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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: Show adds 'real' elements

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast members,

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast members, from left, Melissa Gorga, Jacqueline Laurita, Caroline Manzo, Kathy Wakile and Teresa Giudice at the Bravo Network 2013 Upfront in Manhattan. (April 3, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Table flipping, name calling, back-stabbing — our favorite Garden State girls have certainly provided enough outlandish behavior to whet our reality show appetites. But on Sunday night, something was different about the "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

As the second episode of season five unraveled, it seemed that the extreme behavior of reality TV we all know and love was replaced with something, well, real.

Jacqueline and her husband, Chris, were trying to cope with their son's autism, while Teresa and Joe's sibling struggle remained ongoing and Teresa came face to face with her worst family issue yet: her father's health concerns. In this episode, the craziest behavior was reserved for the flashbacks from last season (not that those clips were necessary, we remember all of those moments).

On Sunday, Caroline and Teresa were able to sit down without the yelling and degrading names (gasp!) to discuss family issues. Caroline said "It's normal" for siblings to argue while Chris admitted to Joe over a game of pool that his family's circumstance is overwhelming. "We're human," Chris said.

During these moments, it seemed that the over-the-top reality show characters were actually more like us than we might have thought. Reality TV goes to extremes, but episode two showed the cast members remaining fairly levelheaded about their problems ... and behaving kind of normally. 

But the season is still young and tempers can only be controlled for so long. Perhaps this is the calm before the storm? After all, what would reality TV be without some unbelievable behavior?

What did you think about Sunday's episode and what's in store for the housewives?  

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