Russian Dolls

TV review by
Elka Karl, Common Sense Media
Russian Dolls TV Poster Image
Jersey Shore meets Real Housewives...with a Russian twist.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series proports to show the cultural pride of the Russian immigrant community of Brighton Beach, but the community is presented as outlandish, obsessed with material things, and over-sexed. The women are very focused on appearance and reinforce some negative ideas about women's bodies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The women admit to dating (and sometimes having sex with) men for superficial or material reasons. They also undergo or discuss plastic surgery. Men often solve problems with violence. Women spend a lot of money on luxury goods.


Verbal abuse between friends, family members, and acquaintances is rampant, and occasional fisticuffs and scuffles also occur.


There is no actual sex shown. However, all of the women on the show talk about their sexiness, their "vajayjays," and "giving up the goods." They discuss breast enhancement, dressing provocatively, and there are occasional shots of women in lingerie. One man insinuates that a woman will have sex with him because she wants a free dinner.


"Bitch" and "hell" are frequent; "f--k" is bleeped but recognizable.


Maserati and other luxury brands occasionally mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking to excess is common, as are scenes of smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show is full of strong language, sexual discussions, and outrageous consumer spending. While the show purports to represent Russian family values and the Russian immigrant experience, the show instead focuses on stereotypical depictions of the Russian community in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKatyaH October 8, 2011

Elka are you Russian?

Elka, I don't agree with your review. This show is for people who want to learn about Russian culture - and our culture IS full of stereotypes. Bad languag... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Several generations of RUSSIAN DOLLS and their families are chronicled in their community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The reality show chronicles the women's over-the-top behavior, which includes casually spending $20,000 on a piece of jewelry, and talking extensively about the need for botox, fillers, and fake boobs.

Is it any good?

Given that the name of this reality series is Russian Dolls, as opposed to Russian Women, it's safe to bet that the show isn't going to focus on feminist values. And while the show claims to represents the immigrant experience, it's clearly a skewed perspective. These women's immigrant experience revolves around gabbing about "vajayjays," belly dancing at grandma pageants, and spending one's day in a bathhouse eating fish and drinking beer.

The women featured on the show are a thick tangle of contradictions. Marina, who owns a nightclub with her husband, wants respect from everyone around her, yet spends much of her free time badmouthing her mother-in-law, acting like more of a child than her two children, and buying anything that is "big and blingy and definitely Russian style." Twenty-three-year-old Diana, who came to the United States when she was 3, is apparently dating a Spanish guy in large part because he drives a Maserati, yet she wants to  find a Russian husband and have a baby by 25 so she can be a hot mom. Underneath all the bling and the blather, the women (and men) display a cultural pride, but any of the potential positivity is lost amid the stereotypes and outlandish behavior.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Russian immigrant experience is represented on this reality show. Do you think that the people on the show represent the whole of Russian culture in the United States? What kinds of stereotypes are reinforced here?

  • Why do you think the women spend so much time talking about plastic surgery and Botox? Do you think they feel pressured to look good by other people in their community? Why do you think they spend so much money on their appearance? Would you spend $20,000 on a piece of jewelry if you had the money to do so?

  • Do you think that the women on the show are strong and independent women? What do these women do on the show that makes you think that they are or aren't?

TV details

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