The full ramifications of Teresa's family-bashing cookbook haven't been dealt with yet, but we're not quite at the breaking point.
Everyone is still trying to play nice this week as Jacqueline deals with Ashlee, Melissa hits the recording booth, Kathy finds a X-rated surprise on her teen son's Twitter and... well... Joe Giudice winds up with a black eye.
Troublemaker daughter Ashlee claims she's having anxiety over packing to leave for her punishment/banishment in Vegas. Jacqueline is trying her best to ignore Ashlee's antics while holding 2-year-old baby Nicholas. Jacqueline doesn't even want to take Ashlee to the airport. "Ripping her hair out is not gonna solve the problem," she notes. "Although I have pulled her hair before. It didn't work."
Caroline's son Albie is Ashlee's designated airport driver. Ashlee says she wishes she was 21 so she could drink to calm her nerves. As Albie explains, "Ashlee thinks she's Ke$ha. She has Ke$ha music playing in her head. She thinks that a limo is gonna pull up and shopping bags are gonna fly everywhere and she's gonna jump in there's gonna be Champagne and flashing lights and men and that's it. That's how life is supposed to be."
It's tough to argue with that when Ashlee says things like this: "I didn't know planes could crash until I saw the movie 'Castaway.'"
After Albie drops Ashlee at the airport, he gets a call: Ashlee missed her flight. The next one is in four hours, she'd be on standby and it's the last flight to Vegas for the day. Albie calls Jacqueline's husband Chris to explain the situation. Chris booked a one way ticket because he just wants Ashlee out of town. Albie feels like he dropped the ball by not walking Ashlee through every step. As Chris says, "Sending her to the counter is like sending Santino [the dog] to the counter."
Jacqueline isn't happy but there's company coming and she's "not gonna let it effect my mood." (That's Teresa's job, check her section of the recap for more.) Ashlee shows up at the house. No one is shocked, but they're not entirely amused either.
Eventually Ashlee is ushered back to the airport, this time with Chris driving.
Not much for Caroline this week, but she and daughter Lauren visit a nutrition specialist to deal with Lauren's weight. He asks her what she eats, and she explains she loves Italian food, but says when she eats she doesn't eat a lot.
Caroline pipes in that it's harder for a girl to be heavy, she wishes it was a problem one of her sons had instead. Also, since Lauren wants to be a makeup artist she needs to look good to succeed in a superficial industry.
The nutritionist suggests one meal per day: pasteurized egg whites combined with mixed berries or chocolate. Lauren expects the diet will work "because it's the closest thing to anorexia." Her goal is to be a size 4 or 6.
Joe and Teresa visit the Italian restaurant they're giving up managing. When he ran into his legal problems, he didn't have a drivers license so he couldn't even be there to manage.
Teresa's take on Joe's troubles with the law: "Whatever happens in life I think it' a learning lesson and it just makes you stronger." Teresa tells Joe she'll miss when he brings food home but she's excited he'll be home more.
"Everyone has financial issues. Maybe things are not fine but Joe and I will take care of it. I don't need people to feel sorry for me, I'm a strong woman and I will survive," she tells the camera.
Teresa heads to Jacqueline's house for the big gathering (the same one Ashlee wound up unexpectedly crashing after missing her flight). The cookbook controversy still hangs in the air, as does Teresa's fight with her brother Joe from last week's episode.
"I'm not gonna tell the truth because I'm not gonna knock my sister," Joe says before Teresa arrives. "But if you heard how she knocks my wife..." It seems that everyone is trying to avoid confrontation with Teresa and avoid her comments about Melissa being a golddigger, but Kathy says it's "only a matter of time before that storm hits."
Once she arrives, Teresa knows everyone has been talking about her. But she feels like she can sleep with a clear conscience, so she's not concerned. At least that's what she says. What she does is something else entirely: she gets everyone to quiet down so she can make a grand proclamation and clear the air.
Caroline tells the camera that this looks like the product of Teresa's guilty conscience, but Teresa's conscience is clear! She said so!
Teresa -- brandishing a glass of wine at least half empty -- explains again that she didn't want to offend anyone with the cookbook, but if anyone was offended she apologizes. Rich asks her if she plans to pull it off the shelf and reprint it. Teresa says nothing she wrote was malicious, it was all in fun.
Melissa tells the camera that she's satisfied Teresa at least apologized. But Joe Gorga is still upset with his sister. Teresa asks him if he read her first book, because she wrote a lot of nice things about the family in that one. And apparently everyone has told her it's a real page turner ("once you start you can't put it down!")
Joe isn't looking very comfortable, but Teresa keeps on bragging that she mentioned her brother in her acknowledgements ("That's a big deal in the publishing world!"). Teresa's husband Joe says she can stop talking now, it's time to move on.
Melissa can't resist a reply: "We'll take one for the team so you can make a little extra cash."
Jacqueline tells the camera that Teresa's big show was not a true apology. But Teresa tells the camera she felt like everyone was receptive.
While the men go off to play poker, the women stay in the kitchen to chat. There's friction between Rich and Joe Giudice and something goes down but we don't see it.
We just hear details after the fact: Joe Giudice has a black eye. Joe Gorga explains to Melissa that Rich and Joe Giudice were taking shots at each other and things escalated from there. They started tussling and both fell over a couch with Joe Giudice hitting his eye on a large iron candlestick holder.
Melissa believes that Joe Giudice having to sit back and watch his wife have all the success and bring in the money must be getting to him.
Later, while Teresa is out at a cookbook signing, Joe helps their four daughters with dinner. When two-year-old Audriana is bleeding (it's a minor cut), we see him telling her to shrug it off, which I guess implies he's a bad parent? (Seems like he's done worse.)
Caroline's sons Albie and Christopher come over to visit, and Joe starts talking trash about Joe Gorga. Christopher notes that drunk Joe Giudice used to be a blast but now has totally changed, he just boasts about himself and takes shots at other people.
Kathy's 15-year-old son Joseph is now the sophomore class President, but Rich tries to instill some business savvy into the kid by showing Joseph the gas station he owns.
Kathy is worried about Joseph for other reasons: "As long as I can get away with it I'm gonna monitor everything that's going on with my kids," she says. That includes a girl who sent Joseph a naked picture of herself over Twitter. While she shares this information with both Rich and Joseph, Kathy writes this mystery girl back and asks why she can't find something better to do with her "beauty." The girl immediately responds "LOL, I'm sorry Mrs. Wakile I just think your son is attractive."
Rich is kind of proud of the whole thing.
Melissa's storyline is all about how much she loves her husband Joe. And how wrong Teresa ever was to suggest she'd leave him for a richer man.
She even records a love song specifically for him in her home studio, and producer Corte Ellis encourages her to put her love for Joe into the song: "Not too many people get to have a studio in their home. Sing it like you're a lucky girl."
Later, at a romantic dinner with just Melissa and Joe, Joe cracks a bunch of sex jokes but Melissa is sick of hearing about his "poison." What she really wants is to play him the ballad she recorded for him. This satisfies Joe that Melissa is completely devoted to him and he drags her off to the bedroom.
What would you do if Ashlee was your daughter? What did you think of Melissa's love song to Joe? And how long until someone goes at it with Teresa (judging by the preview, I guess next week)?
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