Friday, November 25, 2011

Russian Dolls: Picked Up In Australia!

I noticed that both Michael Levitis and Eddie Zee were notifying their adoring public that Russian Dolls was being picked up by Nippon TV in Japan.  My first thoughts…how is that possible.  Japan?  Of all the places on earth, that is the last place I would have guessed would be interested in Russian Dolls.  

I immediately thought, the Japanese revere their elderly parents.  How in the world is the way Marina treats Eva going to go over in Japan?  They would be horrified to say the least.  The more I thought about it the more preposterous it seemed to be.  So I clicked on the article that Michael posted to see it with my own eyes.  I was right!  They are not being picked up by Japan at all.  This man, with a law degree who is part owner of a large restaurant, has not read the article at all and jumped to conclusions.  The article mentions several countries and the different shows they are picking up.  Japan is picking up some shows, but NOT Russian Dolls.

Relevant part of article: Australia’s Nine Network picked up Picker Sisters; Lifestyle and Lifestyle You acquired Glamour BellesDance Moms and Russian Dolls; and Sci-Fi/TV1 General Entertainment took The Captains of the Final Frontier.

I’ll tell you who is picking up Russian Dolls…Australia.  Yes, Lifetime and Lifetime YOU in Australia is picking up the show.  Don’t ask me why, but it makes more sense, doesn’t it?  I will post the links to two articles and you can see for yourself.  Maybe I read it wrong, but I don’t think so.  I hope Michael reads the fine print in his contracts better than he read this article.

So no, Russian Dolls will not be going to Japan any time soon.  Let’s see how well received they are in Australia.  I am very curious!

Links to articles: Article one  and  Article two

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All American Muslim: Episode 1, Shadia and Jeff's Wedding

Shadia Amen and Jeff

I watched the first episode of All American Muslim and I enjoyed it.  There were no theatrics, fights amongst the cast, cursing, yelling or drama, like on other reality shows.  Instead, there was calm, rational discussion about the Muslim way of life from the conservative and liberal points of view.  It was entertaining, interesting and educational.

The first episode deals primarily with the wedding of Shadia, a Muslim, and Jeff, her Irish, Catholic finacee.  In order to please Shadia's parents, Jeff has decided to convert from his religion to hers.  He feels that his religion is secondary to his love for her.  During one of the discussions, it was said that a Muslim man can marry a woman of any religion, but a Muslim woman must marry a Muslim man.  In any case, the conversion is a relatively simple matter and Shadia's father even helps Jeff to learn how to pronounce the words he must say at the ceremony.  Jeff's mother is a little upset about his decision to change religions, but ultimately wants whatever makes him happy and he is an adult, so she has to accept it.  At the wedding they try to blend both cultures in with Jeff's cousin performing some Irish folk dancing and Shadia's relative performing belly dancing.  There is no drinking at the wedding, Muslim rules forbid it...too bad for the Irish family.

The newly weds look very happy.  I expect there will be many adjustments for them to make.  Cultural differences can be difficult, especially in the beginning of the marriage.  I don't know if season one is long enough for us to see that, but the previews of next week show Jeff emotionally upset about something.

Of course, throughout the show, they introduced the other families and gave us a little background on them.  I have to say the show is very refreshing from other reality shows. Without all the drama, they are able to really tell viewers a lot about themselves.

This seems like a great show, with 5 diverse yet Muslim families, to give us some insight into the culture and traditions of that community.  I feel like I have learned a lot already.

Picture credit: TLC

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Russian Dolls: Marina Never Looked Better

The world pretty much knows that I am not a Marina "fan" and my guilty pleasure has been to take pot shots at her whenever the opportunity has presented itself...and she has given me plenty of opportunities.  But today, as I look at Michael's facebook page and the picture he posted of Marina, I have to say she has never looked better.  Maybe all those tweets about going to the gym and doing zumba classes for her brother's wedding paid off?  She does look like she lost some weight.  She says this is her fall "look."  I think it agrees with her.  The darker colors are very complimentary as is her new hair color.  Now all kidding aside, and try to be objective, don't you think this is a new and improved look for Marina?   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Russian Dolls: Rasputin Battles Onegin

Onegin Restaurant slated to open soon

A new Russian restaurant is supposed to be opening soon in the West Village in Manhattan.  Vat is the problem?  Well, they seem to be trying to associate themselves with Rasputin of Brighton Beach.  Michael Levitis and Marina are not very pleased with this association and have asked them to refrain from linking the two restaurants together.  However, that has not been the case and recently Michael is threatening legal action if something isn't done about it.  The Onegin restaurant is not only much smaller, it is much less expensive and yet they allegedly say they are being headed up by the team behind Rasputin.  If that was the truth, Michael would certainly not be upset over it.  Here is Michael's letter:

