Friday, September 2, 2011

Russian Dolls: Recap Episode 4 “Ruski Business”

The episode opens with Sveta telling her story of how she and her family came to the United States. She says they came right after Chernobyl happened. She feels she has a presence when she walks into a room and she makes a statement. She knows what she likes and isn’t full of herself, but she admits that she can be snobby. She admits to being a “material girl.” Her husband’s name is Sasha, and it appears that Sveta wears the pants in the family, as she berates her husband for not having a plan. He was a jeweler in Kiev for 10 years, so when they arrived here they decided to open a jewelry store.

Sveta says they have been trying to come up with ways to bring new business to the store so she decided to talk to Marina about doing a jewelry show at Rasputin. They meet to discuss it the jewelry “expo.” Sveta thinks the show will be mutually beneficial for their store and Rasputin as well. Marina launches into her spiel about Rasputin being around for 20 years and it being the most famous Russian restaurant in the world (I think she forgot a few, like the Russian Tea Room?).

At first, Marina says she was excited about the show, and she suggests a good time for it would be 5 to 7 PM, before the dinner crowd comes in. Sveta asks about Thursday, and Michael says they will have to open the restaurant especially for her party and it will cost a little extra. Sveta says when you do a show like this you are putting your name and reputation out there for people to see, so you want everything to be perfect. Michael says they will send out emails to their VIP client list, probably 10,000 names will be invited to the show. Sveta wants to know how many people will come out for the show out of 10,000 emails. Michael tells her to assume 50. She looks disgusted. Then Michael adds, the show will cost her $2,000. Sveta was shocked. She is haggling about the price. Michael says they are doing this as a complete favor to her. They have to cover their costs to pay employees, food and drinks. To try to appease her, Marina suggests that maybe they can work out a trade and Sveta can give her a piece of jewelry, that costs her $2,000 wholesale, in exchange for the show. Sveta says it’s a possibility, Russians like to barter.

Over to Anastasia’s home, she is talking to Eddie. They are in deep discussion about different ways to drink alcohol, again. Her ex boyfriend Vlad calls. They went out for four years and broke up 10 months ago. He has been calling and texting, trying to get back into her life. Eddie appears concerned for Anastasia, he says when he thinks of them together all he sees is Anastasia crying on his shoulder. He hurt her a couple of times. Vlad invites her out to lunch for the next day. She agrees to go at 3, and Eddie asks if she is getting back with him. She says she is terrified to get back with him, it’s just lunch. Eddie reveals that he and Anastasia made a pack that if they are both still single in 5 years, when they are 30, they are going to get married. Eddie thinks she deserves better than Vlad, he’s a “douche-bag!”

Back to Sveta, who says she had a bad feeling about the whole deal regarding her show. She decides to meet with Marian and discuss the details. Marina says they have about 25 people who responded yes to the show. Her first inclination was to cancel the show. The whole point of the show is to attract customers from Rasputin. However, Michael wants her to pay for a set number of people which they may not get. If there are not 50 people at minimum, she feels she is over paying. Sveta says, “Just because someone presents themselves as rich and famous, it doesn’t mean they have more class than anyone else.’ ZING! Marina is getting annoyed because they agreed on the price and now Sveta has all these concerns. Sveta wants to make sure she is getting something out of the show. Marina says even if she gets one customer and sells a nice piece, the show will have been a success. Marina says the show hasn’t even started and Sveta is going into it with an evil attitude. Marina’s formula: “they gonna come, they gonna see, they gonna like, they gonna buy” simple.

Anastasia meets Vlad and she is scared because the last 10 months have been hard on her. They discuss why they broke up, she asks if maybe he wasn’t ready to be in a serious relationship. He says he didn’t know what he was doing at 23. He feels bad because they were fighting and broke up over no real reason. Anastasia says being with him felt natural and so right. When he takes her hand, she knew this wasn’t just a talk, and then they get cozy.

