(Courtesy of MTV)
The latest content dump on MTV comes in the form of a show called Made In Staten Island, which brings viewers to “the forgotten borough” for a glimpse at what appears to be the lives of mafia teens. Or, mafia young adults (the coming-of-age series mostly features 19 to 25 years old). It’s produced by Mob Wives‘ Karen Gravano, who is the daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (of the former Gambino crime family). This is basically what would have happened if The Sopranos ended with AJ Soprano getting a reality show deal.
While one of the catchphrases you’ll hear is, “What doesn’t kill you makes you a boss,” Gravano claims, “It’s not glorifying criminal activity. It’s about kids making it through the struggle.”
You’ve seen the glitz of Manhattan, but things happen a little differently on Staten Island. 🗽 Watch the series premiere of #MadeInStatenIsland next Monday, January 14th at 10/9c on @MTV! pic.twitter.com/FbuJpqLwfr
— Made In Staten Island (@statenislandmtv) January 8, 2019
In a 5-minute teaser for the show (above), Christian (a.k.a. “CP”) is our guide through the streets of the South Shore section. He explains, “half the houses here belong to mafia guys… a lot of us are faced with two options: the street life or the straight life.” As we meet the cast of characters, there’s a montage of clips showing fights in darkened parking lots, a cinder block through a windshield, and parental talks about landing on Rikers if you kids don’t clean your f-cking acts up.
The social media accounts for the show have been sharing additional scenes leading up to the premiere, with captions like: “Shit gets real when CP goes to visit his father in prison!”
The show is set to premiere on January 14th, despite critical backlash. Even Mayor de Blasio tweeted about it, saying it’s “peddling stereotypes in a shameless ratings grab.”
Anyone who has spent any time on Staten Island knows MTV is peddling stereotypes in a shameless ratings grab. https://t.co/funzkVDRxP
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 6, 2019
Staten Island native Tom Wrobleski wrote about the show for the SI Advance, noting it isn’t total fiction, but it’s certainly not the full picture of the borough: “Yep, there’s nothing more precedent-shattering for a show about Staten Island than cloaking yourself in the mantle of the mob. Such originality … I would rather that Staten Island be known for its great parks or beautiful waterfront … [but] I can’t disagree with any of it. The people I see on shows like this… are the kind of people I hid from in grammar school.”
A petition has been circulating (it currently has over 7,000 signatures), which states:
The portrayal of Staten Island as a cesspool of gangsters, meatheads and low lives appears to be the main focus of MTV show development in recent years. A show like this demeans what it is to be from Staten Island… [It] has one of the highest per capita incomes out of the five boroughs, and we also have several higher education institutions with very good graduation rates and excellent public schools serviced by caring teachers.
Even the Trump-supporting politicians of the Island hate it:
Anyway, at least we can all agree that it really should be Made ON Staten Island.