In the world of celebrity spouse reality shows, it doesn’t get any uglier than TLC’s new offering.
“Starter Wives Confidential,” premiering Tuesday, Jan. 29, looks at seven women who stood by their men through thick and thin — until success, fame, infidelity or violence ended their relationships. Unfortunately, the only thing that stinks worse than the show’s dirty laundry may be the show itself.
The ringleader is TV personality and media entrepreneur Monica Joseph-Taylor, estranged spouse of hip-hop DJ Funkmaster Flex. She organizes a cadre of women in similar situations to appear on the show: Zakia Baum, ex-girlfriend of rapper Maino; Cheryl Caruso, ex-wife of convicted mobster Phil Caruso; Josie Harris, ex-girlfriend of boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.; Liza Morales, ex-girlfriend of NBA player Lamar Odom, who’s currently married to Khloe Kardashian; Tashera Simmons, ex of rapper DMX; and Shaniqua Tompkins, ex-girlfriend of rapper 50 Cent.
In the pilot episode, Joseph-Taylor gathers three of the ladies in New York, where they drink wine and gossip about the last time they hooked up with their exes. In the midst of that noise, Joseph-Taylor says she’s throwing a party for her blog’s sponsors. Among those invited is rapper Lil’ Kim, who’s rumored to have had an affair with Maino. Everyone knows that putting Lil’ Kim in the same room with Maino’s ex would be big trouble, but Joseph-Taylor doesn’t care and has to put her business interests ahead of her friendships. Oh, and it would be great TV.
If the series intended to portray the ladies as victims, it failed miserably. The only one who appears remotely worthy of sympathy is Simmons, who is struggling to support the four children she has with DMX and is finally gathering the courage to file for divorce after seven years of separation.
Instead, “Starter Wives Confidential” does little more than use women with sleazy agendas to promote Joseph-Taylor’s sleazy blog.