It may be on VH1, home of the worst reality shows of all time, but Mob Wives makes up for all the Flavor of Love and Celebrity Rehabs combined. Featuring four Staten Island women – Drita D’Avanzo, Carla Facciolo, Karen Gravano, and Renee Graziano – with various connections to “the lifestyle,” Mob Wives is not for the faint of heart; fights start at the drop of a hat, expletives are dropped with the greatest of ease, and you never know who’s going to wind up in prison. Yes, it’s as intense — and entertaining — as it sounds.
After an explosive first season that culminated in a rooftop brawl, the women are back and I couldn’t be more excited. I miss their drama and life lessons. There are two new additions this time around: Ramona Rizzo, who goes way back with Karen and will have her back on anything (more on that later), and Big Ang, who is this season’s voice of reason, and thank God – if there is any show in need of one of these, it’s Mob Wives. Big Ang wants everyone to be friends, have fun, and put the BS behind them. I love her already.
I shouldn’t like this show — it can be argued that it glorifies violence and “the lifestyle” (which it really doesn’t, because you see the pain incarceration of husbands/fathers/etc. is causing almost everyone involved). And yes, the women have their flaws, with short tempers being high on the list. But they also are loving mothers to their children, putting their needs above their own, and are loyal to a fault. That’s why when someone breaks that bond — like Carla taking her boyfriend’s side over longtime friend Renee’s — the fists start to fly. Do I agree with that? Of course not. But I understand Renee’s hurt and appreciate how deeply she loves her friends.
Plus, there is hope for redemption: in the first episode this season (we’re on number four this Sunday), Renee went to get extensive plastic surgery. Following surgery, her stitches ripped and she lost a lot of blood, landing her in the hospital and pretty close to death. This scare caused her to re-evaluate her life and the choices and decisions she has made to this point, and she genuinely wants to put a lot of stuff behind her and focus on the good. She isn’t a completely new person, and it’s still not too difficult to piss her off, but she has come to understand just what too much anger can do to a person.
As much as I enjoy Renee and her new outlook on life, Drita is my favorite. She has had to deal with her bank robber husband being in prison for years, while raising two daughters on her own. She found out last season that her husband Lee (who used to date Karen) cheated on her, and Drita was having none. of. that. Now, she is in the process of divorcing Lee and trying to navigate being a single mom (although with Lee being locked up for so long, that’s basically what she’s been all along). Drita is not one to take any foolishness, and she admits that when she was younger, she loved fighting. But, she is trying to channel that into something positive, and instead of knocking people out wants to train for boxing. I admire how strong she is and how she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Seriously, when I feel low or like I just can’t handle something, I might start asking myself, “What would Drita do?” Then, I will go out and punch someone in the face.
One thing that really stands out to me on Mob Wives is a sense of fairness. When Renee had a party to celebrate not dying from the plastic surgery (I know, this sounds like a soap opera), Drita and Karen came to blows over a long-simmering feud that started late last season. This wasn’t the first time in recent memory they fought; the two went at it during the first season’s finale. This time, however, Ramona got involved, which really pushed Drita over the edge. I can totally see why; it wasn’t Ramona’s fight to fight, but she had to put herself in there under the guise of wanting to have Karen’s back, when I really think she just wanted to get more face time on the show. Drita rightfully said that Ramona had no business being involved, and that if Drita and someone else fought against Karen, she would have thrown a fit and said it was an uneven matchup. See? We just learned a lesson in fairness. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about watching Mob Wives.
Actually, I’ve learned a lot from Mob Wives: don’t get plastic surgery, because you’re going to die (but if you do get plastic surgery and don’t die, you can throw an awesome party in your honor!). You can get away with cursing every other word if you say it like you mean it. Make sure you have at least one good friend like Big Ang around who will show you the error of your ways and help you get back on track, and then make you an amazing lunch or take you out for cocktails. And finally, if you’re going to get into a fight, make sure you have someone like Drita (or, preferably, Drita herself) on your side.
Who else loves Mob Wives? What important lessons have you gleaned from the show? Who is your favorite? Please, feel free to turn the comments section into a Mob Wives free-for-all.