Hello my little babushkas. It’s episode four of “Russian Dolls,” and let’s start with a Russian proverb: “A thief believes everyone steals.” Isn’t foreshadowing fun?
Meet Sveta, a jewelry designer who lives in Brighton Beach:
I’d rather go naked than not wear fur.
Sveta is 47-years-young, I believe. I don’t want to quote her on that, because the sound mysteriously goes out slightly when she reveals her age. So for all we know Sveta could be 27, although I doubt it. Regardless, 47 is the new 37, and Sveta is FAB-UL-OUS! She never leaves the house without a designer Russian fur outfit, thousands of dollars in bling and three layers of cake on her face.
Not that Sveta always had an easy life. She and her family were living in a town I’ve never heard of and can’t find on Google when Chernobyl happened. Rather than subject her children to a little radiation, she decided to immigrate to the U.S. – and what wonders moving to America has done for her confidence! “I can make a statement just walking into a room,” says Sveta as she nearly falls down in her 4-inch heels. But she knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. At least, that’s my impression as I watch her berate just about everyone she runs into.
“A lot of people in Brighton can be full of themselves for no reason,” says Sveta, going on to explain that she’s not full of herself. But she is snobby, she admits. “I am very much material girl,” Sveta says as we watch clips of her acting… well, materialistic. In a get-to-know-me moment, we see Sveta complain about her meal, yell at some random off-camera person and drive away in her Mercedes. She also continues to repeat, “You know what I like” throughout the segment, helping us to understand that Sveta is a high-maintenance bee-atch who believes everything revolves around her.
Um, excuse me… why is there semen in my food?
But like most beautiful high-maintenance woman, Sveta actually found someone to marry her – someone who looks like he totally regrets it.
Is it too late to back out of this thing?
Sasha is Sveta’s husband, and he was a jeweler for 10 years in Kiev. (Oh, there we go, the town they lived in is called Kiev – thank goodness for sub-titles!) Anywhoo, since Sasha was so experienced in the jewelry business, they decided to open their own store in Brighton Beach.
Looks classy, doesn’t it?
As every good businesswoman knows, marketing is everything – and Sveta and Sasha are always trying to bring new customers to the store. Sveta has a lunch meeting with Marina to discuss doing a jewelry show at her restaurant. After complaining about the food, Sveta gets down to business – she wants to rent out Rasputin for a jewelry expo – which she thinks will be good not only for her business, but for Rasputin as well. Remember as we go on, this is Sveta’s idea.
Marina is totally on board. Her family owns Rasputin, a 20-year-old business that, according to Marina, is the most famous Russian restaurant in the world.
Well, except for all of the restaurants in Russia.
Marina has a ton of ideas – they’ll put up a bar and invite all of Rasputin’s clients to the show. It’s going to be a high-end and exclusive event that will be the envy of everyone in Brighton Beach – and before long, every self-made Russian will be wanting Sveta’s jewelry.
The meeting goes extremely well, so it’s on to phase two: They go to the restaurant to meet with Marina’s husband, Michael. And this is where it starts to go downhill. They can do the date Sveta wants, but they’ll have to open the restaurant early just for her, which will cost extra. But wait – there’s more – Michael will send out an E-mail about the event to all 10,000 of Rasputin’s clients! And that, he says with a twinkle in his eye and a skip in his step, is worth money!
Hold your horses, says Sveta. Just how many people out of the 10,000 can you expect to actually show up? Oh, about 50, Michael mumbles. And the whole thing is gonna cost you about $2000. Hey, that includes gratuities.
Needless to say, Sveta is not impressed. “This number came out of nowhere,” she says, “I was shocked!” This show is way beyond her budget. I mean, what if all 50 people don’t show up? Plus, a show like this is a big deal. It’s her name and reputation on the line – and with such a great investment, the show has to be impeccable. Hmmm… well, considering the show is over-budget and out of Sveta’s price range AND she’s having second thoughts, common sense would tell her not to go through with it, right?
Do I look like I have common sense to you?
