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We are all “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”

The current season of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" opens not with a lavish banquet or that gratingly whimsical soundtrack, but with the stark image, however brief, of a roller coaster submerged in water. The show kicked off this fifth season on June 2, but the setting is November of last year, just as the seaside communities in New Jersey were beginning to reckon with the desolation of Hurricane Sandy. Ever the most honorable of the Jersey Housewives, Caroline Manzo is glimpsed doing some service work, as are her brother Chris Laurita and his wife, Jacqueline. We check in with each of the other three Housewives: Kathy Wakile, Melissa Gorga and Teresa Giudice react to the wreckage around them, some briefly alluding to childhoods spent on the shore. Initially, it seems that they all may be there to give back to the stricken community. Then each of them laments the status of their second homes, aghast at the shells of their vacation houses. In a cutaway interview, Teresa exclaims, “Thank God this is my second home ... just thinking that people are homeless ... I can't even imagine.” And, we're back.

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