Daytime Divas – Pilot
By: Dustin Bradley
It’s finally here! My new summer guilty pleasure. This campy dramedy took so many twists and turns in its first hour. I can see this show becoming VH1’s own version of Lifetime’s “Devious Maids,” a show that lasted for four seasons because the fans fell in love with the soapy, campy qualities that keep them coming back for more each week. Each week we will break down this show by the storylines that each “diva” faces. Let’s do this! We will start with the head honco…
Maxine Robinson is the HBIC played expertly by Vanessa Williams. She is the creator and executive producer behind “The Lunch Hour,” a popular daytime talk show. From the looks of things we may be dealing with a Wilhelmina Slater reincarnate (Wilhelmina was a similar character played by Williams in ABC’s “Ugly Betty”). Maxine is a true diva that is feared and revered. She is this show’s Miranda Priestly.
Maxine’s storyline this week dealt with a catfight on set between her and co-host Mo (Tichina Arnold) where Mo insulted her and her age in a semi-inappropriate way, which in turn causes her to seek out a facelift that leads her into a coma for most of the episode.The press is alerted and lied to about her condition, thinking that she had a minor yet complex throat surgery. She wakes up in the closing moments just long enough to play puppet master and turn the next episode of TLH into a complete frenzy, which she believes will cause the show to receive massive ratings when she makes her triumphant return.
Maxine looks to be one of those characters that you love to hate and hate that you love. The character’s saving grace is that she is played by Williams, of whom I have no doubt will bring a true sense of humanity to her very soon but for now we will get to see her have some fun playing this truly bitchy diva with no regards for anyone other than herself and the ratings of her show.
Most of the episode’s B-plot is dedicated to Mo. Mo is a comedian and is the most popular co-host according to the data (which the other ladies all believe that they are the reason why the rating score big.) Mo is outspoken, loud, hilarious and seemingly tough skinned.
After Mo decides to trash Maxine on air she is immediately fired backstage. Lucky for her the next day Maxine slips into her coma and thus unable to enforce the firing. Mo gets caught up in two things this week, one is her “PA with benefits” and his threat to release a sex tape of them which would get Mo fired. The other big thing is her snooping to find that Maxine did fall into the coma in the way that continually gets published in the press. I see this being a big tool for blackmail in the coming weeks.
My first impression of Mo is that though she seems thick skinned right now. In the coming weeks we will witness emotion from her that isn’t comedy or anger. I’m excited to see where her character goes and grows to.
Kibby (played by Chloe Bridges) is a former child star and recovering addict. Although pretty messed up, she seems to be the moral compass of the show. We find out throughout the pilot that she is on probation for possession of drugs and is in recovery. We also find out that she is “sexually fluid,” which is a nice addition because it is rare to see a character portrayed like that and not have to be called bisexual. I hope that they treat this storyline with care.
The main thing we see with Kibby this week is her major slip of with cocaine due to her wild and frankly insane mom who threatens her in exchange for money. This causes Kibby to downward spiral and partake in a line that could have costed her her future because the next morning the cops bust her girlfriend and one night stand while Kibby hides in the corner watching and contemplating if she wants to go down this road again.
One thing I’m seeing that really makes me like Kibby is that although she has made some awful decisions in the past she seems to really want to change. I love the dynamic that she has with Maxine, very mother-daughter, mentor-mentee. She seems to be the only one that actually cares out Maxine in this time of hardship. I’m intrigued by Kibby and really looking forward to her upcoming storylines.
Nina (Camille Guaty) is a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist and co-host. Despite being married she is also having an affair with a producer on the show, Shawn (McKinley Freeman), who also happens to be Maxine’s son.
Her big storyline this week was her vying for the all coveted “left chair” left empty by Maxine in the wake of the tragedy. Lucky for her the network wants her to have that, too. It’s a shame she doesn’t get that honor though because at the last minute she is upstaged by Mo who takes her rightful place in the left chair (I say rightful because from the looks of it she seems to be one of the longest co-hosts and the one that has taken the most heat from Maxine from the get go.).
I hope in the coming weeks we get to see Erin evolve from a manipulative mistress into a well rounded character that starts to think of the consequences of her actions.
Heather (Fiona Gubelmann) is the pageant queen conservative of the group. She didn’t really have much to do this episode. We seem to learn two important things about her though. First, she seems to have a young trangender kid that she supports when her husband isn’t around. We also get a glimpse at a storyline that will play out this season revolving around domestic abuse when Mo points out that she seems to be wearing more concealer than normal.
She seems to be a cookie cutter portrayal of typical Christian conservatism. It’s my hope that throughout the season they add more layers to her. I also want to see her let loose a little more. I’m interested to see where she goes this season.
It looks like we will be getting a lot of daytime cameos throughout this show’s run. Last nights premiere feature Tamera Mowry giving Mo some wise words to watch her back cause they ain’t got no room for her on “The Real.”
The season trailer shows us a cameo from some of the panelist of “The View,” which is where former co-host and creator of this show, Star Jones, got the inspiration for her book Satan’s Sisters.
I am thrilled to be back recapping this show for you each week. My hope is that the show finds its grounds in the next few weeks and really becomes the summer guilty pleasure we want it to be!