VH1’s Mob Wives Series: A Staten Islander’s Rant

If you’re obsessed with ridiculous reality television series like I am (Real Housewives of New Jersey, Orange County, New York City… shall I go on?) you’ve probably seen an episode or two of VH1’s new series, Mob Wives. More likely, you’re totally obsessed and too ashamed to tell anyone about it. Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.

If you have no interest in reality TV and haven’t seen Mob Wives, here’s a clip to give you an idea:

As you can see, Staten Island is prominently featured on the show. As a native Staten Islander, I feel conflicted. I’m completely obsessed with this show… but I can’t stand the way that it represents Staten Island and the people who live there.

We’re all Italian, and we’re all mobsters
Yes, there is a large Italian population on Staten Island, but obviously not everyone who lives there is Italian. I’m Irish, as is my entire family.  There is a diverse population in New York City, including Staten Island. More importantly, the show implies that Staten Island is a hot spot for the mafia and organized crime. While there was a large mob bust in January (as featured on the show), the investigations were focused in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Rhode Island and New Jersey. NOT Staten Island. While people in Staten Island were arrested, it wasn’t the focus of the arrests. There is crime and criminal activity everywhere, but this show makes it seem as if Staten Island is the only place where this occurs and that it’s totally normal. It’s not.

Going to jail is okay if you’re from Staten Island
All of the women on the show have husbands or fathers (or both) who are currently incarcerated. It’s depicted that the women on the show find this to be the norm, and it’s implied that this is because they were raised in “this lifestyle” in Staten Island. So essentially, being arrested for racketeering is culturally accepted in SI. It’s not.

Even though the dump is gone, the trash remains
When you talk about Staten Island, a lot of people will think of the dump. Yeah, you can see if from outer space. So what? It’s closed now, but as shown on the show, the trash remains in the form of these spoiled, deluded, and violent women.

SI women have nothing to do but drink, curse and fight with each other 
When you’re only filmed drinking, cursing and fighting with your “friends”, that’s all people are going to think you do. Even better, it’s all they’re going to think women from Staten Island do. When you’re on TV, you’re representing where you’re from.  Believe me, I wish you weren’t.

The accent
We don’t all tawk like that! Okay, maybe we do… Wanna fight about it?

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About Alyssa Henry

Currently an information management graduate student at the Syracuse University iSchool & 2010 Newhouse School alum. Passionate about social media, journalism and technology!
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5 Responses to VH1’s Mob Wives Series: A Staten Islander’s Rant

  1. lol- that reminded me of when I moved to Oregon back a million years ago. I am from CNY, by the way….

    We stopped somewhere in Wyoming to get gas. A woman looked at our license plate and said, “Oh, you’re from New Yawk…”

    I said “No we’re from Central New York, not New Yawk city…”

    She was surprised I didn’t talk like she thought all New Yawkers did!

    We also got many compliments while in Oregon regarding how nice we were…. everyone assumes New Yorkers have bad attitudes.

    It’s has to be that media…. 🙂

  2. jennliddy says:

    Do you spend your summer on the Jersey Shore?

  3. jennliddy says:

    Yes we want to fight about it. I was certain that all of those Real Wives shows were exactly like real life in that given community. Are you trying to tell me that they don’t represent reality?

    I’ve been to Staten Island….well, I’ve driven past Staten Island…. well, no I’ve been on a boat or Ferry that goes by Staten Island. I know Staten Island. And I’ve also seen the Godfather 24 times. I was sure that all the women who live on State Island serve pasta on Sundays and have husbands in the waste removal or olive oil business.

    Now you’ve shattered all of the truths I held dear to my heart.

    Thanks a lot. Let’s meet outside and fight about it.

  4. Kelly Lux says:

    Alyssa, love this post! I so don’t think of you as being from Staten Island, not that I know anything about it (but now I kind of do). You are a class act, and I would not put you in the same category as Mob Wives or any of those other lovely traits the show attributes to the women of Staten Island. Actually surprised you are such a big fan of the show, but maybe I need to get to know you a little better after all ;). Good luck with the new blog #yourock *K

  5. Ok, I am a big fan of the REAL Housewives of …. It is such a guilty pleasure. I don’t know why I dig it so much. I mean it is clear that some of the plots are stages and that these women probably don’t hang out when the camera is not filming.
    Hey, I also have a blog on internships. Even though that it is not as exciting as the Real Housewives, you should still check it out! http://jenniferpluta.wordpress.com/

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