If you ever thought that the mob was just Staten Island, think again. “The mob is Chicago. It’s in the pavement, it’s everywhere,” Renee Fecarotta Russo explains in the first moments of Mob Wives Chicago. This is where the mob began.
Now that we know Chicago is where is began, let’s meet the ladies.
Renee is the niece of Big John Fecarotta, an alleged enforcer for the mob who was gunned down in 1986, shot in the back by his best friend.
Before he died, he treated Renee like a princess, and that’s just how Renee treats her own daughters, Giana who’s 20 years old (damn, Renee, you look good for the mom of a 20-year-old!) and Isabella, age 10. Giana’s father is in prison and has been for thirteen years, and unlike the women from Staten Island, making prison visits is not a priority. “I haven’t visited him this whole time, and I never want to see him again,” she says. Giana wants to know her dad though, and Renee can’t stand the idea that she wants to visit a man who was not only convicted of murder, but who was never there for her as a dad. “This guy is so horrible that I really don’t want him near my daughter.” Giana disagrees.
Nora knows Chicago is a corrupt town and explains that the stuff we’ve seen on The Sopranos is kid stuff compared to what happens on a day-to-day in Chicago. Nora’s dad is Frank “The German” Schweihs, who is
the most notorious hit man in Chicago. Just don’t insinuate that he killed Marilyn Monroe, because Nora will stab you. “Mind your own business and shut the f— up about my dad,” seems to be Nora’s motto. Nora was best friends with her dad. She still might be, his whereabouts are currently unknown. Though he was presumed to have passed away in prison, the say of the funeral, the funeral director called her family and told them that the FBI confiscated his body. She’s absolutely tortured by the fact that she was never able to say goodbye to the man she loved. After a decade in Florida, Nora moved back to Chicago and plans to find out just what happened to her dad. Reality shows don’t have nearly enough mystery, so here’s to hoping Nora’s story finds some resolution, because now I’m dying to know what happened to her dad, too.
Vince Rizza was a crooked Chicago cop turned government informant. His daughter, Pia, is not a fan of rats and considers him an embarrassment to her family. She’s had to live with the stigma of having a cooperator in the family, and admits that, when asked about her father, she tells people he’s dead. Pia’s a single mom who works at a strip club which she’s totally fine with, but Nora looks down on. “She’s so much better than working at the strip club,” Nora says.
“It’s just a job,” Pia says. A job that brings in thousands of dollars a night, sometimes.
Nora feels comfortable enough talking about Pia’s job though because they go way back and their families have history and they’re like sisters. Which also gives Pia the freedom to tell us that “Nora gets a bad rap because a lot of people think she’s f—ing nuts.” I look forward to seeing that side of her. But for now, Nora just wants Pia to get her life together and find a more respectable profession. Pia takes offense to that notion.
Renee doesn’t know Pia that well, but she feels the same way about the stripping (“What she does is an embarrassment…Get off the pole.”) and to boot, she’s heard that Pia is a goumada, a mistress to several married men.
Renee admits to being judgmental, but what she really should have said was she is Judge Judy, Judge Wapner, and Judge Joe Brown all rolled into one. She can’t stand Pia’s profession, she knows Pia’s father is a rat and thinks that’s a disgrace. “Obviously this girl has no integrity,” Renee tells Nora. Do I sense our first beef of the season?
Norah just wants to have a nice girls’ night out with all the women so they can get to know each other, and suggests that maybe Pia will grown on Renee. “Like mold?” Renee asks.
But before girls night happens, Pia’s cousin Anthony calls her to tell her he saw Nora out at a club, and Nora was talking smack about Pia.
Sounds like Renee’s judgmental ways rubbed off, because Anthony says Nora was calling her a b—h and a whore. “Nobody talks s— about me,” Pia says. Oooh, it’s actually a race to see whose beef will blossom first this season!
Before that can happen, we meet Christina Scoleri. Born and bred in Little Italy, Christina grew up a fighter who’s used to watching her back. Christina’s father is
a burglar for the mob. Though she’s loyal to her dad, she’s “definitely not the girl to take over the family business,” she says. After a ten-year marriage, she’s recently divorced but still living with her ex-husband. “I know it’s a little weird.” I mean, okay, it is a little weird, but whats weirder is that no one in Christina’s family knows they’re divorced, not even her nine-year-old daughter who lives with them. Well, we know where Christina’s Mob Wives salary is going to go, paying off the years of therapy her daughter’s going to need to figure out this situation.
Christina knows she needs to get out though, that’s for sure.
