Joe’s building a carport. He needs one to keep all of his tractors, cement trucks, pipes, and his medieval workout equipment. It will also house his in-laws, who will spend the rest of their retirement looking after the Giudice children while Joe is in prison. Someone has to watch Milania around the cutlery while Teresa is off making personal appearances at strip malls. While it isn’t as picturesque as their homeland, they’ve come to love the Giudice’s tarp covered overgrown backyard and the broken fountain in the driveway. “In bankruptcy, you are able to start your life again — and that’s exactly what I’m doing”, Teresa said. “So to celebrate our bankruptcy we are putting up this new garage, redoing our wine cellar, and throwing a party for what friends we have left. Just because you do bankruptcy doesn’t mean you have to crawl and die in a hole. You just file and then get a couple new credit cards. No big deal. Now, am I terrified of being poor? Yeah. But I don’t think I’ll ever be poor. Mostly because I don’t understand anything my bankruptcy lawyer talks about and also because I am a hard worker and my husband’s a hard worker. Just look at all the businesses he has run to the ground.”
Lauren is still mulling over diet options. She’s doing this liquid diet where you do shots of egg whites and eat tofu cakes, but she finds herself longing for the lard crusted mozzarella balls and parmesan steaks of her youth. And it doesn’t help that every time she hangs out with her brothers and their gay roommate/possible secret boyfriend they always order out pizza and 6 packs of Sprite. I mean, who drinks Sprite anymore? Have you ever heard anyone order a Sprite? And her mother is of no support. She takes her to diners where all they serve are crocks of chili and potato skins. “So what”, Caroline says. “You are a food addict, completely unable to control your urges to eat an entire pan of tiramisu or a slab of prosciutto. So, you’ve got a couple of extra pounds. You are a chubby chub. You are a rolling ball of fat. But you’re you. And that’s what really matters.” Her dad, well he’s got his own advice. Just shut your trap. Don’t order the bologna salad when your brother’s order out from Gino’s Pizzeria. And if it’s still a problem then daddy will buy you a lap band.” Which oddly enough is also the state motto of the state of New Jersey.
Jacqueline is already battling stress. Once she kicked Ashlee out of the house she really thought she had fixed the problem. Somehow her completely unmotivated, spoiled, and ungrateful adult-child would go out into the world and suddenly make something of herself. But after getting shipped to Texas her birth father came to realize that she’s actually a lazy sack of hair too. So they both have come to realize that if Ashlee really wants to move to California they should just let her. How else will she learn if they keep paying her rent and lip injection bills? And then there is Teresa. She’s thought for years that they were best friends. She’s always there to answer her calls at the crack of dawn and listen to her yap about this and that. But when has she ever asked Jacqueline how she is doing? Not once has she said, “everything okay with you boo? Still crying your eyes over that annoying kid of yours?” Nope. It always is about Teresa. But the fact that she has to read about what is really going on in her life through the latest issues of InTouch Weekly and Life & Style has really set her over the edge. Why can’t she just talk to me about her mounting financial issues, she wonders? I will tell you why. Because Teresa doesn’t really think she has any.
Back at the law offices of Schmeegel & Schmeegel the Giudices attorney enters the conference room. He hates his job, this fellow. Wakes up every morning and turns to his wife Elsie and asks her what he has done with his life. At one point he was on the fast track to a position as a partner in a powerful Franklin Lakes law firm and now he is handling guidos and their money problems in Jerseytown. Teresa and Joe smile as they ask what developments there are in their bankruptcy case. “Well, the problem here is that the U.S. Bank trustee alleges Teresa knowingly withheld assets, including a $250,000 advance for her Skinny Italian cookbook”, the attorney explained. “So, we’re cool, right”, Joe said. “No, Mr. Giudice, we’re going to have to separate your bankruptcy proceedings now that you have settled a major issue with the U.S. trustee’s office. Teresa, as you know, we’ve made a settlement offer to the trustees, but it hasn’t been accepted. “So things look, good, right?” Not yet, Mrs. Giudice. “I’ll do whatever it takes to defend myself,” Teresa says. “Like I always say, the truth shall set me free.” Except the truth might put her husband into prison. “The good thing is we’re moving forward now — I don’t even want to think about the past”, Joe said. “To me, it’s never even happened.” But the creditors beg to differ.
