American Gypsies: Will 'American gadje' audience keep watching this train wreck?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

The Johns family on American Gypsies is consistently bringing offensive television to National Geographic Channel.

American Gypsies on National Georgraphic Channel is certainly opening up the Johns family to the American viewing audience.

“This is an embarrassment on us, on our family!”

This is what Bobby said to Nicky about his actions that took them to gypsy court. But, he easily could have been talking about American Gypsies in general.

Sometimes you just have to wonder what people see when they look around them, and this is one of those cases. What does this family see when they watch an episode of American Gypsies? Do they actually see some kind of respectful, hard-working, loving, impressive family situation? If they do, they are really looking through some powerful rose-colored glasses.

Nicky is a real piece of work. Last night’s episode really focused on what a hypocrite he is when it comes to the importance of Romani culture, rules and “respect.” He’s always talking the talk, but never walking the walk, as they say. Recently, Nicky went ballistic because a fellow gypsy opened a psychic shop 2.5 blocks from one of his family’s shops—in NYC, it is unacceptable to open a gypsy-owned business (presumably of the same type) within three blocks of another. But, when Nicky went to Florida to open up a new shop (Why Florida, who knows?), he was blatantly disrespectful of the Miami rules (no gypsy-owned businesses of the same type within one mile), knowingly setting up a shop within a mile of another gypsy-owned psychic shop.

Who is this guy to go on about “tradition” and “respect” when he shows none to anyone else, particularly to his own wife and family?

The way he treats his wife is particularly appalling. Sure, she’s not terribly friendly to him, but would you be, after putting up with that as a husband for years?

“All Nicky does is blame everyone else for his problems, and then the first chance he gets, he goes out and leaves everything on me,” Christine said as she sat alone at the empty psychic shop, while Nicky was out at a Miami club, partying with other women. “This is typical Nicky.”

Prejudice Against Non-Romani at Forefront of Show

And, apparently, Nicky would prefer to let his father die than have possible life-saving surgery because the doctor was “an American gajo.”



In only a few episodes, American Gypsies has managed to put off a lot of viewers--a lot of those "American gadje" that most of the Johns seem to despise so much, and probably a lot of Romani, as well. It’s one of those shows that should be really entertaining, interesting, at least funny, but it’s actually uncomfortable to watch. Learning about differences between cultures is typically intriguing for viewers, but watching the Johns family sets one on edge. It’s just a series of negativities, one after another, whether it is Nicky disrespecting his wife and family (again); Tina, the family matriarch, screeching at her family about how women should be cooking and cleaning and nothing else (except, of course, playing psychic); the family spewing its prejudices about non-Roma "gadje;" or just the constant, never-ending fighting. Constant. Never-ending. Nerve-wracking. It’s not one of those “guilty pleasure” shows; it’s one of those shows that makes you want to turn the channel as quickly as possible, so you don’t even have to hear them screaming at each other in the opening credits.

American Gypsies airs on National Geographic Channel on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by curtis jeffery (not verified) on
The programs spoken of here..both american gypsies and tlc s. Trainwreck scripted trash...are both pathetic in nature. Have no legitimate ties to real. True roma, I cannot speak for the Johns as I am romnichell .. ,, but I can speak for a majority of my own people in regards to mgfagw....the paid actors portrayed DO NOT represent our people ,our customs, beliefs or traditions. And I have no problem giving my name.Mr gadjie , fraud expert...please give us the same courtesy by stateing your real name as well...I could always use an experts opion on my studies ofmy people......curtis r jeffery. Baton rouge la. (I'm in the bookL

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Well, I wanted to take the pseudonym FraudTech but it was already taken. Anyone can google Dennis Marlock and "gypsy crime" to find many racist entries. Not the best source - or any legitimate source - for information about the Roma... and apparently, neither is NatGeo.

