'Made in Staten Island' portrays hustlers stepping out from the influence of a mob-driven culture
Tormented between choosing their way out and also sticking to the ground rules of the culture they grew up in, the characters make for interesting TV
MTV's new series 'Made in Staten Island' might still be a little less than a month away, but the shock value and surprising revelations it packs in call for viewers and prospective fans to utilize that time in bracing themselves. From 'Mob Wives' star Karen Gravano, the new show gives off a very reality TV vibe, with the cast talking to the camera and amongst themselves; but here's the catch: Even though it might be the quintessential MTV product in every way, all the characters involved are riddled with their own woes owing to a past they hail from, and this past is every bit as gritty and complex as life in a once mob-driven island is supposed to be.
Creator Gravano herself is the daughter of the former Gambino crime family boss, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, but that isn't the only tie she holds with the riveting background the show is based on. Gravano's own daughter, Karina, is also one of the faces we will be familiarized with on the show, among the many others who represent the young, contemporary hustler culture prevailing in Staten Island, New York, and their struggles in digging a way out of all the indiscretions to make something of their own.
As these individuals are torn and tormented between choosing their own way out, and also sticking to the ground rules of the culture they grew up in, it will be interesting to watch how all of that struggle pans out, and especially, if they falter and succumb to the uncalled for, but familiar mistakes that took down their past generations.
This becomes even clearer within the first few minutes of the pilot episode, as the narrator reveals: "When you moved to Staten Island, you know you made it." It's interesting because viewers are made to believe this was it. "It was a camp out for the guys - the made man. A safe place to raise their families," added the narration, before ringing the biggest alarm: "But then everything changed."
So far, eight cast members are on board to expand their stories and life in front of the public eye through the upcoming show. Karina of course packs in some pretty kick-ass mafia attitude owing to her bloodline, and her grandfather, ‘The Bull’s guidance. She is in a relationship with a certain Paulie Fusco, who comes off as the true-blue hustler based in the island, and it is majorly Karina's contribution that keeps him off the streets.
There's Kayla Gonzalez - an eager muscle power within the crew of eight - with a penchant for good old Staten Island fights, something she never backs away from. Speaking of fighters, Christian 'C.P.' is another pro at that, but that's not the only thing about him. As much a fighter he is, he is also a lover, making all the girls swoon over his big heart and signature charm. Dennie Augustine, on the other hand, acts like the mother hen of the lot. With thick skin and a smart mouth, she is referred to as the “Godmutha” of the lot.
Yet another interesting cast member happens to be Taylor - the quintessential dude-girl in the group who is the typical no-nonsense type with zero tolerance for others imposing their attitude or disrespect upon her. And then there's Joe O'Toole, who is popularly known as the “charmer of the South Shore” and cannot seem to have enough of the tempting fast money that comes from the streets.
Premiering on Monday, January 14, at 10/9c on MTV, 'Made in Staten Island' is also executive produced by Gravano, along with Adam Gonzalez and Daniel Blau Rogge.