To whom it may concern:
It is with great dismay that my wife,  Marina Levitis, and I read your recent article on Onegin restaurant.   Marina co-owns Rasputin Restaurant and I am a director therein.
Please note that Rasputin is not affiliated in any shape or form with Onegin nor any of its managers or owners.  This is not the first time that Onegin claimed to be our sister restaurant.  They have already been served with a cease and desist notice by our attorney regarding same back in August.  I will happy to provide you with a copy on Monday.  
It seems Onegin has willfully  chosen to disregard said notice and has again brazenly used Rasputin name, publicity and goodwill to promote their cheap imitation of Rasputin. I will now instruct our attorney to commence a lawsuit against Onegin and any publication that falsely reports on the affiliation.
I am hereby requesting that your site post a prompt retraction of your article. We hereby reserve the right to use all remedies available to us in law or in equity in the event of your refusal to comply with this request.
Should you have any questions I can be reached at  Thank you in advance for your cooperation with above request.
Michael Levitis

I guess we will see what comes of all this if Michael keeps us posted.  Frankly, I don't blame them for taking action, what's right is right!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All American Muslim: The Zaban Family

The Fouad and Zaynab Zaban are a conservative Muslim couple with four children: Jamilah, Ayah, Mohamed and Fatima.  Fouad is the head coach of a football team at Fordson High School, Zaynab is a part-time secretary and the two older girls, ages 10 and 11, wear the hijab to school.  

It will be interesting to see how they balance their conservative religious traditions in a non traditional community settings of jobs and school.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All-American Muslim: The Jaafar Family

Mike is a Deputy Chief Sheriff and has worked in law enforcement for 17 years.  He married his high school sweetheart, Angela, a consultant to a major auto manufacturer.  Together they have four young children: Jenna, 10;  Julia, 8; Jad, 4; and Ryan, 3.  A couple with busy careers and family responsibilities, the Jaafars consider themselves a modern Muslim family.  They are participating int he series to help increase sensitivity and awareness for their community.  

Picture credit: TLC

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All-American Muslim: The Bazzy-Aliahmad Family

This seems to be a unique family.  Nina was raised in a community of devout Arab-Americans who practice Muslims cultural practices as part of their daily lifestyle. While Nina's mother is very traditional and wears the hijab, Nina is nontraditional. She is a very ambitious business woman and has opened up her own nightclub. Considering the conservative nature of her culture, and the fact that this type of business is predominantly run by men, Nina is taking on a challenging venture.  She is married to Ali and they have one son, Andre, age six.

Picture Credit: TLC

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All American Muslim: The Aoude Family

Nadar and Nawal are newly weds, expecting their first baby and trying to balance their traditional Muslim roots with the American culture. For the most part they are a traditionally minded couple.  It will be interesting to hear about how they plan to raise their son, when he is born.  I imagine it will a little difficult as the two cultures are so very different in many ways.  The American culture is very liberal and the Muslim traditions so conservative.  Striking a balance between the two cultures, on top of parenting, may prove to be challenging.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Russian Dolls: Michael Musto Raves About Rasputin


Michael Musto, writer of the Village Voice blog, had nothing but good things to say about the Rasputin Restaurant and Cabaret in Brighton Beach.  He was recently invited there by owners Michael and Marina Levitis to enjoy a feast of a meal and a night of entertainment for the restaurant's 20th anniversary, and enjoy it he did.  He even brought a few friends along with him to feast on all the ethnic dishes that Rasputin specializes in.  

The best part of the review was when Mr. Musto writes, and I quote, "At one point, Michael Levitis explained to me, "This song is 'Russian Women Have The Best Asses.' And they do!"  

The eating went on for three hours!  Then Mr. Musto says, out came the lamb kabobs!  Lamb kabobs sound good to me.  There is a lot of talk of another Rasputin opening up in Manhattan in the near future.  A few good reviews here and there will certainly ensure the success of the new Rasputin's Grand Opening!

Good luck to Michael and Marina's new Rasputin!

Check out the review: Village Voice Review

P.S. I hear there will be a Halloween Party being held at Rasputin on Monday, October 31st, with prizes for best costume.  You may want to look into that on Michael's facebook @ Halloween at Rasputin

Picture credit: Patrick McMullan

Russian Dolls: Marina's Animal Print Dress



First of all a big thank you to Michael Levitis, the adoring husband of Marina.  He saw the blog where I was asking about her animal print dresses and he directed me to his facebook page where he has proudly posted his lovely wife, wearing one of her new acquisitions.  This appears to be a vertical, zebra stripe print.  I am no fasionista by any means, however I have always heard that curvy women should not wear stripes as it makes them appears larger in areas they do not need accentuated.  Marina has been tweeting that she has been going to the gym and attending zumba classes to lose weight for her brother's wedding.  I think she still has a ways to go and if I were her I would go with horizontal stripes next time.

