The Giudices Face An Unfavorable Reality

The Giudices enter Federal Court in Newark, NJ. Photo Credit: The NY Daily News

The Giudices enter Federal Court in Newark, NJ. Photo Credit: The NY Daily News

Just when the Giudices were starting to look better on camera, the reality stars’ real life drama has taken a turn for the worse. With 39 counts of financial fraud to be tried in federal court, this is by far the deepest pile of doggy doo any Housewife, possibly reality star in general, has been buried in. Even Survivor’s Season 1 winner Richard Hatch’s failure to report his $1M prize to the IRS wasn’t this serious. In fact, Hatch would have had to spend his entire prize just to post bail for the Giudices who are “free” on a whopping $500,000 each.

The Giudice scandal started long before they were famous. False financial statements and failure to file taxes date back prior to the 2008 premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I am not here to rehash all the counts against them, however. You can Google endless articles and watch network news for all of that. I’d rather explore why they may have done this, why Teresa’s fans still stand behind her, why maybe some won’t, why the general population should be angry, and some of the shocking details.

Teresa fans have long been a force to reckon with. Her season 1 table flip on Danielle Staub made her an instant star. Was it her passion, her dramatic flare, her physical strength? In the real world I’m not sure flipping a table would be such an honorable act, but with RHONJ fans it was ratings gold. Since that season Teresa was the underdog and even if she was calling somebody a “bitch” she still had a cheering section.

I’ve met Mrs. Giudice on several occasions. Sometimes she’s been distant, but when she is willing to chat she is warm, polite, even adorable. Somebody I’d love to go shopping or to lunch with. She’s an ass buster when it comes to work. I’ve met and followed the careers of many Housewives and, from my observation, the woman does more appearances than any, whether it’s to sell her popular books, her hair products, or her wine (which happens to be one of my favorite drinks…honestly). She also does this all while being a mother. I’ve witnessed her on the phone with one of her daughters who called her during one of our conversations…a meeting in which she also cooed at my two little boys calling them “beautiful.”

There are reasons why she is a hero to RHONJ fans everywhere, however, will she be able to hold that status in light of these new charges? Yesterday Lesley Rousso and I posted our latest RHONJ recap, a job I usually do alone, but needed some framework as I’ve been recovering from major surgery. I always recap the episodes with a humorous, aka snarky tone. I never mean to offend. The recaps are written based on the comedy I see in each episode, not on the true characters of the cast whom I all know and adore in their own individual ways. After the reports that Teresa and Giuseppe (Joe’s given name) were forced to surrender their passports and restricted to travel solely between New Jersey and New York, I ended the article with “and the Giudices will be watching wearing ankle bracelets.” This made some of my readers chuckle, while ruffling the feathers of others.

I was not, as one follower on Twitter suggested, “kicking them while they are down.” I was simply handling an uncomfortable situation with a little humor. I come from a family that traditionally does this. When my maternal grandmother passed we joked how the outfit we bought for her to be buried in was the first new thing she’d worn in 30 years. When my paternal grandfather, stricken with Alzheimer’s, put his underwear in the freezer my other grandmother laughed about it. It may not be how everybody handles life’s tricky situations, but it’s our way, and it’s kept us going through some pretty tough punches. My life, like anybody else’s, hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve always laughed, and believe, like the old proverb says, that it is indeed the best medicine.

But why, regardless of my intentions, get angry with me, or even Kim Granatell who viciously spewed her venom against Teresa and Joe on Twitter last night? Why not any anger at the Giudices? 39 counts of fraud? False earnings claims? False mortgages? Ladies and gents, this is an economy in which hardworking people making honest livings cannot make their bills and get mortgage approvals. There are people who have worked their entire lives and currently have nothing to show for it. People are choosing between groceries and medicines, yet you are heralding someone living in a mansion and driving a Mercedes simply because they allegedly hid their money, dodged their creditors, and refused to pay taxes that you and I paid. Think about the unfairness of that.

The Daily News estimates that Teresa, from the show alone makes $750,000 a season. This doesn’t even include revenue from her many other business ventures. I don’t know about you but for $750,000 I can pay my taxes and still live high on the hog. Perhaps the Giudices are culture victims. They are caught in this whirlwind of having to keep up with the Jonesettis. I hope they learn their lesson. I hope that, for Teresa’s sake and that of her children, if these charges are true they are the fault of a husband who maybe lied to her and took her along for the ride because love is deaf, dumb, blind, and far too forgiving. It happened to Lynne Curtin on The Real Housewives of Orange County and we saw it unfold.

