By Lynsey Mukomel
We open with Angie sitting the family down and reminding them they’re “not doing it right”. The conversation turns to discussing the reality they may have to return to their hometown, and it’s obvious everyone is feeling pretty defeated. Angie’s harsh mothering struck me a bit, and I think her selfish priorities are starting to overlap with responsible decisions that would be best for the family. Let me put it like this: in elementary school I had a solo in a musical, but my mom didn’t run around telling everyone I’m the next big pop star because she’s a realistic person.
The family then attends an event with some social media stars. Given much of their popularity stems from the amount of followers they can stir up, it was a good networking opportunity, which they took full advantage of. The cherry on top was Angie’s comparison between fame and the medical field because it’s just “like being a doctor”. Apparently diagnosing serious medical conditions is just as stressful as being popular on Instagram.
Taliah and Mike are tipped off that comedian Kevin Hart would be at a popular L.A. connection, and they recruit Grandma Lina to make contact by pretending to be his fourth cousin. Aside from some very awkward conversations with other celebrities that were in the area while they waited around for Hart, Mike actually had a quick exchange with him. It showed he’s becoming more comfortable approaching strangers and attempting to gain recognition.
Progress On The Talent Front
Maariyah then gets an opportunity to show off her singing ability. Angie was able to set up a meeting with Clarence Jey – the producer of the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black – to make an impression. That song creeped back into your head now, didn’t it? Her voice cracked a tad, but after trying a couple more times she was able to hit the notes Clarence asked her to sing. Clarence was talking things over with his partner about her potential when they point out the obvious – she’s attractive. Because apparently that means she’s bound for success! Ultimately they decided they want to work with her, and it’s exciting for Maariyah given it’s been her goal since Day 1.
Maariyah and Taliah drop by another networking event, where Taliah puts more focus on flirting with guys than absorbing wisdom. Luckily for her she finds a cute dancer that wants to help her out with her own dancing career, while simultaneously taking down her number for a date. Super professional.
After the commercial break Maariyah has her first taste of recording a song. Clarence picks a song called, “This is California” and cites her dreams of becoming famous as an appropriate fit based on the lyrics. It’s totally understandable that she’s nervous, and after a couple of mediocre takes it’s evident she gains some confidence and starts to sound pretty good. Overall she got the job done, and later gets news that they want to shoot a music video to go along with the song.
Jameelah mets up with top-model Adrianne Curry to go over her modeling, and an impromptu photo shoot teaches Jameelah a bit about her strengths and weaknesses. For one, she has a bit of “dead eye”, which if you ask Adrianne is like a horrible disease in the modeling world. The pictures speak for themselves though – Jameelah does seem to have potential. She must have impressed Adrianne because she offers to put her in contact with someone that can help her start a career. Not before warning Jameelah of the brutality she’s objecting herself to, though.
She and Angie meet with an agency director for feedback on her walk and portfolio. Adrianne wasn’t kidding when she mentioned he could be harsh – one of the first things he says is that 22 is a late age to start a modeling career. He then goes on to comment that her walk is too sultry for runway, and challenges Jameelah to broaden her portfolio to show versatility. On the positive side, he offers to meet with her again once she has new photos.
Nevertheless, They’re Going Home
The time finally comes to the weekly meeting with Harvey about the family’s progress. It’s immediately clear that his tone is different than constructive criticism from last week. He asks everyone’s opinion on their own growth and feelings about what they’ve accomplished. After, he begins citing other people that shot to fame in a short amount of time, i.e. Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, and how their successful parents gave them leverage. At that point it’s obvious the talk isn’t going in the direction the family would have hoped, especially because this was the brightest week they seemed to have since moving out to L.A. Harvey begins to explain the grip ratings have on any show, especially one that was developed as a social experiment. He says because an audience never truly invested in the family’s journey, they have to go back home without even completing the 12 weeks. It comes as a sudden shock for everyone – even Mike shed some tears. The family’s reaction really shows how much they wanted this, and I can’t help but feel bad that they’re going through it at all, let alone on T.V.
It’s surprising to me how he took such a nonchalant approach to announcing they were being canceled. The way the show ended honestly begs the question: did TMZ and Harvey Levin even care about the family they chose? Granted, the Artiagas knew what they were getting themselves into, but did Harvey want to see a completely normal family rise to fame, or just make more money for his gossip empire? I’ll leave that one for the viewers.
About Famous in 12
‘Famous in 12’ is gossip-channel TMZ’s attempt to spread some good will. Ringleader Harvey Levin concocted a social experiment to see if a regular family can catapult into fame in a short 12 weeks — just by shameless self promotion, his all-knowing guidance, and of course social media. The Artiaga family were the lucky winners from the casting call, and were flown out to live in L.A. for the show. The family consists of three girls — Maariyah, 19, the “World’s Sexiest Virgin”; Jameelah, 22 and “Miss Selfie Centered” ; and Taliah, 27, the “Dancer”. Mom Angie, the “Erotic Writer”, and Stepdad Mike, the “DJ”, have been married 16 years.
Lynsey Mukomel is a senior at Columbia College Chicago studying Broadcast Journalism. Upon graduating she will be applying for on-air reporting jobs, and hopes to one day pursue investigative reporting. In addition to securing competitive internships in the Chicago area, she works for her school and anchors a weekly webcast. To learn more about Lynsey visit her website at lynseymukomel.com.