Pride Versus Envy: RHONJ S11 E8
We open with shots of the women getting ready at both Melissa and Dolores’s Shore houses. Marge Sr. texts Margaret, informing her that she just got a laser treatment on her face, and she sends along a picture of her looking like Freddy Krueger. Joe Gorga slaps Melissa on her ass, as Melissa asks if Joe thinks dinner will be peaceful that night.
Back at Dolores’s house, Jen says that if Margaret starts with her, she’ll start with Margaret. Honestly, what is it with women named Jen on Bravo? I don’t like them. Jen Shah is going out in a blaze of fire on RHOSLC, and I would love to see something similar happen with Jennifer Aydin because she’s boring and annoying to me. There. I said it! OK? Sorry!
Back at the Gorgas’, the men are pregaming dinner in order to numb the trauma that is inevitably about to befall them when their wives start fighting. Melissa asks Margaret if she’s ready for a peaceful dinner.
In a confessional, Margaret says that if Jen starts with her, she will finish it. I love to see it.
The two parties arrive in separate vans at La Mondina restaurant and sit at separate tables. Men at one, women at the other. I just noticed that the vans have plastic wrap separating the passengers from the drivers, and I can’t help but wonder if this has always been the case to keep the drivers from crashing due to the imminent danger of stilettoes, hoop earrings, and pinot grigio cracking the windshield or if this is a coronavirus precaution.
Everyone at the women’s table orders a pear crusher martini, while the men considerately place their entire order at once. Because you know, it’s the HEIGHT of COVID when they’re filming, and this restaurant has probably just re-opened for the first time in two months, and most normal people are still horrified of the virus. These women are just scared of their botulinum toxin migrating. The men cheers with tequila shots to a “no bull shit guys night!”
Teresa wonders aloud how the celebration for Nonno will go, saying that he always wanted her and her brother to get along. We’re shown a flashback of Joe Gorga screaming at Teresa the previous night and slamming his engorged fists on the table. Apparently, there was no fracture, by the way. If Nonno is sober enough in whatever afterlife God saw fit to place him to witness that fiasco, I’m sure he’s beaming with pride.
Over dinner, Joe Gorga again brings up the prank phone call Teresa made in Lake George, informing him that Melissa had been cheating on him with a server. Joe claims that the joke must have some sort of “life.” In confessional, Teresa wonders why Joe keeps bringing it up, wondering if something really is going on in their marriage.
The food comes out and several people had ordered octopus, so everyone jokes about “octopussy” for what seems like an eternity. Remember Octomom from 2009? She had an octopussy! Melissa starts giving Teresa dating advice, saying to remember what it’s like to have a man around, passive aggressively saying loudly enough so Joe can hear that he sucks because he thinks she’s too independent. Yes, Teresa, the secret to a happy relationship is to take advice from the passive aggressive woman who’s currently miscommunicating with her husband right before your eyes! And the thing she’s telling you is that she’s basically unhappy and feels like a kept woman. Sound advice, sooouuund advice. Dolores tells Teresa to pay attention to red flags. Like living and spending all your time with your ex husband and not your current boyfriend, Dolores? I’d be surprised if Teresa knows what the term red flag means. Jen gives the advice not to let a man curse at her, and we get my favorite sonic boom sound effect because this is not actually dating advice at all, but in fact shade towards Margaret because she yelled at Joe Benigno the previous night.
Marge says, “So do you think Joe should leave me because I yelled at him last night?” We are shown a flashback to Margaret screaming, “Did you ever hear it from anybody in town? Tell me right now!” Honestly, it wasn’t really that bad. Jen’s a bitch. Get her and her sixteen bathrooms out of this franchise. Please!
Jen responds to Margaret, saying, “Yeah that is a red flag. I don't talk derogatory to my husband. I was shocked.” Teresa is probably getting excited at this point that they’re going to see the running of the bulls because her brain can’t handle the idea of a symbolic red flag. Also, it’s a red flag what you told us last week about how you sat, scantily clad in a Turkish cafe while your mother told you to shut your mouth because men don’t like women who talk too much, Jen. It’s a red flag that you slut shamed Margaret after she shared that she’d been coerced into sleeping with her boss when she was 20 years old. READ A FUCKIN’ BOOK, JEN. IT’S 2021.
Over at the men’s table, Joe B explains that he and Margaret fight, but it’s always over in ten minutes. Joe G responds, “Yeah. You wear the G-string. She wears the pants.” OK, Gorga, enough! Where do you buy your underwear? The roided out kids’ section? They must have that in New Jersey right? It’s in every strip mall next to the breakfast place that sells pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwiches.
