'Jersey Shore' + 'Real Housewives' = 'Russian Dolls'

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 12:00 AM Written by 

Russian_DollsThe formula in the headline above pretty much tells you all you need to know about Lifetime's "Russian Dolls" (10:30 p.m. Thursday), which clearly exists only because of the success of "Jersey Shore" and "Real Housewives."

But a funny thing happened on the way back from the photocopy machine: Producers failed to get anything nearly as outrageous as the series that inspired "Russian Dolls." The pilot is pretty tame with the Russian woman of Brighton Beach, N.Y., engaged in contre temps that are pretty lame.

Read more after the jump. ...

Marina, 34, is a drama queen who thinks the world revolves around her, according to a friend. In the "Russian Dolls" premiere, she's especially upset that her mother-in-law wants to compete in a grandmother pageant. Marina even drags her faimly out of a long-running pageant before grandma gets her prize. It's rude and selfish but not exactly outrageous behavior.

Twentysomething Diana frets that her mother will be upset she's dating a Spanish guy, giving the show a whiff of "Romeo & Juliet" tragedy, if by tragedy you mean she considers dumping a guy who she likes because he has a cool car.

A few Russian men get air time, too.

"Russian women love to flirt, but they never give up the goods," declares Eddie.

"Sometimes they just want the free dinner," says his buddy.

"Sometimes!?!" Eddie replies.

By focusing on women in two age categories, the show tries to tap into "Real Housewives" with its married characters and "Jersey Shore" with its younger characters. But it feels like a retread -- and a toothless one at that.

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