The premiere of A&E's new reality show Southie Rules has already resulted in a controversy, when a TV writer and cast member got into a Twitter war.
Some Americans are still in a financial hole and struggle to survive on a month-to-month basis.
Welcome to the home of the Niedzwiecki family, a multi-story house in South Boston in which three generations reside.
The family business is a tattoo parlor that is apparently struggling to keep the family with enough to pay for heat, food and other essentials.
Here's the problem. The ones who are employed are maxed out on talent and opportunity. The stay-at-home family members have children to raise.
Matriarch Camille and her ex-husband Walter are still sleeping in the same room on the upper floor while down the hall, youngest son Matt, his baby mama Jenn and toddler daughter are in residence.
Matt works part-time at the shop and Jenn berates him for betting his money on his losing efforts at fantasy football.
Daughter Leah, husband and their own toddler Abby take up the bottom floor of Casa Niedzwiecki and Leah is also a stay-at-home mom like Jenn.
Oldest son Jon manages the tattoo business, yet doesn't seem intelligent enough to unlock the front door. We learn that from the running commentary of Jon's BFF, unemployed Devin who sleeps on the living room couch.
Jon's lines last night during the premiere episode, "Bill Roulette" sounded like they came out of the mouth of Joey Tribiano of Friends, with Devin playing the role of Chandler. Watch video preview of next week's show starring Devin as family babysitter.
Therein lies a problem. According to the Boston Globe, a live tweet fest during the episode's airing last night netted a confession.
One show into the program and we already have a "Is it fake?" controversy.
Here is the exchange on Twitter between Jon and the Globe's reviewer Billy Baker.
"...be easy on us tonight haha. Keep an open mind and a sense of humor. We had an amazing opportunity to have some fun as a family." tweeted Jon.
Unable to help himself, Jon continued, "People tuned in to see a reality show & got a sitcom. Some liked it, some didnt. Im proud of the show we made. Thank you for all the support."
It did Baker's job for him. "If it's a staged sitcom passing itself off as a reality show, what is the right word? Phony seems accurate to me."
Jon's tweets got a bit more edgy after that and shocker....he sounded a bit more coherent. " Problem is, there IS no genre that accurately describes us unfortunately. We aren't quite reality but not quite sitcom. Hybrid."
There is a Twitter account set up already @SouthieRulesSux that has staked its claim.
So A&E, which is mired in a lawsuit with Dave Hester of Storage Wars fame, over the truth of the auction competition scenes, has another hot one on its hands. Read: Dave Hester's lawsuit reveals his salary and more.
The plot of "Bill Roulette" was simple. Take a bill from a basket and it's yours to pay.
Matt pulled the $90 cable bill and after Leah's help making Camille's famous meatballs, he and Jenn screwed up the delivery. How about taking a bike with open trays of meatballs on the back in a baby carrier-trailer.?
Jon got stuck with the $800 heating bill, and claimed he had vintage and valuable dolls hidden in the basement that he could sell.
Oops, the dolls were fakes and his attempt at being a male stripper at a party of older women was thwarted by mom Camille.
Hard to take? You bet and it's hard to know whether Southie Rules will succeed as a sitcom or another reality show we know isn't real.
A&E expects to air new episodes of Southie Rules Tuesday* nights at 10:00 p.m. for the time being. It is usually the slot for Storage Wars or its spin offs but A&E's media department informed this writer that no air dates are set for more shows in the auction series.
Image: A&E/Southie Rules, Matt and Jenn
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