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.

Russian Dolls: Recap Episode 10 "Eastern Promises"

The young Russians are partying and when Anna decides to leave, Albert is a little disappointed. He realizes that his feelings for Anna extend beyond friendship.

Eva tells Michael that he needs to have another baby because it’s good for the family and it’s a sign of success. Michael is taking it all in and agrees. I think Eva is really interfering in her son’s marriage with this idea. This is a decision to be made by husband and wife alone and that is what Michael should have said. Instead he devises plans to try a sway Marina into going along with the idea. He knows she is going to give him a hard time, but he is determined to reawaken her feelings of motherhood. What kind of man is going to act like this? If he was ready for a baby then he should have brought it up to Marina long before his mother mentioned it.

Albert decides he is going to ask Anna out. He gets advice from Boris about being different from other men and acting confident. Maybe if Albert had been in the show more this might have been a credible storyline, but he has rarely done anything except those ridiculous confessionals with Eddie.

Michael arranges a romantic getaway for Marina at a hotel. There is champagne! Marina is automatically suspicious that if he is doing something nice he has to want something from her. He tells her he is ready to have another baby. Her feeling is that he may want another baby to play with, like a toy, for 15 minutes, but when he is done he will hand if back to her and all the work will be hers. She says their lifestyle right now is too busy and hectic for a baby. Michael answers they will get a nanny to help out. Marina says she is not that kind of mother, who has a baby and then hands it over to a nanny to raise. They can’t agree. But guess what? I totally agree with Marina on this issue. Having a baby means making sacrifices. Being a mother means being a “hands on” mother to nurture your child, not give it over to a stranger!

Diana throws a party and all the young Russians come, of course. Albert approaches Anna and is waiting for the right moment to ask her out. However, they start playing stupid games and they end with Albert having to kiss Anna in front of everyone. Albert resists, he holds back, and Anna is insulted and embarrassed. She hates the party and the games. So do I.

Albert calls Anna and asks her to meet him for coffee. He wants to explain what happened and why he didn’t kiss her. He is sorry she felt rejected. He tells her he was planning to ask her out on a real date and he didn’t want their first kiss to be part of a stupid game in front of everyone. She says yes to the date, she cares for him as a friend. They decide to try it and see where things lead. I think everyone knows this was probably not a great idea, but the writer’s needed something, they haven’t used Albert all season.

Michael is back on “Operation Baby” and his next bright idea is to borrow a toddler from a friend and let Marina watch her so her mother’s instincts will kick in. Marina is happy with the arrangement until the baby starts crying and she can’t calm her down. She starts calling for Michael to help her and of course he is nowhere to be found. This just confirms for her that she is right about not being ready for a baby. Michael didn’t spend any time with the baby and his plan totally backfired!

At Anna’s house, Anna tells the girls about her date with Albert at the Orange Room. She tells them that he isn’t her type and she has no romantic interest in him. Diana and I both want to know why she accepted the date in the first place. We don’t get it. But then Diana and Anastasia help her pick out a dress to wear without questioning her about it.

Albert wants to impress Anna. The restaurant is very nice but she mentions he didn’t bring her flowers. He says he couldn’t afford flowers and dinner because it was expensive. She says well at least you are honest. He tells her it’s easy for him to be himself because they have been friends a long time and he is relaxed. Anna feels at ease with him and says she is starting to change her mind about him and seeing him differently. She gets a bouquet of flowers with monkeys, she loves monkeys. Apparently Albert had ordered them and had them delivered to the restaurant for her. They kiss. Very impressive move Albert.

The two storylines, Michael and Marina’s baby and Anna and Albert dating, were really pushing the envelope. Shouldn’t there be a little reality in a reality show? Just a little. The more I watch the more unreal things get. Nothing is believable. The storylines are weak and when you don’t have professional actors to try to make them seem plausible is it any wonder the show went under?

Russian Dolls: Recap Episode 9 “Single Russian Female”

Countdown to the last four episodes begins with number 9 “Single Russian Female.” I have already recapped episode 8 and you can search for it in the search bar (right hand bottom side of blog). I will try to recap all the episodes as soon as possible, but I have no idea how long it will take.

