The season premiere of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" revolves around two crisis situations: Hurricane Sandy and a kids' playdate. Of course, the latter is the bigger deal. Yeah, people lost power and their houses and even the housewives themselves had the furniture in their second homes, like, totally ruined. But the playdate involved Melissa and Teresa having to sit in the same room and pretend that they didn't hate each other for the sake of their kids and a Bravo camera crew. Needless to say, the possibility for destruction was much higher. 

Still, the show starts off with a bigger picture; that of life on the Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy hit. Mostly we just watch the Housewives driving around and looking at the destruction of other people's homes, but both Teresa and Melissa (and their respective Joes) had homes at the beach and had actual damage to assess. Still, Teresa is grateful. If she and her Joe had been at the beach house, they "definitely would have drownded." Drown-ded. I had to write that three times before my spell check would stop correcting it. 

We do get a few updates, one of which is that Teresa and her Joe are better than ever! Well, at least better than they were when he referred to her as "his bitch wife" during a phone call to someone who may or may not have been his mistress. But as Teresa says, she thinks that if they haven't gotten divorced by now, they're not going to. I know, I know. When you're done laughing, we can continue. It took me a while, too. 

Because even natural disasters are All About Them, Teresa is sad. After the Hurricane, her brother didn't call her! Sure, he said she was dead to him, but still, there was a lot of water and stuff! Joe Gorga is also sad. His sister, who is dead to him, didn't call him, either! 

But because Teresa has a heart of gold… or foil… or just something shiny, she wants to help those people in need. She collects her best trashy dresses and super high heels, because people who lost everything still need "beautiful and glamorous clothes and shoes." I did not make that up; she really said that. I would think they might also need, say, toothpaste and blankets and actual money, but fine, trashy hooker shoes it is. 

Milania, who is going to give her enormous teddy bear to the poor so they can use it to ward off knife attacks from bums in the homeless shelter, tells her Mommy she misses Cousin Antonia, as well as Uncle Joe and Auntie Melissa. Teresa is probably irritated as hell, but pretends this is touching. She doesn't want her little girl to forget her family! 

Over at Melissa and Joe's, apparently Antonia is missing Milania, too. At school she actually wrote a letter to her cousin, which Melissa thinks is so cute she's willing to pop it in the mail. Oh, Melissa. You know Teresa is going to see this, right?

Teresa's interpretation of the letter is that Melissa is trying to apologize to her, but is so chicken she has to do it through her kid. Or, hey, maybe Antonia just wanted to send Milania a letter, Teresa. Think it through. Anyway, Milania calls and suggests a playdate. She might as well have suggested an afternoon of skydiving or street food tasting in Thailand, because both Melissa and Teresa approach this with the same amount of trepidation. 

Caroline, who now has an apartment in Hoboken NOT to be close to her sons (even though she is) invites over Melissa and Joe, and Playdategate is the hot topic on the table. Melissa wonders what to do, Joe doesn't want to get involved, and Caroline just rolls her eyes. As she points out, it's not an economic summit; put the kids in the car and take 'em somewhere.

Melissa and Teresa begin exchanging texts, and at one point Teresa's bratty 11-year-old Gia snatches the phone from her mom and punches in a text to Melissa so that Teresa won't do something stupid. I'd like to point out -- the bratty 11-year-old is better able to handle the entirely mundane logistics of arranging a playdate.

Finally, Playdategate is set up, and both Melissa and Teresa will be in attendance as the two children make beaded necklaces at a glitteriffic bead store that seems to cater to little girls who want to be princesses and/or hookers. Milania and Antonia hug! Their mothers… look at their phones. Melissa, who is probably desperate to do anything except talk to Teresa, becomes overly involved with the necklace-making process until Antonia looks ready to cry. I can't believe I agree with Teresa about anything, but even she has a point when she suggests Melissa should stop being bossy and just let the kids be kids. Of course, I suspect that if Melissa wasn't there, Teresa would be ordering Milania around like slave labor. 

Teresa, for her part, tells Melissa that she will, very reluctantly, change confirmation plans for Gia so that her parents will be able to go to back-to-back parties. She then points out she's doing this to be the bigger person. I'd like to point out that you immediately lose your status as the bigger person when you actually say you're being the bigger person. But I guess for Teresa, this counts as progress. 

Amazingly, there's no hair pulling or screaming during the playdate. But then, there's also no effort to address the many, many elephants in the room. Instead, there's just long, uncomfortable silences and awkward small talk. So, like a bad date in which both parties are shackled to one another and secretly long to kill one another. 

Caroline makes plans to meet Joe Gorga for coffee, and we learn that he thinks of Caroline as the sister he never had, since the sister he does have sucks. Anyway, Caroline offers to break her own rule about staying out of all this stupid drama and, for him, will dive back in. Yes, Caroline is going to broker a truce between Teresa and Joe. I suspect this will lead to bloodshed, or at the very least, Caroline will regret it quickly. 

In other news, we see Jacqueline for a hot minute when Caroline tries to engage her about the playdate and Jacqueline gives us the best line of the episode in the interview room, revealing she'd rather get her bleep hole bleached than hear any more Giudice/Gorga drama. Probably a good policy, but it does kind of throw her to the outskirts of the series. We also see Katherine and Rosie debating how best to scream at Teresa, I think. It wasn't really clear, but I think the point is neither one of them is a master communicator. 

It wasn't a terribly dramatic premiere, although the promo for the coming season looks like fun: lots of bonding, sobbing, a fistfight, some Outward Bound stuff, a kid pole dance and a large pig. Keep it classy, "RHoNJ"!

 

Are you looking forward to the rest of the season? Do you think Melissa and Teresa will ever work out their problems? Who do you think needs to apologize?