TV Review: ‘Leah Remini: It’s All Relative’

Leah Remini Its All Relative TV

Seemingly terrified to actually be about something, “Leah Remini: It’s All Relative” starts with a potentially interesting concept the actress having broken with the Church of Scientology  and throws it away for just another celebrity-sitcom-on-the-cheap, casting her extended family in supporting roles. The former “King of Queens” star dutifully mugs for the camera  even if that involved doing ordinary things, like making dinner, in heavy makeup  but ultimately settles for banality at every turn. Granted, that’s probably in TLC’s comfort zone, but given its past sojourns with the Amish and polygamists, the network seems to have squandered an opportunity.

The series is introduced with back-to-back episodes, the first of which finds Remini planning a party, dragging her family  including husband Angelo and young daughter Sofia  into the uncomfortable direct-to-camera interviews.

“We’re pretty loud, annoying, judgmental. But we do love each other,” she says, sounding a lot like, well, pretty much every other celeb-reality-com on TV.

Except the party is intended to celebrate those who have stayed close to her after she broke with Scientology, an act that elicits shunning from members of the church in good standing. And while Remini briefly discusses the jarring experience of having people abruptly cut her off, that’s all dispatched in a few minutes, the better to get back to a sitcom “B” plot about Angelo wanting to discard some of the stuff that Leah hoards.

Subsequent episodes continue strictly in that vein, with Leah’s mom, Vicki, providing a regular butt for her daughter’s jokes, in setup situations like Vicki demanding they stage a mock funeral for her now, so she can get a taste of what people will say about her when she’s gone. Plus, there are stock exchanges like this one, in the second episode, which Leah opens by turning to her sister and saying, “Can we talk about your boobs for a second?”

Um, seriously, can we not?

Remini is refreshing in one modest respect  she refuses to ignore the camera crews, occasionally addressing them  but she’s so self-conscious about feeding the producers sitcom reactions that the show feels even more stilted than most. There’s also no way around the fact this project feels like another one of those the-phone’s-stopped-ringing exercises, building a sitcom in a way that trades off an actor’s profile and employs the whole clan, in addition to simultaneously promoting the family restaurant.

“It’s All Relative” is produced by Gurney Prods.  the company behind “Duck Dynasty”  which has clearly mastered the edited-sitcom format. Given the show’s modest appeal and general lack of pretensions, it certainly doesn’t deserve to be shunned; ignored, however, is another matter.

TV Review: 'Leah Remini: It's All Relative'

(Series; TLC, Thur. July 10, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Gurney Prods. in association with No Seriously Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Deirdre Gurney, Scott Gurney, Mike Odair, Leah Remini, Gabriela Tavakoli. 30 MIN.

Cast

With: Leah Remini.b

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 57

Leave a Reply

57 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. L.G. says:

    Started watching this show because I was so deeply impressed by Remini’s series on Scientology. She’s an extraordinary person but have to agree with the writer of this review, the reality series just seems canned and insincere given what she’s been through. Give us more! The constant full makeup, the tedious situations. She seems like she’s got a very nice mother but please, too much! That said, wishing the best for this family. Remini could really do something amazing with this series and connect with a much greater audience by unvarnishing the program.

  2. Brenda says:

    Such a great show, I laugh so hard watching it. I can not miss it, if for some reason I can’t watch it is set to record..

  3. Heather says:

    Love seeing Leah back on tv and very happy for her and her family getting away from those psychotic freaks Scientologists.

    I wish the best to her and her family.

    Ugh. Just no more Chelsea Handler on her show. Such a waste of space.

    Leah seems too smart and decent to hang round Chelsea Handler types. Most people are.

  4. Holly says:

    You shouldn’t be allowed to review anything. What a typical negative viewpoint you see from. The show is cute and very funny. Who cares how scripted and unreal it is; it is entertaining and that is what tv is supposed to be!

