Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: MADE, True Life, World of Jenks
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Mob Wives spin-off has laughs, drinking, and stereotypes.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Big Ang, which follows Mob Wives cast member Angela Raiola as she runs her newly refurbished Staten Island bar, has lots of drinking, smoking, and salty language ("s--t," "f--k" bleeped), as well as lots of wild partying, sexy dancing, and men and women of all ages in skimpy outfits. There are lots of funny moments, but the show also reinforces lots of stereotypes about the Italian-American community.
- Families can talk about reality shows that feature people who are allegedly connected to the Mafia. Do shows like this one reinforce or challenge existing stereotypes about the connection between specific ethnic and racial communities and organized crime?
- Why do you think people find these shows entertaining? Are these representations glorifying the gangster lifestyle? Is this appropriate?
- What do these characters have to gain or lose by being on this show?
What's the story?
BIG ANG follows Mob Wives cast member Angela Raiola as she relaunches her Staten Island bar, the Drunken Monkey, in hopes of drawing in a younger, sexier crowd. Known for her popularity among alleged gangsters over the years, the bar owner spends her time reminiscing about the "good old days" with her crew, including best friends "little Jen" and Linda. Also making appearances is Ang's older sister, Janine, who makes sure that Ang is actually paying her bills on time; and Ang's son, A.J., who still needs her to do his laundry. From figuring out her relationship with her estranged husband to encouraging lots of wild behavior at the bar, Raiola still lives her life to the fullest.
Is it any good?
Big Ang offers lots of entertaining moments thanks to Raiola's larger-than-life personality and surgically enhanced appearance, which is so genuinely over-the-top that you can't help but chuckle at everything she says and does. Her straightforward and unapologetic acceptance of who she is also makes her very likable.If you're looking for some voyeuristic entertainment, Big Ang will definitely fit the bill. But like its parent series, it underscores lots of stereotypes about the Italian-American community. And while there's lots to laugh at here, Big Ang also features subtle reminders of what Raiola's life was like -- and the benefits she reaped -- as a modern-day mobster moll.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Big Ang highlights the day-to-day antics of a woman who continues to live in the shadow of her family's and friends' alleged mobster activities. While messages of being yourself and enjoying life are prominent, so are the ideas that drinking heavily and getting plastic surgery are part of that joy.
Role Models: Angela has a larger-than-life personality, but she's a caring sister and friend to those who have proven to be loyal to her family. A little person is featured as the "drunken monkey" at the Drunken Monkey bar. Italian-American stereotypes run throughout.
What to watch out for
Violence Arguments between sisters and friends.
Sex: Angela is known for her large artificial breasts, and she likes to show them off with low necklines. Women of all ages are sometimes featured in tight clothes and skimpy bikinis; young men are often shown with their shirts off. Wild sexy dancing and fondling are often visible at the bar.
Language: Words like "s--t" and "f--k" are used regularly but fully bleeped.
Consumerism: Angela and her friends are often seen with designer accessories (Chanel, Gucci, etc.), but the logos aren't prominently visible. The series is a promotional vehicle for Angela's bar, the Drunken Monkey. Occasionally local Staten Island haunts are visible.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Lots of drinking at the bar (shots, beer, etc.), over meals (cocktails, wine), and at social gatherings (Champagne). Frequent cigarette smoking. Angela accuses her husband of being "a drunk."