I would like to be honest with everyone and admit I haven’t watched the Real Housewives Of New Jersey in years. However, I have kept up with the drama of Teresa Giudice — both legal and social — since what feels a lot like forever. After all, her table flipping moment in RHONJ season 1 is forever etched upon my pop cultural brain; how could I forget about her after that? This is why I expected to see some love between our New Jersey queen and her sister-in-law and frenemy, Melissa Gorga, when I tuned into the Bravo reality show for the first time with “The Public Shaming Of Melissa Gorga.” Instead, I was shocked to find an endless barrage of shame between the often-feuding Gorga women, which spilled out to the rest of the RHONJ stars. Obviously, the title should have alerted me to the realities of the show. Simply put, these ladies cannot stop humiliating each other.
The shame parade begins as soon as Teresa and Melissa are allowed to be in the same room. Melissa arrives at villa Giudice, where Teresa is barely holding on as a short-term single mom. As anyone who follows tabloid news knows, Teresa’s husband Joe Giudice is in prison for a number of fraud-related crimes. Teresa was only just released from behind bars for the same reason. Yet, Melissa doesn’t look at Teresa with such a kind eye, criticizing her sister-in-law for giving into her four daughters over “anything.” During a confessional interview, she says, “She’s like Mister Softee. Soft-serve, caramel, sprinkles on top, and the damn cherry. Everything.”
It would be one thing for Melissa to side-eye an overwhelmed Teresa in a talking head chat — it's a basic Real Housewives device no one can really find offensive anymore — but, she then takes shots at her relative right to her face. At lunch sometime after the ice cream comments, Teresa explains her daughters want to go zip-lining during an upcoming vacation, but she doesn’t think it’s the best idea. Instead of giving Teresa advice, Melissa criticizes her sister-in-law’s parenting. “You’re too nice to them because you never want them to be mad at you,” Melissa explains like Teresa is a child herself. “You still have to put your foot down with them a little bit. You have to be a bit more strict with them.” Teresa’s face twitch proves she’s insulted.
But, Melissa is ignoring she has certain luxuries Teresa does not at this moment. As the RHONJ lead points out, Melissa has a co-parent in Teresa’s brother, Joe Gorga. On the other hand, Teresa is trying to juggle the needs and wants of four daughters, ranging in age from 8 to sweet 16, who often feel like at least 12 kids. A sad scene with 11-year-old Milania shows just how much the Giudice family is faltering without having both parents in their sprawling New Jersey household. Remember, Teresa is dealing with the guilt of her fraud crimes, and the fact those crimes led to both herself and her husband spending time behind bars, away from their young children. Of course she's desperate to get on her daughters' good side right now.
Unfortunately for Melissa, she got a taste of her own awful medicine later in “The Shaming Of Melissa,” as the title would suggest. At a party hosted by Siggy Flicker, the RHONJ second-in-command is publically attacked by the shindig’s hostess, all for throwing a cake in Boca Raton. Melissa and Siggy attempt to have as private a conversation as possible (when cameras and tens of party guests are around) about their dessert-related feud. Just when it looks like their contentious chat is over, Siggy screams for the massive crowd around her to “shut up.” For some reason, Siggy wants to take a party-wide survey of hands as to whether Melissa’s cake tossing-related behavior is rude. While Melissa isn’t immediately name-checked in the surprise poll, the fact Siggy gets her answer and then screams directly in Melissa’s face, “Thank you! Who fucking throws a cake in a restaurant?!” it’s fairly clear who she was talking about. In case anyone was confused, Siggy then screeches, “Melissa, that’s it!” She then lays down directly on the floor, still yelling, “That’s all I wanted!” Although Siggy is the one who made a strange spectacle of herself, it’s Melissa who was “humiliated,” as co-star Dolores Catania puts it.
Despite how rude Melissa was to Teresa, she still stands up for her because, as anyone in Jersey would tell you, “family comes first.” Yet, somehow, this moment of Gorga solidarity leads to more deep embarrassment for yet another castmate: the newly-returned Danielle Staub. While the entire cast tries to clear the air following Siggy’s floor-cleaning meltdown, Danielle reveals Dolores told her Teresa cares about nothing and no one more than “money.” Dolores freaks out, claiming Danielle is lying. Yet, Danielle legitimately gains nothing from making up a story like this. Still, Dolores calls Danielle a “scumbag” five times, along with “a starving hungry bitch.” Danielle ends her time at Siggy’s terrible party sobbing, swearing she isn’t making up Dolores’ comment.
There are only five full-time New Jersey housewives, and then Danielle, who apparently ranks as a classic “friend of the Housewives.” Out of these six women, all but one of them was shamed, shamed someone else, or, both. That has to be some kind of episode record right? Sorry, Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, you just lost your prized shaming crown.
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