'CeeLo Green's The Good Life': TV Review
10:30 p.m. Monday, June 23 (TBS)
Emerald TV, Rogue Atlas
The eccentric performer has reunited with the Goodie Mob for a series that promotes their comeback album, while showing off Green's wealth and success.
"Now that I'm on top of the world, we can do whatever we want," the multi-faceted entertainer CeeLo Green says in the opening credits for his TBS reality show CeeLo Green's The Good Life. It's more like The Good(ie Mob) Life, since Green is flanked by his childhood friends and Goodie Mob rap collective compatriots Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo. In 2013, the reunited group released Age Against the Machine, a critically appreciated but commercially obscure album. The Good Life seems like Green's attempts to raise their profile and bring this branch of the Dungeon Family back into the spotlight—and not just via his coattails.
TBS ordered six episodes of the half-hour series, which finds the Mob jetting from Los Angeles to their hometown of Atlanta, to Vegas and other destinations, usually to promote Green (his latest book, a forthcoming solo album, his work on The Voice), which his friends handle with weary acceptance.
More than anything, The Good Life feels like the late HBO series Entourage, with Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo filling in the Johnny Drama, E and Turtle positions around Green's Vincent Chase. (Manager Larry is not quite up to being Ari Gold, but his attention and fondness for Green and his friends feels right. Hug it out). The series' first three episodes, though, are dragged down by too many forced or set-up scenarios that are stilted, like auditioning attractive women for a limo service, having Green coached by a Little Leaguer for his Dodgers' opening pitch, an "impromptu" comedy routine at a club, and driving the Vegas strip in a rented Ferrari (at least two of these were almost certainly plots from Entourage).
Though Green and his friends have a natural way of interacting—after all, they've been friends for over 20 years—the overly-prompted feel of the program saps any real energy, genuine feelings or conversations from the proceedings. The Good Life shows off a well-funded (and occasionally misogynistic) life: glossy private jets, horsing around by the pool at mansions on both coasts, women being treated like ornaments or objects to be put into lingerie and paraded around for amusement, attending VIP events. But it's all glitz and no substance. Though Green often drops comments about his hard upbringing on the streets of Atlanta, his greatest struggle now is against Larry regarding his "L.A. diet," which has Green secretly binging on potato chips and pork chops when Larry isn't looking. In fact, the show is lot like the nutrient-empty snacks Green loves to consume.
In this way, The Good Life is just the latest in a long line of series about stars who spend their days pottering around their giant houses, cultivating eccentricities and imaginary problems in between promotional tours of their latest work. And as much as The Good Life may do to raise the profiles again of Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo though (who are fun to watch), it's not as positive for Green, who comes off as whiny and self-absorbed, despite his generosity towards his friends.
TBS has been diversifying its content in a number of ways in recent years, from offering second chances to shows like Cougar Town and talents like Conan O'Brien, to ordering some refreshingly different competition series like King of the Nerds and Marlon Wayans' recent Funniest Wins. So far, the move into biographical documentaries may not be TBS' greatest idea. Green said that thanks to his success, he and Goodie Mob can now do whatever they want. Green and TBS, though, could have done better.
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