Jen tells Marge that she is “no stranger to meannness...” (followed by another BOOM!), “to say that my husband is my meal ticket.” Can it be mean if it’s true though, Jen? Like tell me, what exactly are your SKILLS? In what labor market would you be able to support yourself?
Marge retorts that Jen’s only “aspiration is to live the way off your husband.” Jen responds that her only focus is her family, and Jackie says in confessional that sometimes having a career was easier for her than raising children. Marge says it was wrong of Jen to bring up what she told the women in confidence on camera about how she has slept with her bosses in the past. Jen claims that Marge never said it was a me too thing and that Marge made it seem like she was intentionally sexing it up for her bosses as a young woman. Marge accuses Jen of victim blaming, and says that Jen has a perception problem. Melissa chimes in, pointing out that using this against Margaret now is a huge violation of girl code. Jen questions if it’s such a big deal why Marge is going to put it in a book for the world to read. Marge advises Jen to read the book, or better yet listen to the audio, because Jen is an idiot and lazy and probably can’t read.
In the vans on the way home, Melissa and Joe Gorga get in the following stupid fight:
Joe G: Melissa, you gonna wait for your husband? Mel: NO! Joe: Holy shit. You don't wait for me? Mel: Why am I waitin' for you? You're right here, bro. Chill!
JOE slams van door. There is another boom sound effect.
Mel: What are you mad about? Joe G: I'm not mad about nothin'. Mel: Did I do something wrong? Joe: No. Mel: Tell me if I did. Joe: I would just like my wife to wait for me. I mean you just walk away like you don't even have a husband. Mel: Wait. Wait. Joe: Cause when my wife takes off-- Mel: I'm sorry I took off. I'm the host. That's like crazy. Joe: Alright from now on you just go by yourself while I just walk in the back.
Joe clearly doesn’t like all this independence Melissa has now with Envy. (Seriously, does this store really make any money though? Not for nothing, Joe, but I think your crooked house flipping business is still a more solid source of income). Melissa says Joe is spoiled and that she’s sick of kissing his ass. Joe says to be careful what Melissa says or she’ll never see him again. (What a great little narcissist he is!) The two separate ways, as they arrive back at the Gorgas’ Shore house.
Teresa has a very boring conversation with Audriana on the phone during the van ride back to Dolores’s.
Joe Benigno tries to therapize Joe Gorga Jersey-style, along with Evan back at the Gorgas’. I have to say Joe Benigno seems like such a genuinely great guy, and I’m so happy for him and Margaret. He may not be able to pull together a funhouse-themed living room for his wife over four seasons, but damn if he’s not patient, kind, and empathetic. Joe Gorga shares that the change in their marriage bothers him.
Meanwhile upstairs, Jackie and Margaret check on Melissa, who asks what she’s doing wrong. They both assure her that if she were doing something wrong, they would tell her. If there’s one thing you can always count on a Housewife for, it’s to point out others’ flaws. Margaret explains that “[Joe Gorga] is very sensitive. He took you walking in front of him to another level.”
Back downstairs, Joe G’s narcissism is showing again. He tells Joe B, “ You know I wanna be loved. Is that a problem? OK If it is a problem, Whatever!” UGH YES JOE YOUR ONLY FLAW IS YOU WANT TO BE LOVED. IT WASN’T TOTALLY CRAZY THE SHIT YOU JUST PULLED IN THE VAN AT ALL!
This is juxtaposed with Melissa saying to Marge and Jackie, “ He's a very old school mentality. Like, when we started our marriage, I was 24 years old. I did whatever Joe told me to do. He was someone who was jealous. He was someone who was saying, 'Don't move. Stand right here,' and I thought that that was amazing.” We are then given a confessional of Melissa saying, “ Growing up, there was cheating rumors out there about my dad. I watched my mother cry plenty of tears, so the fact that Joe was all about family and wanted to be together all the time was like oh my god. You're everything I've been looking for.” This is truly sad and hits home for me because I can definitely relate to being trapped in a narcissistic relationship that I thought was right at one time, and eventually I saw the light. My heart breaks for Melissa, but it blossoms for her storyline. Thank God! Finally! Melissa continues to tell Marge and Jackie that Joe makes her feel guilty for having a business.
Joe G continues his psychoanalysis with Joe B, saying that his father shaped him to be the man he is. NOW we’re getting somewhere. Nonno could barely mold Play-do, let alone a human child, but honestly, that’s not Melissa’s problem. He says that now that Melissa is famous and successful she’s forgotten who she is, and he dismisses Joe B and Evan. Again, we need to take Jen’s advice from earlier, ironically. PAY ATTENTION TO THESE RED FLAGS, MELISSA! Don’t raise more Joe and Teresa Giudices!