I took a moment to see if my memory on stripes was accurate and here is the result:

Julie Thurlbourne Julie Thurlbourne in vertical stripes

As you can see, the same woman, wearing two different dresses, appears more svelt in the horizontally striped dress on the top of the screen and fuller figured on the bottom on the screen wearing vertical stripes.  However, the important thing is not what I think of Marina's new dress, but what Michael thinks.  Michael seems very happy with Marina's choice, so who am I to make suggestions?

Picture credit: Michael Levitis Facebook and and Patrick McMullen

All American Muslim: The Amen Family

Mohsen and Lila Amen have four children – Suehaila, Shadia, Bilal and Samira.  Each member varies in the way they practice the doctrines of their failth, from conservative to liberal.  Suehaila is 32, single and very conservative. Her sister Shadia is the rebel of the family and has tattoos, piercings and doesn't wear the hijab. Samira is the youngest and is married to Ali, but having fertility problems.  She leans towards the conservative, traditional practices and has taken to wearing the hijab to improve her relationship with God. Bilal is the unmarried son who leans towards traditional values.

For many more details on this family click on the link below.  As you pas your mouse over their picture more information will pop up for you to read.

Link for info:TLC All American Muslim: Amen Family Interactive Picture

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All American Muslim: Mike & Angela Jaafar

Access Hollywood interviews Mike and Angela Jaafar, cast members of the new show All-American Muslim.   The couple has four children and live in Dearborn, Michigan.  Mike is a police officer.  They say they agreed to become involved in the series to show that Muslims are not how they are stereotypically viewed by Americans.  They feel Muslims are misunderstood because there is fear of the unknown.  They live in a diverse neighborhood and have friends of all nationalities and religions.  They talk about how they explained to their children why they decided to be on the show.  

I have to say this is a refreshing change from the drama on Russian Dolls.  This couple seems very down to earth and open about their life in Michigan.  It will be interesting to compare the two ethnic series and see how they are similar and different.  If you watch the video below, let me know what you think.

Video and Picture Credit: Access Hollywood

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All American Muslim: Meet The Cast

Shadia with her family 

Suehaila and Shadia: Suehaila wears a traditional headscarf and follows daily prayer rituals - while Shadia, her outspoken sister, is decorated with piercings and tattoos and recently married Jeff, an Irish Catholic who is converting to Islam.


Nader and Nawal: Newlyweds expecting their first baby, Nader and Nawal are working to strike the right balance between their traditional Muslim roots and American culture.

Fouad: As head coach Fouad: As head coach of the Fordson High School football team, Fouad has pioneered a shift in his team's summer practice schedule by flipping to night workouts from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. since a majority of his team are Muslim and are fasting for Ramadan.

 Samira and Ali: Samira and her husband of seven years, Ali, struggle with fertility issues and are pursuing numerous options including conventional fertility techniques, dietary alternatives and Muslim supplication prayers. After years of unsuccessful attempts, Samira considers putting on the Hijab in order to be closer to God and hopefully be blessed with a child.

Mike and Angela: Mike, a deputy chief sheriff, and his wife Angela, a consultant to a major auto manufacturer, are juggling their busy careers with raising their four children in a modern Muslim family.
Nina: A strong, independent Muslim businesswoman, Nina's family runs the premier wedding and banquet hall in Dearborn — but against their advice, she is trying to venture off on her own to open a nightclub.

Pictures and description credit: TLC

All American Muslim: A New TLC Show

The Jaafar Family

Well they say when one door closes another door opens and so it is with blogs.  As we say goodbye to Russian Dolls, whose time has come and gone, we can now welcome All American Muslim to the television screen.  Another group of Americans wants to educate us about their culture and traditions and have a story to tell.  It could prove to be interesting!  And already there is one big PLUS, there will be no Marina!

So I watched the video and I am intrigued.  Already I see a difference in the two shows, the Muslims do not seem to be "acting" but more genuine.  Of course it is hard to say much with only a minute and a half to go on.

The show is an eight part series and will premiere on November 13th.  It will follow 5 different Muslim families from Dearborn, Michigan.  Dearborn is a suburb of Detroit and has a large Arab-American population.  The show will deal with the issues they had to face after 911, ten years ago.  They will have some diverse cast members, such as two sisters who are opposites: one wears a headscarf and prays every day and the other has tattoos which are illegal in Islam.  

