You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

With: Leah Remini.b

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

More TV

  • Abby McEnany as Abby in WORK

    TV Review: Showtime's 'Work in Progress'

    There’s never a second that Abby (co-creator Abby McEnany) is unaware of all the things that make her different from the characters we’re used to seeing on TV, let alone those that typically get to anchor their own shows. She’s a butch “queer fat dyke” (her words) with OCD whose deep insecurity about all the [...]

  • Snooki Jersey Shore

    Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi Says She's 'Retiring' From 'Jersey Shore'

    The fist-pumping and GTL days are over. Nicole Polizzi — aka Snooki — says she’s retiring from “Jersey Shore.” “I am retiring from ‘Jersey Shore,'” Snooki said on Friday’s episode of her iHeartRadio podcast, “It’s Happening With Snooki & Joey.” “I am not coming back for ‘Jersey Shore’ Season 4, if there is one. The [...]

  • Showtime Lakers book cover

    1980s Los Angeles Lakers Drama Scores Series Order at HBO

    HBO has given out a series order to the untitled one-hour drama about the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. The project had originally been ordered to pilot at the premium cabler back in April. The show is described as chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ [...]

  • Comedy Central Refinery29

    Comedy Central and Refinery29 Team for Two All-Female Digital Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Comedy Central and Refinery29 have signed a digital content partnership to produce two comedy series featuring an all-female lineup of comedians, Variety has learned exclusively. Slated to premiere spring 2020, the series will be co-branded and distributed on both Comedy Central and Refinery29’s digital platforms. While neither series is being eyed for a linear run at present, [...]

  • Keli LeeStep Up Women Network 9th

    Keli Lee Exits ABC Studios International as Disney Considers Division's Fate (EXCLUSIVE)

    ABC veteran Keli Lee has left the international arm of ABC Studios as Disney considers the future of the London-based content unit, Variety has learned. Sources said Disney has told the creative community that there “has been a re-evaluation of ABC Studios International” and that it is re-assessing “the creative direction” of the business. There [...]

  • Biggest Scandals Feuds and Apologies of

    Biggest Scandals, Feuds and Apologies of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the biggest scandals, feuds and apologies of 2019: College Admissions Scandal Wealthy parents including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged with bribing school officials to get their unqualified kids into prestigious universities. Shane Gillis Executives at “SNL” hired, then fired, Gillis in September, before the new season started, [...]

  • Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    From 'Catch & Kill' to Shepard Smith: The Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the most memorable media events of 2019: ‘Catch & Kill’ Reopens Wounds at NBC News Ronan Farrow’s book relitigates his complaints that NBC News tried to tamp down his investigation of harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NBC News denies the claim. The book contains new allegations against [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content