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Mama's Boys of the Bronx: New Reality Show on TLC

Natasha Lardera (March 29, 2012)
Picture Credit: TLC

Anthony, Frankie, Giovanni, Peter and Chip are grown-up Italian-American men who still live at home. They are in their 30's yet they let their mothers do everything for them. They work, they party and they go out on the prowl, looking for the Italian woman of their dreams.

Momma's boy: 

One who cannot make decisions for himself and has to have his mothers approval no matter right or wrong. 
One who needs to hear from or see his mother on a daily basis and definitely more then once. 

One who will die at the same point and time his mother does because he simply cannot live without her and would be lost in his life as he does not have his mother directing him. 
One who would slice the throat of his wife at his mothers request. 
One who was born without a doctor present that did not cut the umbilical cord. 
This is how the term is defined on Urban Dictionary
Camille and Chip
Gus DiFiglia and Grazia Cuffaro
Wikipedia gives a more serious definition: “Mother's boy, also mummy's boy or mama's boy, is a term for a man who is excessively attached to his mother at an age when men are expected to be independent (e.g. live on their own, be economically independent). Being mother-bonded is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness, and has a social stigma attached to it in many places, although in other places it may be more acceptable or perceived as normal. A mother-bonded man is seen to give control of his own life to his mother, in exchange for a sense of security. If the mother has more than one son, then she will have, at the most, one mother's boy, usually the eldest or youngest son. The relationship between mother and mother's boy is thought to be ‘symbiotic:’ the mother enjoys controlling her mother's boy. Alternatively, in recent years, some have begun using the term in a milder sense, merely meaning a man who is emotionally attached to his mother. Though this sense of the phrase is still uncommon compared to the original pejorative intent, mothers in particular may state their pride in their ‘mama's boy’ sons.”
Supposedly all Italian men are mama's boys. The general view of the so called Italian mammoni is that “Men, who are used to being pampered, therefore never grow up. The Mammoni—attractive, employed, successful men in the 30s and 40s—don’t get married anymore. They depend on their moms to take care of them because that’s what they’re used to. They only move out once—and if—they get married,” Tom Matlack writes in the Good Men Project. Many blame the recent economic crisis but the truth is that Italian men have always been that way. An article on the BBC titled Italians slow to leave the nest dated February 1st 2005, for example, explains how “Between 1990 and 2000 the rate of those aged between 30 and 34 still sharing the parental home rose from 14% to 27%, Eurispes says in its annual report,” and that “Sons linger even longer than daughters, the government says, with 36.5% of men aged 30 to 34 remaining at home, compared to just 18.1% of women.”
The data confirms it, the stereotype definitely is a truth and this stereotype is going to be the brought to life in a new television show. Mama's Boys of the Bronx, premiers April 9, on TLC. “Forget about fresh baked bread, pasta and cannoli - Arthur Avenue is the place where growing up means never having to leave your mama,” the channel writes. 
The eight-episode series captures the every day life of five proud Italian-American men who grew up together and still live with their mothers. Anthony, Frankie, Giovanni, Peter and Chip are attractive, employed, in their 30's and don't have to clean their rooms or buy gel for their hair. Their mothers take care of everything. “The mothers would love to see their sons married off to ‘good Italian girls,’ but until that day comes, they're perfectly happy having their precious boys at home.”
Giovanni is one of them. He is 38, and is known as Johnny Margarita (because his father's bar, where all the mobsters hung out, was called Café Margarita). He is an aspiring fashion designer. Frankie is also 38 and he grew up as a street kid. He now is a construction worker and he wants to find a girl just like his Italian mother, Gina, to start a family with. Peter is the youngest, 28, and he is a math teacher who aspires to be an actor. Chip, 36, is a personal trainer and Anthony, 35, is constantly on the prowl.
The five men are portrayed at work, at home, out on the town and on their street, Arthur Avenue. The show is supposed to be a glimpse into the Italian-American culture in the Bronx, yet, let's not forget it is a show designed to entertain, even if it is called reality-TV it is still TV. How these men decide to live their life is their own decision and not all Italian and Italian-American men do not know how to iron their underwear.