Where were Kathy and Melissa all this time? Just hanging on Melissa’s front stoop, just like the girls from 227. Just kicking it with her sisters, her kids, and her drag makeup. Kathy worries about Teresa. From what’s she’s read in the supermarket aisle Teresa’s had it rough. “Just let her swim in a pool of her own tears”, Melissa says.
Teresa leaves the attorney’s office and heads over to Jacqueline’s for a glass of wine. But instead of talking to Jacqueline about her stressful financial situation she compliments her on her beautiful African tube dress and strappy wedge sandals. But Jacqueline wants to get real. Are you going to jail, lady friend? Because that’s what your friends at the magazine are saying? “Oh, that”, Teresa says. “That’s just made up stuff. If I were going to jail do you think I would have gotten gel nails and had my entire body waxed?” But Teresa had been selling those stories to the magazines in exchange for cash for her troubles for weeks. (She admitted to such last week at the gay wedding in Chi-town. She’s got a contract and the next installment would include a Disney wedding and another rented dog for the accompanying pictorial). Her attorney said if she can throw a couple bones to the federal government she might be able to avoid going on welfare, which she wanted to avoid because real Italians don’t eat Velveeta. But Jacqueline had wondered if this tabloid story selling stuff was just a way for her to profit from people’s pity. Um, bingo, Sherlock.
Jacqueline: Are you having money problems? Are you in trouble with the law?
Teresa: Call my attorney, Jimmy. I don’t think so.
Jacqueline: If you are broke how can you afford a new garage and a walk-in closet?
Teresa: “There’s no closet. Just a vault with my minks and costume jewelry.”
Jacqueline: Is this because you are selling the magazine stories?
Teresa: I don’t do that! (Looks pained).
Jacqueline: You told me you do! (Vein bulges from Botoxed forehead).
Teresa: I told you I like to read magazines because books are too hard for me. (Hands are in air).
Jacqueline: Why would you tweet with Danielle yesterday? You know how awful she is.
Teresa: Yes, but she had information on my sister-in-law so I had to do it.
Jacqueline: So it’s okay if it works for you?
Teresa: (Screams with finger pointed and shoulders rising). Why you gettin all mad, Jac? You knows Melissa was doing the malicious things to me and my brother knows nothing. I gotsta do what I need to do to show everyone what Melissa does.
Jacqueline: Why are you so bitter?
Teresa: Because I’m jealous. I mean, she’s jealous. (Lips have now rolled back and entire set of chompers is showing. Drool drips onto patio table).
……….And then as the sun set Caroline walked through the sliding glass door and onto the patio.
Caroline: What’s all this screaming for?
Teresa: I feel ambushed.
Caroline: Oh yeah? I feel like ripping out your eyeballs, okay? You messin with the wrong Italian. Ya hear me?
Teresa: Are you still mad about the cookbook?
Caroline: I don’t like you, okay. I think you’re a weasel. You were never my friend. You disrespect me.
Teresa: You know I adore your family.
Caroline: It’s over. Go back to your marble shack.
Jacqueline: For my health, I’m going to distance myself from you and your family.
Teresa: Are you crazy or psycho? (She’s like Heckle and Jide, she says.)
Caroline: Beat it. And tell your husband to lay off the steroids.
Teresa: Okay, that’s sad. I’ze just wanted to get a glass of wine and nows you’ze guys are all demons. But before I go let’s kiss goodbye.
Caroline: Nice bag. (Teresa walks away carrying a new Louis Vuitton bag with the receipt hanging out).
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