‘Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.,’ mostly misses
The disgraced baseball player appears to live a quite normal life
January 11, 2013
When faded celebrities sign on for a reality show about their wacky lives, viewers have mixed emotions. It would be uncharitable to hope that the subjects will humiliate themselves in a train-wreck show — which is the usual result — but if they turn out to be relatively stable and happy, what’s the fun in that?
The good news for Pete Rose, the disgraced former baseball star, is that his new TLC reality show, “Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.,” portrays him as far more levelheaded and content than might be expected. That, as mentioned above, is bad news for viewers. Rose’s unusual but uneventful personal life offers only flashes of interest, which don’t justify watching the entire 30 minutes.
Premiering next Monday, Jan. 14, at 10 p.m., the series focuses on Rose’s life with his much younger fiancée, a former nude model named Kiana Kim, and her two children, Cassie and Ashton. He tells the cameras that he spends half of his time in Las Vegas, where he signs autographs, and half with Kiana and the kids in their home in Los Angeles.
In the first episode, Pete and Kiana have lunch with her parents, who appear to be first-generation Korean immigrants. Kiana says that her father doesn’t know that she has breast implants. Judging by their size, this seems unlikely.
At the lunch, Pete and Kiana discuss their plans for an engagement party, which Pete’s daughters and Kiana’s sister might not attend. Pete seems to have a cute, playful relationship with Kiana’s mother, who, according to Cassie, is his age.
The engagement party is neither a triumph nor a disaster.
In the second episode, Pete plays surrogate father to his future stepchildren. (We never hear anything about their biological father or fathers.) He takes Ashton, who prefers to spend his time playing videogames, to a baseball camp, and he chaperones a pool party for Cassie, who is about to enter high school.
In both cases, Pete’s efforts are both awkward and a little endearing. At the baseball camp, he subjects the boys to a long, confusing speech. But he manages to inspire Ashton to keep trying when he wants to give up.
At the pool party, he grills Cassie’s male schoolmates on their future ambitions. Both he and Kiana worry that she’s getting too friendly with some of them. Afterwards, he goes to Cassie’s room to talk to her about why she has to be careful around boys.
In the opening minutes of the premiere episode, Rose talks about his lifelong ineligibility to participate in major-league baseball, the result of his gambling on games while he was a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He speaks of his hope that someday he’ll get a “second chance” and might be eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
People who know of Rose’s gambling and who see promos for the show featuring the voluptuous and glamorous Kiana will be surprised at how normal and grounded he seems. If “Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.” is an attempt at an image makeover, it’s a good one.
Of course, for an image makeover to work, people have to see it. Curious fans may check in once and see that Rose is doing well, but they’re unlikely to give the show a second chance.
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