5 Observations About Starter Wives Confidential

by Demetria L. Lucas

Starter WivesI recall the days when The Learning Channel actually had shows that were about, well, learning something. Founded in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and — gasp! —  NASA it was  billed as “an informative and instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV.” Fast forward to now, where it’s the home of popular shows with great redeeming value such as Here Comes Honey Boo BooBest Funeral Ever, and Starter Wives Confidential which debuted last night.

In summary, Starter Wives Confidential is TLC’s version of Basketball Wives, starring DMX’s soon-to-be ex Tashera Simmons (the only recognizable name), Funkmaster Flex’s estranged wife, and the ex-girlfriends of rapper Maino, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., NBA baller Lamar Odom, and rapper 50 Cent. It’s less basketball, more fighting, and about the same number of actual wives and scenes with women sitting around drinking. If you like to see Black women act up, tune in. If you don’t, start a petition now.

Given most of the participants, I had an idea of what to expect, but I tuned in anyway to give it a shot. I figured it is The Learning Channel, so maybe I should learn something, right?

Here are my Top 5 Takeaways (in no particular order):

1. Talking greasy about your ex says as much about him as it does you
Starter Wives Confidential is all about women spilling the tea on how they were done dirty by their exes. I don’t doubt the women were done wrong in their relationships, but they stayed. And putting up with a bunch of mess – and telling everyone about it— says as much about the guys they complain about it as it does about the women complaining. Most notably it says: “I haven’t moved on, because if I did, I wouldn’t still be talking about and defining myself as so-and-sos ex.”

2. As a woman, you need to make a name for yourself
It’s always bothered me that so many stars of reality TV have their name flash on the screen, and underneath in smaller print is “ex-wife” or “ex-girlfriend” of a name viewers would actually recognize. I don’t wish to imply that there is anything wrong supporting your man or holding down the homefront, but if a reality show co-star is expecting me to care, it would be nice if there was a credential to her name of what she currently is, even if it’s Homemaker or Work-In-Progress, rather than what she was, often a long, long time ago.

3. Delusion is a helluva drug
I’d call Floyd Mayweather’s ex by her name, but you wouldn’t know who I was talking about any. Anyway, when his ex introduces herself to the audience, she talks about her desire to reunite with ol’ Floyd and even says in complete seriousness, “I think Floyd is going to come running back to me.” Uh, ma’am. He broke into your home and beat the crap out of you in front of your children. Why would you want him back? Additionally, he is engaged.

4. Drama is also a helluva drug
Surprise — there’s a big confrontation at the end of Starter Wives Confidential, and I can’t tell you what it was over because I don’t think the women who jumped in each other’s faces even really know. But there was cursing and screaming and a woman, still yelling epithets and threats, marched out.

It made me think of an observation I had while watching Real Housewives of Atlanta. On Sunday, I tweeted that my favorite part of RHOA these days is the focus on the women’s business ventures. I wished that there would be a show about that. That simple tweet led to a Twitter debate about whether a reality TV show about Black women could be successful sans all the “extra” drama. I argued it could. I don’t expect a conflict-free show, but there’s inherent drama in everyone’s life. “I want X, Y is blocking my way, how do I figure it out?” is a form of drama and keeps a story moving, and it can be accomplished by acting like a well-behaved adult. The man I was having a healthy argument with said that the only drama worth tuning into was the fighting-bickering-throwing ish kind. With so much drag-down drama on TV, it would be impossible for a show that didn’t have it to succeed. It made me wonder if viewers are as addicted to drama as the women actually causing drama.

5. You can’t be a great dad and treat the mother of your kids like crap
Throughout Starter Wives Confidential, several women threw the father of their children under the bus, then followed up with a comment like, “but he’s a great dad.” One of the women making that observation was Maino’s ex … after she just relayed how he made a love song about another woman while they were dating, and also made a song about her, imagining all the ways he’d like to see her die. I’m sorry, what? Floyd’s ex — who again, was beaten by him in front of their children — made the same claim. Is this what we’re calling a “good father” these days?

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life”  (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

  • Unbelievable

    Get this ghetto mess off of TV Enough already with the Shennanigans these folks are involved in. Besides who cares, most of them are looking for a another meal ticket! Grow up already!

