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‘Princesses L.I.’ is familiar Bravo shtick
Bellmore-Merrick residents react to stereotyping, squabbling and self-absorption
Bravo TV
Erica Gimbel, left, and Amanda Bertoncini, two of the stars of "Princesses Long Island."

Somewhere between the flashes of wealth, prideful professions of parental dependency, Jewish cultural caricatures and frequent debauchery, acrimony and hysteria, a picture of young Jewish women on Long Island emerges on “Princesses Long Island,” the Bravo TV show that debuted on June 2, and it isn’t flattering. In their late 20s and early 30s, the stars, Bellmore-Merrick residents say, are immature and spoiled, and that is not how they see the overwhelming majority of Jewish women.

“Princesses Long Island” has produced an outpouring of ire and criticism on Long Island and beyond. The Herald solicited the opinions of a wide range of local people and did not receive any that reflected positively on “Princesses.”

That is not to say that the show does not have its fans. It debuted to 1.24 million TV viewers, and has garnered 730,000 to 920,000 viewers per episode since then. “Princesses” is also a hot topic in traditional and social media, especially since the show cost two schoolteachers — including Merrick Avenue Middle School health teacher Stefan Serie — their jobs for appearing on it, and an episode included a scene in which a cast member, Amanda Bertoncini, participated in a photo shoot that used a statue memorializing a firefighter killed on 9/11 as a prop to promote her beverage-holder product.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from Huntington, wrote in a June 19 Huffington Post op-ed piece that the show’s characters “fuel anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

“I will not silently tolerate a show that paints Jewish women on Long Island with all-too-familiar and painful stereotypes — money-hungry, superficial, Jewish-American princesses,” Israel wrote.

The Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based international organization that identifies itself as a “civil rights/human relations agency” that “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry,” did not go as far as Israel in its criticism of “Princesses,” but took issue with the show’s title.


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Unfortunately, these shows exist because they pick the worst of a particular nation/race for everyone to laugh about. I am a Russian Jew and when the Russian dolls came out, everyone was mortified of their portrayal of the worst part of the Russian Jewish immigration, yet, I don't deny that such people do exist in certain enclaves of Brooklyn, namely Brighton Beach. It's all about ratings, do you honestly expect a show about normal hard-working girls who actually want to accomplish something great be a hit with audiences? It would just be too plain boring because guess what, this is actualyl the reality of our lives, and it's all around us, so why would you want to see on TV what you see in your real life everyday? It's a lot more fun to watch what happens in the real lives of those whom you will never ever get close to in your real life.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Report this

I must completely agree with babysladkaya's comments. These so-called reality shows are all about ratings, not a truthful portrayal of real day-to-day events in the lives of real people (in this case - young Long Islanders). They exaggerate the negative stereotypes of a certain ethnic group, in order to maintain a high level of shock value, and keep the viewers watching and waiting for more content to laugh and "gasp!" at. They are, in some way, similar to watching videos of horrendous car accidents: terrible things are happening, yet one is unable to take his/her eyes off the screen. Personally, I feel that this show genre (Princesses LI, Russian Dolls, Jersey Shore, etc.) are not much more than "airtime pollution", as they promote negative stereotypes and have zero educational entertainment value.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Report this

Hey, they wouldn't make a show if there weren't a good amount of these princesses on long island and elsewhere. Go to the mall, they are everywhere so let's not pretend they don't exist in numbers. Obviously anyone with half a brain realizes that because I am Italian, I am not a "Soprano".

Friday, August 16, 2013 | Report this
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