Angela Raiola’s cursory presence on the show Mob Wives earned her enough notoriety to score her own spinoff Big Ang, which airs Sundays on VH1 at 9/8c.
Every aspect of “Big Ang’s” appearance is so exaggerated she looks like a living, breathing caricature. She’s built like a linebacker with huge, fake breasts that serve as an unwelcome distraction from her face. Despite the multiple nips, tucks and injections “Big Ang” remains a woman most would not find attractive.
Angela’s Staten Island accent, coupled with a voice ravaged by chain smoking, makes her difficult to understand without the aid of closed captioning. Her vocabulary is so laced with profanity that trying to fill in the bleeps is like doing dirty mad libs. She’s flashy, tacky, she seems to be held together by spray tan chemicals and Lee Press On Nails, and her blood diluted with a constant stream of alcohol.
Although some of her fans may call her colorful, the truth is “Big Ang” is the latest victim of VHI’s attempt to fill their programming with shows that portray women in such an unflattering manner that it borders on misogyny. You can’t fault Ang for making the most out of her 15 minutes, a girl has to make a living.
“Big Ang” is open about her history of intimate relationships with alleged mobsters on her show, Ang’s comments indicate she is past her prime. Ang admits that all the wise guys she associated with are all dead, rats or decrepit.
Ang is married to sanitation worker, Neil, who is such a low-life, that she has thrown him out twice. “I thought dating wise guys was trouble but trust me, it wasn’t as much trouble as being married to a sanitation worker,” she says. Not one to learn from previous mistakes, Ang agrees to let him move back in after a seven month separation.
The other deadbeat man in Ang’s life is her “baby boy,” 23-year-old AJ. Ang admits that her son is always getting into “some mess,” but what that means is unclear. It doesn’t appear that he has graduated from petty thug to jailbird, yet. Ang feels that AJ living alone hasn’t worked out and that he needs to move home, “You’re 23, you don’t have to worry about cleaning and sweeping a house,” Ang states. “You have to worry about working and buying designer clothes.” How is that for motherly advice?
Big Ang brings to mind Anna Nicole Smith in the sense that she meanders through life in a haze, while those around her either encourage her eccentric behavior or make attempts to keep her somewhat grounded. The former include her lifelong friends “Crazy Linda” and “Lil Jen,” who “Big Ang” describes as both as “f###ing lunatics.”
“Lil Jen” survived pancreatic cancer and either a five minute or five month coma. It is impossible to determine how long the coma lasted, since the information is lost in translation between Ang’s gigantic lips.” Lil Jen,” age 53, also still lives at home with her parents.
“Big Ang’s” younger sister, Janine, seems to take on the responsibility of keeping Ang grounded. Janine makes sure Ang’s bills are paid and makes sure her sister’s life doesn’t spiral out of control.
Since “Big Ang” supposedly has the need to support herself financially, she opened a bar in Staten Island called the Drunken Monkey. Angela recently renovated the place in the hopes of attracting a younger clientele from outside of the neighborhood.
Angela decides the key to her successful reopening are hot shot guys to pass around trays of booze. Janine sets up a casting a call. With her wingman “Crazy Linda” by her side, Ang interviews and chooses four mediocre looking grease balls. The reopening appears to be a drunken, debaucherous success complete with a midget dressed as a monkey.
Ang, a self-proclaimed hypochondriac, believes she is at risk for a heart attack. During the episode viewers accompany Ang to see a cardiologist. We have to give kudos to the doctor, who keeps a straight face as Ang regales him with a tale of how a friend’s psychic predicted Ang would have a heart attack solely by looking at her picture. Although the doctor gives Ang a clean bill of health, he urges her to quit her 35 year smoking habit as well as drinking or serious health problems loom ahead.
Ang decides to take her lifestyle modification slow, starting with a one week detox; no drinking, no smoking and a daily workout.
Ang spends her first and only workout complaining and decides that tennis is a more suitable form of exercise. She then defies the laws of physics and gravity by actually having a productive tennis lessons. It’s possible the toned instructor served as a great motivator.
Feeling good after her exercise, Ang decides she wants to get “her insides cleaned out” and heard colonics is a quick fix.
Watching plastic surgery on television is disgusting enough, but watching someone get a colonic is just plain vile. What purpose does this serve?
Not completely understanding what this procedure involves, Ang backs out immediately once she finds out. She explains to the viewers, “I don’t need no tube in my ass. I need a cigarette in my hand and a drink in my mouth. I don’t even get down like this in my bedroom—exit only mother#$#$ers.”
Needless to say, one night at the Drunken Monkey with the likes of “Lil Jen” and “Crazy Linda” would be a true test of anyone’s willpower. Ang makes it four days before abandoning her healthy lifestyle.
Many viewers will tune in to witness “Big Ang’s” future exploits, but we’ve pretty much had our fill. Ang is a stereotype from a bygone era, and now has nothing to offer but big boobs and dirty jokes. Little does she know, the joke is on her.