Arts & Culture

Your Russian Bubbe Would Weep

Long before reality television was invented, thousands of Russian Jewish immigrants escaped the harsh conditions of Soviet Russia to find refuge in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach. Many poor immigrants found their first tastes of prosperity in this ocean … Read More

By / March 1, 2010

Long before reality television was invented, thousands of Russian Jewish immigrants escaped the harsh conditions of Soviet Russia to find refuge in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach. Many poor immigrants found their first tastes of prosperity in this ocean side nabe, and now, on the heels of the laughingstock that is the Italian-American cast of the Jersey Shore, the children and grandchildren of the Russians who call Brighton Beach their home will do the same.  One of the show’s creators, Alina Dizik, tries to explain that her project is actually not an attempt to cash in on the current trend of exploiting ethnic communities.  Luckily for us, she fails miserably:

"[our] show’s goal is to deal with Russian stereotypes head-on."

"We’re really proud of that identity," the writer said. "But we would never want to portray this insular community in a way that isn’t positive. We’re used to everyone asking if we’re in the mafia and if we drink vodka and get chased by bears."

And so the revival of the ethnic caricature continues, leaving me to wonder who might get to be the next lucky community infected with the reality show fever.  While I can’t foresee Yellow Beach or Boom Boom Bronx working anytime soon, here’s hoping they cast me in "Ornery Jewish Residents of Park Slope: The Series".