New TV Obsession: Mob Wives

VH1 wanted in on the Housewives action that everyone seems to be cashing into these days. They started out with the usual formula of rich women who aren’t necessarily wives that get together and cause drama with Basketball Wives and Football Wives. They moved into the music arena with Love & Hip Hop. But they have added a twist with their latest batch of wives on the reality show, Mob Wives.

The first thing you may notice about Mob wives that’s a little different is that all of the men are incarcerated. Even though not much is made of men in other housewife-centric shows, there aren’t any men in this show at all (René’s husband, who was free, is arrested in a recent episode). These women are raising children and getting into drama alone.

The second thing that’s different is that René is seen going to therapy–a lot. I’m sure other housewives on other shows have been to therapy, but for them most of their therapy advice either comes from their girlfriends or their spouses. Aside from Drita and Carla, the other women don’t talk to each other much. Each one is dealing with their own issues with few people to turn to.

A description of this show that I read said it was Jersey Shore meets the Real Housewives of New Jersey. There’s only one problem with that: these people are real mob people. Most people know who Sammy “the bull” Gravano is. I happen to know who René Graziano’s father is. Carla’s husband is in jail for a white collar stock-related crime (what this has to do with the mob, I don’t know, but I don’t doubt it could be related) and Drita’s husband went to jail for bank robbery (this time; we don’t know what he went to jail for the first time). This women are hard women. They curse like sailors, fight like men, and lead their families. Maybe one New Jersey housewife is like that, but as far as we know, she’s just a coddling mother, not a mob wife. And what about them says Jersey Shore? I don’t watch JS, so I don’t know.

What works with this show is the fact that the drama is real. I don’t mean “real” as in “authentic” (it is still reality TV). I mean “real” as in it’s not petty stuff (so far). René has conflicting feelings of loyalty to the lifestyle she was brought up in and what she really feels in her heart about Karen. Karen is searching to make sense of her childhood and growing up as Sammy “the bull’s” daughter. Drita is dealing with the possibility her husband may not come home for more years than she bargained for. Carla is ending her marriage and trying to shelter her kids from the reality of where their father really is. There aren’t any petty fights (again, so far) about someone’s dress, spreading rumors, whether or not someone is a golddigger, when someone got pregnant, if someone really is rich…Now, the drama between Karen and Drita that’s simmering over the man issue? Well, I am still wrapping my head around that one!

What doesn’t work as well for me is…well…Carla. I’m just not liking her. I don’t think she’s authentic. I think Drita could possibly be the person on camera. The same with René. Karen is a little over the top sometimes, but I feel like that bravado is because she can’t afford to appear intimidated. But I just can’t warm up to Carla. She seems manipulative and two faced sometimes. Also, René, stop talking to A.J. as if he’s your counselor/friend and be his mother! And why are you letting him talk to you like that? The scenes with the therapist, while different, could mostly be cut, too. But that’s just my opinion.

Overall, it’s interesting enough for a slow television night. If you like any of the other housewives shows, you should give this one a shot.

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