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Growing Up Gotti

In this current season of reality television, many networks have been scrambling for new ideas for new reality TV shows.  Considering that it is accepted fact that reality television is no longer a phenomenon but a staple in the television industry networks were trying to discover the perfect formula for a new hit reality television series.  Considering how much reality television programming has flooded the airwaves, it was difficult to find ways to impress an already skeptical television watching public.

While it’s difficult to create a show that would create the same kind of immediate frenzy as The Osbournes or sustain a long-running popularity like Survivor, A&E was able to develop a program that was distinct and had great potential to be a long running hit.  Considering how much a fascination the public has with the mafia, as is evident by the popularity of mob movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas, A&E was able to capitalize on this interest in their new reality TV hit, Growing Up Gotti.

Growing Up Gotti follows the adventures of Victoria Gotti, a wealthy socialite and celebrity columnist for Star Magazine, a bastion in American journalism.  Victoria Gotti is a smart, talented, beautiful mother of three.  She is also the daughter of John Gotti, the notorious New York mob boss who was given the nickname of the Teflon Don prior to his arrest.  The show then follows the life of Victoria Gotti and her three freakish looking sons in a flattering light from lives in the multi-million dollar mansion in Long Island to their adventures jet-setting through the landscape of the New York elite.

Considering their pedigree, it is interesting to see how the Gotti’s live.  Although Victoria has a successful career as a commercial fiction writer and editor-at-large for Star Magazine, it is also fascinating to learn about how academically gifted her three children are.  This is especially true, as Growing Up Gotti definitely does not show her three sons (Carmine, John, and Frank) at their best.  With ridiculously gelled hair (one episode featured a memorable argument between her sons when controversy broke out when John finds out that somebody has used up all of his prized gel), the three Gotti kids come off as brats.  Perhaps this is the intention of the producers but after awhile the three ridiculously well dressed kids kind of warm up to the viewer.

Working from the same template as other reality TV shows like The Surreal Life and I’m With Busey, Growing Up Gotti is able to capitalize the morbid interest that the public have with these shows and generate a pretty good show.  It’s always interesting to see a different side of life and Growing Up Gotti also is a tale of how difficult it is to be a career woman and single mom at the same time.  Although most viewers aren’t necessarily going to cry for Victoria Gotti and her many millions, at least some people will sympathize.  Although Growing Up Gotti doesn’t always show the Gotti family in the best light, it is still an intriguing look into the roller coaster that is their lives.