The Unreal Housewives of Staten Island

Yes, it’s been a while (a year and a half!), but I was busy with other stuff and did not have time for my poor little blog.

Reading back over my previous entries, I realize there’s currently nothing on TV remotely as entertaining as My Antonio (or Rock of Love or — reverential hush — Mad Men), but I’ll give it a shot…

Drita (VH1)

Watched the first episode of VH1’s  Mob Wives last night and am of two minds:

1) Disappointed in the formulaic set-up, with its typically in-your-face, heavily made-up, bruisingly ethnic “stars” — geez, can we get a show about sophisticated, low-key, normal Italian-American women on the air? No, that would be boring — along with same-old “confessional” segments, eye-rollingly obvious editing and coached, over-heated dialogue.

2) Intrigued by the idea of turncoat Sammy the Bull Gravano’s daughter coming back to Staten Island, after 10 years on the West Coast, ostensibly to write a book about her life. Also Drita the Albanian already fascinates me. She’s by far the most intimidating of the bunch, no matter how much Renee Graziano tough-talks. You can see how the husky-voiced Drita could go from jokey to homicidal in about two seconds, red hair flying and neck veins bulging. She’s kind of awesome.

Also curious about how the “forgotten borough” of Staten Island feels about Mob Wives, probably the most high-profile TV show ever set there. I don’t think this is the kind of publicity it’s looking for. Unlike the Jersey Shore, SI is mainly residential and kind of suburban, not exactly a destination for curious tourists. But maybe MW will be a shot in the arm for the neglected borough (ba-da-boom).

Countered the empty calories of that show by immediately watching the second installment of PBS’s Upstairs Downstairs afterward. Very interesting episode about the arrival at 165 Eaton Place of a new, asthmatic maid who happens to be a Jewish-German refugee plus a related subplot involving the Fascism-obsessed chauffeur and the chauffeur-obsessed young Lady Persephone. For all the series’ humor (thank you, Eileen Atkins), this was  pretty depressing, what with the doomed maid, foolish Persephone (just wanted to slap her!) and maddeningly insensitive Lady Agnes. But a good, bracing antidote to Mob Wives.


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