Unlike Russian Dolls, whose community was outraged at the way they were being portrayed, Muslims of Dearborn feel that the show is going to do a lot to help all Americans understand more about their beliefs, concerns and challenges.  Check out the video and see what you think?

Picture and video credit: TLC

Friday, October 21, 2011

Russian Dolls: Passionista Cancelista

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about Renata Krumer's Passionista Movement.  Apparently it was something new she started that she was hoping would take off.  A lot of "reality stars" try to make the most of their 15 minutes of fame by branching out into other businesses, like Michael and Marina's laughable cookbook idea and ridiculous talk show aspirations.  Renata's idea, helping people to achieve their full potential, seemed to be more in line with the kind of person she is, compassionate, considerate of other's feelings, helpful.  She started this Passionista Movement with the best of intentions and I'm sure to make money down the road if it was successful. I woke up this morning wondering what happened at the first meeting, scheduled for October 9th, 2011.  Imagine my disappointment to read what she had posted the night before at 11:20 PM?  

Hello! Due to unexpected travel plans, tomorrows
meeting will be canceled! Sorry for the 
Posted October 8 at 11:20 PM

Now can someone please tell me who gets unexpected travel arrangement at 11:20 at night?  Something that is so important it cannot wait until after the 3PM meeting that 5 people had planned to attend...or did they?  These 5 people were members as soon as the site was up and signed up to attend immediately.  It made me suspicious then and it makes me suspicious now.  Unless they were friends of Renata's and wanted to make it seem like people were interested.  It seems to me that even "reality" isn't real these days.  Maybe the "passionista" has become a "cancelista?"  

You can click on the picture and it will enlarge for you to see the website and comment.  

Picture credit: Renata Krumer's Passionista Movement

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Russian Dolls: Roman "The Solution" Itkin

When I first started this blog I needed to spread the word around so readers would know we existed. We put up a few quick blogs and then I went to work visiting all the sites that mentioned Russian Dolls and leaving the link to the blog there for interested people to find.  And, believe it or not, every placed I went to drop my link, I found Roman's comments and a link to his Russian Doll audition.  I watched his audition just to see who this guy was who didn't make it into the cast.  I have to say, now that I have seen the whole first season, they might have done him a big favor leaving him out of that fiasco.

Roman is very persistent.  He never gives up.  He has confidence in himself. He is articulate.  He loves Brighton Beach.  He is proud of his Russian heritage.  He speaks Russian fluently.  He is very close to his family.  Those are all the good things.

But Roman doesn't seem to think well of Americans.  Maybe he was trying to give the casting director what he thought he wanted to hear or maybe he believes what he was saying.  But, to compare all Americans to Jerry Springer guests and then say Russians come here and they are rich, is quite a bit of a stretch. In any case,  I am guessing that Roman, "The Solution," was auditioning for the "Eddie" role and Eddie spent the whole season trying to be the next "Situation" from Jersey Shore.  Now maybe they can both go back to being themselves.

All in all it was an interesting audition which could have been a lot better.  It's not Roman's fault, the interviewer was terrible, and Roman did the best he could to keep the ball rolling.  Check it out and see what might have been had they picked Roman for Russian Dolls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Russian Dolls: Animal Print Dresses

I just heard that animal print dresses are in style.  Who is my fashionista advisor? Why Marina, of course! Today she tweets "Looks like animal prints r. BIG this season I bought 3 dresses all different animal prints." We know, based on the Talk Show idea, that she is an expert in fashion.  And, not to be outdone by any of the Manhattan socialites, Marina starts off her collection with not one, not two, but three new animal print dresses!  I am so far behind.  I need to go shopping this weekend and add one to my collection.  You never know when I will be invited to a red carpet event.  

I was hoping Marina would have tweeted a picture of herself in one of the dresses, but no luck.  So I found one online of the above model and now I am trying to picture Marina in it.  Now that made me laugh out loud!

Picture credit:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Russian Dolls: The Antidote To Negative Series

What is the antidote to Russian Dolls, twelve episodes of Lifetime negatively stereotyping the Russian culture and community?  A good dose of Russian Culture!  And, lucky for New Yorkers, they will be able to take advantage of Russian Culture week, which will begin this Sunday and run through October 30th.  There will be music and literary entertainment, doll making classes for children, a puppet show, Russian cuisine (not from Rasputin) and more.  It will be held at the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center in Sea View located at 1466 Manor Rd.  