Jackie tells Melissa that Joe G got used to Melissa being his “little bitch,” and now Melissa is not old school anymore. I’m beginning to like Jackie. Joe walks in to talk to Melissa, and Jackie and Margaret excuse themselves, as Melissa starts yelling. Joe says it’s over (but he’s a narcissist, so it’s not), and Melissa sticks to her guns, saying she’s the best version of herself that he’s going to get.
The next morning Joe B and Evan do some manly stretching outside, and Melissa confesses that she hasn’t spoken to Joe since the previous night. She also tells us that it’s very therapeutic for her to ride a giant yellow bicycle at the Jersey Shore. She leaves, and cameras do not follow. Ugh it’s always two steps forward and one step back for this one. Bill weirdly tells Frank that Bill wants Frank’s physique, so he orders a scooped out bagel for breakfast over at Dolores’s. Frank flexes his roided out biceps. Ick. Back at the Gorgas’, Joe G gives a terrible blanket apology, saying that he’s sorry if he ruined anybody’s night last night. OK, but how about your marriage? How about you knew you were being an asshole, Joey? Melissa finally backs down, and she takes everything on herself once again, essentially saying it would be her fault if Joe G ruins the memorial that night because Melissa forced the issue. Melissa confesses that she doesn’t feel good about leaving things unresolved, but the weekend is about Nonno.
Back at Dolores’s everyone is putting on white for Nonno’s memorial party, which I thought was odd because generally black is the funeral color, but this is far from the oddest choice I’ve ever seen made on a reality show set in New Jersey. Teresa is serving Beyonce’s Lemonade realness in a lemon-print dress. She says dimly, “Maybe someone will wanna suck my lemons?” There’s a ding sound effect.
Everyone gets on boats and rides to a restaurant for a luncheon. Joe G says he and Melissa had sex. Ugh. Sex fixes everything, doesn’t it?
At the restaurant Marge orders unsweetened iced tea and not iced coffee. Joe Benigno is wearing a pineapple print shirt. C’mon, Teresa, lemons are sooo 2016! Pineapples are all the rage now! Teresa says that her lemons are a shoutout to the Capri region of Italy, and I’m reminded fondly of Dorit Kemsley’s Capri room at Bucca Di Beppo. Melissa tells Teresa about her and Joe’s fight. Teresa says that Melissa needs to give Joe a lot of attention. She confesses that Melissa needs to be more grateful because it’s hard to find a man who actually loves you. Yikes this family is fucked up! Teresa’s honest opinion is that it’s a big bonus if your husband actually loves you.
Melissa begins noticing a lot of phone calls coming from a woman named “Realtor Giselle” on Joe G’s phone. It turns out to be a hilarious prank that Joe Gorga is playing to get back at his wife for having Teresa call and say Melissa was cheating on him in Lake George. What fuckin’ timing. At least frickin’ love bomb Melissa, you engorged, blood-sucking tick! Melissa says that if Joe ever cheated on her she would, “Throw [him] in the fuckin’ bay and leave [him] there.”
Joe Gorga confesses that he’s glad Melissa is jealous enough to call Giselle back. I think I’m gonna hurl. GET HELP, JOE. YOU NEED HELP!
Nonno’s party looks beautiful, minus a half-finished collage of photos on a half-assed step and repeat. Someone brings Joe Gorga some spray paint art of Nonno smoking a cigar with his shirt open. Gross, but accurate. Johnnie Walker either sponsored this party or Nonno’s whole life. Along with another canvas painting of Nonno, BIll Aydin gives Joe G a bottle of Johnnie Walker.
Dolores says her uterus hurts, as Frankie arrives, looking like a melting Ken Doll.
Two swans swim by in the bay, and everyone claims they’re Nonno and Nonna.
Margaret is impressed with the charcuterie board.
Teresa gives a tearful speech, saying that her father was very affectionate, and that’s where she and Joe G get it from. No he wasn’t. He was a weird slurry drunk. No you two are not affectionate... Moving on!
Gia reads a speech from her phone, calling Nonno the “glue” that held the family together. If by glue she meant the kind you sniff, then yes. Everyone throws white flowers into the bay. We’re shown a confessional of Teresa crying about how close they were juxtaposed by a flashback of Teresa asking Nonno how much he’s had to drink during season 8′s Easter episode. Joe says that Nonno always told Joe to take care of Teresa, and everyone does a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue.
I spoke ill of the deceased in this post. I just don’t buy what they’re selling about Nonno for one damn second. Joe and Teresa are great TV and terrible people. Terrible siblings usually tend to be raised by terrible parents. These opinions are mine, and I’m entitled to them.