A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series purports 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
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.
Violence & Scariness
Verbal abuse between friends, family members, and acquaintances is rampant, and occasional fisticuffs and scuffles also occur.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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"Bitch" and "hell" are frequent; "f--k" is bleeped but recognizable.
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Products & Purchases
Maserati and other luxury brands occasionally mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking to excess is common, as are scenes of smoking.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.