This is a great opportunity to become familiar with true Russian culture without all the negativity of the series.  It should be interesting and there are several family events planned throughout the week.  For more details read the article at SILIVE and have a great time!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Russian Dolls: Another "Nina" Wants To Help You!

I was going through the comments on the blog today and "Another Nina," who is a writer, has made three comments offering to help the Russian Dolls.  This new Nina is part Russian and sounds very enthusiastic about the show.  Who am I to stand in the way of anyone's success?  So I thought I would write a blog and bring her services more attention.  Maybe one of the writers or many of the cast members will get a chance to see her offer and take her up on it.  I have to admit, the fact she has the same first name as I do, didn't hurt.  So best of luck to you Nina!  I hope they take you up on one of your many offers and, if they do, you have your work cut out for you!  Here is what the other "Nina" had to say"

Hi! I've watched every episode of Russian Dolls and loved it. I grew up in the middle of NYC, so I could relate to the tight knit community.

I think that the angle of the show could have focused a litle more on the community to get viewers more involved. Young old, rich, middle class and poor....perhaps take them through the neighborhood and give people the real feel....I know the show was not well received by the community, so perhaps incorporate that aspect into the show...get people to discuss their emotions on tv...that's real t.v.

I'm a writer with a background in marketng, public relations, law and other areas....If you need a good me at -- my name is not the Nina that's posted here, but another one. Yes, I do have Russian blood running through my veins :)!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Russian Dolls: Highly Rated Russian Cookbook

I was thinking, why should anyone wait for a cookbook endorsed by Marina, when there is a highly rated Russian cookbook on Amazon?   The book received 5 out of 5 stars overall.  It's a good indication that the recipes in there are good and were tried by random people who have nothing to gain or lose to comment.  They are objective people who loved the recipes in the over 600 pages in this book.

One reviewer writes: "1st generation Russian, and I love it!This book contains great recipes for the foods that my grandmother fed me as a kid (she left Russia in 1922), as well as the foods that I ate there as an exchange student (in 1995). "

Another writes: "This cookbook is the most-used of any in my home. Having lived in Crimea (in southern Ukraine) with and amongst Russians, I find myself reading Anya von Bremzen's _Please to the Table_ for sheer pleasure and nostalgia."

And yet another says: "I  treasure this book. I read it again and again and never tire of its beautiful and vivid descriptions of food and feasting in the former Soviet Union. When I open "Please To The Table" I become infected by the authors' enthusiasm for the cuisine of half a dozen countries. Even though I'm not normally an adventurous eater, and I rarely have time to cook, every time I open this book, I can't help being seduced by the descriptions of each dish. Instantly, I'm in the mood to entertain. I want to fires up the stove, load up the table, chill some vodka, and gather my friends about me."

So really, when you come down to it, who needs Marina's cookbook when there is one already out there that has gotten rave reviews from people who know exactly how authenic, Russian cuisine should taste.  Need a cookbook?  Try this link on The Ultimate Russian Cookbook!

I'll bet even Marina would wolf down a few dishes made out of this book!

Russian Dolls: Latest News On Marina!

In two weeks Marina's brother is getting married!  We learned this from Marina's twitter account.  Congratulations to the lovely couple.  What does this mean for Marina?  More cake?  Very true.  But, Marina tweets that she needs to lose 7 to 9 pounds for the wedding that will take place two weeks from now.  How will she do it?  Dieting, going to the gym and ZUMBA class.  I think Lifetime should have filmed more of Marina exercising and less of her eating. 

Who thinks Marina will get down to her goal weight in 2 weeks?  Sorry Marina, but I do not.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Russian Dolls: Michael Needs a Publisher!

Someone pointed out in our comment section that Michael is looking for a publisher for a book of Russian recipes that will come out of his restaurant's kitchen and which will be headed up by Marina, the reality show star.   According to Marina's press release last week, you would have thought offers were pouring in from publishers, here is a quote: "She received a great deal of interest in getting her own reality show and writing a cookbook of her favorite Russian recipes from Rasputin. The cookbook will feature contemporary Russian cuisine from the restaurant." 

Where did all the interest for this cookbook go?  Well I think we all know it was never there to begin with.  Marina and Michael are trying desperately to milk there 15 minutes of fame and turn it into money, but the problem is they are their own worst enemies thanks to the show and how they were portrayed.  Michael came across as a man without backbone who takes orders from his screw of a wife.  A wife who insulted his mother many times on national television, without a word out of him.  Marina came across as a loud, obnoxious, self-centered, materialistic, rude, shrilled voiced, controlling woman. 

