Viewers have already gotten a glimpse into the world of gypsy culture with "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding." Executive producer Ralph Macchio is taking them all the way in to meet the Johns family on "American Gypsies" (Tue., 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic).
Macchio told HuffPost TV that "this story needed to be told." He compared the very real family to characters from "The Godfather" or "The Sopranos." And he promises that this series is true reality.
"One could agree there is very little reality in reality television," Macchio said. "You are force-fed what you are supposed to believe is actual. That’s frustrating. In our show, the Johns family is the Johns family."
The premiere episode quickly introduced viewers to the idea of gypsy law. This subculture within New York City has their own code of behavior and expectations, like their law that no gypsy business can open within three blocks of one another.
For the record, two-and-a-half blocks isn't close enough, as seen by the horrible fight that erupts when a business opens up that far from another. They throw the matter to their own gypsy court.
It was certainly a loud premiere, with cast-members emphasizing family and tradition over anything else. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette wasn't impressed, though, calling the cast out for "behav[ing] contemptibly while expressing contempt for people and culture not Romany [Gypsy]" and declaring the show itself "dreadful."
"American Gypsies" continues Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic.