Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"For the show’s editor, the genre is a new Russian art form, celebrating real-life proletarian characters."
December 27, 2011 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Mother of all TV shows: [Financial Times] Russia’s latest hit, ‘Mother in Law’, makes ‘Big Brother’ look like ‘Sesame Street’.
posted by Fizz (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Denpa Shōnen makes Mother in Law look like Teletubbies.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:06 AM on December 27, 2011


Isn't there an American show like this?
posted by jonmc at 6:12 AM on December 27, 2011


Isn't there an American show like this?

Yeah it's called MTV.
posted by Fizz at 6:14 AM on December 27, 2011


The show’s name Mama v zakone is also a play on the Russian vor v zakone, or thief in law – a title usually reserved for mafia godfathers.

It's less of a play on words and more of an, uh, pun-through-Anglification or something. The Russian word for "mother in law" is "свекровь" (svekrov').

Also, dear god the wardrobe on these shows. Russian television had its own remakes of Married with Children and The Nanny. The two female leads of these two shows, if you remember, dressed in a manner that was rather flamboyant and, well, kinda trashy. On the Russian version, this is almost completely lost as it's basically de rigieur that women on Russian television dress like Fran Fine with a better budget and slightly more European sensibilities. Of course, if you ever venture down to the Russian-er neighborhoods in Brooklyn -- certain parts of Gravesend and Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton (obviously) -- you'll see that reality tends to reflect these sartorial choices long, long past most American women finding them acceptable. In fact, it's totally normal for the flamboyosity to keep rising with the decades until that inevitable nose-dive into babushka.

FINALLY, I was at my grandmothers house where the TV was tuned to a Russian station and there was a Judge Judy-style court show playing. Everything seemed normal until I realized that there was a prosecutor -- for those of you who do not watch Judge Judy-style shows, it's almost always two parties and a judge -- and not just a prosecutor, but she a police officer in full uniform. At some point, the defendant is led in by another police officer in handcuffs, which are taken off (with a close-up to the wrists) when he took the stand. Finally, there was a little jail cell on the set. Like something out of a sheriff's office in a Western or maybe the drunk tank in Mayberry.

Anyway, Russian television is insane and there is absolutely nothing like it on the US airwaves.
posted by griphus at 6:26 AM on December 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't watch reality TV (except for the two seasons of Who Wants To Be a Superhero), so I'll allow that I'm ignorant of the subtleties of the genre, but I honestly don't see how this is any different from something that would run, or already does run, in the US.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:04 AM on December 27, 2011


Ha Ha. Seriously, I remember an in-law based reality show. Or perhaps I'm just crazy.
posted by jonmc at 7:27 AM on December 27, 2011


jonmc, are you thinking of A&E's Monster-In-Law? I've seen the previews while watching Hoarders and/or Intervention.
posted by soelo at 7:39 AM on December 27, 2011


You may be thinking of Married by America, jonmc. It had at least a couple of in-law episodes.
posted by griphus at 7:40 AM on December 27, 2011


Is the article anywhere not a walled garden? FT keeps bouncing my mobile back to a subscribe page.
posted by dejah420 at 8:16 AM on December 27, 2011


I'll allow that I'm ignorant of the subtleties of the genre, but I honestly don't see how this is any different from something that would run, or already does run, in the US.

At first I was going to say it seems more extreme but actually I'm not sure. I know there have been plenty of fights on American reality tv, and blurred out sex scenes. Also lots of drugs. I've never seen Big Brother, but I thought that if you watch the 24 hour coverage online you will see uncensored everything, including sex scenes.

I will say that the other show described in the article, the one about the porn star hiding her past, seems to have more serious subject matter and was probably more intense than most American reality shows.
posted by Danila at 9:19 AM on December 27, 2011


Damn, huge spoiler for Anna Karenina. That's what I get for reading the internets instead of the classics, I suppose.
posted by exogenous at 9:21 AM on December 27, 2011


johnmc may also be thinking of Momma's Boys, which had a very similar format.
posted by pie ninja at 10:22 AM on December 27, 2011


...there was a little jail cell on the set. Like something out of a sheriff's office in a Western or maybe the drunk tank in Mayberry.

I'm pretty sure that's just the normal practice in Russian courts. See the photo in this article, for example.
posted by XMLicious at 10:37 AM on December 27, 2011


It was monster-in-law, thank you.
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on December 27, 2011


I'm pretty sure that's just the normal practice in Russian courts. See the photo in this article, for example.

“But you see, when you start writing out the details of everyday Russian life, the absurdity just overwhelms you... Russian reality is too phantasmagoric to fit into realist logic.” (via)
posted by griphus at 11:24 AM on December 27, 2011


In Capitalist Russia you are not in contempt of court, court is in contempt of YOU!
posted by XMLicious at 11:18 PM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Maybe not, but Ksenia Sobchak, a Russian socialite and longtime host of Komissarov’s Dom-2, recalls the incident on the show when a former porn star was exposed – during her on-screen wedding. The revelation sent the groom-to-be, a fellow contestant, running for the hills and the woman threatening on air to commit suicide (she didn’t)."

Holy fuck, and people are horrified in the American reality TV thread about 50 grand.

"Sobchak swears the producers had no way of foreseeing this: “You can’t look through all the porno tapes out there,” she says matter-of-factly. “This is what we should show, this is life … A lot of people, unfortunately, recognise themselves in these heroes. To say that these people do not represent us, that this is not our life, would be hypocritical.”"

Wow...
posted by Blasdelb at 1:18 PM on December 28, 2011


« Older IMAGINE that you are French. You are walking along...  |  On the perils of imitating Sha... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments