When I first heard that Whitney Houston's family was doing a reality show, I shook my head in dismay, jumping to conclusions without seeing a single shot.
But now that I've seen an episode of "The Houstons: On Our Own" (9 tonight, Lifetime), I feel better. I may be judgmental, but I'm also vindicated. This is an awful, awful show, one that's painful to watch and impossible to justify.
The show features Pat Houston, Whitney's sister-in-law and manager; Gary Houston, her older brother; Pat and Gary's daughter Rayah; Cissy Houston, Whitney's mom, and most tragically Bobbi Kristina, Whitney and Bobby Brown's daughter. Nick Gordon, a young man Whitney took in and to whom we learn Bobbi Kristina is now engaged, is also featured.
It picks up about 3 months after Whitney's death; we're first in Atlanta where Bobbi Kristina lives. Mother's Day is approaching, so the family heads to New Jersey to visit Cissy and commemorate Whitney.
It's pretty tough to determine what's the most awful thing about "The Houstons"; it's just all kinds of wrong. We see Bobbi Kristina, 19, the daughter of two addicts, drinking. Pat, now her de facto guardian, takes notice but doesn't say a word to Bobbi Kristina. Heck, Bobbi Kristina doesn't even tell her aunt and uncle she's engaged to Nick. They just overhear her telling someone else. And yes, we get to see the gathering at Whitney's gravesite. The fact that cameras were at the gravesite as they grieved is as sad as the fact that there's a Whitney Houston gravesite.
What you're left with is a sense that while lots of folk love Bobbi Kristina, no one knows quite what to do to prevent her from ending up on the wrong path. As I watched, I alternated my posture between hand over my mouth and doubled-over in phantom pain. I ache for this child.
And two questions ran through my mind: Where is the person who says 'stop this'? And: Why?