Pia is Christina’s friend and has been for over ten years, and Christina doesn’t really know the other women. Pia tells Christina the things her cousin heard Nora saying, specifically that she’s a “c—t,” and Christina can’t believe it but advises Pia to address it “in a nice way first” before raising fists. Christina sounds wiser by the minute, also saying that the issue should be addressed before the girls’ night out so it’s not tense for everyone.
Rounding out the pack is Leah Desimone, another native of Little Italy, a self-professed chubby-chaser, and a woman whose father kept his mob indiscretions hidden from her view.
Leah still lives at home with her father, so in case you thought Christina had the weirdest living situation of the bunch, she’s got some competition. “I don’t wanna leave my father!” Leah says.
She’s connected to the gang through Christina, as they both grew up on the same street, but she knows who the other girls are. Christina tells Leah about the Pia-Nora drama and Leah sums up the situation by saying “Nora and Pia are two balloon-heads. I’ve never seen a friendship like this before in my life.”
Leah is going to be absent from girls’ night because she’ll be out of town, and that means we won’t have access to her running commentary and Italian slang for a scene or two, which bums me out. What the crap is a bazzarelle? Because my Google translator isn’t finding it. Leah says it’s best that she’s not there though, because she will throw down if necessary, and anything can trigger her.
On to girls night…
Nora is the only person who’s looking at this thing optimistically. She wants everyone to hang out, have a good time, meet one another. But no one else is psyched because of what they’ve heard, or think they’ve heard through the Chicago grapevine.
“Are the girls late or are we early?” Renee asks, and Nora mentions that Pia’s usually late. “That’s disrespectful,” Renee says, and already it feels like trouble’s brewing. Poor Pia has no idea how Renee feels because she tells us “I like Renee, I think she’s a fun girl.”
When Pia and Christina arrive, so far so good. Hugs all around!
But then Pia starts talking about some unsavory behavior, like the time she was in Florida and drank a pitcher and a half of mojitos, and Renee looks at her like she wants to drown her in an above-ground pool full of mojitos.
And if her dirty looks weren’t enough to make Pia feel unwelcome, Renee broaches the subject of Pia’s father being a rat, and Pia explains that her father was a rat but that she is nothing like him. Renee doesn’t push the envelope, but she also doesn’t warn to Pia, even after that reassurance.
We already have two potential beefs in the room, but now we get a third once Christina brings up the topic of Nora’s dad being a hit man. No one ever told Christina that this subject was off-limits, apparently. “What would make you bring such a sore subject into such a happy moment?” Nora asks. “My dad didn’t kill any-f—ing-body.”
“Nora’s in f—ing la la land about what her dad used to do,” Christina tells us. Again, loving Christina’s to-the-point honesty. I wonder if it will come back to bite her? (This is also the same women who admits “I could drink, like, a kegger of shots!” during the night. I also wonder if that will come back to bite her.)
Renee notices that Christina is like halfway through her kegger of shots and she’s like “Slow down, killer!”
But the moment we assumed would happen finally happens, Pia tells the girls “I have to address something.”
“I have to tell Nora about what I heard.” Pia tells Nora what her cousin told her, and Nora’s response is very lawyer-y. “Tell him to get it on tape, and then I’ll believe what I said,” she says, basically talking in circles because I don’t really know what she means. “It’s hearsay.” Finally she tells Pia “I never said it.”
“I don’t know if Nora called Pia a whore, but I wouldn’t blame her if she did,” Renee says. “If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck…quack quack.”
Nora and Pia actually talk things out and kiss, and Nora says “Love you, drop it.” Beef number one seems to actually be squashed, which seems miraculous.
Christina’s not dropping anything though. “You guys should have addressed this the next day,” she tells Pia, sticking to her guns of nipping drama in the bud. Except that she has no clue that she’s starting beef number three. Christina and her kegger of shots are losing control and she keeps pushing everyone’s buttons over an issue that’s already been resolved, and no one knows why. Judging from her face, I don’t even know if she knows why.
She holds fast to the notion that since Pia confided in her about this issue, it’s now her business, and she doesn’t like the way it was resolved after all.
“Shut the f— up!” Pia tells Christina. “Are you my friend or are you not my friend? Right now I don’t think you’re my friend!” she yells, getting up off her couch. “All of a sudden Christina’s like a raging junkyard dog.”
Christina tosses her drink at Nora who stepped in to separate them, and hell breaks loose.
“This is completely out of control,” Renee says, as security tries to pry the women apart, but they are fused together at the hair extensions by now.
Once the dust clears, Renee still finds a way to place the blame on Pia, saying “Pia she just has no class. She’s just a piece of s—.”
Introductions are complete, welcome to the world of Mob Wives Chicago.