Mob Wives is pretty damn gangsta. The new VH1 realty show, now four episodes deep, fits a niche for our market. Everyone knows South Florida is the sixth borough of New York City. There are tens of thousands of exiled New Yorkers here. The mafia lifestyle is very real for Italian-Americans, especially those from New York. Mob Wives also fills a void left by the Sopranos, while connecting with a female demographic that has made shows like Real Housewives and Basketball Wives popular.
If you haven't seen the show, the premise is simple. Four Staten Island women with connections to real life mafioso's get on with their lives. Here's a breakdown:
Drita is the run-a-way star of the show. She's hot, punching-bag strong, and crazy as a fox. Everybody knows you don't fuck with an Albanian. Yet Albanians are loyal. And in a world where betrayal is a major theme, there's a lot to say about loyalty. In one episode, Drita hears that her man isn't coming home from jail when she thought. He dodged knowing his release date, playing dumb. He's been gone three years, and looking at another four. Do you wait? That's the million dollar question. It's enough to torment Drita, especially when her man doesn't seem worth it. What would you do? Move on or spend the next four years alone? They have no children.
Karen is the most controversial character on the show. The daughter of Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, she returns to Staten Island after spending ten years in Arizona as part of the witness protection program. Her dad was a brutal cold-blooded murderer and a major stool-pigeon. Gangsta etiquette says Karen should pay for the sins of her father, but what do the sins of her father have to do with her?
Carla seems the victim of this show. She's a single mother of twins, and in some ways lost in her motherhood. Her baby's daddy is in jail, but soon to be released. They are no longer together, but her children need a father figure. They think he's at work, not in prison. She wonders if she should tell her children the truth. What would you do? She's in a tough spot, but, really, she seems the least interesting.
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Renee is a drama queen. A single mom of a teenage son, she's the spark plug of this program's plot-engine. She's also the most contrived character. She goes to a psychiatrist. Sound familiar? Ehem, The Sopranos. And if you missed the similarity the first time around, her son's name is A.J.--the same as Tony's kid in The Sopranos. Come on. Still, she is likable, although occasionally annoying, and her strong character and heart redeem her temper and drama. Unfortunately, Renee's a few olives short of an antipasto.
Word from the old timers is that all four of the stars of Mob Wives are rats and stoolies. These women are not supposed to be talking about private family business, it violates every mafia code, however, this is a different age, it makes for good tv, and what else should they be doing while their men rot in jail? Even the wisest consigliore would say there's nothing wrong with trying to make a little green.