My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding TV Poster Image
Voyeuristic look into the world of the American Gypsy.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series highlights the conservative and patriarchal culture and traditions of the American gypsy and Traveller communities surrounding gender, courtship, and marriage. Stereotypes and stigmas faced by these communities is sometimes discussed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents are loving and protective of their children, but demonstrate this differently based on their gender. They are also committed to teaching their children about their culture and preserving their way of life. Characters are sometimes quick tempered, critical, and occasionally violent.

Violence

Rivalries between families lead to threats of violence; occasionally fist fights break out at social functions. The series subtly notes that Romanichal men have explosive tempers and a history of violence against women.

Sex

Features continuous discussions about the importance of perserving a young woman's virginity; most girls are kept in the dark about sex, pregnancy, and related issues until after they are married.

Language

Curses like "f--k" are "bleeped." Words like "slut" and "skank" are used.

Consumerism

Swarovski crystals are frequently discussed. Logos for Party City and other businesses visible. Sondra Celli's dressmaker shop logo is visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Men are shown smoking and drinking; unmarried women are forbidden from doing the same.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this spinoff of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, featuring American Gypsy and Traveller communities celebrating weddings and other ceremonies, includes discussion of issues like premarital sex and domestic abuse. It contains some bleeped language ("f--k"), as well as some sexually oriented insults ("slut"). Drinking is occasionally visible at celebrations, and many of the young men smoke cigarettes. Some folks may find the cultural traditions of these communities to be sexist and out of touch with mainstream expectations, while others may find it interesting to see how they are able to hold on to their ancient way of life while embracing middle-class American values.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfuschia May 6, 2012

Pass

This show is full of drinking, cursing, and very trashy women. It is another show featuring objectification of women and very immature behavior. The women are s... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 18+ year old Written byChristine B. March 6, 2018

Relatable

I was raised as a gypsy, and this show is very relatable for me! Though I no longer act like this, it is very useful to show my children how I grew up! I was bo... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySummerGaal May 29, 2012

Ahem.

Personally one of my "have to watch" shows, I would be careful with exactly who watched it. There are alcoholics and heavily intoxicated people on so... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHazelle May 26, 2014

It's entertaining.....

It's entertaining if you like reality TV, which I do, but I don't recommend it for kids under 11. They're not really gypsies though, more like tr... Continue reading

What's the story?

MY BIG FAT AMERICAN GYPSY WEDDING is a reality series designed to introduce viewers to American Romanichal Gypsy and Traveller communities. Like its British sister series, cameras follow select Gypsy families as they plan elaborate weddings, baptisms, communions, and birthday parties designed to impress. Designing and creating the lavish dresses for these events is Boston dressmaker Sondra Celli. It shows how planning and enjoying these over-the-top celebrations form part of their private and conservative ancient traditions. Viewers also get to see how these communities are holding on to their way of life despite the influences of American mainstream culture. But while they blend into an American middle-class way of life, they must cope with the continued stigmas that surround their communities, and deal with the tensions created when the rules governing their communities conflict with local, state, and federal laws.

Is it any good?

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding offers a voyeuristic look into the lives of American Roma and Traveller communities, whose ancestors were shipped from Europe to American southern plantations as slaves or who arrived Stateside during the immigration waves in the mid 1800s. But unlike their European counterparts, many of the families featured on the show have chosen to hold on to their traditions while blending into a mainstream middle-class lifestyle.

While most of the show's focus is on how wildly extravagant their outfits are and how wild their behavior can become during celebrations, it also underscores many of the cultural practices that sets them apart from other American ethnic communities, which range from extremely patriarchal ways of thinking about women to dealing with the many stereotypes used to define them. Viewers may find their way of life out of touch or extreme, but they may also be surprised by how they are able to hold on to these values within mainstream American culture.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stereotypes that exist about Gypsies and Traveller communities in America. Where do these generalizations come from? Why are they often negative? In what ways does the media perpetuate them?

  • Do you think appearing on reality shows like this one will help break down stereotypes, or add to generalizations? After watching this show, Is there anything that you learned about these American communities that surprises you?

TV details

For kids who love reality shows

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