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Opinions in South Boston mixed about new reality TV show

Posted by Patrick Rosso  February 8, 2012 12:27 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Patricia Maestranzi-Fisher, owner of Broadway Lock Company, showing off her family history in South Boston.

The raunchy parody video "The Real Housewives of South Boston" went viral recently and brought a bright light to Southie's unique culture. But now that a new reality show -- the real thing, not a parody -- is being discussed by TLC, South Boston has something to consider.

Does Southie really want to be part of the reality TV phenomenon? The verdict is mixed.

“I’m not really into reality TV,” said Travis Reid, a 33-year-old, two-year resident of South Boston, as he walked his dog Saki along East Broadway. “Someone asked me to be on it, but I’ve only been here for two-years.”

Although Reid is a newcomer to the neighborhood, he understood why some of the old-timers might not be fans of the show.

“I think the original locals might frown upon the show, but there are so many new people here it might work,” said Reid.

Others along East and West Broadway weren’t as forgiving as Reid.

“I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole,” said Bill Gleason, the president of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and resident of South Boston for nine years. “It will be interesting to see their take, but I don’t see it as a positive force.”

Patricia Maestranzi-Fisher, whose family owns Broadway Lock Company said the show probably would have been better if it was done 15-years ago.

“I saw they were looking for three-family houses to shoot but there are none left. They’ve all been turned into studios and condos,” said Maestranzi-Fisher. “It used to be you had the aunts, kids, moms and dads all living in the same house, but that’s not the case anymore.”

Maestranzi-Fisher said the producer's idea of focusing on younger, newcomers -- yes, "yuppies'' -- made more sense because so many people have moved into the neighborhood.

His comment brought a scream of protest from the back of the small lock shop. “That’s not the real Southie,” said employee Susan DeWolfe.

Maestranzi-Fisher said there is a lot in South Boston that camera crews could focus on -- and she broke out the family album. Thumbing through pictures of her family, complete with a portrait of her grandfather who had an uncanny resemblance to W.B. Mason, she talked about Blinstrub’s Night Club and other past establishments in the neighborhood, but said a lot of the “Southie” families have moved out.

“If they did it years ago, it would have made for good TV,” said Maestranzi-Fisher.

Not everyone on Broadway was ready to condemn the show.

“It doesn’t sound bad,” said Brittany Bulens, a 23-year-old UMass Boston student as she waited for the bus along West Broadway. “It might be cool, but I wouldn’t apply. I’m camera shy.”

Currently TLC is looking to break into the neighborhood with the show titled “Southie Pride.” The unscripted show will follow five local women and their families around the neighborhood this fall. California-based 495 Productions, the company that brought the Jersey Show into the homes of millions of Americans will be producing the eight-episode show.

In a press release the company said it is looking to feature “the loudest, proudest, most in-your-face subculture on the Eastern Seaboard.”

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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