Because of the bankruptcy, Teresa had to go for a 50-foot Christmas tree this year instead of one that beats Dubai’s tallest building by an inch. Wearing a black wife-beater as he delicately places a sprig of twinkling branches, Joe Giudice is like the love child of Martha Stewart and a sausage. “Why should I be stressed?” he asks Teresa, and the show answers with a shot of a newspaper article announcing his jail sentence for drunk driving. We learn that Joe and Tre protected their daughters by saying that Joe just went on a fishing trip, and hey, that wasn’t a total lie because a correctional officer did go on a little fishing trip in Joe’s body cavities before taking him to his cell.
It’s no pauper’s Christmas over at the Gorgas, though, where Melissa’s getting the mansion ready for Jeeeeesus’s birthday party with the help of a party planner named Fabulous Fred. And in the spirit of Jesus’s teachings, Fabulous Fred advises the Gorgas to pay extra so that they don’t get “roley-poley servers walking around with their bellies sticking out.” I can’t remember the exact scripture in the New Testament, but I do recall a story about how when Jesus circulated mini hot dogs for the people of Bethlehem, he decreed that they should only be served by solid nines and tens, though an eight could walk around a tray provided she had a super hot bod.
Lo, but what is the birth of Christ when compared to the birth of Jacqueline’s daughter Ashley? Let Jesus have all of the Posche runway models serving up reheated hors d’oeuvres; Ashley will have the finest in teppanyaki chefs assembling onion volcanoes before her. After all, Jesus may have delivered rousing speeches to the masses, but Ashley has put in an incredible amount of time texting shit nonstop to her friends, even as her family gathers at the table to acknowledge her special day. Jesus may have had a distant heavenly father, but Ashley has a distant father in Texas who has come down with the flu. And while Jesus may have walked across water, Ashley has driven her Jeep all the way across the Jersey Turnpike.
No matter, Melissa is determined to represent for her savior. Wearing a virginal white mini-dress of such purity that her G-string shows right through it, she makes sure that the party has all the things that Jesus would like: top shelf liquor, fake money with Melissa and Joe’s faces printed on it, and an ice sculpture of the Lovers Gorga caressing each other’s melting bodies. But most of all, Jesus loves children, and that’s why Melissa’s throwing this party. She’s convinced Joe to spend $50k on the event so that the poor, sick children of Saint Joseph’s hospital can get $5k worth of presents in return. It will be good practice for him when he lays out $500k for her to record her CD that will bring in $500 in sales.
From the moment she walks in the Gorga’s door, Kathy is on Caroline’s ass, her fawning gaze as cockeyed and disturbing as the feathered cat mask she put atop her tree. Caroline is outwardly polite, but her thoughts are really on the diamond friendship bracelets she has designed for her family, wondering if she should change them to five-way wedding bands instead. But where oh where is Teresa? She’s back at home trying to get Joe out of his Barcalounger, really feeling the pressure because they have no good excuse for being late to another Gorga function — they already used diarrhea last time. After Tre extracts Joe from his deep leather crevice, he slips into his best rhinestone tattoo shirt and manages to get himself in party mood by delivering a nimble roundhouse kick to the speed bag in the garage.
It’s almost ten o’clock when the Giudices finally make their entrance. Unfortunately, they’ve just missed the Saint Joseph rep’s speech about kids with cancer, but everybody at the party has missed it too because they’re talking so loudly amongst themselves that they effectively cancel out the mic system. Remember, it’s all for the children! Kathy, figuring the best birthday present she can give Jesus is to act like “a good Christian,” makes a beeline for Teresa with a heart full of forgiveness. But when Kathy tells her cousin that it’s nice to see her, Teresa makes a face like one of Lebanese Jon Lovitz’s farts has floated over. “Oh really, now it’s nice to see me?” Teresa asks sarcastically and walks away, sending Kathy reeling, first into the comforting presence of her sister, Rosie, the lesbian Oliver Twist, and then into the nearest bathroom with her husband LJL.
Switching over from Jesus’s present to an ill-tempered freak-out, Kathy rages that Teresa made her look like “a fucking asshole!” LBL is telling her to relax, but he has some really strange ideas about relaxing because he’s also telling her, “I’ll burn this whole fucking place down!” These two are profoundly upset that Teresa isn’t convinced that Kathy now finds it nice to see her, but considering that the last time the cousins saw each other it was a total shitshow, nothing short of amnesia would warrant their shocked reaction. Kathy suggests that Teresa had “better wrap a sweater around that icy heart of yours because you’re going to catch a cold,” but she’d do better to give the sweater advice to Melissa’s vagina, which is supposedly chilly from the air outside.
The cooling theme continues out in the foyer, as Melissa’s brother-in-law confronts Joe Giudice about a thousand bucks he’s owed for fixing an air conditioner. But he is just a red herring because real trouble is about to walk in the door in the form of rapscallion Kim G., who has produced the now infamous Monica Chacon, the lawyer’s wife who almost got her nose broken by Teresa at the courthouse. Wearing a chinchilla coat, Kim G. cackles with evil joy as she walks up the driveway, her face glowing both from apparent enhancements and a sense of divine purpose. She’s the Joker and Monica is her bomb. Chaos is her one true passion.
The second that Teresa spots Monica, she starts losing it, and Melissa, well aware that Jeeeesus would not want fighting on his birthday, immediately pulls Kim G. aside. Melissa says Monica needs to go, but Kim G., because she’s a madwoman, begins arguing why a contentious person whom the Gorgas never invited to their party in the first place shouldn’t have to leave. Even Joe’s telling Kim G. that Monica is persona non grata, but Kim G. is more of a honey badger than the honey badger — homegirl gives less of a fuck than anyone ever thought possible! It’s not your party, Gorgas; it’s her world. So as Melissa escorts Monica out the door, apologizing to her own party crasher for no good reason, Kim G. announces that she’s looking for an apology from Teresa. From the looks of next week’s shrieking, violent preview, it doesn’t look forthcoming.