Front and center, of course, were the legal woes plaguing Joe and Teresa Guidice, who pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud in March and await sentencing in September.
"Our money's going to attorneys," said Teresa. "I had a normal life, and now I'm in this nightmare."
Her 12-year-old daughter, Gia, broke down in tears at the beginning and end of the show, as the stress of her parents' legal battle took its toll.
"I'm old enough to comprehend what's going on," Gia said to her mother, before telling her father she loved him after they posed for a family photo that brought several generations together, including – sadly and poignantly – Joe's father, Frank, who died in June.
"We got a lot people against us … don't worry about it," said Frank, to whom the premiere was dedicated, pulling his son and granddaughter in for a hug. "I wish you a hundred years."
Melissa Gorga is back, and she and husband Joe have repaired their rocky relationship with Teresa after last season.
"In Italian culture, you need to be loyal to your family," said Melissa, "no matter what has happened."
Original Jersey housewife Dina Manzo is back – with a vengeance.
"The bitch is back, and if you don't like it, you can kiss my ass," said Manzo, whose split from husband Tommy and future dating look to be a main theme this season.
"I haven't filed for divorce yet," she said. "He has his life, and I have mine, and we meet in the bedroom."
Viewers met three new housewives in the premiere: Type-A mother and breast cancer survivor Amber Marchese, and identical twins, Nicole Napolitano, a divorced, dating mother of two, and Teresa Aprea, who is married to restaurateur Rino.
"A woman only needs two things: Dunkin Donuts and oral sex," joked Napolitano, who looks set to bring loads of laughs to the show, along with Aprea and hubby Rino, known as "the king and queen of Little Italy."
Former BFFs Marchese and Gorga unleased the first tension of Season 6, when Gorga seemed unaware that Marchese had battled cancer.
"What cancer?" asked Gorga.
"How did you not know that?" Marchese snapped back.
"How was I supposed to know?" Gorga responded.
"[You] sent a Facebook message," replied Marchese. "Is she lying?"
"She lost touch, too," said Gorga. "Why is she putting it all on me?
But Marchese remained calm, saying, "[Cancer] changed me as a person. You need to be the best person you can be at all times."
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.