The new Lifetime TV reality show Russian Dolls has begun to touch off the same sort of controversy that MTV's Jersey Shore did when it debuted. The series, which debuted on August 11, features six women and two men and other cast members, all of them from the former Soviet Union, who live or have lived in Brighton Beach, a seaside area of Brooklyn, New York. A Facebook group, "We Are Not Brighton Beach (The Show)," composed of people living in the neighborhood where the show is taped, has attracted hundreds of members. Russian Dolls has also sparked the foundation of a group in the area called the Russian-Speaking American Leadership Caucus (RSALC). In her review of the show, Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times remarked, "Stereotypes are to reality shows what nuclear fusion is to the hydrogen bomb you simply can't have one without the other." An Associated Press article about the show appearing today (Thursday) observes that Russian Dolls "has drawn the wrath of neighbors and community leaders who say it creates a caricature of their immigrant world." While cast members claim that they are merely exaggerating reality, John Lisyanskiy, founder of the RSALC, told The Wire service, "This is not who we are. ... Even if it's of entertainment value, when people are watching this kind of material, it sticks with them, they start to believe it."

01/09/2011