  5. What does my name matter? says:

    Good for her breaking from the blood sucking Church of Scientology, for that alone I will watch this show. They aren’t a true God focused church and will ultimately come tumbling down in the future. I like the series, it is real. I am not crazy about her mom (sorry), she may be a good mom but not much of a TV person. I applaud her moving on and grasping real life.

  6. Geraldine Currie says:

    I new who Leah was but never watched any shows she was in. I tuned in and you had me with the opening musical number. I love everything about your family and non blood family members. I watch it with my granddaughter bcs we both have questionable humour. Thanks for the weekly laugh.

  7. carol p says:

    I really enjoy the show -makes me laugh

  8. Rita Mooney says:

    I really like Leah and she is funny but this reality show is not funny at all. I have deleted it from my DVR.
    Bad directing and writing?

  9. donna says:

    Don’t know what ppl are complaining about. I wait for this show every week – I think it’s awesome. So happy they got picked up for a second season! Love ya Vicki; you make me pee my pants!

  10. cathy says:

    I really enjoyed last season, was extremely happy to hear their was another season. As soon as I found out I let a lot of friends and family know, what a mistake that was. Why didn’t you just stay with what you were doing last season? Their seems to be a lot of “cursing” even though, it bleeps out. An nasty,dirty “jokes”, I guess some people find that funny. As most people would say “why fix something that’s not broke”.

    Again, Loved your last season.
    May you and yours be blessed

  11. vklamm says:

    Can’t stand it, no enjoyment here……..

  12. Margaret says:

    This show is painful to watch, I couldn’t even make it through 1 episode………..

  13. Tony C says:

    This show stinks. Leah needs to accept the fact that her career is over. What a loser.

  14. Verbena K says:

    I like Leah Remini and was looking forward to her reality show. I liked her on DWTS and thought that was what we were going to get. I was terribly disappointed. It is truly “banal” as Brian states. And is she really such a smartass in real life?

  15. Angie says:

    This show is so dumb! I can’t stand it. I liked TLC for having shows about real people and families. I don’t want to see another celebrity reality show. I don’t find this show interesting or funny at all. I like most of the TLC shows, but this one is boring. Zzzzzz.

  16. I love this show! Excellent, light-hearted loving family! There were times I was laughing until I cried! I get the sarcastic sense of humor though…that is the same as mine! I hope this show continues on for sometime! Bravo to TLC for giving her a shot when most of Hollyweird seems to be shunning her!!

  17. David Kahoun says:

    I’ve watched every episode so far. It’s not great. It is very very scripted and Leah is always made up with those stupid smokey eyes. Another thing I noticed was they all wear scarves. I was noticing it and then Angelo gets out of the car and has a huge scarf on that didn’t match anything he was wearing. What the heck is up with the scarves? I can’t imagine this dumb show lasting very long, but there is just something about it that I can’t quit watching.

  18. Paula Massey says:

    Can’t stand it. Awful show. Just another stale reality show. Waste of time. Yuck!!

  19. jandabear says:

    FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY, we need more of that family get together kind of humor. Some families are truly like that. I should know I am in one. Good for you Leah! Keep us laughing girl!

  20. Dave says:

    Why does these networks work with people who have mental issues? This women doesn’t know right from wrong, people think the show is funny but it showing a person that really has a need for medical evaluation?

  21. marg says:

    I love this show. Funny and entertaining. I smile and laugh all throughout the show. More please, I cant get enough.

  22. guest says:

    Just watched one of the episodes. They need to take some money from the budget and hire a continuity supervisor. Her lipstick shade changed from neutral to bright pink back to neutral so may times it made me dizzy. Clearly she wanted to shoot the scenes with different lipstick shades but please make SOME effort to match up shots…..

  23. Olivia says:

    I love the show! Although, I don’t like her making comments about tampons bla bla.. You don’t need to do that Leah, too classy. The show is fun & as much as it’s clearly scripted, I still think it’s real bottom line!~ I hope it gets picked up. Not even remotely close to Kathy PIG Griffin!~ Love the mother, George, etc.. My mother actually loves it (she’s 85 & watches NO reality!)

