Denise Richards: It’s Complicated

Potty-mouthed and shallow, Richards has all the makings of a reality TV star, while providing an unintended early Father's Day gift to her ex, Charlie Sheen, by coming across as get-me-outta-here loopy.

The only actual sex in Denise Richards’ new E! show occurs between pigs — her pet pigs, part of a menagerie that also includes a veritable herd of dogs and cats — but the actress, more famous for her liaisons than her work, helpfully weaves a whiff of carnality throughout the proceedings. Potty-mouthed and shallow, Richards has all the makings of a reality TV star, while providing an unintended early Father’s Day gift to her ex, Charlie Sheen, by coming across as get-me-outta-here loopy. There’s no narrative arc to speak of, but tailing Richards does hold one’s attention.

Like all of the other reality personalities who invite the world into their homes, Richards professes at the outset that her life — a string of mediocre movie roles centering on her bombshell looks and a habit of dating (and occasionally marrying) actors and rock stars — is “all about family.” She then proceeds, of course, to focus mostly on her love life, complaining that her sister is “up my ass about me dating bad boys.”

“Up my ass” gets repeated a lot, as does Richards’ appreciation of guys with “big d**ks” (E!’s bleep, not ours). Still, she reluctantly agrees to go on a blind date with a so-called normal guy — first stripping down, bless her, for an on-camera spray-on tan — with camera crew in tow, which is every bit as stilted as that sounds.

Richards surrounds herself with the usual assortment of friends, sycophants and family, including her widowed dad, Irv, who now lives with her and her young daughters. Ultimately, though, attempts to put the star in amusing situations (she goes to the DMV to shed Sheen’s surname) aren’t nearly as interesting as the inanities that spill out of her mouth, capturing the essence of a beautiful woman famous, at this point, for little more than being famous.

Richards joins a growing conga line of personalities who have sought image redemption by welcoming reality producers into the extended family, only to reveal more about how messed up they are than intended. (Like Paula Abdul, whose experience with Bravo comes to mind, Richards doubles as a producer on her program.)

The one really ill-conceived part of the show involves its title, since there’s nothing particularly complicated about Richards, the pigs, dogs and cats notwithstanding. She’s traded on her sexuality to become one of those public figures who cavorts with other public figures, and we (or, at least, those of us inclined to watch and read about such fluff) are voyeurs.

It’s not a perfect relationship, granted, but for E!’s purposes, that’ll do, pig.

Denise Richards: It's Complicated

Series; E!, Mon. May 26, 10 p.m.

Production: Produced by Ryan Seacrest Prods. Executive producers, Seacrest, Kevin Lee, Denise Richards; co-executive producers, Eliot Goldberg, Vince Rotonda; supervising producer, Jeff Oliver; director, Melissa Bidwell;

Crew: Camera, Guido Frenzel; music, Pei Pei Chung. 30 MIN.

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