Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is - The Complete Second Season
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rob Fields (27th April 2008).
The Show

I’ll be the first to admit it, I HATE reality shows. My overall opinion of them is...WHO CARES?! I have seen plenty of good (scripted) shows that have been canceled. And for what?! In order to make room for MORE reality shows. Okay, it’s obvious that some of them get the ratings. Some of them feature contests. “American Idol” (2002-Current) and “MTV’s Road Rules” (1994-Current) are two such examples. There are reality shows that have a particular theme. Of course, I’m talking about “Survivor” (2000-Current). Here, people are taken to an Island or some other place and left to their own devices. Each week, one gets voted off, until only one is left. Then there are those that are about life itself such as “MTV’s The Real World” (1982-1985, 1992-Current). Here, you have a group of young adults who occupy a house and have a particular task they must do in the process, such as start a business. Then we have reality shows that are centered around a particular person or persons. I did a review on two such people not too long ago: “MTV’s Rob & Big: Season’s 1 and 2” (2006 and 2007). While I liked this reality show, that’s only ONE in about, what, ten MILLION?! What do people see in these things? Sigh! Still, as it has been noted in the past, sometimes reviewers have no say as to what titles we are presented with to review, they simply show up on our door step. So, the only thing to do here is to make the best of it. The reality show up for review here is about an R & B artist named Keyshia Cole. Unfortunately, I have never heard of this artist, or her music. I guess that shows just how much I’m involved in the music world of this day in age. No, I’m still stuck somewhere between the 70's, the 80's (mostly), and the early 90's. So, when it comes to this reality show, let’s see what we're in for...

“Keyshia Cole – The Way It Is: The Complete Second Season” – Synopsis: Her mother Frankie is coming home...from prison. Her sister Neffe has some serious sibling issues. And for hip-hop superstar Keyshia, that’s just the beginning of the emotion-charged real-life drama in this hit (their words not mine) BET series. Through therapy sessions, heated discussions and tough love, the women work to rid themselves of past demons and strengthen the ties that bind them. The series inspires, motivates and digs deep into the heart and soul of the R & B star who, at the end of the day, just wants the love of her family.

Okay, while I may never watch another season of this reality series (unless presented for review, of course), I can’t totally knock it. As much as I would hate to admit it, there were aspects about it that I liked. To me, this series plays out like a real-life documentary. It’s not along the same lines as something like “Rob & Big”. The principal cast here are not out to have a good time and let us know that they are. No, this is a cross-reference between a daytime drama and a documentary. I think this is what will work in order to get people to at least take a view of it. Of course, I’m sure those who are fans of Cole will probably want to watch it (if they haven’t already). This series actually shows what few people are likely to see when it comes to a celebrity: they’re just as human as the average Joe. They’re no different from anybody else on the planet. They have feelings and want to be loved by their family just as we do. Many of the characters also show their emotions. There certainly are a lot of tears shed.

The downsides? There’s an awful lot of arguing and harsh feelings between Frankie, the mother, and a few of the siblings. Frankie is finding out the hard way that life outside of prison isn’t easy once you’re out. She also has a lot to answer for. And at times she stumbles. Why is this a downside? Because that’s a part of life, unfortunately. I see it all the time. Perhaps this is one among many reasons why I have never really taken to reality shows. Ah, but that’s the reality in ‘reality shows’, huh? But don’t worry, for those reading this, it won’t be a deciding factor in the final grade. Also, when it comes to Frankie, she’s always starting stuff. While she has her good side, her bad side is VERY annoying. Need I say more?

My final word: If you’re a big reality show junkie, then this is one for you. That is, of course, providing you’re into real-life drama. If you’re not into reality shows, or into Cole as a musician, then you can take it or leave it. Is it worth the purchase? Not really. I mean, how long can a reality show last in your collection once it’s purchased? I would say a rental at best.

This disc includes all 6 season 2 episodes that originally aired on the BET channel.

Video

Each episode is presented in full screen format (1.33:1 ratio). There are no chapter selection menus, but each episode has chapter stops (where the commercial breaks were). The picture looks really good. Paramount went the extra mile to make sure the transfer was good. The colors really stand out, including the flesh tones and the shiny objects. There are no noticeable defects of any kind. I’ll admit, I tried looking for any kind of defect, but there are none to be found. It’s this that reemphasizes the point I made about this series being a documentary. Many of the documentaries I’ve seen / reviewed look every bit as good as this. Each episode has a ‘Previously on...’ recap. Even the first episode has one to bring you up to speed from Season 1.

Audio

Each episode is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack. There are no subtitles available whatsoever. It sounds very much like a Dolby 5.1 track, especially when there is a lot of tension going on. Paramount seems to have gone the extra mile on the audio as well.

Extras

Paramount has released this series with extras that include 2 featurettes, deleted scenes, and a bonus trailer. Read further for an explanation of these extras.

The first featurette "Meet Keyshia’s Glam Squad" runs 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Here, you will see Keyshia in a photo shoot. You will see interviews from members of the photo crew. For the most part, it is this group of people who are responsible for making Keyshia look as good as she does.

The second featurette "Frankie Reveals" runs 9 minutes and 15 seconds. Here, you will watch an interview with Keyshia’s mother, Frankie. The interviewer, a male, asks her questions. If you don’t understand them, don’t worry. There are non-removable English subtitles so that you can know what the question is. Frankie gives serious answers to all of the questions provided.

There are 13 minutes and 39 seconds worth of deleted scenes (7 scenes total). Unfortunately, there are no selectable scene options or chapter stops to work with. However, there are headings for each scene. Here are the scenes below:

- "Neffe talking to Keyshia about ex-husband" – Neffe is talking to Keyshia via a cell phone and is emotional.
- "Frankie and Neffe at Neffe’s father’s house" – Neffe talks about a day she and Frankie go to see her father. All is well in the beginning. But there is tension with Frankie.
- "Frankie and Neffe at Neffe’s father’s house 2" – Neffe’s father and Frankie are trying to have peace, but there is still a bit of tension when it comes to family.
- "Additional shots of Neffe and Frankie at Neffe’s father’s house" – Frankie is still the center of tension.
- "Frankie on her old corner" – Frankie returns to the hood to confront her demons.
- "Neffe talks to her ex-husband" – Neffe is on a cell phone talking with her ex-husband. He comes over and they talk face-to-face. She wants to keep their family together, but he isn’t so sure.
- "Keyshia Cole Shopping" – One of her pastimes, and apparent weakness.

A bonus trailer for “How She Move” runs for 2 minutes 24 seconds is the final option. This trailer is also forced before the Main Menu. You can chapter skip it in order to get out of it.

Overall

The Show: B+ Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: B Overall: A-

 


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