  24. Edna Rivas says:

    Don’t know what you’re talking about . . . I think it’s a great, realistically funny. Mom steals the show!

  25. Margaret dunek says:

    It’s all relative is cute. So is Leah rememi. Give her a chance. Your cruel.

  26. Ann Fener says:

    Love the honesty of the show…Leah and family seem like genuine, real people. Being from Brooklyn, I truly get the whole family esp Leah. I am available for adoption. This looks alike a fun group that I would like spending time with !!! Will go to the cafe for breakfast the next time we are in LA. Her mom and I are contemporaries, so I’m a senior, too.

  27. Abby Sromek says:

    I love Leah’s sarcastic dry humor. I hope the show is renewed for 2nd season :)

  28. Ruth Morrow says:

    OMG this show is the best reality show since the Osbornes. That family must have some fun times together. I would love to know if Leah’s Mom really got that tattoo. I sat and watched each episodes cracking up. I get their sense of humor and anyone that doesn’t, well then I feel sorry for them. I am Irish born and raised and living in US now and their humor reminds me of Irish family humor, having a good laugh with the family and no one getting uptight or taking it serious. Would love to spend a day with Leah’s mom as she is a crack up. Kudos to the whole family and hope we get to see many more episodes. Would love to see Leah have her own talk show. She would be amazing and it would be a huge hit. I didn’t realize she was on the talk, maybe Oprah network should scoop her up. Thanks for the laughs Leah and family.

  29. Michelle Roberts says:

    Like most I have watched Leah since King of Queens, she was the best on the Talk I was disappointed when she was gone, I did stop watching. I like this new show, I was so excited to hear Leah was going to be back on TV. I will watch anything she is in, I watch it with my parents who are retired and I am 45 and we all laugh together! I do Love Leah being back and it’s nice to see her interaction with her family. I hope it gets renewed already! Love ya Leah,

  30. maria says:

    I just love Leahs family. Ive been a fan since she was on King of queens’ shes funny and shes got a lovely fam. Look forward to next weeks show. Maria in south Tx.

  31. I’m finding it pretty funny so far; however, I’m starting to find everyone’s ‘being funny’ is a bit off-putting, especially after they talked about the COS shunning, etc. Now, can we please have an important, serious talk about this and stop the dry toast humour at every turn? The characters are interesting (Leah being the most) and we want to see more of them, but without them being funny. They’re not good at it.. except in their natural state. Leah may be an exception. So now, whenever we see something serious, I find myself all tensed up from the whole ‘insert humour’ thing. Can they just be real for a sec? Can we just hear about their night, or the COS situation? Leah’s mom seems ultra-intelligent, yet I’m waiting for her take on Scientology, and how a Jewish woman got there. I think the show has potential to be great. It just has to be naturally funny, not scripted for the camera. and it has to tell their story.Painfully seeking humour at every turn is getting distracting and kind of work. It makes me want to read their story, because it’s a lot quicker than watching the show, and doesn’t keep leaving and leaving and leaving the part where they talk about it. Leah, I find, is brilliant and intensely funny, and an absolutely lovely, kind person. I want this show to succeed and I want to love it. For eg.. get over the swing set issue. she’s rich! She bought the home! She gets to keep it. But jaisus, the whole bribing the kid thing isn’t working. And Sophia is being made to act like a brat, and I like to hope she’s nicer. She seems cute and funny on her own when not scripted.

  32. Sandra Guerra says:

    Absolutely fun hilarious…. & deeply emotionall beautiful family TV show loved all of the cast!!!

  33. Leslie says:

    This is a great show!!! I have always been a huge Leah fan. She is so freaking funny.

  34. Shayne says:

    I actually thought it was pretty funny.

