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The Governor's Wife: TV Review

The Governor's Wife Cast - H 2013
A&E

The Bottom Line

A&E might want to find their return receipt for this Louisiana purchase.

Airdate

10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 (A&E)

Producers

Leftfield Pictures

The reality show documents the life of colorful Louisiana politician Edwin Edwards and his young wife as they start a new family together.

Don't confuse The Governor's Wife with The Good Wife: Alicia Florrick this is not. The wife in question here is Trina Edwards, the 35-year-old bride of 86-year-old former Governor Edwin Edwards, known to locals as "The King of Louisiana." Edwards had a long and colorful political career that ended with a 10-year jail sentence for bribery, extortion and other charges while in office. Jail, in fact, is where he "met" Trina: first as a prison pen pal, and then later in-person, leading to their marriage (her second, his third). "Everybody in prison was in love with her," Edwards has said. How … romantic?

Moments like how they met and Edwin's earlier life are dismissed quickly or not addressed at all during the first episode of the couples' reality show, which bills itself as "redefining what it means to be a modern family." But after talk of frozen sperm and wicked step-daughters, it seems more like American Horror Story.

Though some of the circumstances of the Edwards' relationship may feel familiar, Trina is no Anna Nicole Smith. She's twice as together but half as interesting. Trina also insists on calling herself the mother of Edwin's children (only of two of whom are acknowledged by the show, though he has others). While it's technically true, it just further highlights the absurdity of the age gap. Anna and Victoria (the latter being, as Trina aptly describes her, "like a fire-breathing dragon") are in their 60s, and while the show tries to play up an antagonism between the women and Trina, it ultimately seems like they don't particularly care one way or another about her.  After all, these two have been through a lot themselves (Anna is a four-time divorcee), and this isn't the first time their father has married a much younger woman. 

The real source of tension though -- and a driving plot in the show -- is Trina's desire to get pregnant (she also has two teenage sons from a previous marriage). Edwin apparently had his sperm frozen over twenty years ago, a fact that Trina was thrilled to learn. Amid references to Edwin's "baby gravy" (it's ok to take a moment to retch), the two also discuss how Edwin is likely to be dead and gone by the time the potential child graduates from high school, which already seems like a particularly miraculous lifespan. Undeterred, Trina presses on.

This, plus an underdeveloped plot about a surprise birthday party that also involves a non-working wireless router, is not anything that is begging to be documented. What's more, though the show seems like an opportunity (as Anna points out) for Trina to rehab her gold-digger image, she's completely overshadowed by the likable Edwin and his idiosyncratic daughters, who make for much more interesting viewing than a Real Housewife of the Bayou, however earnest she may be. "Interesting" is a relative here, though. While Louisianians might feel compelled to tune in just to see what's been going on with Edwards, A&E might want to start looking for their return receipt for this Louisiana purchase.