Usually, this column is an open airing of my most shameful sources of entertainment (well, not most shameful, since I can’t for the life of me find a not-depressing way to write about Teen Mom 2). This is a rare instance, however, where my willingness to give almost any TV talkie a chance has paid off, because The Real Husbands Of Hollywood is a funny show, and the only embarrassing thing about it is the style of humor, which is literally that The Office-esque approach of “ha-has by humiliation.”
The person most frequently being humiliated is the show’s star/executive producer, stand-up comedian Kevin Hart. Being that Hart gets a lot of his material from being a short, unlucky in love, son-of-a cokehead, he’s not afraid to make fun of himself. Since he’s playing “himself” on the show (as are all the other husbands, although the show is much less of a Bravo/Real Housewives parody than 30 Rock’s Queen of Jordan was), he’s often humiliating himself to an extreme. In the pilot, he gets beaten up by an 8-year-old boy, and in later episodes he’s forced to strip naked, cry, be excluded from playing poker with Prince (the horror!) and then get beaten up again, but by boxing champ Sugar Shane Mosley.
He’s also mocked constantly by the other husbands, a couple of whom are all-stars outside of the BET universe, like JB Smoove, who’s been on Curb Your Enthusiasm and made his star turn in Pootie Tang, and Mr. Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon. Not to mention R&B singer Robin Thicke, who is the only not-actor Husband (but married to an actor, Paula Patton); he holds his own with the comedians amazingly well. The episode where Kevin enrages Robin to the point where he turns into the Hulk killed me, because Robin Thick-as-Hulk isn’t green, but black-- he literally turned into Terry Crews (Idiocracy, The Expendables, those amazing Tim & Eric ads for Old Spice).
The only bad thing about the show is that it’s on BET. For so long, the few networks that aimed for black viewership seemed to rely on gaining that audience by putting emphasis on representation over originality and quality. Of course, most major networks get away with the same thing for white audiences, which is why we get shows like Rules of Engagement and Two and a Half Men on the air for longer than the lifespan of your average golden retriever. (I mentioned that comparison to make sure that, if you weren’t saddened by how many low-quality TV sitcoms are out there, you would be now.)
So if there are ten Chuck Lorre shows for every Parks & Recreation, it makes sense that TV execs would give every living Wayans a TV deal before trying something more original like Husbands (that said, the show that comes on after Real Husbands is a Wayans family production).
I love watching The Real Husbands of Hollywood, and I’m glad my low TV-viewing standards have finally reaped some high rewards.