Cast Blog: #RHONJ

Dr. V on Teresa and Joe's Breakthrough

Dr. V talks about what it was like to walk into the middle of the RHONJ drama.

Bravotv.com: Do you think being Italian helped you with this group of fellow Italians?

Dr. V: Coming from a big, loud, volatile and awesome Italian family, maybe I was able to zero in on certain dynamics that a non-Italian might not be so quick to pick up on. Like when to get under the table because a kitchen knife's about to whiz by. Don't get me wrong, regardless of race, color or creed, EVERYBODY'S family has some crazy in it. It's just that I'm a little more familiar with the Italian Style Crazy.

Bravotv.com: Were you surprised to hear that such a big fight broke out before you even arrived?

Dr. V: That would be like being surprised a lit firecracker exploded.

Bravotv.com: What was it like sitting at the table in the middle of this family dispute? What were you thinking?

Dr. V: It felt more like Shark Week than Real Housewives... only I didn't have the protection of a cage. I wanted to feel slightly removed and clinical so I could be most effective at being the cool, calm third party who was going to help these folks resolve some problems. But it's hard not to get swept up in the frenzy when you're sitting in the middle of it. I couldn't help but feel slightly anxious being surrounded by upset, angry people. On the upside nobody tried to bite any limbs off like on Shark Week.

Bravotv.com: Were you expecting Joe to say that he wasn't ready to make things work with Teresa? Did you suspect that he actually was ready?

Dr. V: No, I totally thought a golden rainbow would appear in the sky and we'd join hands and sing "We Are The World". C'mon?! If Joe was ready to make things work I'd be at home watching this on TV instead of in the middle of it trying to help. When Joe told me he wasn't ready to try and repair his relationship with his sister, I feel like what he was really saying wasn't that he wasn't ready, but that he was scared. Because to try and resolve this stuff probably means having the courage and strength to be vulnerable again.
Bravotv.com: Why was it important for Joe and Teresa to talk one on one?

Dr. V: Because until they escaped all the B.S. and noise created by everyone else, there was no space for the two of them to just cool down, clear their minds, and really remember who they are as brother and sister. Our siblings are the only other people in the world who truly know how crazy our parents are -- it's important to keep that relationship healthy...if you can.

Bravotv.com: What was it like when you brought Teresa and Joe together? What do you think caused the breakthrough and tears?

Dr. V: I always feel like when my work goes best, I'm hardly doing anything. Joe and Teresa did the work to get to that breakthrough, all I did was clear out the crazy (for now). I think because they were able to rise above all this rotten crap that's been really hurting them both and the whole family along with them, they were able to look at one another and remember "Oh, yeah. I love you, ya big lug."
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Amber: Is Dina Coldhearted?

Amber Marchese dishes on her first reunion and why Dina Manzo confuses her.

Hello Housewife friends!  Welcome to the jungle baby! My first reunion was a wild ride. Call me sick and twisted, but I had an unbelievable time at the reunion when most, I have been warned, dread it. I felt like it was “The Great Purge” and when I went home I was felt relieved of any built up tension. I don’t care if anyone has a grudge against me, my slate is clean and I harbor no ill feelings towards anyone. I love to argue my point, and I truly stood by all of my convictions this season, so I was ready to say exactly what was on my mind, and then some. 

I know the twins and I went at one another pretty hard, but that is what the reunion is all about. It is an opportunity to get it all out and potentially understand one another's position better. Then we can each make our own decisions as to where we want to go with our relationships. I am very much the type of person that can say some of the meanest things and sling mud, but hug it out at the end forgetting anything negative that was said. It just rolls off my back. I actually think it is healthier to say what needs to be said, and then move on.

One thing I did question after the reunion was if Dina actually has a heart or if I should start calling her the Tin Man. I actually have not figured her out yet. Is she really just a coldhearted bitch, or has she been hurt so many times that she has become warped and jaded. I feel I don’t owe anyone any reason as to why I call cancer “the cancer,” but I will give it once more anyhow. “The cancer” is “the monster” to me. It is a way for me to take away its power and to minimize it. “It” destroys lives, so “it” does not deserve a name. It is just “the cancer” -- it was “the monster” or “the dragon.” Although Dina claims to have an understanding of how devastating cancer is to a family, her actions and blatant lack of empathy proves otherwise.

In addition, I did not think it was appropriate for me to interject into family quarrels at the reunion; however, this is something that I feel strongly about. I have met Jaqueline and I have spoken to her on many occasions. In the very short time that I have gotten to know Jaqueline, I know and have empathy with the struggles she has caring for Nicholas. I felt that Dina’s interpretation of her nephew was callous and completely out of touch with reality. The only thing that keeps playing in my mind is, "You know nothing John Snow."  No, thank God, he is not hooked up to machines with cancer; however, what the Laurita family goes through is extremely difficult on a day to day basis that will continue on for a lifetime. It is emotionally and financially devastating. Although, Dina "visits" children with cancer, at the end of her visit she gets to go home, leaving it behind and goes on with her daily life. Since Dina does work with children with cancer, I pray that she can abstain from a self-absorbed lifestyle and become a loving, involved aunt. 

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