  • Shaun

    Thanks for the article. Finally, someone has challenged these ideas about fame, self reputation and THE FAMILY!

  • Cocochanel31

    I fell asleep on this horrid show. I definetly will NOT be tuning back in! I can only take so much of black women crying over a no good man that did them wrong a million years ago, and while the man has moved on, and in these cases, married/procreated with other women, the EX is still talking about it..there is nothing empowering about these types of shows. The only one I felt empowered watching was Tashera..Lawd knows she went to hell and back with X, who she knew since maybe 13??? Thank GOD she has seen the light and wants no parts or pieces of him!

    Was getting an Emily B/woe is me- vibe from Lamar Odom’s ex. Lamar has been married to KK about three years or so now, it’s time for baby girl to move on. I want her to get some therapy for the loss of her child and him and not look back. The rest are women who are still trying to get their two minutes of fame.

    The one with the blog- who is her ex? She needs to focus on the blog and leave the foolery behind. These women are what..pushing 40 years old still acting like thisI can’t!!
    MAino’s ex reminds me so much of Kimbella it’s scary!

  • AM

    These “reality trainwreck stars” are NARCISSITIC, to think that because they dated a semi-famous rapper [Maino], or birthed a basketball’s star’s kids, we should care! What’s even more maddening is that they are trying to make a name for themselves, through these has beens. Don’t they have lives, OUTSIDE of these men that could give two flying saucepans about them? Additionally, what exactly are they teaching their kids? URRRGH. I hope this show FAILS, tremendously!

  • Keshia

    I’m so tired of these “wives” show due to many of them not be wives anymore..and just going on tv moaning and groaning. Please go out and move on, everyone does not need a reality show.

  • Pingback: Five lessons learned from TLC’s new series, ‘Starter Wives Confidential’ | theGrio

  • Chelley5483

    I wondered this same thing AM ever since Basketball Wives first debuted. Laying down with a certain guy that’s famous or somewhat famous makes YOU famous??! I never understood it. Narcissism indeed. Can’t understand who’d want to be remembered as just the girl who let so and so bang her.

  • Chelley5483

    I agree with Ms. Lucas. I am more intrigued by Nene making it in Hollywood, Kenya owning a production company, Kandi’s well-executed venture into the adult toy industry and Cynthia’s agency dealings than the b.s. bickering and drama. Same reason I like Chicagolicious. I actually learned the power of effective PR from that show, aside from the fake drama, it was a good show about a hairstylist driven to become #1 in his industry.

    I really do believe, if they’d just do a test run with the right cast, that a show about 5 women/men trying to start a business or anything else positive, would be a big hit. I’m starving for a show like that.

  • Please Excuse Me

    I can’t with these reality shows…what’s next pimp wives, drug dealer wives, wives of the nation of Islam etc.

  • http://gravatar.com/royalchocolate Royal Chocolate

    Amen!!
    These women looks stupid going public with the fact that, by discussing these men day in and day out, thye are showing a hugh example of harboring unforgiveness.

    The men have moved on. Capitalizing off of pain causes more pain. Actually seeing these women get upset over the way they were treated is laughable; especially the one that says she’s given her life to God and shows her behind at homegirl’s event. Who is/was Maino anyway?

    And all this talk about sex…..please!! There they go…going from one bad relationship to the next and taking this baggage with them.

    Sad..

  • Fancypants

    A show about women and their business ventures sans the drama can be successful; Tia and Tamera is a great example. I love that show! And the “drama” is the organic kind that comes with living life.

  • http://twitter.com/Kiki_Liki Kiki L. (@Kiki_Liki)

