When it comes to the children of the Real Housewives franchise, many are adored and some are despised, but none are as feared and respected as Milania Giudice of New Jersey. Welcome to Catching Up with Milania, where every week, we—as tribute—will be checking in with my hero, Bravo’s dreaded daughter.
This, as stated above, is a regular column devoted to the beautiful terror that is Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Milania Giudice, but this week, because the Dreaded Milania was hardly seen (though she is always felt), we turn our attention to the Terrible Joe Gorga.
If Milania is the Sauron on Franklin Lakes, then Joe Gorga is an orc—nowhere near as powerful of a threat, but—barreling towards us with unintelligible grunts and crude swings of his meaty hands—a slightly more pressing one.
But Joe, despite the uncanny resemblance, is not an orc. Rather, he is an ogre who spends his days in abandoned warehouses, dragging his knuckles across dusty floor boards and roaring about his “needs,” while smashing bricks and 2x4s. He also believes that cavemen were around in the 1800s—a strange misconception, considering that he self-identifies as one—and that taking care of one’s family is solely a woman’s job.
After 10 years of raising their children at home, Joe’s wife Melissa is looking to start earning her own money. To do so, she has opened up Envy, a Dash-esque boutique (without the Kardashian pedigree to back it up) full of more illusion cut outs than an elementary school classroom decorated with paper snowflakes. While Joe has bankrolled the entire venture (much as he bankrolled Melissa’s short-lived singing career), he is not happy that Envy keeps Melissa away from home.
“I’m not a woman,” he garbles during a talking head interview. “Do I look like a woman? I’m an Italian Stallion. Italian Stallions? Their mothers’ iron their underwear. We don’t do this kind of stuff.”
By this “kind of stuff,” Joe means cooking, cleaning, and childcare—three things that were “not in the contract” when he got Melissa to marry him. (Or tricked Melissa into marrying him? I’m not sure of the modern-day ogre’s powers, but fate-sealing riddles might be one of them.)
Later, he moans, “I love hanging out with my kids, but taking care of my kids? That’s a whole different animal.”
Yeah, I mean, it’s one of the basic responsibilities of fatherhood, but maybe Joe has been too busy devouring the neighborhood cats and dogs in his ogre pit to pick up on that.
All of this has nothing to do with the Dreaded Milania...or does it?
“How are your parents,” I imagine her asking little Antonia Gorga on a secret phone call late one night.
“They’re fighting a lot,” Antonia whispers and Milania says she’s sorry—so sorry—to hear it.
The next day, while shaving her father’s back, she thinks of the Gorgas and whistles a cheery little tune.