Tuesday, August 18, 2009

House Husbands of Hollywood

In my relentless quest to bring you the best in reality show cheese, I submit for your edification: HOUSE HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD. It premiered last week (and I imagine is repeated endlessly) on something called the Fox Reality Channel (as opposed to the Fox News Channel which bears no resemblance whatsoever to reality). Upfront disclaimer: One of the participants is a good friend (Charlie Mattera) so I am hoping the show does well. But that doesn’t stop me from laughing and cringing in all the wrong places, which of course is my criteria for a truly great reality show. So I can recommend it heartily.

HOUSE HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD is a nine part series that follows five hubbies who are stay-at-home dads (or in one case, stay-at-home dog sitter) while their high-powered wives work. If the series gets picked up for another season it will be re-titled DIVORCED HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD.

Let’s meet them shall we?

My buddy Charlie. His wife is a psychologist so she doesn’t want to be shown on camera for fear of compromising patient relationships. Okay, I buy that. But we do hear her over the phone. Every morning she leaves Charlie a to-do list on Hello Kitty stationery. And then throughout the day as he’s cleaning the kitchen and picking up the toys and unloading the dishwasher she calls to make sure he also folded the laundry. We see Charlie changing a wet diaper (it wouldn’t be a pilot without it), hanging out at our gym with his BFF Ryan O’Neal, and pushing little Ryan’s stroller (yes, his baby is named Ryan). We also see him conferring with a priest. Y’see, Charlie has a dillemma. He used to be a bank robber and spent 8 1/2 years in prison. How does he break this news to the in-laws? Hmmmm. That’s a tough one. But he’s genuinely charming and funny and what does it say about a husband-wife relationship when you’re rooting for the felon?

Billy Ashley used to be a Los Angeles Dodger. One of his home runs landed on Jupiter. He looks like a bad-ass wrestler. Now he wrangles two pre-teen daughters while wifey Lisa applies make-up to the stars and launches her own line of beauty products. Well, actually…Billy runs the business. He’s on the phone all day trying to hawk the “ultimate eyecream” and the “ultimate moisturizer.” My guess is former teammates were not on the other end of the line.

He’s a man surrounded by tweens. His two daughters with a ‘tude, and then his wife makes him assist in a little in-home seminar with the neighborhood twelve year old girls where they discuss menstrual cycles. You see the look on his face and just know he’s thinking “Oh, why didn’t I just get hit in the head with a Roger Clemens’ fastball?”

Remember Tempest Bledsoe from the COSBY SHOW? She’s now grown up and we’re told still a successful working actress (which was news to me). Her husband is Darryl M. Bell (yeah, the kid from DIFFERENT WORLD). She comes off the best of the wives (only slightly naggy) and he’s very funny. He’s going to make his next spouse very happy.

Poor Grant Reynolds. He’s married to Jillian Reynolds – scatterbrain co-host of GOOD DAY LA, and eye candy for FOX NFL SUNDAY. Once a Marine sniper, he’s currently a failed actor (excuse me…”aspiring” actor) who is now chasing after his toddler daughter (who is adorable, by the way). His three salvations: racing motorcycles on the open road (understandable death wish), deciding which of the two moms at playdates to eventually fuck (they can’t mention his name without their legs flying apart as if they were spring loaded), and although he’d never admit it, the little passive-aggressive joy he receives when his daughter rushes to his arms and screams whenever mommy tries to pick her up. This is the family I worry about. Marine sniper, remember.

And then there’s Danny Barclay. This schlemiel gets the shit beaten out of him the most and he doesn’t even have a kid. After watching Danny’s blonde shark self-centered wife for three minutes I wanted to borrow Grant’s M-16. In fairness though, Danny doesn’t help his cause. He was a promising pre-med student who chucked it all to become an out-of-work actor. I bet the in-laws would have preferred Charlie’s rap sheet. Danny receives an email from Katherine (don’t call her Kat) every morning with the subject heading TODAY. It lists all of the chores he is required to do TODAY. He tries to put a kegorater in the kitchen and that goes over well. Faster than you can say castrating bitch it gets shipped off to the garage.

