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The 'Mean Girls' of RHONJ

Melissa didn't appreciate being grilled by Teresa and Kim D. about when she went to the hospital.

By Melissa Gorga

I want to wish all the beautiful and hardworking fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! I have nothing but respect for all the daddies out there, who work hard to provide the very best life they can for their families. And to all those that have a daddy in heaven, let’s all just know in our hearts that they are looking down and proud. I’m so lucky that my kids were blessed with such an amazing father.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I reacted to certain scenes this episode, and I think I’ve figured out some things about my relationships. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Kathy and Jacqueline both asked me for workout advice and told me they wanted to get in shape. I thought the class would be great for them, so I invited them to join me. Kathy worked really hard. I don’t think she had a lot of fun, but she was a great sport. I cracked up when she said I wasn’t sweaty enough after class. When Joe and I workout together, he always says that too. He’s always drenched, and I’m always dry. I just don’t sweat a lot. It’s how my body works. When Jacqueline showed up in jeans, I realized she never had any intention of taking the class. LOL! She mentioned her Nervous Nellie phobias of exercising in public and driving alone on the highway. Not ideal for living in New Jersey, the “what exit?” state. She told me later that her fear of driving stemmed from being in a bad car accident when she was younger. I get that. I certainly carry around some baggage from my childhood. Along with what she’d said, I invited her to come because she’d been under so much stress lately. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever for me. When I workout, I feel stronger. I might give exercise too much credit. I think of it as the cure-all for stress and illness. Ever heard the expression “sweat it out?” If only I had sweat more, maybe I could have cured my sore throat! 

I was confused why certain people make such a big deal out of Kathy and Jacqueline going to the gym. Linda obediently called Teresa about it like an undercover spy reporting into headquarters. Teresa wondered why the ladies were at her gym. Funny, I didn’t notice Teresa’s name on the door.

It really bugged me listening to Teresa, Kim D., and Linda (or, as Joe called them, Moe, Larry, and Curly) laughing on the phone about people’s weight. Were they auditioning for Mean Girls? I hate listening to that. Kathy and Jacqueline look sensational. We should all be so “fat.”Our family was invited to Gia’s birthday party. I’m not going to lie, I was surprised to get an invite. It wasn’t easy for me to go there alone, but my kids really wanted to see their cousins. Joe was way too sick to take them. I put on my big girl panties and went.

How cute are the boys’ faux-hawks? I love dolling them up. You can never use too much hairspray when you live in Jersey!

I wasn't driving around just listening to my own music, although I do love the song "Rockstar." My kids request my songs every time they get in my car! I love that they ask for them. They know all the words and I think it's adorable!

Jacqueline called me when we were driving there, and I tried to rush her off the phone as quickly as possible. I don’t think she realized she was on speakerphone, but I didn’t want my kids to hear us talk about that stuff. As soon as we walked into the party, the cousins were so excited to see each other. The kids were having a blast. I spent an hour playing with them and watched Gia do a special dance for all of us before I went into the adult room. I knew I wouldn’t have friends at the party, but I thought I could at least have one drink before the interrogation started. As soon as I sipped my Fabellini, BAM, I’m bombarded with questions: Did you go see your father-in-law in the hospital? How many days before you went?  Why did you take Kathy and Jacqueline to the gym? Who you calling “Honey?” I was totally caught off guard. They put my feet to the fire, because I couldn’t remember what day I visited my father-in-law. Why this piece of information was so crucial to Kim D.’s sense of well-being will remain a mystery to everyone but her. She seemed personally offended, as if my father-in-law was her own flesh and blood. 

I was raised to be polite and answer a direct question when it was put to me. It’s a reflex. I didn’t stop to think, “Hey, it’s none of your business where and when I do what I do.” I didn’t get a chance to ask them my questions, such as, “Why didn’t you call your brother, who also went to the hospital this week, or even ask me how he was feeling?” Nor did I think it was a good time to address this at a child’s birthday party. The issue was never about whether or not I was showing the proper love and respect to our sick family members. At the time, it felt like the only issue was how these ladies could pick me apart and try to convince everyone that I’m a terrible daughter-in-law, wife, mother, and human being.

How to Watch

Watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo and stream next day on Peacock.

Teresa and Melissa Face Each Other
For the record, my in-laws never demanded to know where I was. They knew I was at home caring for my husband. My mother-in-law always tells us not to come visit them if the kids have runny noses. She certainly didn’t want me in the ICU with a sore throat and a sick husband at home.  

Yes, I was a little shaky on the timing of my visit. I could barely remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone recite my schedule on command. To the best of my recollection, this was what actually happened, and when on Sunday at 3:00 AM, my mother-in-law called us to say Joe’s father couldn’t breathe. Joe didn’t hesitate. He got up, and rushed to the hospital.

On Monday, Joe got really sick. It was that horrible stomach flu that burned through half of New Jersey last winter. He was knocked out. He couldn’t eat anything, and had a fever of 103. I could barely swallow my own spit, and thought I might have the other flu that was raging through town. They don’t allow sick visitors in the ICU. Even if you’re healthy, you’re supposed to wear a surgical mask. I had to put off going to see my father-in-law. Besides, Joe needed me at home.

On Tuesday, Joe was a mess. I won’t go into details, but whatever he ate or drank came right back out one way or another. He turned white from dehydration and had to go to the ER. And I found out that I had strep throat. On Wednesday, I felt a lot better. Antonia hadn’t gotten any of the illnesses in the house so I took her to visit her Nonno. We spent an hour at the hospital and it was great to see him. He was so happy we were there and was feeling better too.

On Saturday, I took the kids to Gia’s birthday party, where I was put under a microscope by people I barely knew about the minute-to-minute breakdown of my whereabouts. It was like being on Law & Order, with the cops grilling me, “Where were you on the afternoon of the 12th?” Why couldn’t we just enjoy the party?

Gia came into the room and asked pretty much the same thing. I was adamant about not exposing my kids to this nonsense. I couldn’t risk them coming into the adult room and seeing this ridiculous bickering. We did end up staying to sing “Happy Birthday”and have cake. As soon as that was over, we left.

As I said above, I’ve thought a lot about all the emotions this episode brought up. Watching it made me feel terrible.  But with all of the hounding I was even starting to second-guess myself.

Joe kept trying to tell his sister, “Stop injecting yourself. Mind your own business. Stop fueling the fire.” But she kept doing it. It made Joe crazy. He’d never criticize or harass Joe Guidice about whether or not he went to the hospital fast enough or at all. Teresa made it her business to find fault with whatever I did. My in-laws are Joe’s parents. He’s my husband. It’s up to Joe to say when his wife goes to the hospital—not his estranged sister.  I’ve been walking on eggshells with her for ten years now, and my feet are killing me! I’m not perfect. I never said I was perfect. I make mistakes like we all do, and obviously I can’t count. I actually had to laugh at myself for arguing if it was three or four days. I still consider it three, which is closer to one, but whatever! LOL!  
It’s not easy feeling like I have all eyes on me at all times. A girl can start to get paranoid. But this episode proves: It’s not paranoia if it’s true!

I bet you feel like there is no way that we are ever going to work this out? But keep watching!


Caroline's Balls, Melissa's Father, and Teresa Drama

This Friday I will be back hosting the night at Splash Nightclub in NYC. Check out my website for all my appearances and my performance schedule. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. And preorder my book Love Italian Style!


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