Despite a cast shake-up where three former housewives were replaced, the main storyline of The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 6 was Teresa Giudice‘s legal battles that eventually ended in a 15-month prison sentence. Let’s see how much of the reunion focuses on that, starting with part one tonight.

RHONJ Season 6 Finale Recap: The Cast Reacts to Teresa and Joe’s Sentencing >>>

Dina’s Return to the Couch

After host Andy Cohen introduces everyone, he asks Teresa how she’s been doing. She says she still hasn’t been getting any sleep, but she tries to be there for her daughters. She celebrated Gabriella’s birthday but is sad because she “doesn’t know” if she’ll be able to celebrate Milania’s birthday in February. I’m not sure what she means by she “doesn’t know.” She’s due to surrender to prison in January, so yeah, she’s not going to be able to throw Milania a party. Even I know that. 

Dina says she and Teresa have been friends for 25 years or so. She’s angry that Teresa wasn’t taken care of properly in the whole plea situation. She says the whole thing is so surreal for her still and she can’t believe that there are murderers walking the streets and Teresa’s a good person. Well, that’s arguable.

Andy asks Dina why she decided to return to the show. She can’t deny that it had a little to do with Jacqueline and Caroline leaving. She says she never wants to do reality TV with family again, unless maybe if it’s a cooking show. She says it’s just not a healthy environment for sibling relationships.

He continues to prod her about her relationship with the former RHONJ stars, but as usual, she stays vague and tight-lipped. She says their relationship deteriorated because of the show, but it wasn’t the main reason and then she distanced herself from Caroline and Jacqueline and even Teresa when she left.

She says she considers her relationship with Caroline and Chris to be “on a break.” But there are “certain people” (Jacqueline) who she can’t have a healthy exchange with and it’s better to love from a distance.

Below the Belt

Teresa is glad to hear Andy admit that maybe the show had something to do with Dina’s poor relationship with her family. She says the show does hurt a lot of people, and sometimes people hit below the belt. But, of course, she’s never hit below the belt.

The twins call her out on that right away. Teresa A. says she hit below the belt this season when she talked about her mom. Teresa G. denies it, but Teresa A. says from what she’s seen of the show, that’s kind of Teresa G.’s M.O. But there will be more mom talk later.

Andy asks if Melissa and Teresa are okay after three seasons of constant fighting. Melissa says that on her side, yes, she’s okay. Teresa says she’s done and she’ll never fall into that again.

Some viewers wanted to call Melissa out about how her daughter, Antonia, was whining about living in a small and disgusting house when it was three times bigger than most houses. Melissa admits that her daughter has grown up with privilege, and all she can do is do her best to try and teach her otherwise. She says that, personally, she’s very comfortable in the smaller house.

Amber talks about how she’s proud to be a survivor of The Cancer. Nicole calls her out for constantly calling it “The Cancer” and Amber says she’ll call it anything she likes because she’s a survivor. Nicole then tells Amber she likes the work she’s had done on her nose. Both Amber and Nicole deny having any work done, so that was an important exchange.

But mostly they talk about the most interesting (if controversial) thing about Amber: her husband, Jim. Andy calls him Jekyll and Hyde and asks her if he’s that way with her at home. Amber says that he’s not like that because she doesn’t “piss him off.” The twins are pseudo-concerned that he is verbally abusive toward Amber. In fact, Teresa A. is so concerned that she tells Amber that they are perfect for each other.

Andy asks how many of the housewives have been personally victimized by Jim Marchese. And, of course, he’s insulted every one of them at some point, but some worse than others. Dina says she still can’t believe how he spoke to them. She also says he was combative on social media after the season stopped filming. Even Andy says that he’s a “disaster” on Twitter. More to come about Jim later as well.

Fun with Cousins

Kathy and Rosie come out to join the ladies like they were actually a real part of this season. Teresa says she’s fine with her cousins, but her body language indicates that she’s just really too preoccupied to give an eff about them.

But then they roll some footage of Kathy and Rosie and their mother (Teresa’s aunt) talking about Teresa’s situation. Her aunt was talking about how when you do bad things, bad comes back to you. Teresa is so upset seeing the footage, she excuses herself to the bathroom. She calmly tells the producers that they can have that conversation without her and she’ll go back in when it’s done. She says she can’t hear her aunt talk like that about her, that family doesn’t act like that.

Kathy and Rosie are in an emotional cross between guilt and “Well, it’s true.” Rosie says they didn’t say anything to damage her, but Dina tells her that there are lines that family shouldn’t cross. Kathy shrugs and says that they’re family and they love one another and they hurt one another.

Teresa comes back and tells Andy that she’s just going through a lot and needed a break. Andy says that since they’re on a TV show, she should expect to hear some of this stuff. Teresa says show be damned, family should respect her. She doesn’t want to talk about it anymore and Kathy wants to respect her wishes. She just says that they’re family, they love her and they’re sorry for what has happened.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jacqueline?

Jacqueline gets brought up yet again. Teresa says it doesn’t bother her that Kathy is friends with Jacqueline because she can be friends with whomever she likes. Teresa also says she wishes the best for Jacqueline and her son Nicholas, but the two do not have a relationship and probably never will again.

Dina says she’s never met Nicholas, but at this point, all she can do to help him is pray for him and love him in her own way. She says what hurts more is that her daughter, Lexi, can’t have a relationship with her godfather, Chris. She says she invited everyone to Lexi’s graduation party, but Jacqueline insisted on having a sit-down beforehand, which wasn’t what Dina or Lexi wanted things to be about, so no one ended up coming. On the other hand, she says both she and Lexi were not invited to Lauren Manzo’s engagement party, which really hurt.

She’s also annoyed that her family (Jacqueline especially) has brought their problems to social media. She wants to stay away from those toxic exchanges, even when Jacqueline is threatening to expose Dina’s non-existent salacious past. Rosie tells her that if she can’t handle doing things in public, then maybe she should re-examine her decision to appear on a reality show. Dina responds by saying that’s why she waited until her family left to come back on the show.

Melissa tries to pipe in too, but Dina tells her if Melissa had respected her family, she would have resolved her issues with her sister-in-law off-camera. Everyone has a point and it is that they’re all kind of slimy for airing their dirty laundry on reality TV. But I don’t think they realize that they are all equally slimy.

In the end, Dina says she does not have a relationship with Jacqueline right now and she doesn’t wish to. She’s an adult, and she’d rather not have her brand of toxicity in her life.

Out Come the Joes

Before the end of the hour, Andy brings out Joe Gorga and Joe Giudice. Joe Giudice says he’s still processing things and just trying to move day to day.

Teresa talks about how she didn’t want her brother or her parents at the courthouse the day she was sentenced because she knew she had to speak to the judge and she didn’t want to break down crying. Joe Gorga says that was hard for him, and things continue to be hard as he worries about his sister and her family. He tells them his heart breaks for them and that he loves them. Teresa shows little emotion, but only because it looks like she’s trying hard not to break down.

During part two of the reunion, Hurricane Jim makes his reunion appearance. And maybe we’ll actually pretend like the other three people on the couches are part of this show.

Part two of The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 6 reunion airs this Thursday at 8pm on Bravo.

(Image and video courtesy of Bravo)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV