The Mother Daughter Experiment kicks off!

The Mother/Daughter Experiment Recap: At Face Value

Last night was the premiere of The Mother/Daughter Experiment, where six mother and daughter duos sought televised therapy to mend their complicated emotional issues. Becuase that always turns out well, right?!

Some of these participants, like Courtney Stodden (Couples Therapy) and Natalie Nunn (Marriage Bootcamp), have already done made-for-TV therapy. Judging by the results of Courtney’s boob job – seriously, are those things actually helium balloons??? – I would say round one was a failed experiment. Let’s hope round 2 improves things! 

Kim Richards and her daughter Kimberly Jackson arrive first. It’s clear that Kim is putting on an ‘I’m so not about drama’ act in the hopes that no one watching this show has also seen Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills (We have.). It turns out the moms and daughters have to share a room, which isn’t too weird for Kim and Kimberly who usually share a bed. Kimberly seems sweet and like she was bamboozled into doing this. 


Next comes Natalie who brings her attitude and her mom Karen. Karen describes their relationship as “dysfunctional” – they’re either best friends or screaming at each other. Basically Bad Girls Club Natalie got all her practice fighting with Karen. Lovely. Karen’s emotional state is even more raw because her own mother, whom she had been taking care of for the past 8 years, died a week before filming began. Natalie has a lot of resentment towards Karen for putting her grandmother above her relationship with her daughter. 

Minutes after Natalie wanders in wearing a spandex tube-dress, a drunken Heidi Montag appears. Much like Heidi’s mother Darlene Egelhoff, I cannot get used to Heidi’s face. I always expect it to be a mask she strips off. Heidi’s face literally has no plains and contours, it’s just a big, round moon of overly-stretched skin which can’t register emotion or movement properly. Heidi has been stress drinking because she’s “nervous” about the show. Her issues with Darlene began on The Hills when Heidi debuted her surgeries to Darlene, who didn’t hide her shock and disapproval. Like a real mom. Afterwards, Heidi and Darlene didn’t speak for a year, maybe two, at Heidi’s insistence. 

Heidi avoids dealing with mother-daughter drama by pouring herself another drink and then pouring herself into a nonsensical argument with Natalie. These two don’t like each other from their other shared experience on televised therapy. Heidi whines over and over that Natalie “talked shit about my surgeries.” OK, so nothing has changed about Heidi. What she doesn’t like is herself, and after she was still herself despite all the surgeries, which she also doesn’t like, she dislikes herself even more. Darlene is optimistic and can’t wait to see Heidi, but walks into Heidi and Natalie screaming at each other as Karen tries to wrench them apart. 

Heidi is literally hovering around Natalie shrieking, “You talked shit about my surgeries!” On repeat. As soon as someone pries Heidi out of Natalie’s orbit, Heidi finds herself gravitationally pulled back. Centrifugal Force drama, y’all! Kim and Kimberly are hiding in their room, where Kim pretends no one she knows would ever EVER act like this! Sober Kim is delusional about her alter-ego KimKillah. Kim rambles at Kimberly that they should leave and not bother unpacking because they are so above this. 

Shar Jackson, the spurned wife of Kevin Federline, arrives with her daughter, Carrie, who is way too sweet to be trotted out into the wilds of reality TV. Actually neither Shar nor Carrie seem sure of what to think as they openly gawk and smile confusedly at the emotional outburst happening between Heidi and Natalie. Shar reminds everyone they are here to work out issues with THEIR MOMS, not to have drama with each other.Heidi Montag freaks out on Mother/Daughter Experiment

Darlene finally wrangles Heidi into their  room to calm her down. “Heidi’s been drinking to deal with stress,” explains Darlene, “Which is a red flag for me.” Heidi confessed to her mom that she’s been doing that often – it seems that they’re alluding to Heidi having a drinking issue? Being married to Spencer will do that I imagine… #AnythingToExtendThat15Minutes. 

Jessica Canseco and her daughter Josie arrive next. Jessica was once married to Jose Canseco and previously appeared on Hollywood Exes as the wild child who never grew up and believed the party never stopped. Because of this, her relationship to Josie is more of a friendship. Josie resents Jessica because Jessica never bothered to ‘parent’ her daughter. Josie is GORGEOUS, but Jessica looks like she’s been messing with her face, which is a shame! 

Finally Courtney makes her appearance, motherless. Courtney, Courtney, Courtney… against all of my better judgements I have always liked Courtney and have a soft spot for her. She’s been used by everyone in her life, but despite this, she’s almost sagely mature and very sweet. Courtney’s issues with her mother and former momager Krista Keller stem from Krista using Courtney for her own fame, essentially pimping out her daughter to Doug Hutchison, then professing her love to Doug after he and Courtney temporarily split. “What kind of a mother would do that to her daughter,” Courtney wonders. Which is an excellent question! 

They haven’t spoken in six months. Krista isn’t arriving until the next day, so Courtney is alone during dinner and most of the first therapy session. Over pre-dinner appetizers Dr. Debbie (aka low-rent Dr. Jenn Jr.) materializes to let the ladies know all the other drama isn’t important because they’re here to fix their mother-daughter relationships. Heidi, drunk, takes personal offense to this, believing Dr. Debbie is throwing shade about her argument with Natalie. Heidi calls the doctor out over this alleged slight. Everyone else is shooed into dinner so Dr. Debbie can chat one-on-one chat with Heidi’s dysmorphia about the situation. Heidi argues with the doctor because she’s really serious about starting therapy off on the right foot. Darlene is mortified. Dr. Debbie does her best doctoring to calm Heidi down, then releases her to dinner. 

