Every reality show has a villain. It's unfortunate that the bad girl of new Lifetime series "The Houstons: On Our Own" is Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of the late pop icon Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.
The first two episodes of "The Houstons" premiered Wednesday night and Bobbi Kristina was the antagonist in both 30-minute segments.
The 19-year-old meets her family's disapproval when she announces her engagement to family friend Nick Gordon. She is shown drinking wine, though she is under the legal drinking age, and even appears to be intoxicated during one scene. She skips an acting class without notice to instead go to the arcade with Gordon. She even annoys her relatives when she leaves her 14-year-old cousin's swim meet before it is over.
Bobbi Kristina is depicted as self-centered and irresponsible. Pat Houston, on the other hand, is portrayed as the matriarch working to keep the family in order and on track.
The editing does not appear to be exaggerated; however, it is not clear how this show will positively impact Bobbi Kristina's public image. Even before the "I Will Always Love You" singer's death, tabloid reports alleged Bobbi Kristina consumed alcohol and drugs. "The Houstons" perpetuates the rumors.
"The Houstons" does capture Bobbi Kristina's efforts to find peace in the wake of her mother's passing. Before she goes to Houston's gravesite, she explains her anxieties. "I'm completely terrified, but I have to. I'm going," she said, before she is shown sobbing as she kneels next to Houston's tombstone. "God, I miss the way she talks, the way she walks," she said. "This is the hardest thing I'll ever encounter."
During an interview on "The View" Tuesday with Pat Houston, Whitney's mother Cissy Houston, and Pat's daughter Rayna, Barbara Walters was critical of Bobbi Kristina's involvement on the series.
Walters asked, "I know it's important in terms of making some money, but wouldn't Bobbi Kristina been better off if you didn't show her visit her mother's grave with cameras? If you just let her grow up to have a life without the kind of attention that maybe contributed in a way perhaps to her mother's death?"
Pat defended the show. "A reality series or not, the cameras have been following her since she was born," she said. "It's not an exploitation of any kind. The family's together. She's not isolated." Pat added that "The Houstons" is a continuation of another reality show she was working on two years ago.
Hopefully, by the end of the season, "The Houstons" will have shown how their family's love and support helped Bobbi Kristina better cope with her issues. The first two episodes, however, have only focused on her troubles.
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