MTV’s cameras follow a veteran music star and his family through their opulent home and about town. Sound familiar? Well, meet the anti-Osbournes.
“Run’s House” traces the not nearly as wacky adventures of Run-D.M.C.’s Reverend Run, wife Justine and a brood of five kids, ages 9-21. But unlike the irresistible dopiness that made “The Osbournes” so instantly appealing, the premiere of this series plays out more like a modern “Cosby Show” with its lesson of positive reinforcement from proud parents.
It’s quite accurate that MTV is billing this half-hour as the first hip-hop reality sitcom. There’s a hip-hop flava, it is TV-style faux reality, and situations drive the action. In Episode 1, it’s the second-oldest child graduating from the High School of Fashion Industries as a straight-A student and planning a party.
Vanessa, the 18-year-old grad, suggests a bash with 200 people, a glass dance floor over the pool and “really cool” gift bags with iPods. Her older sister is incredulous. “IPods?” she says. “IPods?!” To which Vanessa replies, “Maybe just the Shuffles.”
Whether that richer-than-thou humor was unintentional or entirely planned is debatable, but it is the funniest line in a less-than-sidesplitting premiere. Meanwhile, the show feels as scripted as a sitcom. Scenes are perfectly blocked so that each character in a room is on camera, and their body language gives away the fact that they were posed. There’s even some waterworks on cue.
Wearing his priestly collar, Rev Run has some Heathcliff Huxtable qualities, including a teddy bear persona and a tendency to fret over extravagant expenses. But he’s hardly a charismatic leading man, spouting slogans of positivity like “Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker.” That said, it’s tough to see this clicking with Generation Bling.