American Gypsies on National Georgraphic Channel is certainly opening up the Johns family to the American viewing audience.
“This is an embarrassment on us, on our family!”
This is what Bobby said to Nicky about his actions that took them to gypsy court. But, he easily could have been talking about American Gypsies in general.
Sometimes you just have to wonder what people see when they look around them, and this is one of those cases. What does this family see when they watch an episode of American Gypsies? Do they actually see some kind of respectful, hard-working, loving, impressive family situation? If they do, they are really looking through some powerful rose-colored glasses.
Nicky is a real piece of work. Last night’s episode really focused on what a hypocrite he is when it comes to the importance of Romani culture, rules and “respect.” He’s always talking the talk, but never walking the walk, as they say. Recently, Nicky went ballistic because a fellow gypsy opened a psychic shop 2.5 blocks from one of his family’s shops—in NYC, it is unacceptable to open a gypsy-owned business (presumably of the same type) within three blocks of another. But, when Nicky went to Florida to open up a new shop (Why Florida, who knows?), he was blatantly disrespectful of the Miami rules (no gypsy-owned businesses of the same type within one mile), knowingly setting up a shop within a mile of another gypsy-owned psychic shop.
Who is this guy to go on about “tradition” and “respect” when he shows none to anyone else, particularly to his own wife and family?
The way he treats his wife is particularly appalling. Sure, she’s not terribly friendly to him, but would you be, after putting up with that as a husband for years?
“All Nicky does is blame everyone else for his problems, and then the first chance he gets, he goes out and leaves everything on me,” Christine said as she sat alone at the empty psychic shop, while Nicky was out at a Miami club, partying with other women. “This is typical Nicky.”
Prejudice Against Non-Romani at Forefront of Show
And, apparently, Nicky would prefer to let his father die than have possible life-saving surgery because the doctor was “an American gajo.”
In only a few episodes, American Gypsies has managed to put off a lot of viewers--a lot of those "American gadje" that most of the Johns seem to despise so much, and probably a lot of Romani, as well. It’s one of those shows that should be really entertaining, interesting, at least funny, but it’s actually uncomfortable to watch. Learning about differences between cultures is typically intriguing for viewers, but watching the Johns family sets one on edge. It’s just a series of negativities, one after another, whether it is Nicky disrespecting his wife and family (again); Tina, the family matriarch, screeching at her family about how women should be cooking and cleaning and nothing else (except, of course, playing psychic); the family spewing its prejudices about non-Roma "gadje;" or just the constant, never-ending fighting. Constant. Never-ending. Nerve-wracking. It’s not one of those “guilty pleasure” shows; it’s one of those shows that makes you want to turn the channel as quickly as possible, so you don’t even have to hear them screaming at each other in the opening credits.
American Gypsies airs on National Geographic Channel on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
Image: Wikimedia Commons