Anyone who knows anything about publishing a book knows you have to have the interest of a literary agent and something to show them that will sell.  If you can do that, the agent will try to get interest from publishers and strike a deal.  What do Michael and Marina have to bring to the table?  Recipes from their restaurant and Marina's picture for the cover?  How much do you think that will be worth?  Just reading it make me laugh! 

Russian Dolls: Lifetime Gets Real, Or Does It?

Instead of totally cancelling Russian Dolls, Lifetime has decided to air the entire series again on their sister station Lifetime Real Women.  It's ironic that a reality show that is supposed to be about real women and is on a network about real women, is so totally fake, misleading, false, untrue...well you get the picture.  I knew nothing of the cast except what Lifetime chose to tell viewers in their bios when the show started.  I did some research online, and found some additional information which I based my earliest blogs on.  But, as the show aired, and I found the scenes a bit too contrived, somewhat far fetched and unrealistic, I started to voice my opinions a little more harshly.  Afterall, we were led to believe many things about Russian Dolls, and very little of it was true.  So much for reality!

I have come to learn, from some of my readers who actually know the cast or know of them, that much of what we have seen is fabricated to either create drama or to inject the show with various bits of Russian culture.  The drama that was created by the writers was obviouly not interesting enough to keep viewers coming back.  And as many have noted, the episodes seem to be self contained and do not take into account what happened previously.  For example, in one episode the young Russian Dolls are fighting and Diana and Anastasia call Anna every name in the book; they despise one another.  In a later episode all three are the best of friends.  But there are other things I have learned along the way this season, that I find totally misleading.

I just learned, and it's no surprise, that Renata and Marina were never friends, so when they all had dinner at Marina's house in that one episode, that was all a setup.  Diana and Anastasia live together in that apartment OR did Lifetime provide that apartment for purposes of shooting scenes at that location?  Many feel that was all staged for the show.  And remember Sveta's jewelry showing at Rasputin?  One of our readers tells me that Sveta's husbands sells very high end jewelry and allows customers to enter his store one at the time for viewing pieces.  They could never put out their jewelry on display all over the restaurant as the store would want us to believe.  Again, on the show, Renata and Boris were not supposed to be attendin Women's Day at Rasputin, but they not only atteneded, they also hosted the party.  The boyfriends!  Diana's Paul...that was so not real.  Anna's Albert and Anthony, fake and fake.  Eva's matchmaker 35 year old date...made up for the show.  Anna is supposed to be struggling to help her family and someone tells me she really drives around in a Lexus!  And why is there no mention at all of their real jobs, at least those who have jobs.  One readers tells me that Diana works in a store, Anastasia a medical office (not 100% sure), Sveta works in a bank, Albert does medical billing, Renata, the radio host, works for a hotel, and Boris works for a car dealership.  Now those jobs sound real!  They tell me "no clue what Eddie does."  Well Eddie is a poet and reality star wanna be.  Frankly, after rereading all this I find the truth far more interesting than what they made up.  But you get my point.  The only real things were their names and Marina's obnoxious behavior, that even the best writer could not tone down.

I wonder how the viewers who watch Lifetime Real Women will feel about all the sleazy put downs of women that Eddie and Albert manage to get into every episode?  I wish one of them would comment here and let us know.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Russian Dolls: Marina Eats Again!

Marina Gulping down a bowl of salad?  Sveta looks shocked!

I was reading throught the blog comments this morning and fans of the blog have made a special request.  They wanted me to capture Marina eating at Renata's after show party.  As you call, in episode 11 Perestroika, Marina does not attend Renata's play "Demon," but shows up to "pig out" on the food at the party.  While I was busy taking notes, so I could do a recap of the episode, I entirely missed the "gluttonous" segment, where Marina wolfs down a bowl of "salad."  Some kindly readers pointed it out to me and I went back to watch today.  I know you are dying for a close-up so here it is, but brace yourself:

This is actually the second on camera "mouthFULL" she takes

I took the opportunity to also watch the argument that ensued after the "eating," where Marina launches a full scale, no holds barred, attack, on Sveta and ruins Renata's party by once again having no self control.  Marina thinks everything is about her and does not know how to behave in public.  Quite unbecoming of a "socialite" whouldn't you say?   Please take NOTE of the man right next to Marina in the picture!

He sure for an "earFULL!"  He looks in pain!

Now you tell me, who in their right mind would do a talk show around that voice?  The mere idea of it is preposterous!  I wonder if the writers and producers, having 20/20 hindsight, want to kick themselves for selecting her out of hundreds of applicants?  Was having Rasputin as a backdrop really worth it?  In my opinion, no, but what do I know?  As for Marina?  Let her do what she does cake!

