What I’m Watching: American Gypsies
If you haven’t seen American Gypsies on National Geographic, then, like my grandma says, “you don’t know what you’re missing!” After taking in episodes one and two, I am completely fascinated with this ethnic group that is steeped in tradition and superstition. Therein lies the drama; and for us, the entertainment!
American Gypsies centers around the Johns family of New York City. Pictured above in the center are the family’s patriarch and matriarch, Bob Sr. and Tina Johns, with their five sons behind them. Considering the gypsies, or “Rom” as they call themselves, encourage marriage by eighteen years old, there are a lot of Johnses running around! Bob and Tina are great grandparents by episode two!
To protect the traditions of their people, the family chooses to not adapt to social customs of modern America, but to keep encouraging the family to do as they’ve always done; marry young (without having dated!), have children young, home schooling for the children, own a psychic shop, and refrain from marrying or interacting with any non-gypsies, or “gajes” as they say.
The family conflict begins when brother Bobby lets his two youngest daughters attend acting classes, with non-gypsy children. In their culture, acting is not a choice for females; women are to marry, bear children, and work in the psychic shops as psychics and healers. Bobby’s brother Nicky, as well as Bob Sr., disapprove with Bobby’s decision and threaten to excommunicate him from the family.
Another interesting tidbit? Kris, or gypsy court. It is a “tribe of elders” who uphold the laws of the community. Instead of going to court, you’re going to Kris when you find yourself in trouble; and the rulings are harsh!
Did I forget to mention this was a reality show? ;)
American Gypsies airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on National Geographic.