Marina doesn’t know what the big deal is. Sveta knows the drill – her daughter had her wedding here. She knows how overpriced we are, explains Marina. But being a true Russian, Marina offers a barter. Tell you what, why don’t you just give me a piece of jewelry worth $2000 and we’ll call it a deal, she says as Michael gives her the evil eye. Sveta is all for it. Russians like to barter because it’s a convenient way of doing business and we don’t have to pull unmarked mafia money out of our pockets, she explains. After some consideration, Michael is all for it, too:
We must not have gotten enough of Anastasia in the last episode, because she’s back. We find Anastasia hanging out in her apartment with Eddie, talking about the fine art of tequila poppers. Oh, come on, what else would they be talking about? But their riveting conversation is interrupted by a phone call – and not just from any ordinary Ivan-Shivman. Nope, the call is from Vlad, Anastasia’s ex-boyfriend! But Vlad isn’t just any ordinary hook-up: After four years of dating, Vlad and Anastasia broke up 10 months ago. Once you take a look at a picture of Vlad, you know these two are meant to be together.
Have you met my boyfriend, Vanilla Ice?
Now Vlad is calling and texting, trying to get back into her life. And this time he asks her to meet up with him. Will she do it? OK, says Anastasia. She’s not one to create suspense, our little Anastasia.
Now, no girl gets back together with an ex without a little drama, right?
Girl, don’t I know it!
But the drama this time around comes in the form of Eddie. Eddie can’t stand Vlad because Vlad has hurt Anastasia so many times before. Plus, at 25, Vlad only has an “OK” job, so he isn’t good enough for Ana. Plus, (even though he doesn’t elaborate), Vlad is a douchebag. Plus, Eddie is totally in love with Anastasia. He and Anastasia have made a pact: If they’re not married by the time they’re 30, then they’ll marry each other – and Vlad is an obvious threat to his evil plan!
This is the size of Vlad’s penis.
And THIS is the size of my penis.
Anastasia tells Eddie to chill. It’s not like we’re getting back together, she says unconvincingly. In fact, I’m totally terrified of getting back together with him, she mumbles even less convincingly. But hey, I dated him for four years. He at least deserves a chance for me to hear him out, she says as she looks at the floor.
Oh and there’s something small that Eddie left out. According to Anastasia, she and Eddie hooked up years ago. It didn’t mean anything, of course. They were just drunk and all she wanted to do was get him out of her bed and go to breakfast the next morning. Sounds like… The. Best. Sex. Ever.
Eddie, on the other hand, feels differently. Believing he’s the one who’s about to reveal the big secret, Eddie gives an interview with Albert. “Vlad treated Anastasia like sh**, and I had to catch all the tears in a bucket,” he says, imitating catching tears in a bucket. Oh man, and you got NO play out of that?!? exclaims Albert. Well, I’m not one to kiss and tell, but yeah, we totally did it, says Eddie. And when asked how it was, Eddie will only say, “No comment” so as not to embarrass his good friend. He’s a classy guy, that Eddie. A classy guy who ends the conversation with a subtle hint that somebody rocked his world that night.
For a good time, call Anastasia!
(Disclaimer: Sleep with Russian Dolls at your own risk. It is highly recommended that you use protection.)
It’s time for the slice-of-life moments that show us Russian immigrant life in Brighton Beach. This one is pretty boring – it mainly consists of men fishing on the pier. And smoking. And fishing. But the final moment caught my eye. A man picks a fish up off of the dock, leaving a trail of blood behind. I’m not sure why that made the cut, but like most of this show, it was completely gross and unnecessary. Blech.
You see this fish? This could be your fate if you no do what big Russian mafia boss say!
Sveta’s still not feeling good about the deal, so she meets Marina over some vodka to discuss her concerns. How many people do we have, she asks? Oh, about 25, Marina says nonchalantly. But there’s no official list, so Marina doesn’t even know who’s coming. Sveta has an instinct to cancel the event, but they keep talking. And aye-aye-aye, what a headache. This one wants to make sure there’s enough people, that one wants to make sure they cover their expenses, this one wants VIPs, that one can’t make any guarantees. This goes on and on. The point isn’t the final details of their business deal, which is good because I have no idea what they were talking about. It’s just a chance for them to complain about each other. Drama!
