The upcoming Lifetime reality show, Russian Dolls, has been raising the ire of many residents and Russian-Americans, for its spin on the Russian community in Brighton Beach. But now its co-creator is speaking out against the criticism—and she pulls the beef tongue sandwich card.
Alina Dizik writes on the Wall Street Journal blog, Speakeasy:
Even though I’ve perfected an American accent and spent most of my life in the U.S. since moving to the states from Russia at age 7, my assimilation has been clunky to say the least. To this day I’m paranoid about getting caught by my American friends with a beef tongue sandwich from a Russian deli...
Creating a reality show about Brighton Beach, the home of the largest Russian-speaking community in the U.S., has been a way to show that this identity is in no way unique to me. There are hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking immigrants who straddle this cultural divide. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the assimilation process can be entertaining.
The best part of creating the show hasn’t been to show off our serious dancing chops or the long rambling toasts that we must endure from intoxicated family members. Or breaking through the chilly exterior of the personalities to show what I really see on the inside - families so close knit they can drive each other crazy. Unlike the Italians on a certain Jersey-based show, these are first generation Russian Americans and are paving the way for other reality shows about insular immigrant communities (Persian, Korean, Greek, etc). The emotions are still raw, not watered down with decades-old stereotypes hyped up for the viewer.
Maybe Dizik and Sallyann Salsano should have a throwdown.
But don't worry—as a casting director said about the show, "There will be plenty of vodka, techno music and guys wearing Adidas pants, leather jackets and gold chains, and driving souped-up cars. There will also be a lot of hot, decked-out Russian girls." See: