in and put a stop to it.
Teresa also said that she was angry with Melissa for sharing a text of hers with the group last season, and Luis said it shows how “insecure” Melissa is. “She’s an insecure woman if she has to do something like that,” he said to a surprised Margaret. Teresa said her text to Melissa was a “test” to see if she had her back, but Margaret wondered why Teresa even had to “test people”. And Melissa is the “insecure” one… yeah, okay. Surprisingly, Teresa ended up apologizing to Margaret for how she acted last season, and then invited her to the wedding. “It’s a big step,” Teresa said of their reconciliation.
But not everyone had the same type of luck. Melissa was furious when she heard Luis called her “insecure” — Margaret ran and told Joe and Melissa that bit of information once everyone got together at Dolores’. And Jennifer Aydin became even more frustrated after Dolores chose not to say hello to her. Jennifer told everyone, including the newbies, how she felt, so Rachel took it upon herself to share that information with Dolores. And since Dolores wasn’t about to let Jennifer ruin her event, she pulled her aside to talk. Dolores told Jennifer she tried talking to her at the roller rink, but she kept walking away from her. Jennifer denied doing such a thing, and said Dolores never made eye contact with her. But Dolores said that’s probably because Jennifer keeps going around and telling everyone that she’s “not a good friend”. Jennifer said that’s how she feels — especially after Dolores failed to defend her in her feud with Margaret. Dolores told Jennifer she’s not really defendable, so Jennifer told Dolores that they don’t agree on what a good friend really is — she said she’s “nice” and Dolores isn’t. Jennifer said they’re not friends and never have been before storming out, causing a huge scene and throwing nasty digs at Dolores.
Want more drama? New episodes of RHONJ air Tuesdays at 9pm on Bravo.
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