'RHONJ' Reunion Takes Family Drama to Heartbreaking Level: 3 Most Shocking Moments

Real Housewives of New Jersey

Where to start with last night's explosive Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion? The main theme was family (of course) and how they should and should not act toward each other.

We've watched families crumble throughout all six seasons of the show. Dina Manzo famously left after one and a quarter seasons because she was feuding with sister Caroline Manzo, brother Chris Laurita, and sister-in-law Jacqueline Laurita. Dina returned this year because her family was no longer on the show -- or so she thought (Jacqueline and Chris returned halfway through).


And then there's Teresa Giudice who claims she was blindsided in season three when her brother and sister-in-law Joe and Melissa Gorga joined RHONJ along with cousins Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri. The family feud that unraveled is a mild way of putting it and only recently did Teresa mend things with Joe and Melissa. Things are still rocky with Kathy and Rosie. Truth be told, Teresa clearly just doesn't like Kathy. It's obvious and she just needs to drop her passive aggressive digs at her and own it. Not everyone likes each other -- not even family members.

More From The Stir: Huge Bombshells Dropped About Two RHONJ Stars

But, last night was particularly heartbreaking because it was more evident than EVER that this family drama deeply affects the ladies deeply. They try to act like they don't care, they try to pretend that they are "over it" and then even try to make the audience feel that we shouldn't be invested or want to watch. News flash -- they chose to air their dirty laundry on TV -- we are just flipping through the channels and stopping on what looks interesting.

Dina Manzo of Real Housewives of New Jersey

With that said, here are a few things that I was surprised by and even a little emotional over while watching last night:

1. Dina Breaks Down: Dina, who usually refuses to talk about being estranged from her siblings, got emotional and opened up a little. She revealed that Chris reached out to her when he heard she was separated from her husband Tommy. They were even supposed to meet, but Jacqueline put the kibosh on it. That didn't stop Dina from inviting Chris, Jacqueline, Caroline, and her family to daughter Lexi's high school graduation party. None of them came -- which surprised Dina -- and then Dina was blindsided when she and Lexi were not invited to the engagement party that Caroline threw for her daughter Lauren.

The Takeaway: Dina tearfully recounted all this information, which broke my heart. But, I find it hard to believe that she thought her family would willingly accept her invite to Lexi's party and that they would reciprocate with an invite to Lauren's graduation party without any type of meet up to clear the air before. Dina thought that they would all just come to her party, and five years of hurt and confusion would just go away. It really doesn't work like that unless she wants a ticking time bomb of a fake relationship with her family that's filled with resentment. I hope though that the Manzos and Lauritas were watching and some baby steps will finally be made. That's a reality show I would watch . . . just saying.

2. Teresa Walks Off: Oy, it's never a Real Housewives reunion until someone huffs off set. Granted Teresa has had a rough go of it recently with the news that both her and her husband Joe will be going to jail. In fact, in what was basically minutes after their sentencing, they sat down for a revealing interview with Andy Cohen on a special Watch What Happens Live. Apparently, Andy can ask and say whatever he wants about their legal woes but Teresa's cousins Kathy and Rosie and especially their mom -- Teresa's aunt? Not so fast . . . Teresa lost it when Andy played a clip where Rosie and Kathy are discussing Teresa's legal mess with her mom who says, "When you don't do the right thing... It always catch[es] up with you." That's when Teresa runs to the bathroom, yet leaves her mic on, and says, "I don't want to be out there for that conversation. To me, family doesn't act like that. What my aunt said is very inappropriate." And when Teresa finally returned she explained that she left because she was "going through a lot" and "needed a break."

The Takeaway: I'm sorry, but Teresa could have made the decision to not appear on RHONJ this season while she dealt with her legal issues. She could have asked for privacy and not sat down with Andy. But, she didn't and it's really hard to try and backtrack on that now. With that said, I do think Teresa feels ashamed, and it's easier to push away people like family than say Bravo executives like Andy. I really think Teresa uses Kathy and Rosie as her punching bags and projects her anger onto them. They didn't say anything that terrible -- in fact, they were obviously concerned and worried about Teresa -- but Teresa just doesn't want their sympathy. Kathy and Ro, maybe it's time you just let her be.

Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga

3. Melissa Talks Family: The biggest family feud in the history of RHONJ was between Teresa and her sister-in-law Melissa. The story goes that Teresa had no idea that Melissa was coming on the show in season three and caused a feud of epic proportions to rage on until a truce was finally called last year. Melissa and Teresa were shockingly in a good place this season. So it was a little weird when Melissa told Dina that the show is all about "mending family." Dina, clearly offended, snaps, "You would not have come on the show -- " and then claims she lost her train of thought. Nice try, Dina and Melissa presses on. “That’s instigating,” she says. “Ask me the question. Be direct with me.” So Dina reminds Melissa that her relationship with Teresa was not okay when Melissa signed on the show -- and Melissa denies it.

The Takeaway: Um, Melissa made her grand entrance onto the RHONJ with an insane brawl at her son's christening -- with Teresa right in the middle of it all. We barely saw the sister-in-laws crack a smile at each other for years. So sure, maybe the exact day Melissa signed her contract to join the show she wasn't fighting with Teresa. But things sure went south when the cameras started rolling. Maybe the show ultimately helped them fix their relationship -- but let's not twist it, appearing on the Real Housewives is not the same as going on Dr. Phil. The way I see it -- they both milked it for airtime.

I don't know, the family drama is always the most compelling but it's also the hardest to watch unfold. I don't know about you but I always feel like I'm not supposed to be watching when the family feuds erupt, yet I can't look away. We still have two more reunion episodes to go and there's still a lot of ground to cover, especially around Teresa's sentencing. And speaking of family, twin sisters Nicole Mauriello and Teresa Aprea STILL have yet to say their peace!

What do you think about family feuds playing out on reality TV? Should they stop? Or do they make the shows, well, more real?

Images via Bravo

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