I do not have any ill will towards the Giudices and I believe there is more to the story. I also believe, after all these years there’s a reason Joe has never become a US Citizen. I believe that fair is fair and I put the faith in our courts to figure this out. I also believe that Teresa is a hardworking woman and a good mother and as a fellow working mom my first instincts were to see how she was doing, not just from a mass statement that may have been manufactured by a very crafty PR rep. I contacted a friend of hers directly and asked, “She’s doing well, as well as she can be. She called me today after court,” my source said. Love and light Teresa, God bless your children.

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RHONJ Season 5 Ep 9 “On Thin Giud-Ice”

Will this ever happen again? Only time will tell. Photo credit: Bravotv.com

Will this ever happen again? Only time will tell. Photo credit: Bravotv.com

By Lesley Rousso and Tara Cushing

We pick up from last week right where we left off with Teresa and Joey talking to Dr. V. The two finally seem to come to a resolution. Meanwhile, downstairs as they discuss the previous day’s events, Caroline tells Melissa her behavior with Tre was “over the top”. Melissa clearly disagrees. Dr. V comes in and asks Melissa to come upstairs. Rosie, the perpetual cheeleader goes to high five Mel, Mel leaves her hanging.

Back downstairs, Caroline asks what the deal is with Dr. V and Kathy tells her she’s going to be taking them upstairs one by one to talk out their issues with Tre. Joey tells Tre that she needs to give Melissa a chance. Tre agrees, but in her commentary says that Melissa rejected her early on and that’s always in the back of her mind. Dr. V tells Melissa that Joe and Tre are actually having a good time getting to the bottom of things. Melissa sits down and they talk, going back and forth for some time. “Teresa doesn’t accept me,” says Melissa. “You tweet negative things about me”, Tre fires back. Basically the same conversation we’ve heard the past three seasons.

Melissa tells The LA Shrink that Tre said she would leave Joe for a richer man, and the rumors about stripping and cheating. Tre tries to explain her way out of all of it. After much prompting and Dr.V’s help Tre admits she has done things to hurt them. Joe let’s her off the hook, but it’s not as easy for Melissa. She finally agrees to meet Tre halfway and throw all the dirty water under the bridge. Tre then tells Melissa, and we quote “If something bothers you, nip it in the butt right away”. Teresaism number 5,657. Tre gets up and tells Melissa, “C’mere bitch, give me a hug.” Apparently, after all these seasons, “bitch” is still “better”. Dr.V tells Tre to go get Juicy because he’s the last piece of the puzzle. Juicy joins the group and adds his two cents in. It ends with a round of hugs. Cumbuya! We think Dr. V must be a magician.

While the Peace Summit is in progress, the rest of the cast decided to frolic outside in the snow. Rich asks the girls “Do you think if Dr.V wasn’t so attractive the two Joes would be listening to her all this time?” We all love his deep thoughts. Caroline makes snowballs, and Kathy wears what looks like a polar bear around her neck. Dr. V finally emerges from the dark side to tell everybody things are as good as they will get. She bids them farewell and like Mary Poppins she’s off to save somebody else. This does not sit well with Kathy as she assumed she would get to sit down and talk about her issues with Tre. Perhaps Kathy should have offered Dr. V and her Italian nether regions a cannoli.

The girls meet up at the table to tell Kathy and Caroline what happened. Melissa says it was a major breakthrough for her and Tre. Tre thanks Caroline for coming and trying to help. Kathy apologizes to Tre for what she said about her father, but that what Tre said was hurtful too and Tre returns the apology.

They boys and Rosie go ice fishing and Rosie hasn’t yet secured strong enough alcohol. Not sure why Rosie is always running off with the men. Some say it’s because she’s a lesbian, we think it’s because she’s Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, and the rest of the cast.

Back at the inn, the girls go in the kitchen to cook, because this is what, according to Teresa, Italians do. “Food is love” lord knows what kind of mess she and Juicy must make of their sheets. Melissa goes in the kitchen to drink, and drink, and try to get everyone else to drink. We’re pretty sure she drank for all of them. She’s also reluctant to cook. Apparently her makeup can’t take the heat in the kitchen.