    Frankly, I’m sick of the media content that target women of color nowadays. It was questionable in the beginning to have a camera crew follow around wives of basketball players who seem to go around with bad weaves and caked on makeup to lunch dates and quasi exciting life experiences only to talk about each other over coffee with the next one. This is a level of shallowness and cattiness that we need to shield our young women from. Why don’t we have TV shows like Girlfriends anymore? Why don’t we have movies like Waiting to Exhale where it showed black women dealing with the difficulties of relationships but in the end being able to bounce back and rely on her girlfriends? We are inadvertently creating a culture of acquaintances- I hear so many of the girls I counsel say “I don’t have friends, I have acquaintances.” Well how are you going to develop the social skills necessary to cultivate a healthy relationship with you and your man? How are you going to raise children who know the value of friendship? I for one have never seen any of these shows- I simply can’t! The commercials are dumb and dramatic enough. We need to stand up and say NO MORE to this foolishness! Steps in the right direction have already been made when Oxygen canceled”All My Babies Mommas” due to the backlash from so many, but we need to take a step further. Women making money off of their ex husbands’ names isn’t helping anyone. Who would want to date you after you put all your dirty laundry with your ex out there? Not only do prospective boos know all your business but they’ll be on TV right alongside you and God forbid it doesn’t work- they’ll be talked about too!

  • http://gravatar.com/chloerayne516 GirlSixx

    Why?? Why!!!?? Why??!!!

    The only two I could see really have some form of relevance is Tashera and Funk’s ex wife because THEY WERE ACTUALLY WIVES.. the rest of them need to have a FootStool. The onus was on you for being his RIDE OR DIE without a legal binding commitment (marriage).

    I honestly feel floyd and lamar ex’s were bat shyte crazy for having all those kids without A RING.. and look how they up and leave to only marry or propose to the next chick within months..*faceslap/palm*

    Yeah, they may be collecting some enormous checks every month but in the end they don’t have THE MAN and it’s obviously bothering them.

  • Common Sense

    Yikes, would someone please make this mess go away!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Please lord!

  • Common Sense

    These women obviously have no pride, but do they have to embarrass their babies?? Go somewhere and get a life and take care of your children. Teach them better!!!!!!!!

  • Beks

    I’m skipping this show, while I like a good reality show (guilty pleasure), this one seems too far down the rabbit hole for me…and the floyd m. ex comment about him coming back completely sealed the deal!

    This comment though!!!! “It made me wonder if viewers are as addicted to drama as the women actually causing drama.” <——-!!!!

    We do need to take responsibility for the fact that the existance of these shows point, not just to the debasement of these women and their personal self -esteem levels, BUT to our collective debasement as a society….

  • PBR

    I used to be so into these shows, but after seeing the last season of basketball wives with grow women acting like school children I completely tuned out. It’s played out and stupid now. I got rid of cable so that helps. The only reality shows I might watch if I was bored are the braxtons and RHOA because for the most part they show black women getting their careers together and hustling. The rest of these shows on TV are a slippery slope, like all my babies mamas. The more we watch, (even if we’re pretending to be dismayed by them as this blogger is) the worse it will get each year. Slippery slope ya’ll

  • D Poyner

    What is not being addressed regarding shows of this nature is that the women who do these shows do them for the most part are unskilled. They dated and married these men while they were in their prime. These men allowed them to live the lives of kept women & because they were young they didn’t realize that with all the temptations that fame provides that these men were not going to ride or die for them even though that was what was being asked of these women. After fame set in for these men they realized that they could get any women they wanted. Women that would not have looked twice at these men if it was not for the fame. The men move on to the next chick & these women are left holding the proverbial bag ie children & no means of income. So whats left for them dead end or menial jobs, no why go that route instead they go to white america, who enjoys seeing the fact that the black women still allows herself to be abused & walked on after 200 + years past slavery. Further proving this point they pitch the reality show that proves this very fact and there you have it low budget entertainment for the masses. All because these women do not want to pick up the pieces and learn to live life from a more conservative point of view. Live life with out material trappings life Louie V & Christian Louboutin. So for everyone who does not understand the how come & why of these type shows this is why, because even though their child support & alimony may afford them a simi comfortable life it does not afford them the lifestyle they had become accustom to when they were so & so’s women. Don’t hate the players their just naive & can’t think of another way to try & maintain the status they thought they had.

  • ImJustSaying

    Plus with T&T they always settle their arguments by actually talking to each other like civilized adults who know how to use their words.

  • Blackmon

    Let’s also remember that there are people watching these shows

  • Butter

    I think it’s like the bag of chips I have in my office.