Marina seems surprised by the whole conversation. Sveta suddenly wants this and that and where’s my guarantee, says Marina, “I was in shock.” Sveta’s concern is she’s not going to get anything out of the deal. Well, Marina has a solution to that. Just one customer is all it takes to make a profit, she says. Sveta doesn’t seem convinced. You know, I think someone needs an attitude change, she continues.
And a nap, because apparently the alcohol isn’t helping you loosen up.
If looks could kill…
Back to Anastasia, who’s about to meet up with Vlad. She’s so scared to get back into it, because the past 10 months of drinking, partying and fighting with her mother have been really hard on her. Vlad meets her on the boardwalk, sharply dressed in a suit. It’s an uncomfortable moment as they both sit down.
So, uh, what should we talk about?
After what seems like an eternity of silence, Vlad jumps right into it. I can’t tell you what he said, because Vlad mumbles his way through the discussion. Finally they get up an go to a restaurant where they can be properly mic’d. Vlad introduces her to his new favorite drink: honey, jam and tea. “It looks weird but it tastes good,” he says.
Yeah, but where’s the alcohol? And dude, what the hell happened to your hair?
Enough of the small talk, they decide. Vlad admits that he was too young to be in a serious relationship. “I was 23, I didn’t know what I wanted,” he tells her in a half-hearted apology for being a douche. Anastasia, on the other hand, was more than ready to play housewife. I used to love taking care of you, she says. Aww, says, Vlad. Well, I have a position open for a maid…
But all kidding aside, Vlad admits that all of their fights were senseless and he really didn’t have a reason to break up with Ana. Sounds like we have some unfinished business, Anastasia says. Hey, that sounds like the name of a movie. “Unfinished Business, starring Vlad and Anastasia,” laughs Anastasia. Vlad chuckles. “Rated R,” he adds. Ha. Ha.
No really, what happened to your hair?
Anastasia doesn’t seem to mind that all the men on this show like to describe her sexual escapades. In fact, she adds to it. “Rated XXXX,” she continues. I think Anastasia is gunning to be the Snooki of the show. I hope her mother isn’t watching.
They share a pinky hug, and wow! Fireworks! “When he took my hand, that’s when I already knew that this isn’t just a talk. This kid still loves you a lot.”
Hold hands with Russian Dolls at your own risk. It is highly recommended that you use protection.
“We’re soul mates,” Ana continues, making a heart shape with her hands. There’s a lot of hand gestures in this shows, and most of them just seem to imply naughty references.
This is what I’m going to do to Vlad later. It’s called the two-handed rope pull, if you catch my drift.
Yes, love is in the air at Brighton Beach, and together Anastasia and Vlad walk off into the sunset. It’s a match made in douchebag heaven.
Back to the jewelry fiasco. We cut to Marina’s home, where she is getting her makeup professionally done for tonight’s jewelry show. And she can’t wait to get it over with, because Sveta is being a bee-atch. Enter Michael, who inquires about last night’s vodka meeting, and man, does he get an earful! Why are we doing this, he asks? Just cancel it! Great idea Michael – it’s what everyone is thinking and no one is saying. Now I see why men are the leaders of this culture.
I can’t do that, says Marina. I’ve already invited everyone! I can’t cancel them at the last minute! Point taken, Marina. Forget what I said about the men.
Meanwhile, Sveta and Sasha are packing everything up for the show at their jewelry store. Sveta pretty much tells Sasha her version of the vodka meeting. And back and forth we go between the two. Not much more important is said, except for how much they despise each other at this point. Then it starts to get nasty! “This is why I don’t shop in Brighton,” says Marina, “This is the typical Brighton treatment.” We cut to Marina, who says, “Marina THINKS she’s perfect, she’s fashion forward, she’s super-hot!” Almost as if she’s heard the comment, Marina states, “What a pig. What an ungrateful, disgusting person!” And I’m done. I don’t care how this plays out – I just want to know which football player went back and forth between these two cheerleaders telling them what they were saying about each other. Oh, wait… they’re adults? Well, I’ll be darned…
I am sooo gonna beat Sveta for prom queen tonight!
