Reality Bites: Mob Wives

Categories: Reality Bites

I think they call this a "reverse Heimlich."
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

The women of Mob Wives are the embodiment of Karen Hill's description from Goodfellas:

They had bad skin and wore too much make-up. I mean, they didn't look very good. They looked beat-up.

The title sequence of the show is simply the four principal wives strolling purposely through Battery Park, the camera briefly highlighting each of their faces, and your first thought is: here is Snooki and JWoww's endgame. But even beyond that, these faces are what one must assume you're left with after a life attached to organized crime: careworn, embittered, and..yes, a little surgically enhanced.

But I'll tell you what, I wouldn't even take odds on these women squaring off against any of the Real Housewives. It'd be like that time Manny Pacquiao annihilated David Diaz.

The episode begins with several of the wives on a vacation in the Poconos, where they've decided to hang out at a local bar, and subsequently get harassed by a local douchebag. Renee (Graziano, daughter of Bonanno consigliere Anthony Graziano) takes offense to his come-ons and threatens to leave him face down in one of the area's famous hot tubs. As a threat, it's not quite as elegant as making him "an offer he can't refuse," but these are vulgar times, and Renee looks like she means business.

Carla (Facciolo, her husband Joey is in prison for stock fraud) is left with Ramona and Karen at Shenanigan's (holy shit, is there really a bar in the Poconos called "Shenanigans?"), because Renee isn't satisfied that the bouncers removed their harasser. It's shocking, I know, to think traveling around with a camera crew in tow might lead to obnoxiousness. She storms out, only to return after realizing Junior, her...husband? Ex-husband? Who can keep track? - isn't going to drive 2 1/2 hours from Staten Island to come pick her up.

Meanwhile, back on SI (see? I'm learning the lingo), "Big Ang" Raiola (niece of deceased Genovese family captain Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi) hangs out with her pal Drita D'Avanzo. Ang is having thyroid issues, but seems amiable in spite of her terrible tranny voice. Drita is preparing for a swimwear modeling gig that will get her some post-divorce money (ex-husband Lee has been incarcerated numerous times for drugs and bank robbery). Big Ang has brought in someone to give them both spray tans, which is one of those Northeastern beauty rituals we Texans would laugh at if so many of our pickup drivers didn't adorn their vehicles with mock testicles.

As it turns out, Drita cleans up pretty well.

Remember this pic when you go to the next page.
My understanding of the show is limited to the wives' often contradictory statements, but Karen is the daughter of famed informant Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, so her presence is obviously the source of some tension. There are different factions (Renee vs. Drita, Karen vs. Drita, Carla vs. Renee, Borg vs. McEnroe), but it's hard to keep track of, and even more difficult to give a shit about.

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