PS Marina, please listen to the Countess Luann's song "Money Can't Buy You Class" over and over until it sinks in.  Even the song helps even one person, it will be worth it.  Here is the link, you can listen between bites of cake:  Money CAN'T Buy You Class  Have a good listen!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Russian Dolls: Blog Quoted in Sheepshead Bites!

Imagine my surprise this morning to see myself quoted on this very popular website, "Sheepshead Bites?"  Apparently, they really enjoyed my blog about Marina's press release that was full of "hilarious snark."  I was going to blog about their article indicating that Russian Dolls may not be cancelled after all.  There is some "maneuvering" going on behind the scenes, trying to air it at different times with sister stations.  However, everyone in the cast seems to be "acting" (and I use the term loosely) as though there will be NO season two.  They are all tweeting and updating their facebooks with posts to the contrary.  They are moving on with other projects.  And I happen to think that is a good idea.  They shouldn't hold their breath for a season two.  Eddie is applying to Real World.  He wants to make the most of his 15 minutes of "lame."  Svetlana is making Russian Doll necklaces, Renata has her Passionista Movement, Anna has her modeling school/career, Anastasia can spend the next ten years in college figuring oout what to major in, Michael can try to focus on his law office and get a backbone so he can stand up to his wife, and as for Marina...let her eat cake! 

And a side note for Lifetime: You aired this show on a "women's network" and yet you didn't see a problem with the Eddie and Albert confessionals that always offended women?  How was that going to endear the show to your audience?  I found those "sidebars" very distasteful and unnecessary, but then again, as I say, what do I know?  I never produced a television show.

Picture credit: Sheepshead Bites  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Russian Dolls: Recap Episode 12 “Russian Dolls” Finale

Guess who was at Rasputin's International Women's day after all?

Count Vlad, Boris Glickstein, Renata Krumer and Tobi Rubenstein Schneier at Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret, celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting With Love…A Russian Soirée

Thank God this is the last episode, and I mean that. It’s hard enough to watch one show a week, but 4 shows in one morning was way too much.

At Anna’s house, Eddie tells her he wants to model and he has some pictures of himself. He feels it’s easy money. Is this is the same Eddie who insulted Anna’s school and career a few shows ago? Anna feels he has potential, but he is very arrogant and that is going to affect his chances of getting work. He has no idea how much work is involved.

Every year Michael and Marina host Women’s Day at Rasputin, with high end food and dancing. They discuss the guest list. Sveta is definitely not coming, but they are not sure about Renata and Boris. It’s a big problem. Michael says they need to have a “sit down” with Boris and Renata; he expects an apology and for them to say they were wrong asking Marina and him to leave the after party.

Anna calls Eddie about a modeling job. It’s a photo shoot and he wants to try it. Meanwhile, Albert tells Eddie he is getting serious about Anna and he is tired of being single, he wants more. Eddie warns him about getting hurt, Anna doesn’t commit.

Eddie shows up at the photo shoot. He has to take off his shirt and socks. The photographer is being very critical of him, but Eddie is acting like an idiot and Anna is pissed. Now they are going to pose together, half dressed on the bed, in some very seductive poses. Eddie is getting himself so worked up that when the session ends he starts making the moves on Anna. Never mind that she is dating his best friend, Eddie is going for it, and Anna puts the brakes on. Eddie is so not cool, geez!

Renata and Boris go to see Marina and Michael. Renata feels that Marina ruined her celebration party and she want an apology. But, Michael and Marina also want an apology for being thrown out. Check mate! Marina says she cannot be friends with anyone who is friends with Sveta. That does not sit well with Boris and Renata. It’s absurd. The whole conversation is going round in circles so Michael and Marina leave.

Boris and Renata are not invited to Women’s Day!

Diana has a preparty before going to Women’s Day at Rasputin. Albert and Anna arrive. Anna has pictures for her photo shoot with Eddie to show him, but she never showed Albert, and he was caught off guard. Albert gets upset. He believes Eddie was making moves on Anna behind his back, he is a backstabber. Albert starts a fist fight with Eddie. Anna is upset. Albert tells Anna he feels Eddie disrespected him. In the end they all go to the party together. Off to Rasputin for Women’s Day. There is a fashion show of fur coats.

Renata tells Sveta she would pick their friendship over Women’s Day any time. Sveta tells her that Marina and Michael will never apologize. She wants admirers not friends. Renata says she sees the best in people and she won’t change who she is.

The young Russians are having fun at the party. Eddie is stripping and dancing and kisses Diana.

The evening is over and they all leave. Anna kisses everyone, except Albert, goodbye and appears to walk off on her own. But, at the last second, she gets into Anthony’s car and speeds off after they share a kiss. Leaving Albert standing there alone and looking like a fool. What a way to end the season and the series.

