After a feisty three-part romp with Andy Cohen through the glittery mine field that is RHONJ, I'm normally left shaking my head over the couch antics and wondering how those people can justify their nastiness to one another. It's a train wreck that I can't bear to miss.
Not so this year. I just felt sad.
Sure, Jim Marchese was a jackass, and the sound of the twins' voices made me wish that leopard-print duct tape over one's mouth would magically become high fashion; but, that was pretty much the extent of my revelry this time around.
Teresa Giudice going off to prison doesn't entertain me. The over-the-top, table-flipping stage mom who has elicited countless jeers through the years is gone. In her place is a wounded, frightened, determined woman who finally has her priorities straight. Does she deserve her upcoming 15-month stint in orange? Yup. Am I joining in the ranks to celebrate her stupidity in getting herself in this situation? Nope. Here are my reasons why.
We've seen Teresa and Joe's oldest daughter struggle with family rifts in the past and come out strong, sensitive and supportive. She'll turn 14 just a week after her mother heads off to prison and will likely take a big role in helping her dad keep the household intact. For all intents and purposes, childhood over.
The non-squeakiest wheel of the bunch, Gabriella barely causes a ripple in the Giudice household, and I can't help but wonder how she’ll fare. She turns 11 on her next birthday.
Where to start with Miss M? There's never a dull moment where this spitfire is concerned and Mr. Mom Joe could end up dedicating 24/7 to corralling this little 8-year-old.
Just halfway into her kindergarten year, the face that welcomes her home every day will suddenly be a stubbly one. Joe has promised to rise to the occasion — homework, meals, bath time, carpooling and countless other tasks that Teresa and other women have been handling since the beginning of time — but he has also said, "If you stick me with a knife, I probably wouldn't even feel it." This isn't going to be pretty.
Teresa's elderly parents have stayed away from the cameras, but we know one thing: Her father isn't well and his health is always top-of-mind for her. Broken hearts don't usually fare well during stressful times.
I, for one, am rooting for this family. I keep thinking about Martha Stewart holding her head high as she went off to do her time a few years ago. I marveled at her when she came out five months later with stories of how she made her time behind bars productive. In early 2016, we will see Teresa Giudice step back into her favorite role: that of a jubilant, overextended, hands-on mother. The home won't be as grand as it once was and it'll be all female for the foreseeable future, but I have no doubt it'll be a happy one.
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