In a futile and pathetic attempt to reclaim his manhood, Danny sets up a “man cave” in the garage. Beach chairs and little tables are set up to create a haven of testosterone. The rest of the house husbands come over (I hope they have babysitters. I’d hate to think the wives are taking care of the kids) and it looks like Bart Simpson’s treehouse club. Worse is when Katherine (not Kat) comes home early and parks her car in the man cave. No male can watch this segment without his testicles retreating so far up his body that tweezers are needed to retrieve them.

A huge majority of the real housewives and mothers are not like this. But then they don't get reality shows.

Ultimately, HOUSE HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD will have a happy ending. Those kids (and dogs) are being raised by loving dads. In the meantime, there are toilets to be scrubbed, bickering to be had, and fun bad reality television to be made. Start checking off that list, boys.

39 comments:

J.J. said...

My wife made me watch HHofH and I wondered why doesn't the psychologist wife want to be seen? I mean, it's not like people are going to suddenly rush out of the house screaming, "OMG my shrink has a TV show!"

I wish this was a real reality show (as if any of them are) where the players at least trashed talked each other and hooked up with the female contestants... Really, what's the point of this show (other than to demonstrate that Jillian isn't aging all that well)?

Anonymous said...

Jillian reminds me of a girl who has dirty panties ... sorry, I had to say it. She's a mom ... isn't it time to get rid of the heavy eye shadow that makes her look like a raccoon??

Christina said...

I can't believe you're covering this. I so rarely watch TV (I don't have cable or any sort of reception), but I caught the opening episode when I was housesitting this weekend in Sonoma. I actually loved it. It felt like such a fresh spin on that "Real Housewives" bullshit. I gotta tell you, these men seem way more into their kids and their spouses than the wives. If they let me buy the rest of the series on iTunes, or put it on Hulu, I will keep watching. My favorite was your ex-con guy. I also like Temptest's husband a lot. The one I worry about is indeed the guy with the Kegorator. His wife was SCARY!

Emily Blake said...

How come the Real Housewives show makes women look bad and Bridezillas makes women look bad and now we've got a show about husbands that also makes us look bad?

Dammit we are not all naggy crazies. Any show that doesn't make us look like naggy crazies makes us all look like weepy victims.

Dammit to hell.

Megalion said...

FYI Darryl M. Bell was in A Different World not Different Strokes :)

ME (aka Mia) W. said...

Ken: I love your blog but I just couldn't read this one. Can't stand another reality show. Yesterday I was home sick and watched West Wing on Bravo. Happened to be my fav episode when Josh and Toby are stranded in the heartland. It was smart, fast-paced and touching. Where are those shows???

Diane said...

I watched this show on Hulu last week. (Sometimes Hulu previews stuff earlier before a networks airs it on TV.) Anyway, I thought it was a train wreck. And your friend Charlie and his twin Ryan O'Neal cracked me up. I don't know, if I can stomach watching the next episode - so please keep blogging about it and then I won't have to.

Anonymous said...

What a tough show to cast-- how did they ever manage to find five out of work actors who stay at home?

I like the fact that Grant used to be a sniper, I'll bet that's how he keeps Jillian in line. "Honey did I mention I used to kill people I didn't even know from a mile... undetected? Now what were you bitching about?"

D. McEwan said...

Ye Gods!

After reading your column, I was channel surfing about and stumbled across this show, so here I sit watching it, even as I type this.

Boy, this show makes me REALLY glad I'm gay, so I will NEVER end up married to a castrating cow like these women. There wasn't one of these wives I would ever want to be stuck in a room with.

You thought Tempest Bledsoe came off well? I thought her husband came off, well but NOT her.

You have a friend who was a bank robber? How egalitarian. I've tried to minimize the number of felons I socialize with. I was a bank teller for two MISERABLE years of my life, and I'll tell you, I have no love for "former" bank robbers. I was held up when working as a bank teller, and it left me - let's say unsympathetic to anyone who ever thought that was an acceptable way to make a living. Having a gun pointed at me by a scumball robbing a bank was not fun. Not remotely fun. Not any fun at all. As in, lock the thieving shitholes away for life.

