If, “I grew up the diabetic son of a blue-collar family,” isn’t the best first line of an autobiographical narrative ever, I don’t know what is.
Welcome to Bret Michaels‘ home! There are lots of things here! And by “things,” I mean “sexy pictures of his on again/off again girlfriend Kristi Gibson”:
Obviously right from the start, we’re seeing her as Bret does. And who says reality TV has no capacity for empathy?
Bret says that Kristi is a “beautiful, smart, strong, fantastic woman.” She is the mother of his two children, Raine and Jorja, and has been with Bret since 1993. She explains that their on again/off again status just switched to off during Rock of Love. Let’s hope for her sanity’s sake, her TV was also switched to off during that time.
Bret talks about the past few years of his life. He says that when you throw your personal life into everyone’s living room, as he did via Rock of Love, it explodes. The accompanying illustrative archival footage obviously isn’t the half of it.
He says his infamous spill at the 2009 Tonys taught him that he needed “a little more balance” in his life. Indeed, falling in front of an audience of millions and ending up with two black eyes will do that.
Anyway, all this is setting up Bret’s search for more stability at home with Kristi. We’re told that we’re watching the start of his effort to turn over a new leaf. If I’ve learned anything in the past five years, it’s that TV is so the place for such an endeavor!
Bret surprises his family by arriving home earlier than expected. Kristi awakes to find him sleeping on the couch.
We’re introduced to Jorja, Bret’s youngest daughter who is full of gas and charisma. As they make breakfast…
…she farts but pretends that it was Bret. Bret is unwilling to accept the blame. There are some things you just don’t do, not even for blood, I guess. Jorja, however, is unwilling to relent in this matter, and when Bret walks away…
…she totally throws him under the bus. Obviously by now, though, he’s used to that on account of his stint on The Celebrity Apprentice.
Bret takes his older, quieter, soulful daughter Raine to the bus stop via golf cart (Jorja goes along for the ride because she loves the camera as much as it loves her)…
Bret lives on “rocker time” (another point brought up on The Celebrity Apprentice), and so Kristi makes sure he gets an early start on dropping his daughter off. It turns out to be to the tune of 30 minutes too early, to Bret’s annoyance. Whatever, though — you can’t fault someone for overcompensating for your chronic lateness. Either learn to wind your rocker watch or face the consequences.
With Raine gone, Bret spends some one-on-one time with Jorja. She calls him “boring” to his great offense. Jorja is a fantastic comic foil to a rocker’s ego.
During the course of their play date, Jorja farts and curses repeatedly. She’s basically a truck driver in a princess castle. Also, she may be the most compelling character ever introduced on VH1. Really, the only thing holding this program back from being The Jorja Show is its name.
When Raine is home, Kristi says that she’s going out for the day, leaving Bret to take care of his daughters.
That sounds like an invention of a child’s wild imagination, but it isn’t.
Is your adrenalin rushing yet? Bret takes Jorja and Raine to a go-kart/outdoor activities kind of place where he takes slightly awkward pictures with various fans.
Jorja loads up on cotton candy…
Gotta keep that energy up somehow, you know?
Meanwhile, Kristi meets a friend for lunch and she runs through her situation with Bret. She was excited to see him to the point of wanting to “hop on him right there” when she found him sleeping on the couch. She interviews that he’s been a “really, really good dad,” but she wants him to be a good boyfriend, as well. That’s reasonable! She tells her friend that she hopes that Rock of Love is in the past. I feel her pain and understand why she thinks that, but the prospect of no more Rock of Love ever has me feeling my own brand of pain. Whatever, I’ll get over it (one day).
Kristi tells her friend that she has “lots of boyfriends” for when Bret’s not around. She adds that these boyfriends are in her closet. Before you get the wrong idea and think that Kristi’s keeping a harem of gay dudes around because she’s somehow into that, she elaborates: she’s talking about sex toys in different sizes and colors. She laments all the batteries she goes through. Yet another extremely modern dilemma played out on reality TV.
On the way home from their outing, Raine and Jorja sit quietly in the backseat. They really do seem like ideal children. Perhaps raising hell skips a generation? Jorja dozes and her head falls forward. Raine reaches over and holds her sister’s head up…
Has the responsibility of the firstborn ever been more adorably or succinctly illustrated?
At home, Raine calls on Bret’s help for a school assignment: she has to write about her father’s job. “He’s a music dude,” starts Bret. “He’s a musician,” translates Raine. I get the feeling she has to do that a lot.
One of the questions on Raine’s form asks about her dad’s worst day on the job. Bret mentions passing out from insulin shock at Madison Square Garden and when he broke his hand punching the bus “instead of one of the roadies.” Ah, but ’twas a noble break. Raine talks about the time Bret had diarrhea and had to run offstage to poop in a bucket after every song. Bret is mortified.
He denies ever pooping in a bucket, but I tend to believe Raine. Call me crazy. Really what I’m gathering from this show is that kids don’t just keep you humble, they humiliate you. The ones who are embarrassed by their parents have no idea how much worse it is on the other side.
Raine also proposes the Tonys fall as Bret’s worst day on the job, complete with a dramatic reenactment…
These kids are allowed to make fun of Bret to his face and often. I’ve never been more jealous of toddlers and tweens.
Kristi is determined to talk to Bret about their status. He says the kids are “like, doin’ dress-up or somethin'” and so it would seem to be the perfect time. However, Bret makes his way to the couch where he falls asleep. Foiled again!
Bret soon gets word that he has to leave early for appearances. Everyone is upset about this and it means that Kristi won’t be able to talk to him at dinner, as she had planned. She catches him as he’s preparing to go.
Bret gets what Kristi wants to a point — she’s asking him to be a better boyfriend “but in my crazy mind, that means I need to be home more,” Bret explains, and obviously, his career isn’t allowing for that. This conversation is left up in the air with Bret saying, “I know what you want.” Well, at least you can say that he isn’t ignorant!
Tearful goodbyes abound…
It’s sad for real! Jorja copes with absence through art…
…and also, costume…
Kristi notes that having Jorja is like having a mini-Bret at home. A mini-Bret with cat whiskers, that is.
Meanwhile, we’re reminded what Bret faces on the road…
…thus, it seems downright heroic when he returns home early to his family’s elation.
“You ready to rock?” he asks Jorja. “Yeah,” she says flatly. Obviously, this story will continue in the fall when Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It comes back as a full series. Here’s hoping that Jorja of Ew, Yucky, Gross! isn’t very far behind it.