    I don’t want to eat it, I eat it because it’s there and even though it has no nutritional value, it tastes good

  • Nic

    The mainstream media only gives airtime to black woman that represent the lowest common denominator and the least flattering stereotypes.
    They can’t put a black woman in a regular show as a love interest or working professional (unless it’s a Shonda Rimes show) but if it’s about weaves, fighting, and being a baby mamma, it’s like they throw out flyers in every majority black city in the country.
    Such a shame…we are way more and way better than this.

  • Nic

    Well, if it is going to feature black women, it’s going to be something embarrassing, that much I’m sure of.

  • http://gravatar.com/cocovabarbie KemaVA

    A man can become famous for throwing a ball into a basket. I see no problem with a woman that had the ‘laying down’ skills to keep his interest for some time, while other hoochies are vying for the chance, becoming famous as well.

  • useless black middle class

    How is it that these idiots can talk about the so called “no goodness” of the ex husbands in the face all the evidence of the women’s own uselessness?

    The women are the ones on reality TV, broke as a bulldozed neighborhood, making a complete ass of themselves before the whole world, and still leeching off their “no good” ex’s name & fame.

    Totally shredding the little that’s left of the reputation black women once had as the embodiment of dignity and HONOR in the face of adversity.

    Any black man who engages in behavior that embarrasses the collective of black men is swiftly disowned as an aberration. He is judged solely on HIS wrongdoing even if he himself is the “victim” of some wrongdoing.
    .
    Black women on the other hand, seem to think that they can avoid scrutiny of their bad behavior simply by pointing away from themselves, giving themselves licence to ratchet up the ratchetness to the worst levels and never be held accountable for it.

    Set some damn standards and personal boundaries and police yourselves otherwise someone else will have to do it and you won’t like what we do.

    These women’s behavior aint got nuffing to do with a “no good man”, their wrongdoing is their wrongdoing, not “no good man’s” wrongdoing and I for one am sick of the “he made me this way” cop out to avoid being judged on one’s own wrongdoing.

    Nobody made you “any way” or made you do anything, you did it coz that’s how you are.

    I’m glad these morons are putting themselves on display for the whole world see the kind of effery black men have suffered in silence for eons.

    MORE of these shows please – I claim The Ist . . .

  • Butter

    Idk, I think fairness would be women being famous in their own right not famous for f**king someone famous

  • Rosey

    There are too many reality shows like this!! I’m all for giving people a voice but why does every former jumpoff/ ex-girl get a show?!

  • Marisa

    The Learning Channel ceased being that awhile ago not when your biggest star is Honey Boo Child and her whole ratchet family, they got Starter Wives, Plastic Wives, and this weird obsession with wedding dresses. Same thing over on the Arts & Entertainment Channel aka A&E cant have much art with the First 48 and Scared Straight, Dunk Hunters. Don’t get me started on what the heck became of the History Channel.

  • Shirl

    I know right!!! I used to love the history channel.

  • Economics

    Supply and Demand

    Who the hell is watching this stuff anyway?

  • kaybee

    I really liked the show but at the same time I am embarassed for some of the women.

  • Treece

    This is precisely why I don’t watch reality tv much….unless it something productive, constructive, etc, I don’t tune in. Most reality tv these days are like modern day minstrel shows featuring classless, trashy, ignorant Black women and rural poor Whites. I have three reality tv shows I watch or sometimes tune in too and two of them are competition shows: Big Brother, the Amazing Race, and a new reality show Black Inc Crew. If I’m going to watch a reality tv show featuring Black people, Black Inc Crew is ok. Black business owner and talented Black men and women trying to promote thier business. They don’t fight often, and actually are talented artists. No has-beens or never-beens exploiting themselves or trying to make an easy buck……

  • http://gravatar.com/heavenleiblu heavenleiblu

    I haven’t watched (and doubt that I will), but I’m pretty surprised that Monica Joseph would do a show like this.

  • Monica

    I did not see the first episode. I’m not even really sure I’m interested in watching this show at all.