Let me just say I did a lot of research on the show before it started, to get familiar with the cast members before beginning to blog. I ran into a few articles and pictures about Women’s Day at Rasputin. The show leads us to believe that Sveta and Renata and Boris are not going to be at Woman’s Day, BUT I believe they were so I am headed off right now to check it out.

Women’s Day took place March 8, 2011.

Quote with link below: Manhattan and Brooklyn Russian hotspot, Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret, celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting With Love…A Russian Soirée. Owner Marina Levitis of the fabulous cabaret, Rasputin, entertained her celebrity Russian guests with a glamorous fur fashion show highlighting emerging European designs and furs from Pologeorgis Fur and a live auction hosted by Boris Glickstein and his beautiful wife Russian radio host Renata Krumer.

So I guess Renata and Boris were there after all and all that talk about them not being there was a convenient lie?  So much for reality!

Russian Dolls: Recap Episode 11 “Perestroika”

Just when you think things cannot get worse, they do. The writers decide that Diana and Anastasia’s apartment is haunted by a ghost, yes a ghost. I hear it’s not even their real apartment, but one that Lifetime is allegedly paying for so they have someplace to film the show. So here we go…

Diana and Anastasia call Anna. They are upset because their apartment is haunted (all of a sudden, it was fine for the first 10 episodes). They tell her all the things that go on at night and that they are freaking out. The bathroom door is opening and closing, scratching on the wall, the fire alarm goes off by itself. What drama! If you watch the episode you can see that they even want to laugh at this storyline. But on with the show!

At Renata’s house she is rehearsing for the play “Demon” which is a classical Russian poem about love and sinful love that had been banned in Russia for many years. Renata wants all her friends there to support her, but Sveta and Marina have not spoken since the jewelry party at Rasputin. Renata thinks she can make peace between her two dear friends.

Diana and Anastasia visit Eva for some advice on how to get rid of their ghost. They figure she is a fortune teller and she should know. They tell her the television goes on by itself, there are footsteps on the stairs and all kinds of noises. Thank God Eva is well aware of what she calls the “Domoval” and knows exactly how to get rid of one! She tells them it’s a spirit and they way to get rid of it is to bang a broom against each wall of the apartment. Another remedy is to cook for it and then put your shoes out the door. They go home and try Eva’s suggestions. However, they do not cook so the order sushi for the ghost and then put the shoes outside. The rituals don’t work, big surprise! This is so ridiculous that I refuse to waste any more of my time writing about it and the writers should have been as smart as me too!

Renata is stressed about Sveta and Marina fighting at the play so she invites them over, but she doesn’t tell either one that the other is coming. Big mistake, she should know better. The doorbell rings and Sveta arrives first. Then it rings again and Marina walks in talking at the top of her lungs, so Sveta immediately knows who it is. Sveta does not like surprises and who can blame her…who wants to be surprised with Marina? Renata begins by sweetly talking to them both and trying to get them past their differences. She wants them both at her play. This is a huge deal for her being on Broadway. Marina says she cannot ignore what happened at Rasputin the evening of the jewelry show. Sveta says she has to leave, telling Renata “who does she think she is?”

Renata’s play on Broadway, “Demon” is her dream come true. Sveta shows up to support her. Diana is there to support Renata, but finds the show very boring and spends the entire time on the phone (great support! As I roll my eyes). Sveta enjoyed it and was glad Marina was not there. Wait a minute…Marina was not there? I smell trouble.

Boris is very upset that Michael and Marina did not show up for the play He says he will talk to them later about it. Boris and Renata host a party after the play and everyone is asking where Michael and Marina are. This was a big deal and they missed it. Marina gets to the after party late, with flowers, for Renata. Sveta mentions that it was disrespectful for her to miss the play and come late to the party. Renata doesn’t want any fighting, this is her night and Boris is hoping for an apology…good luck with that. Boris tells Michael off.

Eva approaches Sveta and says something to egg her on. When Sveta responds, Michael is upset that she is saying hurtful things to Eva. Then Marina comes over and the fight breaks out with lots of screaming. Marina claims that Sveta brings out the worst in her, but this socialite clearly does not know how to behave in public. The fight goes on as the two women curse each other out. When Renata comes out to see what is going on she sees Marina screaming and Sveta calm and collected. Boris becomes upset about Marina’s behavior and tells them to stop it out of respect for his wife. Marina, of course, keeps going. Boris throws out Marina, Michael and Eva. It was Renata’s day and they should not have ruined her party. Michael and Marina are pissed. I think this was pretty inevitable considering the people (Marina) involved.