Diana announces she is going on a blind date to Anastasia and Eddie. He is older, serious, has businesses, is marriage minded. Diana thinks she is ready to settle down and “pop one out.” She meets her mystery man, Albert, and tells him she is in school. He has a business degree and 13 cell phone stores. She tells him she is 23 and wants a baby by the time she is 25. Her mother told her to finish school and have a family. They toast to a potential second date. Diana should have a clue how to conduct herself on a first date. These contrived storylines to move things along at ridiculous speeds just makes the show more ridiculous.

Eva announces to Marina and Michael that she is ready to start dating again. She is lonely. Marina says, “I need to get rid of this woman!” She is all for Eva dating. She wants her to see a reliable matchmaker and Eva says she already did. Can Marina be any more rude and disrespectful? Every single time she talks about Eva it is with contempt.

Diana and Eddie and Anastasia throw snow around the house while Diana fills them in on Albert, her new love interest. He is 33, single and rich. They created a nice little scene between these three young Russian cast members so Diana can fill them in on her blind date, Albert, but seriously couldn’t they create a scenario that did not involve throwing snow all over the apartment? It’s time these people act their age already.

Diana meets Albert again and they are at a pool hall playing pool. Not the type of romantic date I would have imagined a rich guy, wanting to impress a young beautiful girl, would arrange. But that’s just me, I hate pool halls. Diana thinks he is marriage material and tells him she wants him to meet her parents. He takes a deep breath, she is moving fast, but he agrees to go. Now, the show emphasizes how materialistic and high maintenance Russian women are and yet this rich guy gets away with a date at a pool hall? I am low maintenance and not materialistic, and I would dump a guy for taking me to a pool hall on a date.

Eva and Marina go to the matchmaker. Eva wants a partner for life, who she can trust. The matchmaker asks if sex is important? Eva says yes, she wants someone between 20 and 40. Marina wants to throw up. This is the first time I agree with Marina and maybe the last. Eva wants someone who moves and dances and can keep up with her. She wants a friendship and sexual relationship. Of course I do not believe for one second this is actually what Eva wants. In their attempt to shock viewers with their storyline the writers have once again made the mistake of being over the top ridiculous. What else can I say? I think they should have taken more time thinking this series out and writing scripts because nothing they write is working.

Eva returns to the matchmaker by herself, to see who she has selected for her. She shows Eva the profile of a guy named Joe, who is 35. He has energy and is open to seeing a more mature woman. Eva is excited to tell Marina and Michael about her first date. She tells them the matchmaker found her a 35 year old man. Both Michael and Marina are very upset. Michael is upset with Marina because he sent her with Eva so this would not happen. Young guys are attracted to older women for green cards or money. Michael says, no way will he support her in this. Marina says it’s disgusting and Eva is a joke. I have to admit that this whole scenario makes Eva look bad. She can like younger men within reason, but the 20 to 40 age group? Her own son is in that group and maybe Joe is younger than Michael. I don’t hold it against Eva, I hold it against the writers.

Diana tells her mother she is seeing a Russian guy who is 32 years old, who owns a few cell phone stores and has a college education. Diana hates waiting for the perfect guy and moving to the next step in her life. She is in a rush to be married with a child. Diana tells her mother she is bringing him over to introduce him to her. Her mother says okay. After two dates? And one at a pool hall? This is Mr. Right? Give me a break already.

Diana and Anastasia are getting their nails done when Eva walks into the salon and tells them about her date with a 35 year old guy. She is 55 and a cougar and will wear something sexy. It’s her dream to meet a younger guy. Eva asks them about “bases and homeruns” in dating. And she wants to know when is it appropriate to have sex. Anastasia hatches an escape plan in case Eva hates the guy. She will call her with an emergency and if she needs to leave she can. What person in their right mind thinks is it plausible that a 55 year old women is going to act like an inexperienced, naïve, 22 year old? She should be looking for established men in maybe the 45 to 55 year old range. If she wants a long lasting relationship and someone she can trust, that is what is needed, but that has not shock value. I think if it was “real,” the whole matchmaker dating idea might have worked, but never this way.

Eva gets dressed for her date. She researches online what to say on first dates and practices. She meets Joey at a restaurant and he brings her a long stemmed rose. He says he is 35 and she tells him she is 55. He says she doesn’t look it. She asks him what he does in his free time. He says he watches tv and relaxes. She is not happy with that answer. He is young but acts like an old man. The phone rings. It’s Anastasia, the escape plan in in effect. She pretends it’s an emergency and runs out on Joey. So very lame, it’s pathetic.

