Joe Bruno on the Mob – Big Ang– Hit or Miss?
Right off the Bat, the Big Ang show on VH1, a takeoff of Mob Wives, and staring Big Ang Raiola, is not the abomination that the program Mob Wives is. In fact, in spite of myself, I found the show mildly enjoyable.
At the show’s opening, Big Ang, wearing a low-cut red dress tell the audience, “I like everything big – big boobs (she jingles her impressive breasts), big cars, big home, and big jewelry (she waves her hand full of diamonds at the camera).”
The cast of character of Big Ang thankfully contains none of the obnoxious stars of Mob Wives; no Karen Gravano and no Renee Graziano. The Big Ang show is about having laughs, drinking enormous amounts of booze at Big Ang’s Staten Island bar “The Drunken Monkey,” and ogling guys young enough to be her sons, and in some cases, grandsons.
After telling the TV audience that she “loves money and Wise-Guys,” Big Ang introduces her crew; Crazy Linda and Little Jen, and her little dog Louis. Also includes in her crew is her younger sister Janine (six years younger than Big Ang), who is the exact opposite of Big Ang’s bombastic persona. Janine is the brains of the crew; calmly keeping everyone is a semblance of order, even Little Louie.
Big Ang says of her crew, “The people I like are wackos who are loyal.”
Thinking back to the past when these three girls must have been hot, attractive numbers (they are no longer that, no matter how hard they try)) Big Ang says, “The Wize – Guys loved us. But now half of them are dead, half of them are rats, and the other half are decrepit.”
Big Ang obviously thinks three halves make a whole.
“Wackos” is the right word for Big Ang’s crew. Little Jen is 53 years old, and is so afraid of the dark; she still lives with her parents. Apparently Little Jen got sick a few years back, and was in a coma for five days. But she now proudly says, “They thought I was dead but I f****d them up and here I am.” (There’s a little cursing in the show, but nowhere near the amount of cursing on Mob Wives.)
Crazy Linda is just that – crazy. She says she was the sexy one in the crew, and they did show two photos of Crazy Linda way back when; one in a bikini and one with her bare legs the focal point while she lay sprawled on a small couch. Truthfully, she was a nice looking broad, but that was so long ago, Perry Mason was the top show on television at the time.
The opening show is all about Big Ang and the grand re-opening of her bar “The Drunken Money,” a small, narrow bistro which was renovated by her brother-in-law Dom, a big lug with a bald head and a spit-eating grin on his chubby face. Dom looks nothing like a contractor, and everything like your sweet neighborhood bookie, which he may be on the side, although there is no proof to back up this contention.
Big Ang tell the audience, “If this bar don’t get on the map now, I have to move on.”
The first order of business for Big Ang is to hire four sides of beef to act as “shot guys” for the grand opening – topless men barely in their 20s, who circulate in the crowd selling shots to giggling girls for two bucks apiece. This was the idea of her son AJ, whom she calls her “baby boy.”
Big Ang says AJ is handsome and “suave-A,” which is quite a stretch since AJ has a face that only his mother could love. At the end of the show, we get a quick teaser for the following program, where AJ informs his mom that he has been arrested (for selling drugs), and he tells mom he’s “definitely looking at jail time.”
So much for her “baby boy.”
The rest of the show is one big party at “The Drunken Monkey” – a party I would have loved being at 30 years ago. Big Ang is jiggling around, dancing with the young shirtless “shot guys,” as are Crazy Linda and Little Jen. The old girls are so hot-and-bothered, you’d expect them to seduce the young guys right on the dance floor; or maybe even on a bar stool.
The funniest bit of the show is when Big Ang says, “This is the time to bring out my Drunken Money.”
A midget wearing a monkey suit comes running out of the bathroom. He jumps on the bar, and starts dancing, and gyrating, and, well, I guess you just had to see it to understand the absurdity of it all.
The party was one loud, drunken dance riot, until we see Big Ang’s husband, Neil, walking through the front door. Big Ang had thrown Neil out of her house seven months earlier because Neil was a “cheater, all-night, stay-out drunk.”
Neil, 38 and 16 years younger than Big Ang, is a legitimate-guy who works as a sanitation worker for New York City. He informed Big Ang at lunch early in the show that he was “ready to move back in” with Big Ang. Big Ang was not too happy with the suggestion, and even less happy when someone yells at the party, “You’re husband is here!”
Big Ang spots Neil; Neil spots a “shot guy” named Ricardo basically stuffed between Big Ang’s huge breasts (she say she wear a triple J bra), and Neil storms out of the bar without even saying hello.
The show ends with Big Ang sitting on a bench outside “The Drunken Monkey” after the party is over. With her are her sister Janine, Crazy Linda, and Little Jen, and all four ladies are swaying in the wind, even though they are sitting down. This is when Big Ang informs her crew that Neil requested to move back into their marital home.
Then Big Ang tells them, “I think I’m going to let Neil move back in.”
After she sees her crew’s mouths drop open, Big Ang adds, “I always make decisions when I’m on Patron (tequila). I think I’ll sleep the Patron off before I make a decision on Neil.”
Although the Big Ang show will never be a nominees for an Emmy, I’ve spent worse half hours watching insipid and annoying television shows; the most recent being Mob Wives. Watching Big Ang and her crew is sort of entertaining, but I would be much more entertaining if I had a bottle of Patron of my own to chug down while I’m watching.
But Big Ang, please – lose the drunken midget in the monkey suit. Big Ang might accidentally sit on the poor guy and what a mess that would make.