You think an almost-doctor who decided to be an actor instead is a more desirable son-in-law option than a bank robber? So you'd be happier if your daughter married, say, OJ Simpson than a struggling actor? Man, I don't get that at all. MAybe a professional thief can actually reform, but I'm afraid I'd have to consider them untrustworthy for life.

But then, he's buddy-buddies with Ryan O'Neal. It's not punishment enough, but at least it's an ongoing punishment.

"Emily Blake said...
How come the Real Housewives show makes women look bad and Bridezillas makes women look bad and now we've got a show about husbands that also makes us look bad?"

Probably for the same reason that, in many, many (NOT all, merely a quorum) of the real life marriages I've known throughout my life (beginning with my parents. Mom ruled with an iron tongue, and while Dad would argue with her quite loudly, never once in all their marriage, did he EVER win a fight. He caved every single time. Utterly pussywhipped. And he wondered why I never respected him very much.), the women have come off as controlling harridans, and the men have balless doormats. It's reality TV, not feminine fantasy TV.

This show is too depressing to ever watch again.

D. McEwan said...

My sentence "You think an almost-doctor who decided to be an actor instead is a more desirable son-in-law option than a bank robber" should of course have read "You think an almost-doctor who decided to be an actor instead is a LESS desirable son-in-law option than a bank robber."

i could be a bob said...

Ken: The singer at tonight's Dodger game (8/18, 7th inning stretch) was one of the worst they've had in a while. I was refreshing the beverage and stuck my head back out to see the gal who strangled "God Bless America." I saw a Cardinal shaking his head, not sure if it was about the bad singing as well.

When is it your turn at THAT mic?

The Milner Coupe said...

Jeez,
so to further Hollywood's agenda to convince us that most of the world is gay, and continue to combat the anti gay marriage majority, they now provide proof that even men who marry women are gay?

TV dreck. I can't watch.

Dhppy said...

I thought a couple of the guys came across badly, too. The sniper and the kegerator guy were flip sides of the tool coin (one macho, one... well, not macho). I didn't have a problem with Charlie, but turning to Ryan O'Neal for family talk? Who's his backup mentor, Danny Bonaduce? Darryl Bell was hilarious, and so far, the only reason to watch the show.

But come on, how contrived was the garage scene? I don't, for a second, believe that these men hang out, that anyone other than the producers really attempted to make the garage into a man cave, or that the wife "had no idea" they were going to be there. She was probably held up for an hour while the scene was staged for her to drive in. This show is a bit clunky.

Oh, and there's your answer Emily... women coming across well on reality television is a "feminine fantasy". Right up there with vampires and a douche that feels like a country lane after a spring shower.

bevo said...

How come Nick Cannon was not on the show? What is his to do list? Look the other way while Ms. Cannon fucks a record label executive? Change the sheets after his wife does a concert promotor? Wonder why Donald Faison got the call back for Scrubs? Find the subtext to Drumline?

Eileen Kavanagh said...

Ken--I love your recaps of reality shows, although I agree with Emily about the misogyny. But you still make me laugh every time.

For a very funny and wonderfully written sendup of reality TV, read the late, great Donald Westlake's latest and, unfortunately, last Dortmunder novel, "Get Real." If Westlake got it right, the mancave in HHofH is "reconstructed" on a set, just as the producer of the reality show in the book, which is following a band of thieves as they plan and carry out a heist, sets up the gang's hangout, the backroom of a bar. Westlake jabs at using "production assistants" as writers to avoid the union (telling the 23-year old PA that she's too young to worry about things like health insurance and retirement), actors who we know are pros because they belong to three unions, "SAG, AFTRA, and Actors' Equity, which is too poor to have an acronym." I'll stop there--no spoilers. But if you hate reality TV, you'll love this book. As usual, Dortmunder and his band are much smarter than everyone else in the room, especially TV execs.

A. Buck Short said...

Your commentary is hilarious, but speaking of spousal lists of and commentary on things to do -- try being married over 30 years to a first grade teacher: “Would you please put a coaster under that glass?” “Are you just going to leave that there?” “Aren’t you going to ask her how her day went?” The good news is that when you complete every task on the list, the next time you look. there’s either a star or a little smiley face on it. No lie.