Diana tells Anastasia that Albert is not going to meet her parents. He called and said he will not be coming, he is standing her up. He thinks they are moving too fast. Diana is mad. She tells her mother that he will not be coming after all. Her mother tells her not to push him. Diana says she is done with Albert, no surprise there. Seriously, there has not been anything remotely credible about this episode or the series. I have three more to watch and blog. Wish me luck! I’ll need it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Russian Dolls: Saving Russian Dolls?

Brandon Boyd has recently started a facebook page to save Russian Dolls on Lifetime.  Either he is an overzealous fan or has some connection to the show, I don't know which one, but I found it interesting that he is trying to get support for the show this late in the game.  I was going to post a reminder about the marathon tomorrow morning for the last episodes for those of you who want to see it to the end.  I decided to combine both topics into one blog.

Apparently Russian Dolls does have its fans, albeit not enough for Lifetime to consider a season two.  The show probably cost them money, I doubt they made any profits.  No harm done, they can deduct the loss as a business expense.  But I do feel bad for people like Brandon, who got invested in the show only to have it come to a swift end.  I even feel sorry for me, for starting this blog when I believed the media hype that this would be the next Jersey Shore.  I thought it was going to be a successful show and make all the work worthwhile.  Instead, with the demise of the show, I am left with a virtually worthless blog.  Once the final shows air, there will be nothing to write about.  I will have to move on and so will Brandon.

But, if there are some fans out there who want the chance to show their support, please go to Brandon's page and "like" it.  They say numbers talk.  If he gets enough fans over to his page maybe it will give Lifetime something to talk about?   But you better hurry because tomorrow the final shows will air and I think Lifetime is washing it's hand of the show and the cast members.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Russian Dolls: Eddie's Pet Peeves

What is the latest on Eddie?  Does anyone care?  Well if you do, apparently he has applied for a role on Real World.  Real World is casting, so he says, and they are better than Lifetime.  However there appears to be a slight problem.  According to his contract with Lifetime, he cannot be cast on any other reality show for six months.  I don't think Real World will want to wait six months for Eddie.

Eddie wants to remain in the entertainment industry, and seems determined.  But, maybe he has had his chance and this is the end of the line for him?  He always has his poetry, but if I were him I would not pin my hopes on poetry or television.  Maybe he should go back to school or find a real job.

Good Luck Eddie!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Russian Dolls: Marina Issues Press Release

Marina plans a spin off show and cookbook, so she says, in a press release SHE issued. Well she better find herself a production company and publisher and finance it herself. No one in their right mind is going to invest money in her with that abrasive personality and high pitched voice, when there are so many other talented and personable people available for work. The offers are not pouring in as Michael and Marina would like us to believe or there would be no need for a press release, she would be in negotiations.

The only reason Marina appeared in so many newspapers is because of the controversy the show stirred up in the Russian community of Brighton Beach. That is the real reason the show made the news. The very people who were offended by the show brought much attention to it. However, it did not take many episodes to figure out the show was not going to last very long. The cast members and storylines were uninteresting to boring and there was too much not real about a show that is supposed to be a reality show.

In her press release, Marina makes sure to do plenty of name dropping as though it is going to impress us that she has a Hermes bag or a be diamonded watch. Who cares? Her full bodied figure is far from flattering when she insists on wearing tight fitting clothing. Even the greatest designer in the world cannot make her look stunningly beautiful, as she appears in her own mind’s eye.

Eva’s audition did not make it to air on the show X Factor, but Marina claims Simon Cowell promised to eat at Rasputin! If he did in fact say that, he was being polite at best. Why would he eat there when NYC is home to a couple of Gordon Ramsey restaurants, where the food is bound to be delicious and impeccably made from the finest ingredients. As you recall, on the show, they served pigs in a blanket at Sveta’s jewelry show. That is food for peasants not socialites.

This whole press release is the biggest joke of all that has come out of Russian Dolls. Read it if you can and please share your opinion.

Link To Press Release:

What do you think of this new development? Is there anything here that rings true for you?