TV Junkie Interview: Joan and Melissa Rivers
Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa have a reality show series that premiered last week on WeTV: "Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best" on Tuesdays at 9pm. The mother-daughter duo have returned to the scene in a big way over the past year with the release of the excellent documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work that we saw in the theater as well as on Showtime last week (it's out on DVD/Blu-ray now as well and we suggest you give it a viewing). That movie provides a huge amount of insight into how Joan Rivers' career began and her many trials and tribulations over the past 40+ years. The movie also gave us the beginnings of what you will see in their reality series on WeTV: unscripted, informal, real interactions between a mother and daughter that have been working as a team on television over a decade and a half.
For all the complaints we've been seeing about how bad red carpet interviews have been so far this awards season, it's a testament to how good this team has been and how their absence has been felt. The duo started up again last Fall with E!'s "Fashion Police" which we watch religiously even though we couldn't care less about fashion. Their reality show was shot when Joan moved from New York to Los Angeles to begin working on the weekly "Fashion Police" and chose to live with Melissa while looking for her own place. The Rivers tell us that unlike most of the "reality" shows out there, "Joan & Melissa" is completely real, nothing scripted or set up by producers, etc. Just their real relationship and how they work.
It was fun to speak to them both via conference call as they finished each other's sentences and laughed about some of the situations that they were in during the time that this show was filmed. They also provided me with some insight on how they make their relationship work (therapy) and I forced them to think back to the early 1970s when Joan Rivers provided her voice for some kids programming. I was happy to survive a Rivers tag-team but am not sure that I would be able to do it in person [stylists with time and clothes to donate, please contact me]. There are many reasons why this is one of the few reality shows I'd ever recommend checking out: I love what they do on "Fashion Police," I think that they have a great history of working together, and then there's the incredible persona that is Joan Rivers with a work history that no female comic, and only a handful of male comics can measure up to - I really want to see how somebody who is so funny starts out her day and how a daughter, who has had to put up with such a funny person, deals with Mom in her kitchen.