May have read this wrong, but I’m guessing pushing Ryan O’Neal around the gym in a stroller would be quite a workout? Your friend Charlie’s problem is 8 ½ years is an awful long time to be attempting collect calls from the slammer to your agent. Now South Boston’s Brian Goodman only drew 5 for robbery in Middlesex County Jail, and he not only lands dozens of juicy roles but got to direct the autobiographical “What Doesn’t Kill You” (among worst titles ever) with Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo. Even allowed to write himself married to Amanda Peet. (A picture I really enjoyed). And yet, tonight I think you can catch Brian on ABC’s “Wipeout” where one of the feats to be accomplished is Brian attempting to dislodge the bullet still in the back of his neck by pushing Ryan O’Neal in a stroller across gynormous unstable inflated obstacles in a pool.

Speaking of reality TV “feats,” John Branch’s editorial cartoon in today’s San Antonio Express-News is about the announcement that Tom DeLay will be a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” With the caption “Dancing around the Law,” it has the former House Majority Leader stepping on the toes of the statue of Justice, and apologizing with, “Sorry – I’ve got two right feet.” (The former exterminator may have made the terpsichorean transition in Flamenco – stamping out cockroaches back home in Sugar Land, TX.)

Also virtually certain Mr. Ashley will be far more successful hawking Mrs. A’s eyecream and moisturizer than Ernie Borgnine was as a test subject for Tova’s rejuvenating face cream. Tova: What do you wanna do tonight?” Ernie: “I dunno, Tova. What do you wanna do? But first, I gotta tell ya, as a general rule guys don’t really even like to say the word lotion.”

Joe said...

I'm not commenting on a show which features someone who could crawl silently into the back yard and whose motto once was "Don't run, you'll just die tired."

jbryant said...

Hilarious stuff. "Understandable death wish" being a highlight.

Vermonter17032 said...

Ken,

This is one of your funniest postings yet! I only wish you could have found a way to get Katherine Heigl in there somewhere!

Mark said...

The real nightmare is that I thought this was one of your "made-up" posts. Silly me.

James said...

While I was working on HHoH, I never dreamed that the blog I read over my daily coffee and email checking, would stoop to do a write up! Color me tickled (surprised).

Doktor Frank Doe said...

Stay at home Dahdahs are just pitiful on any level and this epitomizes the point and is something I know I'll never watch, not even or a moment.

David K. M. Klaus said...

Hey, self-styled "Doktor Frank Doe", Real Men take care of their children. If you're too much of a wimp to be there to change a diaper, spoon baby food, read to your kids, or be at home when the school bus drops them off rather than have them come home to an empty house, then you're just bluster and fakery, another pseudo-conservative like George W., all hat and no cattle.

D. McEwan said...

"Real Men" eat their young. Males who care for and nurture their spawn are just people-hugging liberals.

David K. M. Klaus said...

D.-for-Douglas McEwan wrote:

> Males who care for and nurture
> their spawn are just people-
> hugging liberals.

Actually, I'm a people-hugging left-libertarian, but I thank you for the compliment. I owe you a hug (on the presumption that you're comfortable with it) if we ever meet in person.

OneWhoKnows said...

Get real all! Reality is just another word for "made up." Why do you think there are so many actors? Because they are acting. And if you buy that these are real story lines, then they all deserve awards.

Anonymous said...

@Emily Blake,

How would the show work if the husband were terrible and the wife were a weak miserable pushover? That would be viewed by everyone as spousal abuse, not entertainment.

Would you find watching a household where the husband leaves the wife a "Today" list (with the implied repercussions) funny or entertaining? What if the husband were a 225 pound former professional athlete who made money swinging a club (baseball bat), or if he were a convicted bank robber? Suddenly the hostility and repression become much less benign.

Reality shows that make the man look bad and the woman look good: How about The Amazing Race? That is an equal-opportunity "bad spouse" show. And the show Wife Swap always has the wife being tormented by the "not husband" and "not offspring."

