Have you seen E!'s new reality show Pretty Wild? It's not for kids. And really not for adults either. Even executive producer Chelsea Handler is somewhat embarrassed of it.
It chronicles the family of one-time Playboy model Andrea Arlington which includes her husband Jerry and her two daughers Alexis Neiers, 18 and Gabby Neiers, 15 and their friend (who is misleadingly referred to as a sister/daughter) model Tess Taylor, 19.
To say this family is a mess does not even begin to describe it. Andrea "home schools" the girls basing her curriculum off the movie The Secret. I will admit, I've only googled the movie, but it seems to fall around the lines of "spirituality, not religion." The family engages in "prayer circles" that always ask for the greatest good and end in the mantra "and so it is." There are statues of Buddha, but I'm not clear what, if any, religion they follow. Tess and Alexis are models and in the first episode win lucrative contracts with Biatta lingerie as the "faces" of the company.
Here's where it gets sticky: Alexis is one of the accused in the Hollywood burglaries and there is video surveillance of her taking items from actor Orlando Bloom's home and when LAPD serves a search warrant of her home a bag belonging to actress Rachel Bilson is found.
Alexis maintains her innocence and states she is guilty only of poor judgment in friends. Unfortunately, as she finds out, just because you're innocent until proven guilty in a court of law does not mean the same is true in the court of public opinion. She is dropped by Biatta just days after signing her contract. Her parents are served complaints for violation of HOA rules as papparazzi stalk the family at home.
While the title of the show is clever as the girls are clearly beautiful and wild in their behavior, I think a more appropriate title is Pretty Stupid.
Let's start with mom Andrea. She readily admits in the first episode that she has never put restrictions on her girls and now thinks that might not have been the correct parenting course. Unfortunately it's a bit late to consider this. In addition, she is clearly of the mind that beautiful people are above the law. It's one thing to be a supportive mother, it's another to think you are more intelligent than the high powered defense attorney that you hired to defend your daughter in court. She seems to have all the right intentions but know nothing of what to do with them.
Then there is Tess who, one has to wonder, must have left something rather terrible to voluntarily join this family. The next episode reveals her biological mother is trying to speak with her, which may open up some of the back-story. She is questioned by police but ultimately let go without charges being filed in connection to the Hollywood burglaries. Is she potentially a less than helpful friend for Alexis to have?
Alexis we've pretty much been over. She is hoping to land the role of a pole dancer in a Mickey Avalon video. Previews for subsequent episodes show her attorney having to tell her she is "grounded." While her "confessional" footage shows her crying, proclaiming her innocence and stating how awful she feels for the celebrities whose homes were burglarized, her actions are telling another story. She has no problems partying, dancing and hitting on guys.
If there is one redeeming character in this saga (and there is only one) it is fifteen-year-old Gabby. It is Gabby who says in the car on the way to the Hollywood police station ,"Everyday it's something with those two." It's Gabby who points out when Alexis waives her right to an attorney that Alexis doesn't know what that means. Gabby is crushed by Alexis's arrest and the ensuing drama which includes moving from the neighborhood she loves where her friends are.
So, why do I care enough to write about this show. For me, I think there is real potential to look down my nose (and trust me, to an extent I do) on this family and people like them. But there is also a real potential to find someone to pray for. These girls have no doubt been damaged by their own misdeeds and a serious lack of parenting, but they can be redeemed. The most obvious potential candidate for a turn-around is Gabby, but who is to say that Alexis and Tess might also be able to turn it around. I was extremely critical of the Kardashian clan but Kourtney is now a responsible business owner and mother and Khloe went from a drunk-driver to a loving, devoted wife who was crushed when she discovered she was not pregnant (or suffered an early miscarriage, it was not specific). And it was obvious that their family ties were strong when they all celebrated the life of former patriarch Robert Kardashian at an Armenian restaurant. Perhaps the Arlington-Neiers-Taylor family can find that the happiness they seek via attention-getting antics can be more easily found through simpler things like running a business or perhaps actually acting like a family. Well, at least I can pray for that.