Saturday, May 21, 2011
Ruminations on Mob Wives
Am I the only one strangely captivated by this show? I guess I can answer my own question- Hell No. This show is attracting a massive amount of media attention from every outlet- everything from Good Morning America to CNN.
Part of the allure for the audience is the feeling we are peeking into a lifestyle that by definition is inclusive and secretive. Another part, and the reason the show ultimately works, are the larger than life personalities of the stars of Mob Wives. In particular Renee Graziano, who is the daughter of Anthony Graziano. He is doing time for being the consigliere of the Bonnano crime family and is not speaking to Renee as a result of being part of the show.
Put simply, Renee is one tough bitch. She grew up being the ultimate Mafia Princess, and still lives by the code and principles that govern mob families. Not an episode goes by without Renee lecturing about Trust, Honesty, Respect, Loyalty.
Assuming the multitude of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter can be used as a reasonable indicator, then it is Renee that viewers most connect with. And let there be no doubt that the majority of the viewers are women, this despite the underlying violence that permeates this lifestyle. She has the sort of personality that draws people in- she comes off as super confident, funny, and the life of every party. While this makes for great television, it is not the reason she is so popular with her female fans.
Here is the hook, and this is why Renee will be the breakout star from this show:
When Renee goes on and ON about Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty, that message resonates with every woman who has ever been in a relationship. Renee grew up knowing that her father would break the knees of any man who treated her badly. Find me a woman who has suffered at the hands of some jerk-off and didn't secretly wish for his ass kicked, and I will show you a liar. Renee grew up with the expectation that the men in her life would protect her at whatever cost. All girls should grow up with that sense of security, and it doesn't have to lie in an undercurrent of violence. As women we should demand Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty from our significant others, and too many of us can't summon the voice to command it.
Obviously my feelings about Mob Wives are complicated, something the network was banking on when they decided to air such a program no doubt. On one hand we are entertained, on the other hand we know these women have been connected to men who have committed crimes. We love it and yet feel guilty. If good art (and yes, even a show like this is an art form. Maybe not high art, but nevertheless art) is supposed to elicit an uncomfortable feeling in the viewer, then Mob Wives is already a critical success.