I would agree that it looks like more shows capitalize on the entertainment value of "woman-as-harridan," but you identified only the shows that support your thesis and you failed to consider what a show would look like with a hulking abusive husband being controlling over his meek and hardworking wife.

barbs33 said...

Take my word for it Jill will be divorced soon. She is not a happy person within herself and she could never be happy with anyone.

Danielle said...

This show represents the worst in reality TV and should serve as a motivating factor to Hollywood writers to get busy and come up with a better genre of television entertainment. There is not one compelling character on the show except perhaps the beautiful baby Ryan and little Ruby. The women are whiney and screechy, especially Jillian and Katherine. Grant and Billy seem somewhat grounded...at least they don't succumb to a daily to-do list. Please. The show is not remotely in touch with how real husbands behave, but then I suppose that was not the creators' intent.

Not Reality said...

This is the worst T.V. show and Jillian please get someone to do your makeup, forget the highlighter on your cheeks and way too heavy eyes make you look super hard. These actors need a real script or forget about acting as watching them here is painful on all levels and is simply boring.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Charlie's marriage will last. He's still has the 'eye' for a pretty, big busted female! How he managed to secure a marriage like this, after spending 20 years in the slammer is totally beyond me! Behind those eyes, is a man who scares the krap out of me. Plus, he's a name dropper about Ryan O'Neal.
Danny is a lazy, lazy, lazy s/o/b. That won't last either. She must have a brain to be a lawyer. She needs to dump his ass. She deserves more.
Darryl is nothing but a piece of meat for The Tempest to control and hammer and batter. He will walk....for sure. They are only SHACKING UP anyways. She is an E-V-I-L witch! Ugh!
I liked Grant at the beginning, but now this couple are just suffering the other. Grant is now jealous if Ruby calls out to her Mommy! You can see it, even feel the jealousy from him. He is like Tempest. E-V-I-L. He and The Tornado tempestt should get together. They'd make an awesome Halloween party every day - for real. I like Jillian, but, she's way to into her Hollywood and red carpet life for Grant. He just wants a quiet life with the baby. He's turning into a real pathetic, moaning, groaning, whining and truly despicable person. Ugh!
Billy, dear, wonderful Billy is the most genuine of all of them. He has it together with Lisa and the kids. I love this family so much. This is what it's all about - SACRIFICE and COMPROMISE. They will last forever!.
I love that Ashley family! :)

Anonymous said...

These people are pathetic. If I hear Jillian call her husband dude one more time. What does she think she is-a teenager? She looks horrible. Fox NFL needs to trade her in for someone younger, thinner, and more handsome. Katherine is a lawyer? What law school did she attend? What a dipshit. How many men did she screw to get her career going? I don't know who is more pathetic Katherine or her lazy-ass husband. He can't even act on a reality show. Go get a real job. These reality shows have got to go. They give television a bad name.

Carey said...

I really do love watching this show. The guys are great & there are so many wonderful things I could share. But one thing struck me as I watched the show this evening. Although Billy's kids are terrific, THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH TO MAKE THEIR OWN BREAKFAST!! It is very nice that Billy & his wife do it for them, they are capable to do it & it is "spoiled" of them to expect their parents to do it for them. And on top of it they RUSHED their mom & then COMPLAINED the eggs were overdone! It's time for them to grow up a little bit & take on some responsibilities.
Keep up the great work guys, I love the show!

Carey
St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Angela said...

I think that everyone on here with all their bad comments are taking this show way to seriously. I like the show. I like all the characters and I do not think there is anything wrong with any of the relationships these people have. They have normal eveyday problems just like us. Money issues, family issues, (well, except for Charlie being in jail and all) I love Grant and Jillian. I used to not like Jillian but after seeing this she seems like a cool chic and I love how laid back and easy going her and Grant are. I just love Grant he seems so nice. And Danny and his wife are nice people too. Tempest and Daryl cool also. I think the only peoblem is that they have to deal with a-holes like the people on this web page that want to just constantly drop negativity on anything they come into contact with. I am a stay at home mom but worked foro the 1st 2 years of my sons life. I love being at home with him. I also know a couple staye at home dads that are doing a great job. Why should it be okay for me to be a stay at home mom and tell my husband that he needs to watch his spending and not okay for Grant to do the same thing. I also got jealous when my son wanted my husband more then me. Kids go throuh phases. It's okay and natural. I like the show and I like th people. They have never done anything to me personally for me to say anything bad about them or for me to comment on the way they look or act.I hope they do another season.