Wait – there’s more! “God forbid I get the bitch out of her again, I’m done. That’s it. We’re done. Forever,” says one of them (I can’t tell who’s who anymore). Or at least they’ll be done until they shoot the next episode.
Diana and Albert don’t have much to do this episode, so let’s get their commentary on the situation. “Doing business with Russian women – they don’t take sh** from anyone,” says Albert. Well, Albert, I’m sure you’ve just offended women everywhere! Right, Diana? Diana? Ahem… care to comment, Diana? Um… yeah, says Diana. I agree with Albert. Tehehehe. You see, says Diana, women are sensitive and moody. When they’re having a bad day everyone is having a bad day. Especially when it’s that time of the month. And all the time in between. Tehehehehe.
If the wind changes your faces are gonna stay like that, you know!
And just like that, the interview is over. Well, now we all know why Diana isn’t on the show all that much. The interview is so dumb they have to cut it short and show us more slices of Russian life, which means more Russian markets and raw, unscaled fish. Russians must really love fish. Tehehehehe.
We’re back to Anastasia’s and Diana’s apartment, but Diana’s not there because she has nothing worthwhile to add. But Eddie’s there, as usual, telling her how ripped he got last night. Why doesn’t he just move in already? Oh, because Anastasia is back together with Vlad and that would be weird. Yep, Anastasia is hooking up with her ex, although this is the first time she’s telling Eddie about it. And it appears Eddie and Ana are growing apart: Eddie is interested in one-night stands, while Anastasia is more interested in growing up and getting married and producing babies. At least they still have tequila poppers in common.
Anastasia has been seeing Vlad every day – and the cameras just happen to capture every moment as they take long walks, clown around in her apartment, smoke a hookah (?), and go shopping at a Russian market for fish heads together.
Isn’t this romantic?
Their love is so amazing that they are surrounded by a romantic fog everywhere they go. ”We’re having the best time,” says Anastasia, much to Eddie’s chagrin. “What are you, nuts?” he asks. But Anastasia defends her douchebag, explaining that it feels good to have him back in her life. Besides, they’re taking it slow, and there’s no title on the relationship – yet. That’s it! That’s all Eddie can take. He hops up to leave. I don’t trust this guy, he says, and if he hurts her again, I’m going to kill him! Now that would make for good television!
It’s finally time for the jewelry show, and we’re at Rasputin, the most famous Russian restaurant in the blah blah blah! Sveta has high expectations: She expects to see at least 50 VIPs, great service and amazing food. She does realize it’s Russian food, right? But regardless of her expectations, Sveta already seems to be predicting that Michael and Marina won’t be able to give her everything they promised. Marina has a much better attitude, pretending that all is ok in front of her patrons.
The customers don’t seem to like what they see. Putting on her happy face, Marina asks how many sales they’ve had.
None? Oops, bummer for you!
And it is a bummer for Sveta. Marina didn’t provide the VIPs she promised – only locals who try to talk down her prices. You know how much Russians love bartering! She didn’t make enough sales to cover her expenses, so she’s pissed! And it shows! She doesn’t even wait for the show to be over before complaining about the limited food and bar. And when a Russian complains that the bar only has cheap vodka, you know there’s a fight coming!
Marina’s no angel either. Before long, her happy face has turned into a passive-aggressive face, telling potential customers, “Her husband is a sweetheart. But when SHE gets involved, that’s it. No deal.”
If looks could kill, part II.
That is it. It becomes a total bitchfest. Not caring that the customers are looking on, Marina calls Sveta a bitch and a pig. Sveta complains the show was a total waste of money before turning to her customers and stating in Russian, “There’s going to be a big fight.” Luckily, everyone has time to calm down during the commercial break, and no cops have to be called. But it’s not over. It’s time for Marina to get paid, and we come back to her choosing a piece of jewelry for her payment. How about this one, she asks. No, says Sveta. This one? No, it’s too expensive. It seems that neither can agree on which piece of jewelry would be sufficient to cover the $2000 party. “Just get the check,” says Michael. No, says Sveta, we had a deal. A deal she refuses to honor, but whatever.