DISCLAIMER: Articles published in i-Italy are intended to stimulate a debate in the Italian and Italian-American Community and sometimes deal with controversial issues. The Editors are not responsible for, nor necessarily in agreement with the views presented by individual contributors.
This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written permission.
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Mama's Boys

I have not heard of this show so I'll reserve judgement until I do. However, I think it's way past time for people to realize that calling Italian American's "Guido's" is as insulting as calling an African American the "N" word. It is offensive and MUST stop.


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This is appalling!

As a recent italian transplant, this is exactly the type of 'entertainment' we don't need. We already had enough stupidity with "the sopranos" and "the jersey shore" shows twisting our family values and italian culture. We are simply perpetuating stereotypes that they don't really apply to all of us a whole.

Our values as a culture are NOT truly reflected on these 'shows' and they are simply distorting our values and perpetuating a negative image that is far, far, from the truth.

For Crying out loud

It is just entertainment!! Look at all those mafia related movies, The Sopranos ect . Lots could be said about stereotyping there too.. I much rather watch this tyoe of entertainment than some of the other junk on TV these days. Not only that any Italian probably has or knows a guy like this in their family or neighborhood. They are just Guidos is all.

NOT "Just Entertainment"

Media that consistently target specific ethnic or racial groups and ascribe to them stereotypical characteristics are NOT simply entertainment because they are intentionally attempting to create an indelible impression about the group as a whole in the mind of the public. This has very a pervasive effect upon the public perception of the targeted group and colors the way members of the group are perceived by society as a whole. This in turn can have subtle, yet profound, consequences for members of the targeted group in that they must then overcome a preconceived stereotype in their interactions with society. An example is an Italian American applicant to an elite university who's application is reviewed by a committee whose members may have developed preconceived notions about Italian Americans based upon their consistently negative portrayal in the media. This is human nature and is a natural effect of experience. Such a situation creates an unfair hurdle that must be surmounted by the applicant. Anyone who denies that the way in which something is consistently portrayed in the media has a profound effect upon public perception must then also deny the entire raison d'etre for the advertising industry. One needs only consider how politically unacceptable it would now be to see black people portrayed as the shuffling, scraping and bowing characters they were portrayed as prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Or imagine a Jew portrayed as a conniving, greedy, master-manipulator with a long hooked nose, arched eyebrows and a Yiddish accent! Yet it is seems perfectly acceptable to portray Italian Americans as criminals and uneducated buffoons. I beg to differ. This is NOT "just entertainment" at all. It is toxic, slanderous stereotyping and it is completely unacceptable to any thinking American.

Nothing wrong with Momma's boys

You all call them Momma's boys but the truth is this is a cultural thing. Grwoing up in the Italian North End of Boston this is something that always has been. This spells out one thing Strong Family Ties, Family First and Love. I know plenty of these so called "Momma's Boys' that eventually married and have become the best husbands and fathers because they know what love family and commitment is all about. I am sure the show has labeled them Momma's Boys for entertainment but this is all a part of how we live. My own family has these kind of sons they are the best. For those of you saying these are the type of guys girls don't want, well you are not the kind of girls these guys want either. It takes a special type of woman to be lucky enough to end up with one of these men. I was always taught that the way a man treats and loves his mother he will so treat his future wife. All the nay sayers do not deserve any of these wonderful men.

Bravo Guys keep your Mommas Numero Uno and the template to your furture wife. These fine women are the last of a dying breed

Mama's Boys of the Bronx

Oh good gawd! These guys are exactly the type of "men" most women do NOT want. Who wants to wait on and be a mother to a husband/boyfriend like these guys! These guys would get a wife and then run around on her. And if you're married, their mother comes with the package; what about the wife's mother. I watched the first program, but can't watch another one ... makes me unable to breathe and it makes me angry just watching these guys and their moms. Scheesch.

