Teresa is channeling her rage into a new hobby: working out in neon spandex. She tells her trainer that she’s working on planning Gia’s 12th birthday party. It’s the first co-ed birthday event, and she’s not looking forward to having boys in the picture. She’s not sure if Joe and Melissa are going to attend.

Jacqueline has found through her research that autistic children could benefit through a hyperbaric chamber bed, so that’s what they buy for Nicholas. Joe sees Jacqueline playing in this giant chamber with her son, and speaks in his Talking Head about how petty his problems are with his sister. YOU THINK? Caroline takes Jacqueline aside and tells her about her meeting with Teresa last week, and Jacqueline laughs at the notion of ever apologizing to Teresa. For what? Caroline stresses to Joe that even if Teresa is a nightmare, Joe should try to work things out for their sick father’s sake. So much guilt from this one.

Joe Giudice takes Gia out for ice cream in a segment that’s totally not staged, and it’s sufficiently awkward. They talk about pubic hair, kissing boys, and the importance of family. Teresa confesses to the camera that Gia walked in on her and Joe having sex, so she needs him to tell her about the birds and the bees. It seems like she already knows….she’s 12. She promises him that she’ll never smoke, and that she won’t kiss boys until she’s 21. GOD DAD.

Rosie, who should clearly have Kathy’s spot on this show, has taken over teaching Joseph how to drive. It seems like he’s gotten the Ferrari that he begged for last week, but don’t worry – it’s his dad’s car. Rosie wants to be the fun aunt, but she’s got that in the bag. Kathy is livid that her underage son went driving off in a sports car, and everyone else is telling her to calm down. She’s clearly on the verge of a breakdown.

Teresa gets a call in the middle of the night from her mother, saying that her ailing father has taken a turn for the worse, and is now in the hospital with pneumonia. Teresa and her husband are going to go visit him, but Joe can’t go because he’s sick as well; any small infection could make his illness worse. Melissa says she’ll go instead.

Kathy and Melissa hit up an aerobics class together, and it doesn’t go so well. At least for Kathy. Over post-workout smoothies, the ladies talk about Joe and Teresa’s dad in the hospital. Kathy doesn’t buy that Melissa is sick, and thinks that she’s just avoiding seeing Joe’s family. Jacqueline arrives at the studio to meet up with the ladies. She immediately notices Linda, Teresa’s trainer friend from before, lurking in the corner.

At a nearby coffee shop, Teresa and Kim D talk about the hospital as well. Linda calls them and says that she’s seen the other ladies at the gym, and politely observes that none of their “fat asses” have worked out in a while. Teresa assumes their being at the gym has something to do with her, naturally. She tells Kim D that Melissa hasn’t been to the hospital yet, even though her dad has been sick for days.

Caroline arrives home to her mansion and finds a menagerie of animals in the front yard, including a pot-bellied pig. Her sister, Fran, who has been crashing there with Lauren, REALLY loves animals, and can’t refuse taking in a stray. Caroline can’t tell her no, because her sister has nowhere to go.

Teresa takes her girls to a salon to get their hair done for Gia’s birthday party. Despite the fact that Joe has pneumonia, she takes the fact that he’s not going to the party as a personal attack, and won’t stop asking Gia how she feels about his absence. Gia doesn’t care – it’s her 12th birthday party, she has bigger fish to fry!

Melissa and her kids are going to the party, though. And it’s so much cooler than any 12 year-old’s birthday party has any right to be. Despite Teresa being awful, it’s cute to see her and Joe embarrassing her daughter by trying to introduce themselves to her friends.

At the party, Kim D immediately confronts Melissa about not visiting her father-in-law in the hospital. Melissa swears that she and Antonia went to see him, but Teresa remembers something different. It seems that they both have their timelines mixed up. Melissa and Joe took his father to the hospital over the weekend, and then with their illness, didn’t go back to see him for several days. Teresa is under the impression that she’s never been to see him, and cannot process any new information in her head.

So Melissa makes the wise decision to leave the party early and not let the kids see them have a blowout fight. Gia is over it, because she has 100 friends to tell her she’s awesome, and a giant sparkly cake to eat.

The problem this season is there’s all talk and no action. The women are on the verge of fighting, but they keep going in circles. It’s starting to get boring, knowing that there’s a massive fight brewing under the surface. How long until one Housewife cracks?

Next week: Caroline makes meatballs and the other women scream at each other!

Grade: C

Stray Observations:

- Teresa has never seen or heard the acronym BFFL before, especially in reference to a boy, and is convinced it’s some kind of sex thing. That poor little boy at Gia’s party was in way over his head when he agreed to be friends with a Giudice girl.

- Melissa is definitely blasting her own song in the car when she’s driving the kids to the birthday party. SUBTLE.

Best Quote:

- Milania: “Christopher is a wimp! I’m into older men.”