‘Mob Wives’ don’t know first thing about mafia rules

By Kaley Fowler

I’ll be honest—I was more than just a little intrigued when the reality TV craze began. Curiosity led me to watch one episode of “American Idol,” and then I fell down the rabbit hole and turned into a reality TV junkie. I found myself indulging in “America’s Next Top Model,” hungering for “Fear Factor” and in love with “The Bachelor.” I spent a significant portion of my prime-time hours watching reality TV shows until, one day, they got bad. Actually, worse than they were to begin with.

Frankly, the latest batch of reality shows are deplorable, focusing on nothing more than cheap drama and scripted interactions. I am 99 percent sure the same will be demonstrated when VH1 releases “Mob Wives: Chicago” this June. I shake my head and sigh whenever the latest shabby series comes around, but this time I legitimately want to know what the writers at VH1 were thinking when they decided to shine the spotlight on women with mob status. Obviously a show about the mob raises several legal red flags, but let’s put those questions aside for a moment and focus on the sheer stupidity of this idea.

“Mob Wives” will chronicle the lives of five women with connections to some of Chicago’s infamous mobsters, yet none of them actually married into the Mafia. Ergo, they aren’t mob wives. Four of them are “mob daughters” and one is a “mob niece.” Creator Jennifer Graziano—a mob daughter, herself—acknowledged the discrepancy in a Chicago Tribune article, saying, “‘Mob Wives’ is about being married to a lifestyle and mindset, not literally being a wife.” While this seems like sound logic, I think it’s more likely that mobsters don’t want their wives exploiting their families’ careers and private matters on national television, and for good reason. Touting your own Mr. Mafia to the rest of the world sounds like a good way to get whacked. Or verbally whacked, at least.

So it was on Staten Island when Graziano first capitalized on this idea with the original “Mob Wives,” also on VH1. The six women featured on the series were dubbed “rats” and “stoolies” for discussing private family matters on TV, which is a violation of Mafia code. In a world where secrecy reigns supreme, these mob mistresses obviously do not adhere to the hush-hush standards of the organization.

If they can’t even follow their own guidelines, how are the wives supposed to accurately represent what the mob is really like? They clearly lack understanding of the inner workings of the Mafia and by representing it are further tarnishing its already lackluster reputation. Mafia involvement is illegal; therefore, we should be able to assume that keeping their families’ true identities under wraps should be at the forefront of these women’s agendas.

However, such is not the case, as the women have all revealed their fathers’ and uncle’s relations with the mob and the roles they played. The women have basically outed their family members, and for what? Fifteen lousy minutes of C-list celebrity status at the cost of their own and their families’ reputations.

Graziano told the Tribune, “This is a way for [the women] to express themselves and say, ‘Yeah, I may have been this person’s daughter, but this is who I am and why I am who I am,’ whether it’s good or bad.” Coming to terms with yourself and your history is definitely important, but I don’t think a reality TV show is the place to do so, especially when your history is so controversial.

Shows such as “Mob Wives” not only make the stars and their families look bad, but they also make Chicago and its rich history look bad. Considering that the city was recently named the most corrupt city in the nation by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, “Mob Wives” certainly doesn’t help matters by making our city look even more criminal.

That being said, I’m sure I’ll still give this one a watch when June rolls around, even though my best judgment tells me to just fahgetaboutit.