It gets worse. Sveta calls them hustlers, and Marina calls Sveta dishonest, a cheater and a liar. I think they both suck. Of course, the fight escalates, with both parties disagreeing on who screwed the other over more. Meanwhile, poor Sasha just stands there, looking like he desperately wants to go back to Chernobyl.
Is it too late to back out of this thing?
“She is setting herself up as the biggest bitch in Brighton and nobody in their right mind will ever buy anything from her,” Marina concludes. “That was the lowest, lowest service I could ever see in any restaurant,” tops Sveta. Michael tries to set her straight by explaining that they advertised to 10,000 people, which is worth more than $2000. “Bull F***ing Sh**!” says Sveta, where are my 10,000 people? Then, as a final insult, she concludes, “Maybe nobody cares about your restaurant.” Well, Sveta knows where to hit where it hurts, and all hell breaks loose. The three begin to swear up an illegible storm while Sasha just stands there, apologizing with his eyes. Finally, Marina and Michael walk away, complaining that Sveta has no class – a statement that Sveta sees nothing but irony in.
These two are so awful, it really is hard to decide who didn’t live up to their end of the bargain. But one thing’s for sure – Marina never got paid for her services, and considering that Sveta has been complaining from the beginning, I have a feeling she never planned on paying in the first place. So if I HAD to choose, I would side with Marina on this one. But I think in the end, it will be up to Judge Judy to decide.
The whole thing was so uncomfortable to watch that’s it’s almost a breath of fresh air to go back to Anastasia’s apartment. Then you realize that she and Vlad are about to get all hot and heavy in the hot tub, and you would give anything to go back to the scene at Rasputin. I had Vlad over for some wine, and “we rekindled our love for each other,” says Anastasia. Tehehehe. Blech!
It’s freezing outside, so they climb in the hot tub with their wine. Let’s drink our wine the cute way, says Vlad and they cross their arms to sip their drinks. Hurl! “I’m gonna get you drunk tonight,” Anastasia tells Vlad as he downs his wine like a tequila popper. It’s all very romantic! I can only aspire to have a relationship like that someday!
I hope you have a few more bottles of this.
I’m not sure what’s worse – watching them make out or watching them talk. Thankfully, they don’t kiss for too long before Vlad says, “What the f*** is going on?” Well, at least he’s addressing their Facebook relationship status. Yeah, it’s weird, Anastasia says. But she’s excited – it’s a new chapter in their lives. Ana has some rules this time around. She wants Vlad to be “real” and try to express himself more.
So what are you saying? You want me to act more like a chick?
Dude! Chill – one step at a time, says Vlad. Dude, you know what I mean, says Anastasia. Fine, whatever – I’ll try, says Vlad. Man, this guy will say anything to get into her pants, but Anastasia is not backing down. There are things that have to be said and she’s going to say them, dammit! If there’s no communication skills, then like, what’s the point, she says. How does Vlad respond to her comment on his communication skills, you ask? “Finish the cup,” Vlad says, referring to the wine. She slowly sips her beverage, but Vlad’s getting impatient. He grabs her cup, only to down the rest of it for her. Let’s just go inside – it’s cold and your nipples are like spears, she says.
But there’s no way he’s going to the bedroom without a little hot tub horseplay first. Vlad wraps her legs around his shoulders and picks her up out of the hot tub so she experiences the same nipple excitement he does. So we have to be subjected to this:
And then we’re forced to watch this:
Vladimir like pretty woman. Vladimir like way she make his tongue feel.
And finally, this:
Vladimir carry Anastasia to man cave.
While all the sex is happening, poor, single Eddie calls Anastasia on her phone – but Anastasia ignores it. Eddie couldn’t appear more lonely, leaving her a message while she’s getting it on. He invites her to come hang with the gang – but she better not bring that douchebag, he says. But Ana never gets the message. As the bedroom door closes behind them, we can only imagine what’s going on in there (blech!) – and what’s to come!
No pun intended.