    You can’t sit around and have multiple children with a man of financial means, growing more & more accustomed to a certain lifestyle, hoping he will marry you and then he snatches the rug from under you. A man is not a plan and that is the unfortunate lesson these ladies have learned especially the ones who were never married; now they want to “tell their story” aka make some fast & easy income by “rebuilding” their lives and getting closure on a reality show. I guess private therapy sessions are all booked up from now until the end of time :/

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Don’t these women volunteer for these shows though? Aren’t they paid well to allow their lives to be documented? This will continue as long as there are fools willing to make money by any means necessary.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Apparently, neither can BET

  • http://www.glamourgoddesslisa.com Lisa

    I agree and disagree at the same time. Where I agree: the learning channel stopped a long time ago teaching us anything except how exploitive TV as a whole has become. I often long for the days of scripted sitcoms that portray African Americans in a better light. Especially African American women.
    I myself, try to live life drama-free. Unmarried with no children and applying for grad school I often hear that I am the exception, not the rule. But I know a gang of educated black women not living off of a man with a million kids. We are out there.
    What I disagree with is the assumption that these women deserved the treatment that they got. By saying this is what kind I effery black men have suffered in silence with for years. Wow! Really?
    What these women are dealing with has been happening to black women for years. We have been cast aside for the Asian, white or a mixed woman as soon as the black man they are with have money.
    While I agree they are doing too much broadcasting this on a reality show (I don’t even tell my homegirls when my man act up) my heart strings are pulled because this is a common story among black women.
    Black men treat us like we are the bottom of the pile. If we are good enough, it is just to indulge on our curves that God gave us. And we are so loyal to black men, we tolerate it.
    Again, I don’t think putting themselves on a reality show is the way, I would rather strip before a limited audience where no one knows my real name before I cry on TV about some joker.
    Nevertheless, their story is a common and real one. All too real. Picking them apart doesn’t change the mysogynist attitude Black men have toward their women.

  • http://www.glamourgoddesslisa.com Lisa

    I agree and disagree at the same time. Where I agree: the learning channel stopped a long time ago teaching us anything except how exploitive TV as a whole has become. I often long for the days of scripted sitcoms that portray African Americans in a better light. Especially African American women.
    I myself, try to live life drama-free. Unmarried with no children and applying for grad school I often hear that I am the exception, not the rule. But I know a gang of educated black women not living off of a man with a million kids. We are out there.
    What I disagree with is the assumption that these women deserved the treatment that they got. By saying this is what kind I effery black men have suffered in silence with for years. Wow! Really?
    What these women are dealing with has been happening to black women for years. We have been cast aside for the Asian, white or a mixed woman as soon as the black man they are with have money.
    While I agree they are doing too much broadcasting this on a reality show (I don’t even tell my homegirls when my man act up) my heart strings are pulled because this is a common story among black women.
    Black men treat us like we are the bottom of the pile. If we are good enough, it is just to indulge on our curves that God gave us. And we are so loyal to black men, we tolerate it.
    Again, I don’t think putting themselves on a reality show is the way, I would rather strip before a limited audience where no one knows my real name before I cry on TV about some joker.
    Nevertheless, their story is a common and real one. All too real. Picking them apart doesn’t change the mysogynistic views black men have toward their women.

  • http://gravatar.com/jswindell Nean

    It made me think of an observation I had while watching Real Housewives of Atlanta. On Sunday, I tweeted that my favorite part of RHOA these days is the focus on the women’s business ventures. I wished that there would be a show about that.

    The first time I saw RHOA, it was Season 1 w/Lisa Wu seated at a conference table with some other ladies discussing her real estate venture. At first, I thought ‘Okay…nice.’ Then later on in the show, she starts talking extensively about being half-Black/Asian. I’m like… ‘nobody cares in the 21st Century what type of hair you have’.

    I’m going into my 2nd yr. w/out cable and from the looks of things, I left Time Warner just in time. If this is what’s replacing those documentaries TLC used to show, then I’m afraid I will have to stay cable-free indefinitely.

  • sally

    If Honey Boo Boo is good enough to stay on (the worst), then what can be more ratchet than that? Let Tashera save her kids house first before we start talking petitions. That bothers me that I havent seen one for “Bad Girls Club”, “Mob Wives”, etc. But as soon as a few black people start a show, it’s an overnight hit, here come the petitions! I just dont get it, every darn show is on tv to pay their bills, turn the channel and stop hating in this economy, why cant their kids have a future, college education, etc. Leave them alone, start with the ones that have been getting away with it for too long! Start with Jerry Springer, the most ratchet of them all! Really!

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