In tonight’s double-episode premiere of “Don’t Be Tardy…” we get a little closer to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak. The question is whether or not we wanted or needed to do exactly that. While I was never a huge Kim fan, I sometimes found her to be surprisingly sharp-witted, tossing out pithy insights about as often as curse words (okay, maybe there were more curse words. Girl swears a lot).
Certainly there’s enough drama in her life to justify a spin-off. Even though she’s settled down with her football star husband Kroy (the days of Big Poppa long behind her) and walked away from the backstabbing hijinks of “RHoA,” it seems Kim still has plenty to complain about. And complain she does. Endlessly.
The premiere episode starts off with a whine about how she may seem to have it all — the great husband, the adorable kids, the fabulous home — but haters just want to hate. Her mom ruined her wedding, her dream home is a nightmare, and her friends turned on her. It’s a play for sympathy, of course, but it’s hard to feel much for Kim as she stomps around her condo, screaming about how her nanny (one of several) is underfoot and her kids are in her way. When the whole family heads out to go to her youngest daughter Ariana’s birthday party, she actually says, “This is my life every day. I’m gonna kill myself.” Really? Taking your kid to a private party at a trampoline park, spoiling her with a candy-topped cake, gosh, what suffering. The earthquake victims in Haiti still don’t have running water, but dammit, her life is HELL. At moments like this it’s hard to remember that Kim used to be a single mom working long hours as a nurse. Apparently she doesn’t remember so well, either.
Of course, Kim has a lot to think about. She and Kroy are in the process of completing their new house (a foreclosure, she’s quick to point out), and there are the usual obstacles. It’s going to take almost a year! There’s black mold! She wants a custom stair railing for $250,000! Darn it! Life is hard!
So, back to that darn condo. Kim recruits her stylist Shun to aid her in organizing her ridiculous piles of stuff. Shun is appalled by the excess (there’s an entire cabinet of just sweatpants), but Kim is unrepentant. She likes to shop! She needs room for her 60 wigs! Jeez, people! Do you not understand her suffering? Yeah, I don’t, but if you do, let me know.
There are moments when the likable, funny Kim peeps out, sort of like a groundhog seeing its shadow before heading back underground. Kim discovers that the make-up she special orders is sold at a Halloween store (at first she and the family think it’s clown make-up, then discover it’s for the stage). Kim doesn’t seem terribly upset to think she’s wearing clown make-up, and it’s nice to remember that sometimes she has a sense of humor about herself, even if it seems to be melting away like cheap foundation in high humidity.
Eventually, the show bumps across an actual problem. Imagine that! Kim’s mom has threatened to write a tell-all book portraying Kim as a former stripper (an accusation Kim vehemently denies), plus she sues for visitation with Kim’s daughters Ariana and Brielle. Of course, this is the kind of juicy item TMZ loves, and soon Kim has to tell her kids that grandma is not a happy camper before they see it online for themselves.
The girls seem unnerved, but don’t seem to entirely grasp the seriousness of the situation. Brielle is worried about her friends finding out and wants to know if she’s going to have to, like, see her grandparents every weekend, because she has, like, stuff to do. Both girls don’t understand why Grandma just doesn’t come over and say hello. Kim has no answer, and to her credit, she keeps her unleashed fury bottled until a visit to her lawyer’s office. Of course, given that the kids aren’t legally deaf and blind and can theoretically watch television, I’m not sure tiptoeing around them really counts for much.
Finally, we see scenes from the season to come — Kim wants to plan a big surprise for her anniversary with Kroy, she and Kroy fight, Brielle feels neglected, Kim plays football. It looks like lots of drama with very little self-awareness. Good for Kim that she has it all, or thinks she does. Too bad she doesn’t understand that bitching about it doesn’t make us feel sorry for her.
Did you like “Don’t Be Tardy…”? Do you like Kim, or did you?