Mob Wives of Chicago – A Ballet of Guilt

By Christine Axsmith.

Whenever you have a “Wives of” show, it is usually a parade of untreated alcoholics. Mob Wives of Chicago is no different. The big difference is that no one on this show is a mob wife. They are mob daughters.

The sanest, most mature and most likable person is the stripper Pia – which tells you a lot about the show right there. She strips to support her daughter. Pia’s father was a corrupt Chicago cop who testified in exchange for immunity and the witness protection program. Pia hates her father and is ashamed of his “being a rat.” That would explain her self-destructive career choices.

Christina is a “girl from Taylor street” who, it seems, never learned that screaming and pulling hair is not acceptable on other streets. She enters therapy, where we all get to watch her therapist’s eyebrows jump when Christina talks about physically fighting with her friend. Christina’s father was arrested over 20 times. Her upset that two of the other women have defriended her on Facebook is touching, as is her struggle to make sense of the relationships in her life.

When the girls all get together at some classy place, it is Christina who brings up a sore topic – that Nora’s father was a hit man for the mob.

Nora does not believe that her father, the man she adored, killed people for a living. I’m not saying he did, mostly because I don’t want her taking a plane out here to scream, drink and pass out in front of my apartment building. Nora is confronting her past through investigating the suspicious circumstances of her father’s burial.

The past, and how the women dance around it, is the most interesting part of the show. I see an intense guilt in all of them. Each handles it in a different way. Nora acts like a child and threatens to hold her breath and censure anyone who states the obvious. Pia takes her clothes off for money in what may be an outward display of humiliation that she feels inside. Still, she is the sanest and classiest of the bunch, in my opinion. Renee dresses in expensive clothes and mistakes that for class and manners. Renee taunts Pia for her career choices. Generally, Renee is a spoiled jerk whose judgement of others hides that everything she owns is dripping in blood. Christina jabs people in sore spots and wonders why they get angry.

Underlying all this interpersonal tension is something more interesting than the usual drunk fools in these types of shows. They are all trying to deal with the truth in their own way. The past for them and their families is always in the room, poking its head out from behind them, no matter how far they go to avoid it.

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