By the time they sit down for dinner Melissa is wrecked, and a lesbian. She continuously hits on Rosie and slurs her speech. Juicy tells Caroline he thought Jac and Chris were coming, so he brought a bottle of wine they had made together one year. He asks Caroline to give it to them. Rich tells Juicy he should give it to them himself and try to make amends. Caroline tells the table how hard life is with Nick, that it’s a twenty-four seven job. Umm, parenting any child is a 24/7 job…unless you have to frequently leave town for Bravo cast filmings.

Back in New Jersey, Chris and Jac have a nice dinner out and Jac admits that she doesn’t want Tre back in her life. Chris admits he masturbated with socks when he was CJ’s age.

After dinner Rosie makes everyone play the trust/fall game. Rich catches Rosie and cops a feel proving you can take the pervert out of New Jersey but he will still be a pervert. Tre wants to catch Caroline, but Caro says only if Tre agrees to reach out to Jac to try to work things out.

Everyone heads upstairs and Juicy and his sherbet colored sweater sit down with Tre to talk. Juicy tells Tre that they must give Jac and Chris a pass. Tre disagrees and Juicy says he doesn’t want to hear it, to stop bringing up the past. Tre starts crying, saying that Jac really hurt her and she doesn’t know if she can forgive her. Juicy tells her to get over it and end the “BS”. Tre tells us that Joe is a smart man, “He always tells me ‘you do good, good comes to you, you do bad, bad comes to you”. The episode ends and Tre and Juicy head upstairs for another bath. (Interesting this all airs the day before the two are charged with 39 counts of fraud.)

Next week: Melissa continues her oddyssey in sexploration by meeting some swingers while drinking with Rosie, Caroline and Al battle some demons, Tre and Jac face off, and the Giudices will be watching it all with ankle bracelets on.

SassaB and Tracy Sanders: A Charming Reality

By: Jaime Page

Jewelry charms are all the rage right now, even in the world of young fashionistas. Enter Tracy Sanders and her adorable brainchild, SassaB Linkable Charms. Her daughter, Brooke, a little fashionista in her own right, grew bored with typical accessories. Using a charm from her own collection, Tracy decorated Brooke’s barrette and thus, the seed for her new business was planted.

From bejeweling her daughter’s hair adornment, the idea grew into a business creating linkable, tradable charms in all different varieties. In recent months, SassaB charms have made their way into the world of reality TV, making fans of Real Housewives of Orange County’s Tamra Barney and Heather Dubrow. While SassaB Charms have already made an impression on some of the RHOC tweens, Tracy would love to see some SassaB charms accessorizing the pre-teens of Kandi Buruss and Kim Zolciak from The Real Housewives of Atlanta and in the future, hopefully, Bethenny Frankel’s daughter, Bryn. Tracy, a fan of the Real Housewives’ franchise, relates to the entrepreneurial spirit that the ladies in the series embody.

All the charms hold a special place in Tracy’s heart, however, the Panda bear was the first charm created for the SassaB line. Looking at the charm reminds Tracy of the happy beginning when the idea for her jewelry began to flourish. The heart and rainbow charms were also two charms chosen for the line by Tracy’s nieces. Also, SassaB is not just a ‘girls only’ club; Tracy’s son, Hudson, adorns his backpack with the snake, squirrel and blue horse charms. Hudson looks forward to creating a sports charm collection with mom in the near future. Speaking of the future of SassaB, what else is up next for Tracy? Drawing from her roots as a young woman in NYC, the new women’s collection will have a very edgy, rock and roll type vibe.

I have had the fortunate experience of receiving a SassaB bracelet and charms for my five year-old daughter. My daughter, K, fell in love with the many options of charms and could not stop switching them from her backpack to the bracelet and even hung them on her jacket zipper. Not only did I find them absolutely adorable, but also I truly appreciate the lobster claw clasp that keeps the charms secured to each other or whatever my little diva attaches them to. The secure clasp avoids the tears that often come and money lost when a charm gets lost.

Now, readers, it’s your turn to jump on the hottest tween charm trend (No worries grown ups, you can sport them, too!). Just comment below about who in your life would love to be charmed by SassaB to win your very own SassaB hair tie with charms. TBB Reality will notify THREE lucky winners via email about their prize. In the meantime, check out www.sassb.com to learn more about this amazing product and to see where you can purchase the adorable charms.

*PLEASE NOTE TBB WILL NEVER SHARE YOUR EMAIL OR USE IT FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN TO NOTIFY YOU IN THE EVENT OF A CONTEST WIN*

*Winners will be chosen at random on 8/31/13. Only US and Canada eligible.