Archive for the tag 'elina miller'

Michael and Marina Levitis during the shows filming. Except now they're sad. (Source: James Edstrom + Mr. Frownie Face.)

Rumors have been circulating that Lifetime’s Russian Dolls – yeah, you know the one – has been cancelled. Well, that’s not quite right.

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Blin!

Brighton Beach, the series dubbed the “Russian Jersey Shore,” is becoming a reality – but may not be as ludicrous as its fist-pumping predecessor.

Lifetime has ordered 12 episodes of the show assuring at least one season will be produced, according to an exclusive Hollywood Reporter story published this morning.

But Lifetime’s demands are a bit different than MTV’s, which might keep the show from swimming in the cultural dumpster. According to the report, Brighton Beach will have a “multigenerational cast … [chronicling] several colorful families, with the show’s action centered on a popular local nightclub.”

Sheepshead Bites was the first to break the story that a Russian-inspired reality show a la Jersey Shore was in the works. Since we confirmed it in February, the show has racked up more than 4,500 fans on Facebook, hundreds of audition tapes and more than its share of haters.

Now that we hear it’s going to be more family-oriented, what do you think of plans for the Brighton Beach show?

The infamous Brighton Beach show, whose existence we originally uncovered back in February, is extending their casting deadline and updated some rules, according to their Facebook Page.

The “Russian Jersey Shore” is apparently delving deep into its pool of candidates to find very special toolbags like this guy. But it seems the delays are starting to shake the faiths of its fickle fans. Above is just a small sample of reader comments who are now questioning whether the show will be made. Others can’t quite figure out why there’s a shortage of over-the-top characters to choose from, and at least one offers a suggestion of where to look:

they want russians that act like retarded guidos and are havin trouble finding them?…..strange…I see em in El Greco all the time ….

But we were told back in February that any deal with broadcasters would be contingent on the cast, so it may just be the producer’s high and noble idea of putting together a diverse and culturally revealing cast has been shot down. As some commenters suggested on past articles, the channels could be pressuring the producers to get stereotype-enforcing loudmouths.

Did you send in a submission? Tell us about it!

While stereotypes packed the dance floor, producers downstairs fought for a unique identity

Anastasia Kurinnaya, shod in a pair of black Aldo booties with five-inch heels, stepped carefully down the 10 rickety plywood stairs that led from the coat check into the grimy basement of Passion, a popular Russian dance club on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

Ms. Kurinnaya, 25, said she had been anxiously waiting all week for this moment. She wanted to get on the show to make her ex-boyfriend jealous.

“If I hook up with somebody I can throw it in his face,” she said.

At 11 p.m. on Saturday, Ms. Kurinnaya was the first person plucked out of Passion’s swelling crowd and led downstairs.

By 4:00 a.m., nearly four dozen other young Russian-Americans charmed, pleaded or simply shoved their way into the audition, determined to prove that the Russian version of Snooki or The Situation can outdo his or her Guido counterpart.

The creators of “Brighton Beach” said their show is not exactly a rip-off of “Jersey Shore,” or any other reality show.

“We’re trying to portray what goes on inside the Russian community and to expose people, introduce people, to what Russians are really like,” said Elina Miller, 25, who, along with Alina Dizik and Christine Mahin, is one of the show’s producers.

“Russians have a place in pop culture,” Ms. Miller said. “But it’s not necessarily a realistic or true portrayal. I realized that the best way to break down these stereotypes was through a show.”

- “How Do You Say ‘Jersey Shore’ in Russian?“, New York Times; March 11, 2010

Let me start by saying that you should read the above Times piece in full. It’s well-written, got a lot of great quotes, and they included some audio interviews that are pretty amusing. But when you’re done, come back here.

Now, that you’ve read it, let me tell you this: it’s a fun read, but it misses the point. Every media outlet in the world (including us when we broke the story) portrayed this as the “Russian Jersey Shore” with outlandish characters, over-the-top stereotypes, and regurgitated mouthfuls of Snookie and The Situation with a borscht aftertaste.

And that’s what’s wrong with the Times piece. Despite the producers’ insistence that it ain’t no Jersey Shore-remake, media-types everywhere are contradicting them with cherry-picked examples of the shlubs who reinforce the Jersey Shore narrative. Because, hell, that’s a lot funnier to write about. But is it better to watch?

At Saturday’s casting call, I got a different sense of what Brighton Beach can be. Producers Elina Miller and Alina Dizik are fighting an uphill battle to distance themselves from Jersey Shore’s putrid stigma while still feeding off its popularity.

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We just got off the phone with Elina Miller, the creator of the Brighton Beach reality show that’s drawing parallels to Jersey Shore, who confirmed that the planned series is bonafide.

Miller is working alongside Alina Dizik and Christine Mahin to produce the show, and they’re aiming to make more than just a Jersey Shore clone with swapped-out ethnicities. She said the show hopes to introduce Russian-Americans – and the intricacies of their culture – to a broader audience.

“While some of the stereotypes may have merit, I’m trying to show that [the community is] a lot more complex,” Miller said.

Miller described her “altruistic” goal as turning stereotypes on their head and “showing people that while there might be some things that they would expect, it’s about more than meets the eye.”

Keep reading about Miller’s goals with the Brighton Beach reality show

Vladimir "The Situation" Putin, Milla "JWOWW" Jovovich, Catherine "Snookie" the Great, DJ Ivan Drago

Okay, let’s start by saying that we have no idea if this is real. However, a A website popped up five days ago claiming to be the application page for a future reality television show based on Jersey Shore – but Ruskie-fied.

(An update to this story has been posted, including an interview with Brighton Beach show’s creator, Elina Miller)

Guess what it’s called… go on, guess…

Brighton Beach! And no, there won’t be one bit of stereotyping of Russians as vodka-downing, kalbasa-munching, techno-blasting party fiends. Oh… wait… here’s the description for the casting call:

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? Do you attend birthday parties at Russian restaurants every weekend? If so, we may want to cast you for a new reality TV show that centers around a group of Russian-American strangers living together in a house on the shores of Brighton Beach for a summer. The cameras will roll as you do what you do best — eat, drink and PARTY.

Sorry Alevtina, but this just isn’t your day.

Keep reading about Brighton Beach’s reality show