By ANDREA HIGBIE
Since there are no christenings scheduled this season, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" turned to poker last night to juice up the action.
And a big OW for Joe Giudice. Thanks iron candlestick!
The tale of Joe's black eye and bloody nose was nearly poetic in the telling.
Joe Gorga is shown driving as he recounts the meatball party melee to his wife, Melissa: "Joe was busting chops, yuh know, about height again." So Richie says, why don't yuh stand next to me?
"Giudice went to go grab Rich by the nuts," Joe Gorga continued.
Melissa said, "Why did Giudice go to grab his balls?"
The camera cuts to Joe Giudice, the grabber, who tells his wife, Teresa: "When I went to go grab 'em, I couldn't find his nuts. He got pebbles for nuts. I mean, he got no nuts at all."
Chris Laurita, party host, said that Rich Wakile, Kathy's husband, then accidentally knocked a big iron candlestick into Juicy Joe's face.
Hence, the black eye and bloody nose.
Teresa tells Joe she thinks that Rich Wakile is a geek, and scurries out to a "Fabulicious!" cookbook signing, leaving the question -- Why were testicles being grabbed in the height (versus size) contest? -- dangling.
And did they decide who is the tallest? Shortest? Is that the way they find out who's the most important guy?
(Later, Christopher Manzo, Caroline's son, tells the camera about Joe Giudice, "One time he told me he had the best brains in the world next to God." And Chris Laurita -- so many Christophers! -- said of Joe Giudice's D.W.I. suspension and of his using false identification for a new driver's license, "I just thought he was a moron.")
"Looks real good," Joe Giudice says sarcastically the next day, appraising his eye. "A businessman going around like he got into a fight."
"When he went away for those few days cause of the driving under suspended (sic, unfortunately)," Teresa says of Joe's time in jail, "it really bothered him a lot." As well it should have.
Then she hauls out a platitude: "Whatever happens in life I think it's a learning lesson, and it just makes you stronger."
And sugarcoats Joe's decision to shut down their pizza place ("It was too much," Joe said, meaning too much work) because he could now be at home with her and their four daughters.
"I'm most excited he'll be spending more time with us," Teresa adds.
La, la, la.
Teresa leaves for the cookbook signing, and a toddler starts crying, "Boo, boo!"
Gabriella, another of the daughters, tells her father, "Audriana's bleeding!"
Her father says, "She'll be alright."
Gabriella mutters, "At least you can wipe the blood off her."
Gia volunteers, "I'll wipe the blood off her."
Soon after Gia wipes the blood off her little sister, we see her laboring under the toddler's weight as she tries to get her upstairs and into bed.
But not before their father yells at another daughter, "Milania, I'm gonna kick your ass."
So great he's spending time with them!
Last night on "Real Housewives" it was back to more griping about "The Book." Not the Bible, but "The Book," as in Teresa's "Fabulicious!"
What are the ingrediences, as Teresa calls them, for a cookbook that stirs up more trouble than risotto? One part recipes, three parts mean swipes at family and friends.
Tempers were as aflame as they were in last week's premiere and last fall's reunion, with all involved giving "Fabulicious!" bad reviews. Again.
Everyone's still steaming. Teresa arrives at the Laurita's meatball party, and grabs the floor.
"Listen, listen, listen," Teresa shrills. "I have something to say. I know there's been talk amongst all you guys regarding my book."
The "less Italian than the Olive Garden" Caroline Manzo mutters something about a guilty conscience.
Teresa continues, obliviously: "I didn't write it to offend anyone. Whoever took offense to it, I apologize. It was all in fun."
Jacqueline Laurita tells the camera that was not a true apology.
Melissa tells Teresa: "We'll take one for the team so you can make a little extra cash. It's fine." Teresa looks as if she doesn't understand. Maybe she doesn't. If she does need cash, she can always sell the vowels in her daughters' names.
'How many times did I
turn against you?
I'm younger and richer,
while you're just
a bitchy shrew.'
Melissa was annoyed about being called a copy cat in "Fabulicious!" But she was even more annoyed when she learned last week and mentioned again several times last night that Teresa said that if a richer man came along, Melissa would drop her husband (Teresa's brother), Joe Gorga, like a hot patata.
So Melissa turned her thoughts to music, immersing herself in song, putting into words exactly how she feels about her husband.
"Oh, Joe, you're the horniest man I know. You leer at me day and night. But sex on the beach is just not polite."
Unfortunately, it was something else: "How many times did I turn to you? Now I know dreams come true."
Joe, being Joe, tells her, "I can't believe how hot that song makes me feel."
Melissa should have focused her creative juices, such as they are, on Teresa instead: "How many times did I turn against you? I'm younger and richer, while you're just a bitchy shrew."
All this talk of food and fury turns Caroline's daughter's mind to her matter. Lauren, who is 24, is even more upset about her weight this season than she was last season because she has gained a few more pounds. Mom lost weight. It's not fair!
But does Mom eat all day? No. She reads cookbooks. One cookbook.
Caroline accompanied Lauren, who wants to lose 35 or 40 pounds, to see a nutritionist, who put her on a diet of berries and egg whites. That should do it. Or she can read and reread "The Book"; anger burns calories. Over at the Wakiles, Kathy is shocked about naughty photos emailed to 15-year-old Joey (so many Joes!). She decides to reply to the sender, no lol. It's very Oedipal over there; last season, Rich, the meatball party pugilist, made some vague threats to their daughter's date. Something about cracking nuts. Again with the nuts.
And last night we finally got to see Jacqueline Laurita's evil spawn, Ashley Holmes, who was 20 during filming, leave home. It took only a couple of seasons and 4,000 threats -- hers and her parents' -- and there she went.
Or did she?
Albie Manzo, Caroline's other son, who thinks that Ashley's problem is that she thinks she's Ke$ha and should be treated accordingly, drove her to the airport.
ow platinum-haired and tattooed Ashley s
eemed to be off to live the rest of her life. (For an insightful analysis of Ashley and her counterpart on "Big Rich Texas," Whitney Whatley, or, as I call her, Whit What, see "Who's the Boss? 'The Real Brats of California.'")
"One time, I'm not even kidding," Ashley told Chris about her newly manufactured fear of flying, "I literally took a straw to a bottle of NyQuil. I'm not kidding."
She sighed. "I wish I was 21."
Albie asked, "Why?"
"So I could just like get a drink, and relax."
Never stopped her before. And that was a big part of her parents bidding her farewell. Farewell, straighten up and fly right.
But during her parents' meatball melee, who should wander back in?
"I had the worst day," whined Ashley, who somehow managed to miss her flight in the 10 yards to the gate. (She didn't miss a Tweet though, telling the world she was on the hunt for Dunkin' Donuts.)
Her stepfather, Chris Laurita, said, "Because you don't have any common sense."
"Trying to help Ashley is just a waste of time," he said, clearly trying to control his temper.
The very next morning, he took her back to Newark Airport, doing everything but tucking her into her seat and securing her with duct tape. And off she went.
But as bad as Ashley seems, she could always be worse. She could be Joe Giudice.