It's time for another famous family to try out a celebreality show. Yes, Joan and Melissa Rivers have waded into that deep sea of stars-trailed-by-cameras for a new series called Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (WeTV, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET).
For those who may need reminding, here's a small sampling of stars who've recently lived their lives on camera for us: Kirstie Alley, Tori Spelling, Lisa Rinna, Fantasia, Chilli, Mel B, Gene Simmons, David Hasselhoff, Brandy and Ray J. How is Joan & Melissa different? You may find this hard to believe, but Joan & Melissa is actually slightly better than a lot of those other shows.
The reason? Comedy. Before Joan Rivers became known as the worst red-carpet interviewer in history, she was a comic. While all reality show plots are contrived, the contrived situations in this one are crafted for laughs. And in many scenes, they succeed.
The premise: Joan leaves her New York City apartment and friends to move into Melissa's L.A. home, ostensibly to spend more time with Melissa and her grandson, Cooper. Joan will eventually move into a place of her own, but not before the reality cameras record lots of material showcasing this outrageous mom and her hen-pecked daughter trying to live together.
The fights start right away, of course. (Click here to see several video clips.) Joan's unhappy with the size of the closet in her room; Melissa fires back that the room is sized for a short stay. Joan learns upon arrival that Melissa's boyfriend, Jason, lives in the house; she informs him, disapprovingly, that she's watching him.
An early plot point involves Melissa's nanny, Dominica, a voluptuous, blond, aspiring actress who dresses in seductive short shorts and belly shirts while serving 10-year-old Cooper his lunch. She also takes off her bikini top at the beach (asking Joan to apply sunscreen), while Cooper and his friends are playing nearby.
Joan's jokes about Dominica fly furiously, as she instantly recognizes Melissa's bad judgment in bringing this woman into her home. "I don't know what you're trying to prove, Melissa," she points out. (This is true--anyone would recognize that a walking Maxim cover isn't the ideal in-home nanny.) "You don't hire a nanny who comes with her own pole and gets paid with dollar bills," chides Joan. During the topless beach scene, she comments, "I think Cooper just went through puberty in ten minutes."
The cast is rounded out by a few of Melissa's friends—refered to on the website as "frequent fliers at the Rivers household"—and the requisite, celebrity personal assistant.
All in all, the show is standard celebreality stuff, but Joan makes sure it's packed with one liners that are, in most cases, actually pretty funny. Will it win any Emmys? Probably not. But it's hard to imagine it getting yanked off the air after only two episodes, like some other recent shows in this category. (RIP, The Hasselhoffs.)
Do you think Joan and Melissa Rivers are interesting enough to have their own celebreality show? Chime in below!