In honor of poor, conflicted, blossoming, screechy Gia Giudice, today’s recap of The Throwing Down in Franklin Lakes Programme is brought to you by the notable chapters in a book called What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Girls: A Growing Up Guide for Parents and Daughters.
The reason Teresa is batshit and irrational to everyone is because her husband is borderline abusive. Joe Giudice wants her to cut her entire family out of their lives after the fallout with Joe Gorga, except, generously, he will allow the kids to continue playing togeth — oh, never mind, he doesn’t even want the Gorga kids around either. Teresa tells him to take it back. “When I say something, you fucking listen, and shut up.” He essentially goes on to be like, if your loved ones fuck with any of us I will personally hit them with my unlicensed vehicle. (This is only a small exaggeration.)
“My husband is so a Gemini,” Teresa giggles Stockholm Syndromely in a talking head interview, but not before pure hamsterlike terror flickers in her eyes for a second. It is the first of many times tonight that you will wish that New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services had a jingle easy enough for these people to remember. Since they’re, y’know, illiterate.
2. Am I Normal?
Richie and Joe Gorga are working out together, and Joe Gorga’s secret is, “You gotta think of somebody you don’t like when you’re doing it,” which is coincidentally what Joe Giudice thinks about every time he has sex with Teresa (and I promise you it’s not Teresa). Joe Gorga feels guilty for calling Teresa a bitch.
Beyond a hideous tinted turquoise fountain, adorably, Lauren and Albert tee off together in an attempt at father-daughter bonding. Apparently, in high school, Lauren was too busy drinking literal milkshakes to attract any boys to the yard with her figurative one, and Albert was relieved he wouldn’t have to kick any teen boy ass. However, Lauren points out, Christopher has gained weight, isn’t self-conscious about it, and doesn’t get teased by the other Manzos. I kind of love Lauren even though she’s a flaky dilettante. Like, somebody has to love Lauren. (“Would you be more attractive if you lost weight? Probably, yes,” says Albert. What the fuck? Dad fail.)
Jacqueline and Teresa rehash the pool party on the phone, Tree speaking from the Giudice’s bathroom, which resembles an Ancient Greek vomitorium. Also, you can see Teresa’s phone from Google maps. It is so rhinestoned it actually manages to look Vajazzled. They are talking about “Field Day” at the Lauritas. I don’t really understand the “events” they do every episode. Is this like, summer camp? Is this Gia Giudice–stars-in–Little Darlings?
Also, everyone looks like David Foster Wallace. Are the bandannas an official part of Field Day? Is this like the bindis? Do they wear specific weird articles of clothing so that we know which fight goes with which episode?
Jacqueline and Lauren go shopping. Jacqueline wants another breast augmentation to make her aureola smaller. This serves as a weird prologue to the next scene in the same way there’s that rule in playwriting that if you put a gun in act one, it has to go off in act three. What I am trying to say is that Gia is totally fucked.
3. Your Breast Buds: An Owner’s Manual
Gia is becoming a woman. Her breasts are developing, she mumbles to Tree, and she wants to get her first bra. She also says something about tampons, which scandalizes her mother, because when Tree was growing up, she was forbidden to use tampons in order to preserve her maidenhead, which was all well and good until the pirates came along. And she married one.
“How do you know about tampons?” asks Tree.
“That book you got me. Just for Girls,” mumbles Gia. “I ain’t wearing no pad.”
At the bra store, Gia is predictably humiliated by every single thing (“Mommmm, you’re not funnnyyyy”). Also predictably, she gravitates toward a padded bra. The shopkeeper, whose nerves are made of a stronger steel than mine, is brave enough to make a joke. She holds up a size-G-looking bra for the Giudice gals’ approval.
“That’d work for Caroline,”
“Mommmnmmmmmmmmmmmnnnzmzmzzzz,” groans Gia.
“This is the first step to being a little woman.”
“A little. Woman.” Gia repeats disdainfully.
As we watch Gia’s sparkly flats shuffle under the changing-room curtain, she says “come in” to Tree, and for a second it seems like we’re gonna see her in the bra, and shit is about to get real weird, but we don’t. At this point it occurs to me that I have never called myself a woman except probably on medical forms.
4. Your Vulva — A Guided Tour
The Lauritas and the Manzos are getting hammered before the problem families get there and everything turns to crap. The Manzo boys continue to tease Lauren about her restrictive diet of “salmon and twigs,” until she totally and understandably loses her shit at them.
In the SUV on the way over, it seems that Joe Gorga put little Nico’s shoes on the wrong feet. We learn that he texted Teresa after the fight to apologize, which contradicts what she’s been saying about him not reaching out. Man, I’m really starting to get the feeling that Joe Gorga and Melissa are really milking the whole “perfect marriage” thing for the cameras — the whole thing last week with Melissa watching Tree’s kids while they fought? Please. But yeah, so Tree lied to Jacqueline regarding Joe Gorga’s text, which gets Jacqueline upset because Teresa is manipulative. In other news, water is wet and Lauren should singe her brothers’ taints with a cattle prod.
More important, Melissa is wearing shorts that basically leave her ‘llopian tubes hanging out.
“I think Melissa accidentally put on Antonia’s shorts,” snipes Tree.
Meanwhile, Chris says the truest thing about Kathy Wakile that we’ve heard at this point: “She’s sunshine and rainbows and a child’s laughter. She reminds me of my mom but with less testosterone.” Ow.
5. Body Hair, Perspiration, Pimples, and Other Changes
Gia confronts Joe Gorga about the fight he had with Tree and it’s kind of touching, especially because her mom is totally the wack-ass wrong one in the situation, but she also might be gunning for an Emmy, so like … who knows? Either way, I will be shocked if Gia manages to avoid joining the Juggalos or the Krishnas by the time she’s 19.
One of these children is nicknamed “Ham Linky.”
Melissa, Joe Gorga, and Teresa are, unwisely, placed on Team Blue together. After a few rounds, Gia becomes hysterical that “the blue team (Joe Gorga, specifically) cheated” and the tears begin flowing freely. She runs off sobbing. This is the point where it gets really fucking dark.
6. All About Periods
So obviously Gia is upset about the family feud and is projecting it onto Joe Gorga cheating in the potato sack race, or fucking whatever. She’s 10, give her a break. But the ‘Wives keep picking and picking at her, specifically Jacqueline and Caroline, with those frustrating Trunchbull-like arguments (“I’m big and you’re small, you’re weak and I’m strong, and there’s nothing you can do about it”) that would make any normal 10-year old cry even harder. Plus, the cameras! Again, where is DYFS? Jacqueline reads the weeping Gia a book about bad sports and tells her to get out of the house. Gia, still flailing and weeping, asks for her mom.
“If [the others] weren’t here, we would have so much fun,” says an annoyed Lauren. “I don’t want to waste a field day.” There are a few problems with Lauren saying this. One, she was already fighting with her brothers before the Gorgas and the Giudices even got there. Two, Lauren does not give one fuck about Field Day because Field Day is neither pasta nor handbags.
Finally, Teresa is alerted that Gia is in distress and is surprisingly comforting to her daughter, not to mention annoyed at Jacqueline and Caroline for butting in on her parenting steez. Then, in true Teresa form, she reminds us how shitty A$hley turned out and that Jacqueline must be a terrible parent. Yikes.
7. Anorexia & Bulimia
As a reward for ceasing her hysterics, Gia wins the Field Day prize, which is a massive ball of provolone cheese. Lauren makes a face. Fucking LOL.