Andrea Kelly, former wife of R. Kelly, wants to get out of Chicago. In her hometown, she’s R. Kelly’s wife and it’s time—in the parlance of reality shows of this ilk—for Andrea to be Andrea. Her solution is to move to Los Angeles, with her gay accessory/assistant Tony in tow, to scout out locations for a dance studio, leaving her beloved children behind in Chicago. “You’re not getting the accolades you feel you deserve,” she says in her confessional about being in a high profile marriage. “It’s hard.” Yet, to escape the long, golden-shower-stained pall cast by her former husband, Andrea chooses to be on a show where she is consistently ID’d as “R. Kelly’s ex-wife.”
Hollywood Exes is in a long line of shows that brings together a group of slightly unhinged, camera-ready women, forces them to interact socially, and provides enough booze to allow for the drink-throwing and hair-pulling. The auspice under which these women come together seems considerably sadder than The Real Housewives Of Various Places. At least those women are rich (or at least pretend to be), their opulence becoming part of the fun. Instead, we get to listen to Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife Nicole complain about how she doesn’t have access to the private jet anymore.
Joining Nicole and Andrea are Sheree Fletcher (formerly Mrs. Will Smith), Mayte Garcia (formerly Mrs. Prince) and Jessica Canseco (formerly Mrs. Jose Canseco). These women’s vague association with fame at least makes their desire to be on TV more overt. They complain about how they lost themselves in their relationships with their famous husbands, yet Nicole is engaged to former New York Giant Michael Strahan, Mayte brings up her two-year relationship with Motley Crue drummer/undercover anaconda Tommy Lee, Sheree is married to former San Diego Charger Terrell Fletcher, and Jessica alludes to a divorce from former Extreme Makeover plastic surgeon Garth Fisher. Their desire to be within the sphere of celebrity is well-documented, except now they’re getting proactive about it.
Jessica was built for a show like Hollywood Exes. She’s blonde, leggy and “nuts… in a good way,” according to Mayte. She has a daughter, Josie, but she’s more friend than mom—although less Lorelai Gilmore and more Mrs. Robinson on that count. It’s up to Jessica to get her vagina rejuvenated with Nicole looking shocked. (Jess owns a cosmetic and medical tattooing business, so the vag freshen-up is under the auspice of work research. Does that mean it’s tax deductible?)
Jessica’s initial plotline deals with Jose asking her to move back so they can both watch over Josie, and definitely not because he got kicked out of a Mexican baseball league and wants a place to live for free. What should be a boon for Hollywood Exes is that these women’s lives are already public to a certain extent via the behavior of their considerably more famous ex-husbands. But it really just ends up being creepy, as Jose lustily leers at Jessica, the victim of Canseco’s second high-profile domestic dispute.
Naturally, the heavy issues never come up and they never will. We’re watching these women because of their proximity to fame and they tantalize us with adjectives like “drama,” but they’ll never give us the gory details—lest the alimony checks dry up. Do we care as Nicole tearily tells Sheree that she lost her savings to some crooked accounting? Not particularly. Do we want to hear about the time Eddie Murphy picked up a transvestite prostitute during their marriage? Hell yeah. Are we going to? Hey, who wants to watch these women do shots?
These shows are fun, in part, because they are fight cards. Which one of these ladies is going to take off their earrings and flip a table? Smart money is on Jessica pissing everyone off, especially über-religious Sheree, who makes the girls pray before their sushi meal and bucket of tequila. (A word for both ladies: Those weaves will do neither of you favors when it comes to the throwdown). In a sit down with Tony (who needs to ratchet up the gay if he wants to merit the screentime), Andrea tells her assistant that there will be no drama. “We may not like each other,” Andrea says of her potential new besties, “but we respect each other woman to woman. There’s no reason to be pulling hair, acting a fool and cutting up.” Alas, dear Andrea, that’s all we really want to see.