Over at Marina’s house she is getting ready for the jewelry show and even has a makeup artist doing her face, like she is a star. Tell me, who has a makeup artist in their home? Michael walks in and asks how her meeting with Sveta went yesterday, like we are supposed to believe Marina could keep her mouth shut for 24 hours about how annoyed she was with Sveta. Nevertheless, we will play along, as she tells him it was very stressful (for the first time @@). She tells Michael they were going to discuss the details when Sveta just started attacking her and accusing her of overcharging. Michael says so why bother doing it, cancel it. Marina says no they can’t cancel, people are coming. Sveta then tells her husband how Marina was talking to her at the meeting and waving her hands. Marina says Sveta is delusional, she is trying to be a pig and trying to get every penny out of her!” She doesn’t want to understand that this is how much it takes to cover their costs. Sveta says Marina thinks she is perfect, a fashion whore, and think she has the best clothes and jewelry in the world. Marina swears after the show they are done forever.

Back to Anastasia and Eddie at her home. She tells him she is having the best time with Vlad. They are together every day. Eddie thinks she is nuts. She says no, because they are taking it slow and it feels good. She knows it is going to lead to them getting back together. Eddie is not happy and says he doesn’t trust this guy and doesn’t know what Anastasia is thinking. She insists Vlad has changed. Eddie says if he hurts her again he is going to kill him.

Over at Rasputin the jewelry show is about to start. Both Sveta and Marina have bad attitudes that can only end up with them clashing. Sveta is expecting to see at least 50 VIPs, great service, great food and an open bar. If they don’t deliver it will be a complete waste of time and money for Sveta. Marina just wants to get through the two hours and move on. The show starts and there seems to be quite a few people there. Marina is mingling with the customers, but Sveta is standing there with her arms crossed looking very unapproachable. Sveta says, she is very disappointed because she doesn’t feel she will even make enough sales to cover the cost of the show. Marina is promoting the jewelry store and the merchandise and says the husband is a sweetheart. Then Marina adds if Sveta gets involved there are no deals…what? How can this help sales? Now, Sveta is completely disgusted with the “open bar” and says, it has the cheapest vodka and some red stuff. No champagne, no wine, nothing! And the food, she wasn’t happy with that either. She feels they presented the show in the worst possible way and it was a total waste of time and money. Michael and Marina are the ultimate hustlers.

The show is over and it’s time to settle up. Marina is trying to pick out a piece of jewelry to pay for the cost of the show. Sveta feels that Marina would not be happy with anything worth $2,000, and Marina feels Sveta is dishonest and a cheater. Sveta is yelling $2,000 for pigs in a blanket and you call that an open bar? Michael says they were just giving them the space. Sveta was totally disappointed in the services provided. The arguing goes on between Sveta, Marina and Michael, Sasha tries to step in. Michael says “if you want to stiff us, stiff us.” Marina says she doesn’t want anything from her at this point. She doesn’t want to be abused by this b!tch. Marina says they have no class, that’s it! If she wants to look like a thief in this community, go ahead.

Back to Anastasia’s where she invites Vlad over for some wine and a hot tub session. They are very lovey dovey and she sees it as a new chapter. She wants more communication from him, he says one step at a time. While they are kissing in the hot tub, Eddie calls to invite her out, his call goes unanswered. Then Vlad picks up Anastasia in his arms and carries her into the bedroom. Shuts the door.

My turn…well the clash between Sveta and Marina was bound to happen and of course that is exactly the kind of drama the show wants. I think it was close to a tie. I don’t know Sveta as well as Marina, but from what I saw of the show I think Sveta had some excellent points. Marina would not serve VIPs cheap vodka or pigs in a blanket and the open bar looked bad even to me, a nondrinker. However, Sveta did agreed on the price ahead of time and if she felt she was getting ripped off she should have cancelled the event rather than create bad blood. The truth of the matter is that I think Lifetime actually paid for the jewelry show and it was their idea. They got a lot of video out of it and drama. So I do not think Marina or Sveta were out any money, though they may not really like each other.

Anastasia can’t make up her mind about anything. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. As much as I hate to agree with Eddie, and I do, he is right on the money about not trusting this guy, Vlad. Anastasia says they are taking things slowly, but obviously not slow enough. She should be focused on school and getting her degree. She sure doesn’t need another distraction from doing that. Good luck Anastasia.

Picture credit: Lifetime

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