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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Russian-American version of "Jersey Shore" is the greatest idea ever

Do svidanya, "Jersey Shore." Privet, "Brighton Beach!"

As a closet fan of the MTV reality-trash show "Jersey Shore" -- go ahead, roll your eyes -- and a lover of all things Russian, the news that producers of a copycat version of the "show" featuring Russian-Americans are auditioning for participants just made me about as excited as Vladimir Putin curtailing freedom. According to that venerable news institution, The New York Post, the show "aims to be a cross between 'Jersey Shore' and 'Anna Karenina.'" (Ummm, unless the Russian Snooki throws herself under a train, I'm not sure how the "Anna Karenina" comparison works, but I'll allow it).

However, the rest of the description of "Brighton Beach" from co-creator Elina Miller seems to take direct inspiration from "Jersey Shore": "There will be plenty of vodka, techno music and guys wearing Adidas pants, leather jackets and gold chains, and driving souped-up cars. There will also be a lot of hot, decked-out Russian girls." Though the producers of "Brighton Beach" are still shopping around for a cable network, the show will mirror its MTV counterpart and feature a group of young partiers living in a house in Brighton Beach, a part of Brooklyn that has long been home to Russian and Ukrainian immigrants and is often dubbed "Little Odessa."

It's been 20 years since the end of the Cold War, so what better way to show our love for our Russki comrades than by perpetuating stereotypes, right? On the show's Web site (yes, I did look it up), sample questions for interested participants include "What percentage of your friends are Russian?" and a caveat that the producers would, quote, "love to meet your grandma." Awe-some. Side note: I really hope they cast a babushka on the show -- nothing speaks more about the Russian culture like an old, nosy woman who tells young people to wear hats so they don't catch a cold. Bet you won't see THAT on "Jersey Shore."

-- Malavika Jagannathan,

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