Park Slope has long been the home to many a film and television shoot. From Bored to Death to Betty White's Off Their Rockers to Boardwalk Empire, our tree-lined streets and Park-adjacent setting draws so many film crews that it's hard to keep track of them all. But when FIPS reader SwissPotChick turned us on to a new show that's been taking place in the Slope, it turned out to be so deliciously craptastic that we simply had to talk about it.
The show is called American Gypsies and OMFG. It's a National Geographic Channel docu-series about one of the most prominent Romani families living in NYC (the Johns family), who are struggling to uphold their Gypsy traditions while trying to adapt to the modern American culture. That struggle basically means the Johns family spends each episode screaming at one another about traditions and Gypsy Law and all other sorts of ridiculousness. And then there are the physical fights. Like, we're talking throwing-punches-at-one-another-in-hospital-waiting-rooms sort of fighting. All while telling us what a private and sacred culture the Gypsy culture is (umm...). Like most reality shows, it's trashy as hell and totally moronic and, after only one episode, I've already set a season pass on my DVR.
Here's some background on the Gypsy culture I've learned from the premiere:
- Gypsies aren't allowed to associate with anyone except other Gypsies. They're all home-schooled, don't participate in social community activities, and basically always stay within their own family unit.
- Gypsies are encouraged to marry super young. And then have babies, like, right away. Like, in the first episode, Grandma Tina was talking to her 14-year-old Gypsy granddaughter about how she was going to be married by 16. Shorty wasn't having it, but was told she needed to honor "tradition" and "respect the family" and blah blah blah...
- Gypsies aren't allowed to operate a Gypsy business within 3 blocks of one another.
- Any disputes among the Gypsy population are settled in "Gypsy Court," in which the Gypsy elders basically get together and yell back and forth until someone decides what's right.
- While Gypsy women perform the fortune telling, there's always a Gypsy man in the house, watching over the practice.
- A non-Gypsy person is called a Gajo. And they call us that a lot. It's like what Muggles are to Harry Potter.
- Some of the younger Gypsy dudes are hot. I'm just saying.
Did I mention the show is Executive Produced by Ralph Macchio? The fucking Karate Kid! Producing a show about Gypsies. This just keeps getting better and better.
Here's a preview of the show and a clip of my favorite scene from episode one:
Oh, and I forgot my favorite part - the reason why SwissPotChick wrote us about American Gypsies in the first place: the first episode features a SLEW of Park Slope places. Bobby, one of the Gypsy brothers, brought his daughters to the "Junior Drama Club" in Park Slope (pictured above) to participate in some acting classes. The building in question lies up on 8th Avenue (I believe - correct me if I'm wrong). Here's what it looks like inside:
After that, Bobby and his daughters took a trip to Park Slope's favorite OK pizza joint, Smiling Pizza (7th Avenue, 9th Street):
Later still, the family went to Purity Diner (7th Avenue, 7th Street):
The show is not solely taking place in Park Slope. The Gypsies seem to be hitting up a number of locations throughout the Tri-State area, from Jersey to Staten Island to Hell's Kitchen, etc, etc. But three majors scenes in the first episode were devoted to Slope locations, so I can only hope there's more of that to come. Maybe we can investigate what's up with the Psychic shops down on 5th Ave? I smell another raid!
American Gypsies airs on the National Geographic Channel Tuesdays at 9PM.