The last time we saw these housewives they were slugging it out on the third season reunion show.

It was Teresa versus... everyone else. Caroline, Melissa and Kathy still held grudges over Teresa's mudslinging cookbook (and unspecified subsequent events). Relationships had become so strained that Jacqueline couldn't even attend the reunion. But they couldn't "go there" and fill us in on what happened because they were in the midst of shooting season four.

That was quite an advance teaser for what's to come. But first, we'll have to settle for the set up. The season premiere opens four months before that dramatic reunion showdown...

Cookbook aftermath

Melissa and Joe Gorga are throwing a pool party and Kathy's hitting the hookah. Teresa's cookbook has started to stir up some tension, but Melissa is willing to brush it off.

"If Teresa's writing about you, she's threatened," Melissa says. "I'm not gonna let this ruin what we're trying to do. I'm not even gonna tell Joe about it."

At least that's the plan. Instead the party turns into an impromptu reading from the cookbook, with Kathy's husband Rich leading the way. Joe discovers what his sister wrote about his wife being a little copycat.

"It's not that big of an attack ... it's a little childish," Melissa says shrugging it off.

Kathy doesn't like the direction Teresa is heading but remains hopeful: "I want to think there's a possibility we could go back to that old Teresa."

Joe believes his sister must be insecure in her life (especially with the rumors of her husband's infidelity and the constant threat of financial downfall and legal repercussions). But he's willing to let bygones... "It's not enough for us to rehatch any problems we have."

Meanwhile at the Manzos...

Caroline's daughter Lauren says Teresa has issues but it's not worth a fight. Caroline agrees, she's not in the mood for drama anyway: "I have been a true and loyal friend, I don't think anyone can deny that."

Teresa shows up to "clear the air so it doesn't grow into this big problem."

She takes Caroline aside and forces the issue, but is shocked that Caroline would be bothered by any of it. "I think you misread it," Teresa says. "Because if you really read it good, I didn't insult you." Oh, of course!

Teresa apologizes anyway and says it was all a joke, she considers Caroline and company like her family and wouldn't want to hurt them.

Caroline says that's exactly why she's upset, you don't treat family this way. Caroline doesn't believe Teresa is really sorry, she's just sorry she got caught. But Caroline isn't looking for a battle, she'd rather just "co-exist."

Teresa presents Caroline with a personalized copy of the cookbook (!) and they resolve to move forward.

National Lampoon's New Jersey vacation

Joe Gorga is teaching son Gino how to pee standing up. Melissa explains Joe bought a shore house so she could spend summers by her side of the family.

Rich and Kathy are packing for summer on the shore too. He finds some "enhancement gel" and Kathy says to hide it deep in the bag so no one sees it (like everyone watching the show).

Kathy warns Rich to be extra nice to Teresa or just stay away.

Meanwhile at the Giudices', pre-teen daughter Miliana makes a play for her own reality show by calling her older sister a "stupid whore." (Teresa forces her to apologize, for whatever that's worth.)

If there are tensions in the marriage Teresa isn't letting on. Teresa claims Joe has been really good about helping out around the house. He's better than any maid. So there!

The bad seed

Jacqueline meets with life coach Jack Bradshaw to discuss her demon spawn, Ashlee.

Jacqueline is fed up and she's worried the constant attention Ashlee's antics demand are distracting her from her boys, who are still young enough to actually need parenting. Ashlee should be old enough to take care of herself but instead she's self-destructing.

Happily never after...

Joe tells Melissa that Teresa said to him "If a richer guy came along, your wife would leave you and go with him."

Melissa can't process this shocking attack, but Joe just thinks Teresa is jealous because her own relationship is flailing. Melissa wishes she didn't even know about the comment, because she doesn't want to bring it up and look like the bad guy.

On their way to the shore Teresa and Joe discuss their own issues. He was out with ladies just the night before. Teresa isn't happy about this and even their daughters question what daddy was doing out with a "couple girls" for "business."

Caroline's change

Caroline visits the doctor because she feels herself getting more impatient, subject to moodswings and her mind is always racing. He's got news. This probably means menopause, which "scares the s---" out of Caroline.

She's looking for ways to reduce stress. He suggests "new friends."

There's no place like Jersey

Ah, vacationing in Jersey. Melissa says keep your Hamptons, she loves Toms River. "You feel like you're not in Jersey anymore. But guess what? You're in Jersey."

Joe tells us he added "child proof insulation" to their vacation home so he and Melissa can enjoy their "Gor-gasms" without disturbing the kids. I can't speak for the kids, but I'm definitely disturbed.

He's warned Melissa the house will need "a little cleaning" but it turns out the whole place is essentially still under construction. Plus, the pool is dirty and filled with algae! Melissa isn't happy. They're going to Kathy's.

Meanwhile, Teresa needs to talk to her husband and unfortunately for all of us Joe Giudice can't be bothered to put on a shirt. They discuss the possibility of him going to jail. "Whatever happens happens," Joe says.

Teresa is worried about what the girls see in the tabloids (you know: Daddy's a cheater! Daddy's going to jail! Daddy gives everyone the creeps!) But she's got a strategy: she treats paparazzi shots and gossip as "memories" just like family photos.

Calm before the storm

Kathy and Rich host a family dinner where Joe Gorga talks about tabloid stories and Melissa admits she's beyond disturbed about Teresa's golddigger allegations.

Cousin Rosie has the best take: Teresa must be jealous and threatened by Melissa. Teresa has never messed with Rosie, where's the threat from a cousin who's a little heftier, not glamorous and still lives at home with her mother?

Separately, Caroline has her own theories: "Maybe I'm just being a bitch, I'm going through menopause" but she thinks Teresa took advantage of their friendships and maybe feels threatened.

Sibling showdown

Joe Gorga sits Teresa down to talk about In Touch magazine. He reassures her that he's her brother no matter what and he'll always be there for her.

Teresa claims when her husband was in jail for a week, her brother didn't even call. He says he called her about the bankruptcy and she shut him down. He thinks Teresa is in "serious denial about life" and she needs to realize life isn't perfect.

Teresa says "everybody fights about money and jealousy." (If anyone actually comprehended that statement there probably would be no show.)

Anyway, Little Joe vows to be there if Big Joe ever winds up in jail.

Viva Las Vegas

While Jacqueline sits in another room, Chris sits Ashlee down to talk about the future. She needs to straighten up or ship out. Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary in Vegas are willing to take her in, and it's already been decided that Ashlee will be leaving tomorrow to stay with them.

But she has plans with friends! "You just want to keep on partying, then I know your head is up your ass," her frustrated father says. He'll throw her out for good if she doesn't listen this time.

Ashlee feels like throwing up but she has no choice...she's going to Vegas.

What did you think of the season premiere? Will Ashlee ever stop acting like a brat? Will someone buy Joe Giudice a shirt? And can we all pretend the Gor-gasm comment never happened?