'Bobby Brown' puts new spin on BET edition of his story

After a pair of major documentaries and a Lifetime TV movie devoted to the late Whitney Houston, "The Bobby ...

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 3:18 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2018 3:18 PM

After a pair of major documentaries and a Lifetime TV movie devoted to the late Whitney Houston, "The Bobby Brown Story" -- based on his autobiography -- feels a bit like a reclamation project, one that puts a more Brown-friendly spin on the couple's history. That doesn't invalidate a BET miniseries that offers lots of music and doses of nostalgia, but it feels more like an old (and at times self-serving) edition, not a new one.

Speaking of New Edition, the hectic first hour skips over much of Brown's early biography -- including his New Edition years. In that, it's essentially structured as a companion to BET's earlier miniseries about the group, with Woody McClain, as Brown, reprising his role from that production.

Black Entertainment Television

Bobby Brown

Celebrities

Companies

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Whitney Houston

As a result, "Bobby Brown" feels as if it's racing to get to his successful solo career and relationship with Houston. In between, Brown anoints his brother (Mekhi Phifer) as his manager, engages in a torrid affair with Janet Jackson and generally reaps the traditional rewards from stardom, down to delaying the "Ghostbusters" shoot while he entertains groupies in his trailer.

The story becomes a bit more complicated when Brown begins his whirlwind relationship with Houston (Gabrielle Dennis), who he woos, as his brother notes, immediately after swearing off any more entanglements with other famous musical stars.

Not surprisingly, the treatment here is much kinder to Brown regarding the friction in their lives, while practically reducing Houston's close friend Robyn Crawford to mean-governess status -- glaring from the sidelines and at one point telling Brown, "I was here before you, and I will be here after you."

Yet if "The Bobby Brown Story" doesn't quite qualify as a "warts and all" portrayal -- ignoring, for example, reports that Brown grew resentful of his wife's success -- it's still plenty warty -- dealing with Brown's drug use and a stint in jail, during which he became clean and sober, at least for a time, before the eventual split with Houston.

"Before I met you, they loved me," Houston snaps at him during one of their frequent fights, as the tabloid headlines pile up.

The two-part production fares best when it's reveling in the music, offering a reminder that Brown had a life and career that went beyond the tragedies involving Houston and their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Perhaps inevitably, the second night becomes a rather morbid affair down the stretch, chronicling those losses as well as the deaths of Brown's parents.

Despite the demands of a story filled with so much melodrama, McClain -- reunited with the key members of the "New Edition" creative team -- proves a solid anchor, convincingly playing Brown across a wide span of years.

As for the spin that Brown's cooperation brings to this version of events that doesn't comport with previous depictions of the couple, one supposes as a producer on his own autobiography, that's his prerogative.

"The Bobby Brown Story" premieres Sept. 4 and 5 at 9 p.m. on BET.

Huntsville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 65°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 65°
Scottsboro
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
Etowah333447
Calhoun332039
Morgan318126
Houston269922
Elmore251947
DeKalb234619
St. Clair221335
Walker220780
Talladega205026
Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
Dallas173626
Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
Escambia155725
Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
Macon47620
Henry4674
Fayette4189
Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 181439

Reported Deaths: 2216
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby29800446
Davidson25840289
Hamilton903388
Rutherford890287
Knox880672
Williamson503036
Sumner462993
Wilson331841
Putnam301937
Montgomery292243
Bradley281816
Out of TN281123
Unassigned28036
Madison259656
Sevier250013
Blount242523
Maury218323
Robertson215133
Washington212332
Sullivan203831
Hamblen183125
Tipton171117
Trousdale16477
Hardeman151325
Gibson149219
Wayne14785
Bedford129516
Dyer125312
Dickson117612
Cumberland114317
Anderson111711
Fayette111118
Carter110827
Weakley110419
Henderson110119
Loudon10996
Greene107936
Coffee106912
Obion10669
Jefferson105114
McMinn104524
Macon100719
Warren9977
Monroe99416
Hardin95414
Lawrence93911
Lauderdale92815
Haywood90016
Franklin8757
Lake8712
Bledsoe8444
Roane8284
Carroll81617
Cheatham78410
McNairy78316
Rhea76611
White7639
Hawkins74716
Cocke7309
Marshall6985
Overton6734
Smith66910
Johnson6352
Henry5949
Chester5769
Lincoln5761
Giles54917
DeKalb54111
Hickman5154
Crockett49719
Marion4937
Decatur4556
Claiborne4234
Fentress4223
Campbell4153
Polk37511
Grainger3462
Benton3319
Union3311
Jackson3024
Morgan3023
Unicoi2741
Cannon2690
Grundy2305
Humphreys2243
Sequatchie2193
Meigs2163
Scott1972
Clay1825
Houston1780
Lewis1691
Stewart1672
Van Buren1490
Moore1451
Perry1400
Hancock1063
Pickett942

Community Events