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Daytime Divas throws every single issue in the modern soap opera book into the pilot. Yet, despite being heavy loaded, there isn’t a single actress you don’t want to invest time in.
Daytime Divas is about 5 women at different stages of their life and also coming from different perspectives. Both Maxine (Vanessa L. Williams) and Nina (Camille Guaty) come from a journalistic background. Maxine though has a few decades on Nina, but Nina is a rising star. Mo (Tichina Arnold) is an around the way girl. A comic who is seeing The Lunch Hour, Maxine’s show, as her big break. Heather (Fiona Gubelmann) is your usual conservative blonde who seems to be waiting on a call from Fox News. Then there is Kibby (Chloe Bridges), a former child star, of the fallen Disney variety, who graciously is being given a second chance by Maxine.
Now, being that each woman seems to need this show, naturally, there is a power struggle amongst them. Especially since, as I’m sure you guessed, their professional lives are much more viable than their personal. For Maxine, her personal life is fine. Her son Shawn (McKinley Freeman) is working for her and really she just has to worry about her show and looking youthful. As for the rest of the ladies? So much drama.
Going from least to most:
Mo’s biggest worry is Leon (Niko Pepaj). He is a PA she has been messing around with for awhile. Someone who’d like to be more than an F*** buddy but Mo don’t play that. For whatever reason, she isn’t the relationship type. So, knowing a thing or two about sexual harassment, he threatens her with a sex tape. Leading to an immediate come up for him.
Following her is Kibby. Now, her main problem, formerly, was drugs and alcohol, alongside probation. Meetings helped with the drugs and alcohol and Maxine whisked probation away. Thus leaving one last issue: Her Mother. A woman who mooches off Kibby and has no issues bringing trouble to her life if she needs to.
After her is Nina. Nina’s husband Andrew (Ness Bautista) is trying to get in public office. Problem is, with a low sperm count, he can’t make that ideal look of a man with a family. Which perhaps may lead you to question why her life is more dramatic than Kibby’s? Well, it is because she is having an affair with Shawn. An affair which, like Mo’s with Leon, she isn’t trying to let go further than where it is. However, Shawn really wants to be with her. Not to the point of employing blackmail or using his powers as a producer, but something will surely give.
Lastly, there is Heather. Now, Heather takes the cake for a multitude of reasons. First, she has a trans daughter and then it seems her husband Brad (Rich McDonald) maybe abusive. Which, for a conservative and family first host, you know is going to lead to a lot of mess. Especially since Mo, with her big mouth, has already clocked some bruises.
Though, not to be outdone, Maxine, as of the end of the pilot, is faking being in a coma. If only because the way the women are bickering makes her think she’ll return to fanfare. But, after watching enough shows like this, likely all her attempts at sabotage will backfire. Especially in terms of ratings.
T.P.I. – The Point Is[note]New acronym[/note]
Tichina Arnold and Chloe Bridges
The two actresses who will end up benefitting the most from this show is Arnold and Bridges. Arnold will for this show is a reminder that she is funny as hell. There, to my recollection, isn’t once scene she has which won’t leave you laughing at her antics. Especially when it comes to jokes in which Arnold is facing off against Williams. For their dynamic is far too entertaining. I mean, for those who watched Martin, it is like Sheneneh vs. Gina adapted for modern times. Just with Gina being older, without Martin, and more poised.
But while Arnold is reminding people she is funny, Bridges is just establishing who she is. Which isn’t to say she is an unfamiliar face. Thanks to The Carrie Diaries and Faking It, she isn’t a stranger. However, she is one of the many young actresses who has gotten lost in the shuffle. Mostly because, until this show, she kind of seemed like just another pretty face. Yet, I feel reminded that in The Carrie Diaries she did exhibit the possibility of being something more.
However, what sparkle that was there has become a much brighter light now. For, to my surprise, she crafted quite a few touching moments. One in particular deals with Kibby at Maxine’s bedside confession she slipped up. That, with a mom like hers, Maxine has really shown her what family is supposed to be. Leading to me getting a little teary eyed [note]and realizing I need to drink more water.[/note].
A Conservative Mom with a Trans Daughter (MTF)
I was just listening to Janet Mock’s podcast today and one of the topics was about stunt storylines. You know, similar to how The Carmichael Show handles topics. It will make a big deal out of something, like when it had a trans kid, and then it is like that character and storyline never happened. Yet, here is hoping that Heather having a trans daughter [note]I think that is the right term[/note] will be taken seriously.
Thus far it seems like it will, but you never know. The show is definitely starting off with being quite dramatic so there is the question of where it will up the ante. However, considering how Heather is very much about God not making mistakes, including when it comes to trans people, this should be interesting. Especially when you add in an abusive husband who doesn’t support his namesake being trans at all.
On The Fence
Everything & The Kitchen Sink
So between multiple instances of blackmail, drug addiction, affairs, LGBT issues [note]accent on the T[/note], and pettiness, this show is very dramatic. Almost to the point, it is within sight of crossing over into campy territory. The actors, in a tug of war, keep it from going over, but you can see that might be a struggle.
Which I think might be what may turn some people off. There is just such an abundance of drama that this show can seem like a bad comedy. One in which there is this desperate desire to do whatever it would take to grab your interest. Do you want a hot and steamy affair? We got that! What about LGBT issues? We got a Trans kid and Kibby is sexually fluid. What about blackmail? We got Mo blackmailing people and being blackmailed herself. Abuse? The nice conservative Christian has a mean and nasty husband. One who hurts her and maybe even her kid? Surely you want to see what happens right? Who gets their comeuppance and who breaks under pressure? Stay tuned!
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
While this show is definitely doing too much, I feel like this show has the type of cast to handle it. For, and this is me talking not knowing Gaulty or Gubelmann’s past work, they seemingly have actresses playing up to their strengths. Arnold is not being asked to play some dramatic and intense role. No! She is brash, kind of ratchet, and funny. Is Williams playing some former reality TV star? Hell no! This is basically Wilhelmina Slater if she went into journalism instead of fashion. Then with the less established stars like Bridges, and arguably Gaulty and Gubelmann, they are given the chance to play off these strong personalities. Which Bridges has already benefitted from just in the pilot.
Hence the Positive label. For while I can imagine for some this, at best, can be a guilty pleasure, to me this is just entertaining. So entertaining that I think it can hold up against criticism. I’ll admit, I don’t know if this could go on for 4 to 5 seasons, but for now it seems just wonderful.