Watching a Dangerous Crowd: 10 Tips to Act Like One of VH1's "Mob Wives" Responsibly
In the past decade, the Bravo network has become the home for Real Housewives in pretty much any city who behave badly by lifting up tables and causing pure mayhem. In recent years, VH1 has put their own spin on the Housewives idea by focusing on the women behind professional athletes, rappers and now mobsters. The show Mob Wives followed a group of longtime Staten Island friends who were very connected to some wise guys that were sometimes more trouble than they were worth. At least, they had each other to soften the blow some of the time.
Like most reality shows, Wives examined how the bonds of love, friendship and sanity can be tested with the cameras focused on your every move. Are you a fan of the show or a newbie looking to familiarize yourself with the reality landscape before turning in? Here are ten things you need to know to understand the world of Mob Wives and maybe acting like one yourself, minus some of the excessive drama. Read on to see if you want to take the suggestions seriously or with a grain of salt.
1.) Always make a grand entrance. The Wives (Karen, Drita, Renee and Carla) know how to enter a room wherever they go. Before they are introduced in each scene, the camera crew follows them around as if they were Federal Agents staking out their latest criminal case. The black and white images literally looking like surveillance photos meant to be used as leverage, instead of reality television show fodder for the masses. Of course, the women are usually dressed to impress, even if they are making a simple routine trip to the grocery store. In terms of making your own entrance, it's best to choose between being subtle and flashy. Find a happy medium between the two, instead of going from one extreme to another and stick with it. No waffling is allowed. Find your best approach and make it your own.
2.) Make sure to carry a pair of boxing gloves wherever you go. Former friends turned bitter rivals Drita D'Avanzo and Karen Gravano go head to head every time they are in the same room together. Drita took boxing lessons to unleash some of her anger issues and showed a boxing instructor that she could fight professionally. At Renee's "Celebration of Life" party, Drita and Karen have to literally be piled off each other. Unfortunately, Drita's boxing lessons and tough talk couldn't prepare her to confront Karen's simmering anger. Drita left the party with some war wounds and Karen with one win under her belt. The fight also caused a huge ripple effect that left enough tension to make viewers believe that next year's party should be on Pay Per View instead. The lesson learned is that actions speak louder than words. All of Drita's tough talk couldn't prepare her for coming to blows with Karen. It's also best to carry a spare pair of boxing gloves for the next fight to give yourself an added advantage. Drita should think long and hard before getting into another fight with Karen. Is it better to walk away or face your demons head on? You decide.
3.) Be prepared to have your worst moments on camera for the whole world to see. Aside from the constant fighting and swearing, the Wives really went through some tough times on camera. At the start of season two, old school mafia princess Renee Graziano decided to go under a plastic surgeon's knife for a full body make-over. Unfortunately, the surgery went horribly wrong and she had major life threatening complications that put her in the hospital. Viewers saw Graziano battle some major depression and realize that the surgery might not have been the best idea. Viewers also saw the women go through painful personal revelations, such as Drita realizing that her now imprisoned husband Lee cheated on her before he was locked up. The audience could see her pain and watched her struggle with the fact that her marriage could no longer be saved. Drita had to also go through the difficult task of telling the couple's daughter of the impending divorce.
4.) You can never fully wash that man out of your hair. As each wife knows, you can never fully get over a bad boy. Renee thought that she was over her cheating ex-husband Junior, but recently the former couple started to inch closer towards reconciling. Can she trust him or will he let her down again? Drita and Karen's friendship was already on life support when Drita's future husband Lee came into the picture, but it officially ended when he got involved with both women. He dated Karen first and that ended well before he got involved with Drita, but Karen was still felt betrayed by her supposed friend. Drita, on the other hand, struggled with standing by her imprisoned husband or divorce him after an affair was revealed. Only time will tell if she goes back to him or moves on to someone just like him. She confessed that bad boys were her type. It wouldn't be surprising if she dated another one. Mob Wife Carla Facciolo divorced her cheating ex-husband Joe, who just got out of prison and are becoming friends. Could they get back together? Maybe? Maybe Not? No one truly knows. If you still love your complicated ex, try to see if there's a future in the cards for the two of you. If not, set them free before any additional harm is done.
5.) Never reveal your secrets, and everyone else’s. Karen Gravano's plans to write a tell all book on her life rubbed all of her friends the wrong way, especially Drita. Her concern stemmed from the fact that Karen intended to write about her past relationship with her estranged husband in great detail. She was concerned that her daughter was going to read it one day. Karen's other friends felt it was in poor taste to air out her dirty laundry in print for the world to read about. In order for the book to be a success, she had to be careful of pushing the wrong buttons or her social life would be completely over. In terms of airing your dirty laundry, it's best to focus on the execution and not revealing secrets simply for shock value. It's also best to be selective in what information you reveal in your tell-all because there could always be a follow-up book.
6.) Expect the unexpected. The reunion shows are designed for the entire cast of characters to come together to talk about what transpired during the season and hopefully incite at least one on-camera fight. The only difference from the show itself was that reunion host Wendy Williams was there to mediate and show viewers a different side of her. These reunion shows also reveal deleted scenes and show the women in a less structured setting that make almost anything possible. It's like a high school reunion in a much glossier setting.
7.) Plan big parties or go home. For Renee's "Celebration of Life" party, she decided to celebrate the fact that she was alive with her closest friends and family at a very swanky place. Much to her dismay, some of her friends wanted to cause more drama instead of focusing on the party. Hopefully, Renee's next party will be a much smaller affair and that some of the invites will get lost in the mail. When it comes to planning parties, it's best to keep it simple and private. That way you can better control the drama.
8.) Never sweep any betrayal under the rug. Close friends Renee and Carla hit a rough patch at the end of season one over Carla's now ex-boyfriend making a pass at Renee. Instead of getting closer after Renee's hospitalization, it drove them further apart. Renee couldn't forgive Carla for not visiting her and Carla couldn't forget Renee's past transgressions. Will they ever get past their issues? Who knows. Of course, there's also the Karen/Drita saga that was neverending in terms of drama. When it comes to reality television, forgiveness never comes easy. Viewers just have to wait until the season finale for some resolution.
9.) Family is the most important relationship of all. Longtime friends and self described "cousins" Karen Gravano and Ramona Rizzo got each other's back no matter what. Ramona helped cheer Karen on when she persuaded her to confront Drita at Renee's party. Unfortunately, the two women got into some major trouble at the party and their confrontation caused another drama that almost got another man beaten by various male guests. When it comes to family, it's best to pick your battles wisely before you insight World War III for no apparent reason.
10.) Don’t be afraid to knock some sense into your children. Renee is struggling to be a good mother to her headstrong son, but there were times that she wanted to literally smack him silly. In one past episode, Renee found out that her son had a very bad report card and gave him the ultimate lecture, which he proceeded to give her attitude. Graziano was close to putting her son over her knee and spanking him. Instead, she told him to get out of her sight before he gave her a reason to really punish him. It's sometimes best to save the rod and spoil the child, but that case would've been an exception. Teach your children some humility and to respect your elders early on, so that none of that bad behavior would be less likely to happen.
In the end, most reality shows are meant to be taken as more satirical than too seriously. It’s pretty much expected that some of the episodes appeared to be more staged for great drama than actual everyday reality. No one is really interested in seeing Renee doing laundry or Carla reading the latest great American novel. Viewers live for when the longtime friends start fighting in spectacular fashion and the drama that followed each knockdown drag-out brawl. For six seasons, Mob Wives ran on VH1 and showcased the wives with their various exploits.