Picture a cross between The Beverly Hillbillies and Jerry Spitzer and you have a good idea of what to expect from Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, the highest rated series on the BET Network. The popular reality show offers viewers an unblinking look inside the dysfunctional family life of Keyshia Cole, the Grammy-nominated R&B diva who burst on the scene in 2005 with her platinum-selling debut album, also entitled The Way It Is.
There's a reason why this TV program is #1 with viewers, namely, it appeals to an even lower common denominator than I Love New York and The Flavor of Love combined. The only reason to watch this jaw-dropping train wreck is if you enjoy laughing at trashy nouveau riche putting on airs while making absolute fools of themselves.
Keyshia's kin are so impulsive, ignorant and self-destructive that giving them their 15 minutes of fame in this fashion borders on a cruel form of exploitation. First, there's family matriarch, Frankie, a toothless, reformed crack whore and recently-paroled ex-con with seven children by lots of different men. (’We don't like none of her Baby Daddies.’) She has no idea whether Ken, a stranger claiming to be Keyshia's father, is telling the truth, so she asks him to take a DNA test.
Then there's sister Neffe, an alcoholic with three young daughters. She's married, technically, but her hubby left her for her first cousin a year ago. At the start of the series' second season, Keyshia essentially rescues her relatives by relocating them away from their toxic environment in Oakland to a sprawling mansion in suburban Atlanta.
But bad habits die hard, despite unequivocal house rules, such as ’no conjugal visits.’ So, it is no surprise when Neffe somehow ends up pregnant again. Too bad kindhearted Keyshia can't bring herself to listen to her financial advisor who suggests that she worry about herself and forget about everyone else.