Submitted by FraudTech (not verified) on
It's not a pseudonym Ms. or Mr. Anonymous, it's the name of my web site. And yes, everyone should pay a visit to and view the comments from people like you who apparently treat their opinions as facts. Really, in response to my criticizing the insulting Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series and the National Geographic nonsense, I get labeled a racist. I must have missed the definition of racist you are applying here because the commonly accepted dictionary definition says otherwise. For those who do visit the fraudtech site, please read everything that's there before drawing any conclusions.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I always wondered why Gypsies were hated all over Europe...Now I know. Sad to say they are here in the USA now.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on
You can say that about ANY race or ethnic group! You're just what Nat Geo was looking for when it created this scripted, sensationalized show--people who are already prejudiced who point to a TV show as proof of the correctness of their ignorance! Let's see a show called "American Beaners," which will portray Mexican families of fifteen kids, all of whom are gangbangers and who watch their spouse-abusing, drunk father beat their mother because she burned a tortilla! Or what about a show called, "American Whiteys," in which the methamphetamine laboratory of Jimmy Ray Bob in rural Missouri is thriving and white girls that are seniors in high school can't tell you who is the Vice-President of the U.S. but can quote from every episode of the "Kardashians," and on this show 16 year-old Juliet is pregnant for the third time, to the approval of Mom and Dad. You see, people who watch television reality shows looking for real life are so shallow that they deserve the ignorance in which they live. You say you wonder why Gypsies are hated in Europe----I'll answer that when you tell me why Anglos are hated all over the world, Mexican-Americans despise Mexicans from Mexico, and Blacks moan about slavery and white people, as if they are living 160 years ago!

Submitted by Phil (not verified) on
I cannot understand how a respected organization such as National Geographic can descend into sensationalism and feeding off of stereotypes. Case in point : "American Gypsies." For centuries the Roma have been stereotyped as shady, violent Mafia types and here comes Nat Geo to fan the flames of anti-Roma prejudice, which has claimed and is now claiming Romani lives in Eastern Europe at the hands of nationalist and racist groups. Instead of researching the rich Romani culture and presenting a series on it as it actually is, Nat Geo finds a family that is willing to personify the hot-tempered, violent stereotype. The cultural errors are legion; for example, the grandmother (Tina) tells the granddaughter, "You have the gift." ---WHAT GIFT?--an religiously fanatical viewer could hear this and think that the Roma indulge in witchcraft! Also, the Romani court is portrayed incorrectly---the Romani court (kris) is conducted Romanes (in the Romani language), not English! The "boys" are seen in one show hanging out in a "Gypsy bar", in which there are Romani girls---this is absurd! There is no such thing as a "Gypsy bar", with the exception of a few bars in New England patronized by ENGLISH Roma---and NO ROMANI GIRLS hang out in ANY TYPE OF BAR! When I was a child I was told so often, "Never teach your language or culture to the gazhe (non-Roma)!" I did not know at the time that it is this secretiveness that has enabled the Roma to, by and large, maintain their culture throughout the world, since leaving India over a thousand years ago. No, I personally don't say things like,"I ain't got none of dose tings!" There are Roma who have learned to be articulate and to write proper English and who are still extremely proud of their REAL CULTURE. This series ranks next to "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding," in which the girls are NOT ROMANI GIRLS, but Irish Travelers! I would think that the staff of Nat Geo would research the difference---or is the staff of Nat Geo being duped by these groups that are little-known to outsiders? When "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" came out, violent attacks on English Roma occurred in Britain and are documented. I suggest to Nat Geo that it does research on the REAL ROMANI culture and stop scripting and staging the exaggerated and blatantly false activities seen on "American Gypsies." T'aven zurale, Romale! (Stay strong, Roma!)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
How do these Roma live comfortably and can afford to do so? These answer is in this helpful website. I know I was victimized once.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Fraudtech, Whoever you are, and in spite of negative remarks about you by the Roma reading your comments, no doubt! Your website rocks !!! I recommend everyone watching American Gypsies to take a peek into and find out the truth about these criminals. Thank You Fraudtech, keep up the good work!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Fraudtech, Whoever you are, and in spite of negative remarks about you by the Roma reading your comments, no doubt! Your website rocks !!! I recommend everyone watching American Gypsies to take a peek into and find out the truth about these criminals. Thank You Fraudtech, keep up the good work!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Before anyone even thinks of visiting a Psychic, and God forbid, become a victim of their Fear Tactics, I strongly suggest you visit this website: I will save you money and your human dignity!


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