Early in “The Houstons: On Our Own,” Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina and her boyfriend Nick Gordon talk, in one of those curiously bland and depopulated restaurants where significant reality show conversations always seem to take place, about moving on after Houston’s death.
People don’t realize how hard it is for them, because of the blanket media coverage surrounding Houston’s untimely passing, they say. “It’s a fresh wound they keep cutting open,” Nick complains as he metaphorically slices into his own spleen for the benefit of the cameras.
They’re young; they probably don’t remember a time when celebrities cherished something called privacy — or dignity, for that matter.
We’re not sure what Pat Houston’s excuse is. Pat, married to Whitney’s older brother Gary, was the singer’s manager and is now the executor of her estate, and is starring in and executive-producing the new show “On Our Own,’ which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.
“The Houstons have always lived their lives under a microscope,” Pat said in a recent interview with The Star-Ledger. “And the public has always been in our life. It’s no different. There’s nothing to hide about what’s going on here. You’re seeing what type of family Whitney was around.”
The show stars Pat, Gary, their teenage daughter Rayah, Bobbi Kristina (she goes by Krissy), Nick and, occasionally, matriarch Cissy, along with other family members and friends. This isn’t their first time at the reality show rodeo. Krissy appeared in 2005’s “Being Bobby Brown,” which followed the lives, loves and bowel movements (I wish I were kidding) of her parents, and spawned Houston’s signature line: “Hell to the no!”
A few months after filming, Houston checked into rehab; a year later, she filed for divorce. Pat, Gary, Rayah and Krissy also were involved in a pilot for “Power Brokers,” about successful Atlanta women, but that never aired, and Pat says she and producers were looking to develop a series even before Houston’s death.
Pat dismissed criticism that the show, announced a mere three months after Houston’s death, is exploitative.
“There will always be naysayers and people have opinions,” she says. “Even if Whitney was here and we said we are doing a reality show, they would still have something to say about it. We can’t control that. We just have to do what we do as a family that continues to move on.
“This is our reality. We have lost someone. If this is a way of showing our grieving, then this is it. People will say what they need to say, at any given time. You can’t define your life by what someone thinks or says about you.”
Moving past the ghoulishness of the enterprise for a moment, is it entertaining? That’s why we’re supposed to watching, right?
The fact that it’s not particularly gripping may be a good thing for the family’s dignity, if not for ratings. The show lacks the carnivalesque — okay, freak show — quality of many reality series, and Pat often sounds like she’s reading scripted lines off a teleprompter. (She’s an executive producer, so she might well be.)
The previews have made Krissy and Nick’s supposed engagement to be the bombshell of the premiere, but it goes over with all the drama of a podiatry convention. Krissy shows off a sparkler given to her by her mother and says, “It’s also, uh, an engagement ring,” motioning to Nick. The relatives look dyspeptic, but save their thoughts for the confessionals. And even then, Pat’s main concern seems to be that Nick should have bought Krissy her own ring.
Although Krissy’s rep recently denied the engagement, Pat refused to confirm the status of their relationship. “The show is a journey,” Pat says in the interview. “You’ll just have to watch it to see what the end’s going to be.”
Speaking of Nick, often referred to as Houston’s godson or adopted son, he tries to clarify his relationship with the family, saying that Houston took him in after his mother kicked him out of the house — we don’t find out why — and that he was never adopted, and he is not Krissy’s blood brother. But Krissy doesn’t help the cause when she says: “Nick and I are still living in the house that we shared with our mother.”
So, yeah — ew.
Pat seems to be a passive-aggressive presence, clucking over Krissy’s relationship with Nick, her refusal to attend a Mother’s Day service at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church because she’s “not ready to relive” her mother’s funeral, even the 19-year-old’s casual alcohol consumption, but seems to let the girl have her way.
Krissy’s attempt to kickstart her own recording career will be a plot point. “Being Whitney Houston’s daughter can put a lot of pressure on one person,” Krissy says in the premiere. “I’m gonna prove to the world that I am my own person.”
How is she going to do that? She’s going to hit up cousin Dionne Warwick’s son, a music producer, for some help. Sigh.
• 'Sparkle' review: Solid but not spectacular
• New Whitney Houston greatest hits album to be released this fall
• 2012 BET Awards: Whitney Houston remembered in emotional tribute
• Whitney Houston, dead at 48, was a crucial member of New Jersey's music scene
Star-Ledger staff writer Mark Maurer contributed to this report.
For more entertainment news and gossip, look for Vicki Hyman's column 'Vicki's Dish' Tuesdays-Saturdays in The Star-Ledger.
Source : http://www.nj.com/entertainment/celebrities/index.ssf/2012/10/whitney_houston_bobbi_kristina_1.html