  35. Kit says:

    As a fan of Remini’s, I was happy to see her return to TV. This show was just terrible though. Made it through the first episode and 10 minutes into the second. It’s boring and unwatchable, I’m done. Her mother is so annoying too. I just can’t.

    • in king of queens, the final show, did doug & kerri split up for good? just curious!
      leah, seriously you need to think about your career. exposing your personal life is NOT the way to do it. think more about doing walk-ons , on other hit shows. keep your tv personna and see what happens.

      • David Kahoun says:

        Doug and Carrie got back together at the end. It flashed forward a year after they had adopted an asian child and then had one naturally. Arthur (Carrie’s father) gets married but in the flash forward moves back in saying it didn’t work out.

    • jessica says:

      ow is so boring. Leah Remini is a loud mouth idiot who has no talent, than that bit she had on King of Queens. Her mother is another idiot – the old bag is getting a tattoo, what a nut case.
      That show will not last long – mark my words. Watched for a bit, boring changed the channel. Will not
      Be watching that stupid show. Again.

      Your’s

  36. William Kilmartin says:

    I’m not sure any reality show is about anything. Being Reality, it’s just about someone’s life so the article seems to be Brian writing for the sake of it as opposed to any useful or meaningful critique. That being said, I assume all reality is going to be meaningless entertainment.

    There’s some talk of it being scripted–not true. Granted, there are scenarios that have been put in place but that’s for the sake of the crew’s time. The scenarios would have taken place one way or the other, sooner than later–with or without the show.

    • SKW says:

      I’ve never understood comments like yours. Do you have to love something to express an opinion about it? Are you that ill-equipped to handle an opposing view in a comments section? (Rhetorical questions, of course.)

  37. Sherri says:

    Couldn’t get passed 10 minutes of this, had to change it to something entertaining. BORING !!!!!!

  38. Jane says:

    Love it!!! Funny and my kind of family.

  39. carol says:

    Boring and WAY too scripted.

  40. Paula says:

    Love, love this family! I can’t wait to see more. Yes, perhaps scripted at times, but still the chemistry between these people is great. Go Leah!

  41. Julie says:

    Loved it!! Super funny show!!! Leah’s mom is hilarious, they all seem very real and seem to be a great family. So glad Leah is back on TV. We will watch again, for sure :)

  42. Amy says:

    I will give it another try. I do like Leah and her husband seems like a really fun guy. I wish she would wear half the make-up that she does! It just makes it soooo staged. She needs to let her guard down and let the audience in to her real life not another scripted reality show- or it won’t last!

  43. Drew says:

    I really like Leah and her family seems nice, but this show is too staged. The couch scenes where they “relate” about what’s going on or banter on about nothing is kind of insulting to viewer intelligence. We can figure it out by ourselves. The worst part is the musical interludes…..happy music, sad music, uh-oh music. Come on now, this isn’t The Donna Reed Show.

    The daughter is cute, the nanny seems funny, the mom laughs too much, and I’m still wondering if the husband is really singing in the beginning. Oh well, I hope they can make it work with a few tweaks.

  44. I loved the show and thought the family very likable and funny. I am glad to see Leah back on T.V.!

  45. jean says:

    I turned it off after 5 minutes. Leah should just rest on her laurels. This show won’t last one season.

  46. Lori Sitzer says:

    Love love love the show.!!!!!!

  47. Jim says:

    Just watched it. Total crap, and I like Leah.

  48. Stacy says:

    The bit in the promos where her daughter says “Whatever helps you sleep at night,” and then Leah makes this classic sitcom overreaction face told me all I needed to know about this show. Trying way too hard.

  49. Sissy Stevens says:

    This article sounds like someone wrote it while tripping on LSD. I have no idea at the end exactly what all the words are supposed to mean.

  50. Sindy says:

    I hear ya. The woman is so talented. Why, oh why can they not just use that talent to its full potential (which is a lot).

More TV News from Variety

Loading