Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pilot Reviews: Mel B., Thintervention, Jerseylicious S2

The new season kicks off this week, the first full week of September. The CW generally gets things going the week of Labor Day, but a few new series began already the day before and the day of.

Mel B.: It's a Scary World (Sundays at 9:00pm on Style)

Style Network has a habit of giving semi-celebrities we don't really care about reality shows. Nothing particularly outrageous or interesting happens in the series premiere of this latest Style incarnation, starring Mel B. of the Spice Girls. In the first episode, Mel B. introduces us to her family: husband Stephen and daughters Angel and Phoenix. We see her go through rehearsals for a gig with the Pussycat Dolls Burlesque something or other and deal with the drama of reconciling with ex-boyfriend and father to Angel, Eddie Murphy. This is the interesting and juicy part of the show, since her separation from Murphy was so heavily publicized and so ugly. But the reconciliation has already occurred as of this episode, so there's no real drama; the decision Mel faces is whether or not to finally make the reconciliation public by showing up at the premiere for Murphy's new film.

I don't know if the remainder of the season will hold any excitement, but if the rest of the episodes are as tepid as this one then I don't see the series lasting too long. There's not enough happening to be of interest to viewers, and let's be honest... Mel B. is not the Spice Girl we really care about following around on a daily basis. As of now, the show's best moment occurs when Mel and her husband spend a good 3 minutes of screen time screaming at a voice-activated alarm clock. Make your own judgment.

Jerseylicious, Season Two Premiere (Sundays at 8:00pm on Style)

You can go back a few entries and read what I wrote about the series premiere of this strange slice of Jersey reality, but my opinion hasn't changed much. I continue to watch this show because it's a trashy guilty pleasure, but I'm well aware of the fact that these people are clearly acting and being set up. This season, the Gatsby Salon manager Christy is pregnant; Alexa's business is booming and she's practically stealing Olivia from the salon; Olivia has lost her car and is struggling to make ends meet; Tracy has graduated from beauty school but is still a heinous bitch; Anthony's salon is nearly ready to open; and Gigi has changed her hair color and lost some weight. It's still not terribly exciting, but the manufactured drama is hysterical. Clearly these girls are being fed one-liners during their private interviews (including some ripped right out of The Real Housewives of New Jersey); parking lot arguments are being scripted, etc. Because if this were actual reality, Olivia would have been fired by now. She constantly shows up to work late; she chooses Glam Fairy business over Gatsby business; and she fights with Tracy on a daily basis. No business person would put up with that type of behavior.

Still, this is a truly entertaining show. Just watching Tracy attempt to be witty while fighting with Olivia (calling her a "cabbage patch kid" as an insult) and watching Olivia come up with new ways to lovingly put down Jersey ("You never know what goes on in used cars; they don't call us Dirty Jerz for nothing.") is pure ridiculous fun. Just don't expect anything more than stupidity from these people.

Thintervention with Jackie Warner (Mondays at 10:00pm on Bravo)

This is definitely the most interesting of this group of premieres and probably the most interesting weight-loss/motivation show on television. Unlike the bullshit of The Biggest Loser, Jackie is teaching these people how to live healthy lifestyles in their own homes, not just putting them through an extreme diet and workout plan on a ranch somewhere; they complete intense workouts, diet, and spend time in therapy to figure out why they overeat and what they can change. Speaking of Jackie, she comes across much better on this show than she did on her previous Bravo outing, Work Out, which was canceled after three seasons when Gatorade stopped sponsoring the show due to Jackie's disrespect toward a client suffering from breast cancer. She is much more supportive of these clients than she seemed to be of her staff on Work Out. The clients themselves are a personable bunch; many of them are downright entertaining (Brian and Nikki are already favorites of mine), including a former Playmate and star of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Jeana Keough. I find it especially fascinating finding out the reasons these people want to lose so much weight (some up to 50 pounds), and it's absolutely depressing: most of them said they don't like the way they look or feel that others find them unattractive. These people are passionate, funny, loving people and they want to drastically alther themselves so that others feel better about them. Crazy. The therapy portion of this show should get interesting

But the bottom line is that this show is entertaining, and even kind of motivational. Jackie doles out tips for easy cutbacks (drink water rather than cocktails when dining out, or just drink one cocktail instead of three) and seems genuinely interested in helping these people. This should turn out fairly well.

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