Anonymous said...

I think watching this show is as interesting as watching paint dry. These individuals lives are so boring and they themselves are not exciting or funny characters. These women should get some self confidence and choose men with drive,ambition and jobs.

Anonymous said...

I'm about to have a book published and I can tell you that if I ever make it big, I would NEVER treat my husband like that. He's already great with our 3 daughters (yes, he's the only male except the cat-even our dog is a female), a wonderful husband, an awesome chef (no, not cook-he could be on Hell's Kitchen if he didn't mind being called a "donkey"-LOL!!) and he's still my best friend after all our years of marriage. In fact our sex life is even better than it was when we first met-go figure. The way these women treat the guys in their lives, like hired help, is unacceptable. Usually, it's the other way around. I think that it's great that they're willing to do the work around the house formerly done exclusively by females. It's the way they get treated that bothers me. After a couple of episodes, I couldn't watch anymore. I'm surprised these "wives" can go to bed at night and wake up alive (I would have done away with them a long time ago just on general principles). I would never have the patience the guys on this show have, not to mention being treated as if they "owe" these women something. Marriage is still 50-50, no matter who brings home the paycheck. I wuld suggest that the wives start appreciating what the guys do, instead of knocking them down every chance they get. Jillian is especially disturbing-what a b&*tch! The blonde's husband just tries to save money, yet this "wife" wants to spend more money. Who needs that much "allowance" every week???? All this show did was show what ball-breakers these women are. It rare that men/fathers are so involved with their family, usually they're the ones at work. I think the ones with kids are going to be the ones that reap the benfits. No matter how much money the wives make, they're missing out on time with their kids and husband and after awhile most people are going to get tired of being used and look elsewhere for someone who'll appreciate them, regardless of how much money they make or don't make. I couldn't care less if my husband was rich or poor, he's taken care of me and the kids during all of my surgeries (I'm a transplant patient), never misses a school conference or event, helps grocery/household shop, and cooks all the meals. He also took care of his mother before her death for 5 years. If these wives had to take care of one of their husbands parents, not to mention their own, they'd probably hire out help. Either they'd get "dirty" or "break a nail"-LOL!!! Guys stand up to these "takers for granteds". There is someone out there that will appreciate you for who you are, not how much you do or don't make, what you'll do aroud the house.

Anonymous said...

Very well written! I too think that respect is missing in some of these relationships. Low self esteem is also seen and it's just a bad situation for all the actors!

Anonymous said...

The guys on this show are castrated and emasculated house boys. This show is like watching a train wreck implode in slow-mo. I can't decide whether I think less of the WIVES that support these nebishes or the Peter Pan boys themselves. They are nothing but eunuchs living in harems; catering to the whims of these women who probably couldn't find "real men" (i.e. those with careers), therefore, they "settled" for these loafers/losers. The worst of the lot is that Danny. I still can't figure out whether it will be him or his wife who ultimately conceives their child and carries it to term. Surely, his wife's been carrying his balls around with her in her purse for some time now and I can't stand to even look at this guy; let alone listen to his weekly whining. Those fire-side chats that these idiots hold at the end of the day in their "man caves" is sickeningly full of scripted PMSing and emoting which isn't the least bit plausible.

The only one with a slim chance at redemption is Grant. If he does grow a set of balls one day - it's not going to bod very well for Jillian in the long run (read any page in the yet to be written tome by Tori Spellings - about how, ironically enough, it's usually these house husbands who ultimately pick up their encampment and end up leaving their cash cow women - not vice versa).

I am so glad that this stupid and vacuous show is finally over with. Hopefully, not to be repeated in a future season. Ugh.... this is so painful to watch!

Anonymous said...

The only actual good househusbands who contribute to the home with real input is Grant and Billy. These guys are really fantastic guys!

The others are just lazy leechers, lame, incapable men who I certainly could never stand living with and who doesn't do a single thing of real value...