BRIGHTON BEACH, NY (PIX11)—Mi scusi Italianos... Russkie Idut. Translation: the Brighton Beach Russians are here and the TV network Lifetime is ready to launch a new reality show that threatens to be NYC's version of The Jersey Shore.
The show is called Russian Dolls and it first made waves in the neighborhood last November with casting call fliers that read: "Are you the Russian Snooki or The Situation? Are you a super outgoing and fun-loving Russian-American that sometimes sneaks kalbaska, pel'meni and vodka from the fridge? Can people hear the Euro/Techno/Russian music blasting from your car before they see you pull up? ... The cameras will roll as you do what you do best-eat, drink and PARTY."
Dina Neziri, who grew up near Brighton Beach, watched the trailer that shows Russian families, drinking, partying, arguing and dabbling in sex, and says it is an accurate depiction.
"I grew up around here, I'm not Russian but ... I think it's a little accurate," said Neziri. "It's ridiculous that people say it's too sexy, because Brighton Beach is a hot pot and sex sells."
But the excitement is mixed with hesitation from local leaders who do not want America to think all Russian Americans are they way the show depicts them to be.
"We are not about sex, we are not about drunk people, not about vodka, not about violence," said Yelena Makhnin, the head of the business improvement district in Brighton Beach.
She's among a group of leaders who have tried to protest the show; they even wrote a letter to Lifetime asking the network to yank the program a year ago.
"This is not what is going on in Brighton Beach."
PIX 11 tried to reach out to Lifetime today but our calls went unanswered. But in the past, Lifetime has called the show a "rare and entertaining look at Brighton Beach's colorful multi-generational families whose dramas and dreams contend with their Russian heritage while living in this famous, alluring, vibrant and highly protective community." It's also been referred to as the Russian version of Jersey Shore. Russian Dolls is set to premiere on August 11th.