Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice on The View

Amid all this talk of foreclosure, auctions, and tanning salons, The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice sat down with the ladies of The View this morning to address her family’s financial situation on national television.

According to Teresa, she and husband Joe filed for bankruptcy for two reasons: 1) Failure to receive rent money from the tenants living in the four apartment buildings Joe owns in East Orange, N.J., and 2) Expenses from the lawsuit Joe is currently involved in with his ex-business partner. Like we’ve seen on RHONJ, this explanation seemed rehearsed, and when pressed further, Teresa became flustered (“Is your husband a slumlord?” “What?”). Neither Joy Behar nor guest co-host Bryant Gumbel could fathom how someone could possibly get themselves into such financial disaster (they must not watch the show), and both kept looking for the ultimate reasoning behind the Giudices’ troubles. Behar used terms Teresa didn’t understand, while Gumbel peppered her with follow-ups that included facts about Joe’s mysterious business partner: “Your husband’s partner said it wasn’t just that, that he was collecting the rent but that he wasn’t even paying the utility bills, that the building was in disrepair?…The absence of rent money doesn’t explain $11 million in debt!”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck took a backseat to Behar and Bryant, but did ask Teresa if Joe ever put some of the fault on her outrageous spending. “No, not at all…because I always live within my means. Always,” Teresa insisted. After lavish parties, shopping sprees, and breast implants, viewers of RHONJ may beg to differ, though she insisted that she is careful with her money and no longer uses credit cards. “How can you live within your means if you’re now $11 million in bankruptcy? I don’t get that,” Behar exclaimed. Fellow guest co-host Mario Cantone remained quiet before chiming in about the hard-to-miss diamond ring (a 10th anniversary present from Joe, which is actually fake — phew!), Teresa was wearing (“Do I heard $20 million! 20? 20?”), which provided some much-needed comic relief.

Were the ladies and gents of The View too harsh on Teresa, or not harsh enough? I give her credit for talking about an obviously difficult subject live on national television, but I can’t help but feel that she doesn’t understand (or at least hasn’t divulged) the vastness of her problem. Throughout the morning, she resorted to her old faithful of an excuse: the economy. Yes, it’s timely and yes, the economic crisis may have added to the Giduices’ situation, but “the economy” has become all-purpose solution for Teresa: “Why did you lose your job?” “The economy.” “Why did you chase Danielle around a country club?” The economy.”

What did you think? Do you believe Teresa’s explanation for her debt? Considering the Real Housewives of New Jersey has been putting up record ratings this season, maybe it’s time the women negotiate some new contracts with Bravo? (If the Jersey Shore cast has taught us anything, it’s how to get more money from a reality show.)

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