Last night’s episode of Mob Wives was, again, about how life when you are part of the “the underworld” isn’t just about the glitz and the glamor, as Renee Graziano’s ex-husband (who is also her son AJ’s father) was arrested in a major FBI bust. Drita D’avanzo had more concerns about her husband’s sentence, and Karen Gravano began coming to terms with and exploring her feelings about her upbringing. Carla Faccilo was, as Nene Leakes likes to say: “Casper the Ghost” this episode because, yeah she was practically invisible. What an emotional episode this was – highs and lows galore, a total emotional roller coaster. As my mother said: “I feel like I need an anti-depressant after watching these broads.” Snark obviously runs in our family.
There was a lot of build up in the first part of the show until we finally got to the part all the previews were throwing in our faces: the FBI arrests! I waited on the edge of my seat for the juicy part and, yeah… it was pretty much a let down. The most we got to see of any FBI action was Renee crying in her kitchen about the arrests and the ladies showing CNN news footage. Foiled again by the infamous preview hype! It was nice that there was a significantly fewer number of bleeps so we could actually understand what they were saying to each other, though.
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The beginning of the episode started where last week left off: with Drita having Lee issues again. Instead of getting cussed out by him on the phone, Drita is discussing her anxieties about her hubby’s ever-expanding prison sentence with a friend while getting a pedicure. She wants Lee to be the one responsible for telling their older daughter Aleeya that he may be in the locked up longer than planned. Drita describes her life as a mafia bride shuffling around from house to house while he was in prison “with a baby over one shoulder and a backpack over the other.” In honor of her husband’s home away from home, Drita decided to get her nails done in a color called “Bail Money.” I have to admit, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the dialogue, because I was much too distracted by how amazing that salon looked and thinking about how I want a pedicure. Later on, Drita has a sweet scene with Aleeya while making scrapbooks to send her dad. Drita shows her softer side – the side that doesn’t carry brass knuckles in her make-up bag – by getting emotional about her daughters not having their father in their lives.
Karen is writing a book about her life growing up as Sammy “The Bull” Gravano’s daughter, so of course Vh1 has to plug this incessantly every episode because that was the only way she would agree to be on the show. Anyways she meets with her therapist – whoops – writing coach to talk about connecting emotionally to the story. Karen describes feeling that being bad equates to getting respect and how Renee she became the “ultimate gangster bitch” for attention. Later, Karen takes us on a tour of her old haunts; she and her cousin show us her dad’s old office with the two-way mirror so he knew who was coming and going. Then they went to her childhood home and Karen let’s us know just how gangster her father was when she described that he purposefully bought a house on the freeway so “he could watch for a hit” and no one could stake out their house because there was no convenient place to park. Ummm… yeah, I’m not even sure what to say about this except it’s obvious Karen wasn’t able to do a lot of sneaking out or inviting boys over when no one was home. High school must suck when your father is a nefarious gangster!
“Someone who doesn’t like fur,” according to Renee “hasn’t arrived.” As stated in Mafia for Dummies, oh, I mean in Renee’s opinion about how to live the ultimate mafia life: “you have to have a mink if you’re in the mob” because they go together like “salt and pepper.” She describes her furrier as “home” and this is the Renee we love – the lavish, larger than life, mafia princess with an unabashed love for “the life.” Renee tells us about her first fur coat: a white fox with her name embroidered in big royal blue writing on the lining. She was seven. I’m jealous – I want that coat right now (except I want it to say “Mary”, obviously). It’s like the mafia version of a Member’s Only jacket – except way, way, waaay cooler. But I digress; Renee makes herself feel better about Junior’s Ghost Busters (i.e. invisible) approach to parenting by spending 5k on leopard spotted fur Lynx. I guess when you’re married to the mob, if a $5,000 coat that used to be a living, breathing animal doesn’t make you feel better, nothing will. And I suppose this is a great prelude to what happens next: Renee discovers Junior got arrested because his girlfriend called her and that coat and the happiness it brought is long forgotten.
But before that happens, we see AJ having a serious conversation with his daughter, oh oops, I meant his MOTHER, Renee – sorry about that, it was really hard for me to figure out which one of them was the parent there – about how Junior’s absentee fathering affects AJ. Their relationship is so inappropriate – while it is obvious that Renee cares about AJ and is upset that Junior is basically a completely negligent parent; Renee acts like the rebellious teenager and AJ acts like the exasperated parent.
When Renee learns that Junior has been arrested in a huge bust and she doesn’t have any information about why he was arrested or where he is; understandably she freaks out on the phone, trying to get some information about Junior and trying to get some support from her friends who pretty much asked her to wait until they were less busy working out. Nice, Carla. Luckily for Renee in the middle of arguing with her parent errrr… son, AJ and begging him for support, there is a knock on the door. I was so excited – thinking the Feds would be there, AK-47s at the ready demanding to question her, but instead it was only Karen. Boo – let down! Renee actually seemed happy to see Karen, albeit surprised, and they had a really mature and sweet discussion about escaping the lifestyle and friendship. As Karen leaves Renee’s house, she reminds Renee: “I’m the realest bitch you know.” And speaking of being real, the whole time I was watching Renee during this scene I was struck by how unscripted it seemed – there she was on TV, having a meltdown and sobbing hysterically looking like *gasp* a real person experiencing a tragedy; not all made up with perfect hair and make-up, wearing heels. Letting the world see you sans concealer and mascara truly takes courage – not kidding.
Drita describes what a fed bust is like with “boom, boom, boom! Feds and police all over the street, guns blazing, they’re looking in the window – exactly like TV,” basically pretty exciting if you’re not on the receiving end of the arrests. While she and Carla are talking in her kitchen, did anyone else notice the surveillance TV on the kitchen counter?! That was amazing! Drita and Carla decide to FINALLY call Renee back and see if she needs them to come over, and instead of swallowing her pride and saying: “yes, I need you.” she let’s them know they aren’t needed and that Karen was the only person to show up. It was obvious the girls knew they were in trouble – you could practically see them swallowing the lumps in their throats.
The episode ends with Renee talking to her therapist, because this is apparently the new theme in reality TV –pseudo therapy sessions. Renee tells the therapist she is a “lost child” who never developed an identity outside of being a mafia princess, mirroring what Karen said to her writing coach about growing up in the mob. Renee describes how much it scares her that AJ could go down the same path as his father. Which I think is what I like best about the show – the ladies definitely seem completely real, down-to-earth, completely upfront about their issues and worries, and never afraid to put themselves out there. They are definitely the realest b*tches on TV.
And that concludes it! This was a difficult episode to write about because on one hand the ladies of Mob Wives are ridiculously over the top and totally enamored with the lifestyle and the image, but on the other hand their lives are very sad and isolated; filled with tragedy, betrayal, and heartbreak. The season started out being totally crazy and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I expected an entire season of “Bad Girls Club” style over-the-top antics and catfights, but the last two episodes have brought a sobering picture of what it is really like to be married to the mob, far away from the Sopranos-style glamor we expect. There is one spectacular area where the show didn’t deviate from the fantasy I envision when I hear the word Mob – yes, Renee is right: when I think of the mob, I absolutely think fur coats. Every. Single. Time.
Next week – Somebody doesn’t know who The Mighty Renee is and Junior, apparently freed from police custody, administers a beat down.
So, will you read Karen’s book? Do you think the Mob Wives are for real or made for TV drama? Would you wear a fur coat?