It’s sad, it’s true. I am a VH1 reality show addict. There. I said it. Maybe if I shame myself publicly it will curb my cravings but that probably won’t happen, well at least not this week. I usually don’t have a compulsive personality but there are moments in my life, every fourteen months or so, when I spiral into fixation with one thing or another. Oddly, it appears that VH1 (Video Hits One) has formulated a way of creating reality shows that hits this addict nerve in my brain.
How did this all start? Innocently enough it was during a business trip in Houston and I was killing time in my hotel room and I was flipping around on the TV (which I indulge in at hotels since I don’t have one at my home) and I came upon the VH1 show, Basketball Wives LA. It is about wives (well actually more were ex’s and girlfriends) and the inner circle of catty ladies and the drama that ensues from putting that many women in the same room with cameras on. It was drama, drama, drama and I was immediately hooked. In addition to Basketball Wives LA, I have watched, Basketball Wives, T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle, Love & Hip Hop, Mob Wives, Baseball Wives, and Celebrity Rehab. Wow, I should really be using my time more beneficially but like my other kicks, I have to just let it take its’ course and hopefully by the end of it I will have learned something, anything.
As I said, Basketball Wives LA was my first dip into this TV pool and it was the character Dreya that had me the most intrigued. She is a stripper and has had relationships with a few basketball players. She is first seen as the groupie and is targeted by the older ladies in the group. Dreya looks very strange, but in a fascinating way. She has a very curvy body and her facial features throw you all over everywhere, but never really able to determine what her background is. I like her personality and she says funny things. She was also the underdog of sorts out of all the girls and I have always been partial to underdogs. I hope she becomes successful and that she doesn’t get treated poorly or misuse her body to get there. I liked seeing different parts of LA, the restaurants and clubs and other venues. Lesson learned: Stay away from older crazy ladies with wobbly necks.
Basketball Wives is apparently the original of the “Basketball Wives” franchise and it is set in Miami. Again there is a group of “wives” ex’s, and otherwise, that are friends with each other and you peek into their recorded lives. Shaunie O’Neill, Shaquille O’Neill’s ex wife, is the queen bee and she seems very mature and grounded. She is also a producer of the show. Smart gal. The most volatile character is Evelyn and she was to be married to a basketball player whom she was with for 10 years but she left that. She is very pretty and well frocked and locked. She seems like a not bad person but I found her to be sort of boring even though she was feisty. Miami is a weird town, having been there a few times its odd to see places you have been before and how when it's on TV, it doesn't look as crappy. Miami is sort of a sad town but I bet if you were as wealthy and connected to the basketball world as these ladies are things would be much more exciting. Lesson learned: Wear big hoop earrings at all times.
I love T.I. and Tiny. Their show, T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle is about them and their eight kids (I thinks its eight). Some of the kids are T.I. and Tiny’s together and others are from their previous relationships. They live in a newer- style mansion in Georgia and the episodes focus on the family and sometimes a child in particular. T.I. is a rapper and has previously been incarcerated, once for weapons and another for drug possession. Tiny (Tameka) was in a platinum selling girl group call Xscape and also won a Grammy for writing the lyrics for TLC’s No Scrubs. T.I. is incredibly handsome and very charming. He is very southern in manner and tone and he is very sweet and responsible for his kids. Tiny is not the prettiest girl, and at first it is surprising that she is married to T.I. but the show reveals how funny, smart and cool she is and it all makes sense. I really like T.I. and Tiny’s personalities and am happy to see such a complex family structure with usually misperceived rap and music culture being portrayed so positively. Lesson learned: Talk calmly, directly, and nicely to children in a quite voice.
Love & Hip Hop is about a group of ladies and their relationships with rappers or their struggle to make it in the industry. Chrissy is the girlfriend turned fiancé of Dipset rapper Jim Jones. I was shocked to see Jim Jones being a part of a reality show. Shocked. I am not a rap or Dipset head but I do like Jim Jones and his style of rapping. There are a lot of fights, hair pulling and drama. I love Nancy, Jim Jones mother, she’s crazy, but in a good way. The setting is New York, but also a lot in New Jersey, it seems everyone lives out in North Jers (Represent). At times the sequences/editing was a bit weird, like some moments were highly stylized and filmed so that it looked like a music video. Not a good idea. Anyways it’s weird to see Dipset rappers on reality TV. Lesson learned: Make him put a ring on it, a giant sparkly ring or leave his ass.
Mob Wives is again, a group of women but the twist is that these women are tied to the mob, (Italian) through marriage, or family. They live on Staten Island and this show proves that that place is very very odd. Drita is Albanian and she likes to fight. There is a war between her and Karen (Sammy the Bull’s daughter) at the moment. Karen sucks. She reminds you of those girls that like to fight in high school. Renee is older and very dramatic and loves plastic surgery. She makes me cringe to watch but she seems like a nice person. Lesson learned: Wear your hair in a tight bun if there is a chance you will get into a fight.
Baseball Wives. Totally not very interesting. Lesson learned: Shows with regular white girls are boring.
Celebrity Rehab is with Dr. Drew and it stars has-beens in the movie, music and TV industry who come in for treatment with other addicts. This show crosses so many lines on what is ethical to have on TV. I think it’s very exploitative on Dr. Drew’s part. It’s sad to see people damaged and sad. Lesson learned: Don’t do drugs.
Well that’s my own detox and although watching these shows and spending so many hours doing so is essentially a waste, I hope that in the end there are things I learn about society, culture, visual formulations and myself. At the end of the day, what I really want most is to be on a reality TV show. Have your people call my people.