We’re certainly not opposed to bad behavior. Reality TV would have trouble existing without it, and this column? Forget about it. But after a certain point, putting a celebrity trainwreck on the air begins to seem less like harmless fun and more like standing by irresponsibly while someone is endangering themselves.
Last week’s premiere of The Houstons: On Our Own was truly uncomfortable, because it’s so obvious that Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina needs real help, away from the intrusive cameras and the pressure to continue “performing,” even if it’s only on a reality show. Bobbi Kristina is technically an adult at 19, but primary blame for this spectacle has to fall on her older relatives: Whitney’s brother Gary, and his wife (and Whitney’s manager) Pat. For signing off on this exploitation of their troubled niece, they are the Villains of the Week.
Filming for the season began just before Mother’s Day, a mere three months after Whitney’s death. This would have been a tough enough time for “Krissy” had there been no cameras around, and if it weren’t for the slack she has to be given, she might be a Villain candidate herself.
In the first two episodes, she can be seen blowing off family obligations and acting surly. While Krissy seems lucid enough in the talking head interludes, the teenager is openly consuming alcohol in front of her family, and appears stoned or at least slow most other times. Strangest of all, she spends all her time with alleged fiancé Nick, a young man who was apparently a godson of sorts to Whitney and lived in the family’s home when Krissy was a child. When you’re on TV having to explain that you’re not involved in incest, that’s never a good sign.
The elder Houstons are family to Krissy but aren’t her legal guardians, which makes their situation difficult. They are limited in what they can do for her aside from cajoling, but Pat going on TV and saying “I have to put my foot down” and then not putting it down is bad for the girl, although it’s good for show drama. Given that all this is happening despite Whitney’s own disastrous experience with a reality show, it leads to the sense that no one in this family knows how to exist away from the public eye. Right now, The Houstons: On Our Own is using Krissy’s crisis as its primary source of drama, which is terribly irresponsible.
Bobbi Kristina needs to get away from television and this leech of a boyfriend, and get some real help before we have another tragedy.
What do you think of the Houston show?