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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: Expect the expected

From left, Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga argue

From left, Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga argue during "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion. (Sept. 24, 2012) (Credit: NBC )

They say to expect the unexpected, but Sunday's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" was pretty predictable. 

The Gorgas, Giudices and Wakiles left for their Lake George family retreat in hopes of repairing their damaged relationships. We knew this wasn't going to go well... especially since they were drinking before the counseling even began. The most dramatic part of the entire episode -- in which the Joes throw punches and end up smacked against a wall, while Melissa Gorga is tossed and Teresa Giudice lets out a screech -- had already aired in previews the week before.

Viewers have become so accustomed to this family drama that it is no surprise when things spiral completely out of control. In fact, the unexpected behavior we saw in weeks past actually made for more compelling episodes. The real family issues the cast has been facing -- sickness, aging parents, children growing up and moving on -- made the housewives seem more relatable. It's a glimpse of their lives we did not expect to see and therefore it was a bit more interesting than the usual fighting that takes place.  

The unexpected might be good for the Garden State girls. If Bravo throws us a curve ball -- say, the retreat ends successfully and there's no more screaming and fighting -- viewers can move on from this seventh episode slump. 

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