(From left: Traci, Towanda, Toni, Tamar, Trina and mom Evelyn. All photos courtesy of Stephen Knight)
Omg, omg, you HAVE to see this show! That’s what I was thinking last night after getting a sneak peek of the first episode of Braxton Family Values at a press dinner and Q&A held by WEtv at Manhattan’s Pranna restaurant.
Sure, every reality show these days features a quirky family and their oh-so-unique adventures. Insert a has-been celeb, some crazy kids, a loopy housekeeper/nanny/personal assistant, and voila! Instant ratings. But this, my friends, is different. Braxton Family Values has more layers than my grandmother’s strawberry shortcake. Don’t believe me?
While eldest sister Toni Braxton was climbing the charts and picking up Grammys like they were nothing in the early 90s, her four singing sisters (who look just like her and all have names beginning with the letter “T”) were enduring their own personal and professional dramas.
There’s second sister Traci, who got pregnant just as her sisters were signing record deals and now yearns to get back on stage. Towanda, the middle sister, who is Toni’s executive assistant and handles everything from tour rehearsals to finding missing DVDs at 3am. (Oh yeah, she and her husband have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to cheating and are basically roommates for the sake of their kids. “Are you still in love with him?” asked one reporter. “No,” Towanda quickly said.) Next in line is Trina, who battles alcoholism, is a wedding singer, and is in her second marriage. “I’m doing the Elizabeth Taylor thing,” she told us. “I’m just gonna keep doing it ‘ til I get it right.”
Then, my dears, there’s Tamar. The baby of the clan, she had a tiny taste of success as a solo artist years ago and will tell anyone who’ll listen that she’s tired of “doo-woppin'” as Toni’s background singer. She also likes to end her sentences with “dot-com” or “dot-org” for emphasis. Example: “I’m so over this dot-com.” You’re either gonna love Tamar or hate her, and as someone who loves to escape from her own day by watching a little crazy on TV, I looooove her. One of my favorite scenes is when she tells a complaining Traci who is openly envious of her career, “I am not the human resources of background singers!”
Add to that Toni’s health problems — she still looks great though, doesn’t she? — and struggles raising an Autistic son, their mother Evelyn‘s recovery from the girls’ cheating father, Tamar’s being married to Toni’s manager, and you’ve got a doozy of a show.
Seriously, after just one episode, I was begging the publicist to let me see a marathon. I can’t do this in mere one-hour increments — or, for that matter, a single blog post. Follow me on Twitter for more inside scoop.
Braxton Family Values premieres on WEtv tonight at 9pm.