Hey Paula debuts tonight on Bravo

The new docudrama series that follows Paula Abdul in her day-to-day life debuts tonight on Bravo at 10 p.m. ET, with two back-to-back episodes. Hey Paula is a half-hour show, which is a change from Bravo’s typically hour-long docudramas, and seven episodes will air.

The show promises “an unfiltered, real-life look at the “American Idol” judge, entrepreneur, choreographer and multi-platinum artist, giving insight and context to Abdul’s much-reported on professional and personal life.”

While it delivers on that promise, the first episode, which was sent to critics, is quite unpleasant and at times verging on boring. The season preview promises to include Paula’s televised breakdown earlier this year, but the first episode mostly features Paula being an annoying diva to her personality-less entourage. She gets mad at them for things like bringing the wrong color tennis shoes for a flight, because she apparently can’t pack her own suitcase. That’s insightful, but not exactly humanizing.

Occasionally, she’s genuinely funny–why can’t she be that way on American Idol?–or emotionally vulnerable, but the first 22 minutes move too quickly to really develop any sympathy for her, especially when she’s being obnoxious and demanding. At least Kathy Griffin is hysterical when she’s (pretending to be) obnoxious and demanding.

Other critics seem to agree: The Washington Post’s writes that the “world as depicted in ‘Hey Paula’ is a rather dull place,” while The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard calls the series “another public relations blunder in a year that has not been kind to her.” And The New York Daily News’ David Bianculli says “a deeper look into her daily life doesn’t make her more interesting, or more relatable.”

Hey Paula [Bravo]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.