EmptyBy Barry Garron
9-10 p.m., Monday, May 28
Been abused by your ex? Cheated on? Belittled and marginalized? Then pull up a chair because "Ex-Wives Club" is for you, you and you.
ABC kicks off the summer "we-have-to-schedule-this-somewhere" season with a show in which three attractive ex-wives give encouragement and sympathy each week to a man and a woman who, by any account, made terrible choices selecting a mate.
The three ex-wives are extremely well-qualified in this regard. Marla Maples once chose the Donald for her life partner. Angie Everhart was married for a full three months to actor Ashley Hamilton (George's son) who, a couple years earlier, had already shown his commitment to matrimony by being wed to Shannen Doherty for six months. And finally there's Shar Jackson, who wed Kevin Federline before that temptress Britney Spears came along. Nuff said.
In the premiere, they help Rebecca, 30, whose husband called her the B-word on their honeymoon but who nonetheless stuck around for seven more years of abuse. "Rebecca is a mess," says Andrew Glassman, exec producer, in his role as narrator. Adds Everhart sagely: "The last thing you really want to be called on your honeymoon is a bitch."
They also aid Kevin, 35, whose wife confessed her affair only after she became pregnant by his best friend. (I kept looking for Jerry Springer somewhere in the shrubbery, but I couldn't spot him.) "I felt bad for him," Everhart confides to the camera. Kevin, that is.
To get rid of their anger, Rebecca and Kevin enroll in the Debbie Ford Retreat (not to be confused with the Betty Ford Clinic) of Palm Springs. They get makeovers, too, of course.
The highlight is when Rebecca and the ex-wives charter a cargo plane to drop the vintage car that belonged to Rebecca's ex from 10,000 feet in the air. (Presumably, they bought the car from him, but this never is explained.) Anyway, you know this is the highlight because the show devotes seven separate clips to it in addition to a segment nearly seven minutes long that shows the car being demolished. There's even a windshield cam to record grainy images during the descent.
The other highlight is when Everhart confronts Rebecca's ex, Grant, and he concedes on camera that he called her names. There is no similar scene with Kevin's ex, which tells you right then and there Grant was handsomely paid for that car.
"Ex-Wives" is yet another show in which people exchange their emotional pain for fame and prizes, while producers mine their suffering for entertainment. It is no match in that regard for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," but it is slickly produced and, given the frequency with which couples divorce, there could be a built-in audience.
Executive producer: Andrew Glassman
Co-executive producers: Lillian Lim, Grant Julian
Executive in charge of production: John R. Holmes
Supervising producer/supervising editor: Dan Zimmerman
Producers: Robert McLeod, Tim Gaydos
Coordinating producer: Diane Destefano
Director/director of photography: Tony Croll
Production designer: Majken Larsson
Music: Russ Landau
Casting: Bryan Stinson
Narrator: Andrew Glassman