At dinner the moms and daughters share why they’re here. Suddenly Heidi flees the table, with her hand covering her mouth, then pukes all over the hallway. She’s found doubled-over the toilet, barfing. Darlene resignedly holds her hair, while the other women linger around in disgust. 

The next day over breakfast, Courtney opens up to Kim and Jessica about her issues with Krista. Kim, emerging from a 50-year drunken stupor of self-obsession, has never heard of Courtney, “The Child Bride,” or Doug, but she’s impressed that he was in The Green Mile. When Courtney fills Kim in about her mom signing-off on her marriage at 16, Kim is disgusted. “I would never do that,” she sniffs. 

Then it’s time for therapy! Let the healing begin! Each of the moms and daughters filmed a solo segment sharing their own perspective on their relationships.  The clips are played, then they breakdown what was said. First up are Kim and Kimberly – clearly Kim believes herself to be the ‘star’ of this wasteland reality show. You win! 

Kim & Kimberly On Mother/Daughter Experiment

Kimberly candidly admits to feeling like her mom’s caretaker since Kim is emotionally and physically unstable. Kimberly has always felt responsible for Kim, and compares herself to a “husband figure”. Kim blames appearing on the stressful and volatile Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills for Kimberly’s attitude – because the women are so mean Kimberly feels protective. Uhhhh… not quite! Kim touches on there being “other issues at home” but shares no details. “Is anyone gonna bring up that Kim’s an alcoholic?” Natalie wonders in her confessional. Not if Kim can help it, Natalie!

Dr. Debbie points out that Kimberly is still protecting Kim by glossing over those unsaid other issues. Then they quickly move on to the next duo: Heidi and Darlene. Heidi, now sober (we hope!) begins by apologizing to Dr. Debbie. Then we watch Heidi crying because Darlene didn’t support her surgeries and hurt Heidi with her reaction. Darlene says Heidi pushed her to share her feelings on The Hills but now resents her for them. They’ve never recovered. Clearly Heidi is projecting.

Heidi cries

Darlene cries, begging Heidi to let her back in. “I needed you more than anyone,” bawls Heidi, “I honestly feel like you ripped my heart out of my soul,” her face trying its darnedest to crumple with affect, but just kind of not working. Dr. Debbie decides they need to work on accepting each other’s emotions and not placing blame. Ya’think?

Next up are Natalie and Karen. Natalie is frustrated because Karen was never there while caring for Natalie’s grandmother. As a result Natalie acted out. Karen is afraid of Natalie’s volatility. After watching the video, Karen cries over the loss of her mother, who was her best friend, while Natalie stares off into space. Dr. Debbie reminds Natalie that her role is to be there emotionally for the people she loves. Something Natalie promises to work on. 

During Shar’s segment she complains about Carrie’s boyfriend, laughing that it won’t last. Carrie is frustrated because her mom has never dealt with the pain Kevin caused by leaving them, but Shar forgets Carrie suffered that same hurt. As a result Shar is super mistrusting of men and pushes those feelings onto Carrie. She smothers Carrie, not wanting her to grow up out of fear that Shar may lose their relationship. Shar takes this in stride and admits she hasn’t been taking into account Carrie’s feelings and has let her hurt become Carrie’s issue too. 

Next Josie shares that Jessica was more focused on men than mothering so Josie was left to raise herself while Jessica was partying, posing for Playboy, dealing with Jose’s drama, and chasing men. Josie feels emotionally abandoned by Jessica, plus her father wasn’t really in her life. Jessica, on the other hand, is afraid of Josie, who lashes out verbally and gets aggressive. Jessica has no idea how to form a real relationship with her daughter, whom she treats like a friend. Jessica admits most of their issues are her fault. We’ll see if anything changes because Jessica was struggling with these same issues on Hollywood Exes!

Finally Courtney, who is still without Krista, admits to feeling “quite literally, motherless.” Dr. Debbie gently tells Courtney that Krista is here, then brings her into the therapy room. Courtney is wearing a tank top which barely contains her mambajambas, as they bobble out of her shirt. She keeps covering herself with a giant wrap, which is odd – why not just wear an actual shirt? It’s clear Courtney is not comfortable with them. Poor Courtney. 

Courtney and Krista are emotionally raw and furious with each other. Upon sight the wounds are ripped open and there’s no comforting from either one of them.

Courtney & Krista

Courtney accuses Krista of trying to “steal” Doug and using her to become famous. Krista insists Doug is lying and manipulating Courtney to destroy their relationship. They erupt into arguing, while the other moms and daughters openly gawk. Kimberly is literally out of her seat. The animosity and rage is real between those two.

Dr. Debbie asks everyone else to leave so she can work with Courtney and Krista one-on-one. She counsels them to stop focusing on the details, and reminds them Doug isn’t here and needs to be temporarily left out of the equation so they can treat the emotions of Courtney and Krista. Uhhhhh… hmmmm… Doug seems to be an ENORMOUS part of the problem, so I’m not sure how that’s possible?

Courtney bawls that her mom betrayed her, while Krista sits there, woodenly. Later, back in their room, the roles are reversed and it’s Krista who is sobbing because Courtney doesn’t understand a mother’s love for her child, but Courtney curtly tells Krista if she can’t stop lying, their relationship will never work. 

These two are A. MESS!


[Photo Credits: LifetimeTV]