Meet the Johns family, one of Manhattan's most prominent Gypsy families. In each episode of this new series, cameras document their efforts to preserve Gypsy customs amid the vices of the city, while upholding their family's power in the community and expanding their psychic show empire.
In the season premiere of 'American Gypsies' we meet the Johns. A prominent Romani, or Gypsy, family from New York City, patriarch Bob's health is failing, prompting rival brothers Nicky and Bobby to start battling for leadership. Old-school Nicky wants to stick to tradition, but Bobby wants to integrate with American society and allow his daughters to take part in a local acting recital. When a rival family encroaches on Nicky's psychic shop turf, he calls his 4 brothers into a violent confrontation, landing the whole family in Romani Court.
Bobby clashes with his younger brother Nicky when he tries to open a new psychic shop without their father’s blessing. Bobby’s daughter-in-law goes into premature labor, and the race is on for Grandma Tina to complete an all-important Romani ritual for the newborn. Bobby does his best to support his daughters Amanda and Vivian in their acting dreams, but all does not go according to plan. Finding out what Bobby has been up to, Nicky boycotts his brother’s shop opening, choosing a night out drinking alone instead.
During a night out, the Johns family men encounter their rival Tommy Gigolo. Soon after, a series of misfortunes befall the brothers—which they believe lead back to Tommy. Terrified of one day inheriting his father’s poor health, Bobby goes to a gaje (non-Romani) doctor for a checkup and receives disturbing news. He attempts to correct his health issues by engaging in extreme fitness training. In the meantime, Eric’s son, Val, feels torn between following his family’s orders to marry a Romani, or Gypsy, girl and staying with his gaje girlfriend Katie. Bobby's son, Chris, brings Val on a “boys’ trip” to Miami in hopes of helping him forget about Katie.
The Johns brothers travel to Florida, where a cash-strapped Nicky tries to open a new psychic shop in South Beach, causing friction with rival Romani and his wife Christine. Back in New York, the family faces a shock when Bob Sr. is rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
After an unsuccessful trip to a car auction Bobby decides to expand his business empire with an investment in his son-in-law’s scrap yard. Worried about his father's health, Nicky packs up his family and heads back to New York. After a little tough love from Erik, Val reluctantly agrees to look for a wife at a traditional Gypsy "pakiff."
Tina convinces Nicky to take a live lamb into his house until it can be slaughtered in a ritual meant to restore Bob Sr.’s health, but runs into trouble when his wife, Christine, finds their son Justin alone with “Lamb Chop.”
Tina throws Christopher and Justin a joint birthday party while their fathers, Bobby and Nicky, compete to buy the most expensive luxury car for their sons.
Nicky has a drinking problem and his wife Christine has had enough. Nicky turns to Tina, the last person in the family who is willing to help him. Tina is also at odds with Bobby who disagrees with her closed-minded ideas about where Romanies came from. He purchases a home DNA kit in order to get the answers his traditions cannot give him. Val and his girlfriend Sophia take a secret weekend trip together which sends his father, Eric, and the brothers into an uproar.
Things start out on a bad note when Chris refuses to abide by his family's tradition of keeping the bride and groom separated before the wedding. On top of that, Tina and Bob Sr. must plan a wedding with a gaji, or non-Romani wedding planner. And of course it wouldn't be a Romani wedding without a few tears, fights, and even bomb threats.