Good For You

Then leave these guys for the women that will appreciate them. They make the BEST husbands and their wives will want for nothing I can promise you that.

Mama's Boys = Miserable Husbands/Boyfriends

I completely disagree, they do not and will not make the best husbands. They're dependent, needy and obsessive over their family. No woman will ever want to be with a guy who puts his mother before her. A wife should come first and be treated that way. A man who lives at home over the age of 25 has issues. Attachment, emotional, physical, immature issues. An italian Mama's Boy is unable to prioritize the important things in his life and should just marry his mother. I can guarantee you a man who is independent, confident and konws how to treat a lady is NOT an Italian Mama's boy.


As a third generation American of Italian descent I was appalled at this program. I remember my Italian grandparents as being dignified and noble people who bore no resemblance whatsoever to the moronic buffoons portrayed in this show and in others like it. Indeed, these individuals typify what my ancestors would have referred to as "cafoni", or low-class ignoramuses. What is so sad is that, even more than one hundred years after Italians began immigrating to the United States in great numbers, we, their descendants, have been the target of an exponentially increasing assault by the American media. To me, it is inconceivable that the executives of these media companies are able to get away with these disparaging portrayals with complete impunity. For anyone with half a brain who is interested in knowing who is responsible for this program, the President and CEO of Discovery Communications, the parent company of TLC, is David M. Zaslav. His web page can be found at the following: I would suggest that anyone offended by the slanderous and disparaging slap in the face to Italian Americans being administered by Mr. Zaslav give him a call, show up at his house, or post a You Tube video depicting Mr. Zaslav as the disrespectful buffoon that he must be in order to consent to the production of this garbage. Also, go ahead and complain to his advertisers on TLC, Discovery and all the affiliated networks as well as to your congressperson whose legislative capacity may be able to dissuade companies such as Discovery Communications and TLC from blatantly slanderous content such as this. Our ancestors were noble people and too many Italian_Americans fought and died in America's wars to stand for such insult from the likes of a low-life like David M. Zaslav.

mamas boys

way to make italians look even more stupid, its sad enough we have a bunch of idiot kids on Jersey shore making fools of themselves now we have 40 year olds acting like 20 year olds, oh and yeah I said 40 year olds, if these guys are in their mid 30 then im Donald trump.

the worst part is these guys probably think that people are gonna turn in because they think they are cool and not realise that the viewers are either related to them or are simply watching to laugh at them

I dont know, maybe you

I dont know, maybe you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. You are already calling them out just because they are Italians, and so all shows that come out now featuring Italian people MUST be like Jersey Shore. Mama's boys seems to focus on a different stand point of the lives of these men living in the bronx and their experiences. I think your claim is a bit over reaching and it's a bit of discrimination to already label them and call them out, and YOU STILL HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN THE SHOW YET! just words of the wise, buddy

u dont know a thing about

u dont know a thing about real traditional italian values deannn u wanna hate and u havent even seen the show.. the reality is the show is about the bond and closeness of family life as we know it and u wouldnt probably know a thing about.. there will always be people like you who jump the gun and label sonething before even looking into it but its all good sweetheart i bet u watch it too while u mock and talk shit.. anybody can hate on a computor.. you're a lame deannn.. while my friends are on tv you my friend are home broke. laugh at that

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I would like to say that, I

I would like to say that, I have nothing against Italians. But there is a huge stereotype here in the states. What I mean to say is the whole Jersey Shore, and guido/fake tan stereotype. I must admit, growing up, I assumed Italians were all like this. Just to find out, there nothing like that. Its sad that they have this stereotype because of shows like this. (I haven't seen this one yet.) Italians have a beautiful culture, and traditions, sadly, we never see that. I went to Italy on vacation, and saw the real Italian culture. If only, the rest of the world could, instead of these stupid shows (in general), they come up with :)