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'Atlanta Exes' premiere recap: No grannies here

Season 1 | Episode 1 | Aired Aug 18, 2014

atlanta-exes-201-340x160When Hollywood Exes ended, I didn’t know how I was going to get the reality fix I needed. But after watching the first episode of Atlanta Exes, I feel reassured that there is plenty of lady drama to go around. All of these women were married to big-name sports and entertainment personalities that the American popular culture knows pretty well: Usher Raymond, CeeLo Green, Kevin Hart, etc. So it is terribly fascinating to lift the curtain a little and get a different perspective onto these celebrities whom we think we know so well.

We first meet Tameka Raymond, ex-wife of Usher Raymond. In these first few scenes, she is having a “packing party” to Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.32.02 PMwhich she has invited the other ladies, in expectation that they will help her move out of the house she formerly shared with her ex. When the ladies arrive, however, it becomes clear that Tameka is far less interested in packing than she let on, and isn’t really ready to move on from this place in her life.

Tameka’s story is different from the other ladies’ in that not only is she recently divorced, but she also lost her son, Kile, in a boating accident in 2012. Her divorce and Kile’s death came within about a year of each other, and Tameka is obviously still struggling with the compounded loss. Her story is heartbreaking, and will make you root for her instantly. Don’t worry, though—she changes your mind later in the episode.

While I was still on her side, I felt bad for her as she buckled under the other ladies’ constant pressure to “let go” and “move on.” Going through her closet, they found lingering evidence of Usher, and were a little heavy-handed in their urging her to throw things away. After becoming overwhelmed at the task, Tameka just gave up and sank down on the floor, surprising Monyetta and the other ladies.

Tameka makes a few comments here in the closet that will set the precedent for her “character” for the rest of the episode. It becomes clear that she thinks her pain trumps theirs, and Torrei doesn’t think that’s cool. It’s hard to know how to feel about this after just one episode, but nobody wants to be told that their baggage is not as real as someone else’s. Of course, none of the other ladies have lost children.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.17.40 PMChristina is the most understanding of the ladies; she is still holding onto CeeLo Green eight years after their divorce. He makes a cameo in the first episode, having taken the red-eye from L.A. to help Christina pick out some new clothes. They chat about Christina’s wishes to start dating, and he is not as supportive as he pretends to be. He plays mind games with her, hinting that he’s not ready to let her go, and that she should wait forever for the right person. Frustrated, Christiana reminds him that he’s seeing someone else too, but he replies cryptically, “I have someone who knows I have you.” It’s a real mind f*ck, if you ask me, and Christina should get as far away from that passive-aggressive, codependent crap as soon as she can. She’s the one who admitted that it wasn’t “a healthy situation,” so it seems she should leave him in the rearview.

Following their meeting, Christina goes to see Torrei’s new condo. Torrei is Kevin Hart’s ex-wife and moved to AtlantaScreen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.22.37 PM for a fresh start and to work on her comedy career. She met Kevin when they were both at community college in Philadelphia, and Torrei put her career and life on hold to support Kevin. Torrei still has a lot of feelings about the divorce and is angry at her ex’s infidelity, and sad that he gets to have as much time with the children as she does. She obviously still has feelings for Kevin and says she feels empty without her best friend. It also seems that the children didn’t come with her to Atlanta, and she is having a hard time making a home without them there. Christina comforts her and offers solace, commiserating with her about the loss of the family unit.

Monyetta is feeling a similar loss, even though she and Ne-Yo still live in the same house. She has weekly family dinners with his mother and sister and looks to them for advice about how to move forward. Hers is the most recent split, and I believe she is still waiting for him to “get right and come back.” His mother is skeptical and tells her to live her life without him; he will either come around or move on. His mother cautions Monyetta about becoming a “dried-up old granny,” and tells her to get back out there. Monyetta has some fresh wounds to heal, so I predict she is the most likely to backslide with her ex, although Christina is a close second.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.23.58 PMSheree Buchanan is the last lady on the list wanting to reconcile with her ex, former NFL player Ray Buchanan. She and Ray married young and had lots of babies, but when the money and fame came around, she says Ray “lost himself,” causing her to lose herself a little too. When she, Torrei and Christina go out for drinks, she is obviously on the prowl. She tells the other two ladies that she likes them young, big and (ahem) endowed. When a man approaches the ladies, she immediately dismisses him for being too old. Torrei guessed his age based on his Afro-Sheen and Steve Harvey haircut. He was a good sport about it, and the ladies had a good laugh. Sheree seems like she is the most fun and the most willing to have a good time.

Sheree is going to have to be a good sport if she is going to put up with Tameka and her judgements. When Sheree invitesScreen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.27.29 PM Tameka to go shopping with her for her 11-year-old’s birthday, Tameka says terrible things about Sheree’s judgment and taste, and makes some pretty dismissive comments about her parenting style. At first it seems like Tameka might have Sheree’s best interest at heart, but the longer it goes on, the more it seems like Tameka is being needlessly hurtful.

Sheree lets it go at the boutique, showing a great deal of restraint, if you ask me, but seeks advice from Torrei about it later. Instead of being angry and backstabbing, in true reality-show-housewife fashion, Sheree shows concern for Tameka, saying it is out of character for her to be so negative. Maybe, according to Sheree, she’s in more pain than she’s letting on.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 4.31.24 PMThis is the topic of the ladies’ lunch in the final scene, when all the ladies come together to visit and “offer support.” Tameka doesn’t let up on Sheree, criticizing her outfit and being openly rude about it. Apparently a white bra “should be banned in all 50 states.” This is news to me, but Sheree doesn’t lose her temper at all, which is amazing. Instead, the ladies rally around Tameka, supporting her and asking her to trust them with her pain. It was nice to see a group of ladies supporting each other. I wonder how long this will last.

What did you guys think of the new Exes? What’s your first impression? Tweet me the scoop.

Atlanta Exes airs Mondays at 9/8C on VH1.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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