A Chat with Darryl Bell of “Househusbands of Hollywood”

It feels a little disingenuous for me to talking up a series which I can’t even watch in my area (Cox Communications in Hampton Roads, VA, has yet to pick up Fox Reality), but as someone who works at home and has a 4-year-old daughter, I respect the concept of “Househusbands of Hollywood” enough to do at least a little bit of promotion for it. I’ve already detailed the TCA panel about the show, but when the opportunity to sit down with one of the cast members – Darryl Bell, late of “A Different World” – became available, I couldn’t resist. In addition to his time spent on the “Cosby Show” spin-off, Bell has worked with Spike Lee and done time on a rather infamous sci-fi sitcom, but he’s still very much a working actor. He’s also the significant other of former “Cosby” kid Tempestt Bledsoe, a relationship which led him to this reality-show endeavor…and led me to my first question.

Bullz-Eye: First off, you two seem to be almost a ringer on the show. You’re not even husband and wife yet!

Darryl Bell: That is a good way to put it, Will. We are the ringers. That’s probably caused the most frequently asked questions, like, “You guys are the only couple who is not married, you’re the only ones without kids, so what are you doing here in a show called ‘Househusbands’?” The short answer to that has been Marilyn Wilson. Marilyn’s a good friend, produced Temp’s talk show. Marilyn and I have been out, pitched shows’ and tried to sell other things. We’ve worked together in that capacity. It was her assurances that we’re trying to do something that’s fun and not trying to ambush anyone or be mean spirited. “Come be a part of this, because we think you guys are hilarious.” Apparently, the more that I have even talked to other friends, they are, like, “Oh, we’ve been saying for years that you guys should have your own reality series, because you are just funny.” It just happened to come in this format. I don’t know that we would have agreed to have done this for anyone else. So, there you go.

BE: It makes it a little hard for me to ask, “Is it weird being a ‘Househusband’?”

DB: And I don’t know what that means for me, anyway, only from the standpoint that people ask me that because I’m on this show. But in terms of work-wise, it’s just like…even in the series, when Tempest was coming back from on location, shooting the film, I was going on location to shoot this show for TV One. That’s really the nature of our relationship. You know, it’s rare that we’ll both be doing something at the same time, but we’re always in this cyclical gig that is being a working actor in Hollywood. That’s just how our lives have operated. I was just saying in another interview, when Brad is off shooting a movie, Angelina isn’t always shooting one. She’s somewhere with the kids. Or when Angelina’s shooting and Brad is somewhere…? That’s just the way it works.

BE: So what kind of husbandly responsibilities do you have? I mean, do you chip in, doing the dishes or whatever when she’s not there?

DB: I mean, I can’t really call it husbandly duties. Our house is not a pigsty, but I can say that some of that is attributed to the housekeeper. You know what I mean? That helps out a lot. I can only say that when I think of that…when anything breaks, like most men, it’s, like, “Darryl, come fix it,” you know? I get that. But as a regular responsibility, that’s not me.

BE: Is there anything you do that would typically be considered a gender-specific thing, something that one would normally expect a wife to do?

DB: For us, no. For us, I guess that’s what has been so good: we have talked about not having an ego about anything. She likes to cook, so she has cooked for me, but I’ve cooked for her, you know? So from a relationship standpoint of view, I can’t say that…we don’t have any specifically defined roles, other than, as many men will find the case, she wanted pets and yet somehow they are my responsibility. You know how that works out.

BE: Hey, I feed our cat.

DB: Exactly, exactly. And what man asks for a cat? That’s just not the way it works. I want a Neapolitan Mastiff, but the reason I don’t have one is because she wanted a cat.

BE: Sure, that seems fair.

DB: That’s a whole different relationship kind of issue, you know what I mean? It’s not specific to the show, but that’s how it worked out.

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Heroes 3.12 – This House Is Just A Broken Home, Left All Alone

Pretty ballsy of Nathan to blow into Papa Petrelli’s office and talk shit tonight, wasn’t it? And, yet, he was right: he does have the power…politically speaking…to help make Papa’s plan a reality. Of course, if he thinks Papa isn’t going to blow his mind if he makes a wrong move, he’s ridiculously naive. I continue to be interested in the militaristic side of Nathan’s storyline, but I have to say that this idea of having a super-powered fighting force seems like a really bad idea to me. Even if Papa’s people do have control over who gets what abilities, it only takes one strong bastard to figure out how to use his powers and the element of surprise to take control of the operation. But maybe that’s just me. Unrelated question: how utterly useless a character is Tracy these days? Why give her that awesome power if we’re not even going to get to see her use it?

Mama Petrelli’s cool delivery never fails to entertain me, especially tonight, when she calmly and carefully laid out the method by which her son should kill her husband. I appreciate Peter’s insistence that he has to be the one to take out his father, but you’d think he’d at least be willing to accept the help of the Haitian. But, noooooooo, it’s gotta be his responsibility…

Despite our readers’ suspicions to the contrary, Elle sure looked pretty damned dead to me when the episode began, and when Sylar covered her in gasoline and set her ablaze…well, if she isn’t dead, she’s at least going to be extra crispy. It was, of course, nice to see the unequivocally evil Sylar return, but the highlight had to be when Sue Landers’ co-workers burst in on him while he was in mid-attack. “Cake…?” Nice. The moment in the elevator was pretty funny, too. (“Huh. It does kind of tingle.”)

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Heroes: Season 3 Preview

I have seen the first hour of the two-hour premiere of the new season of “Heroes,” and I’d just like to dispel a rumor that’s been floating around the ‘net: the episode does not begin with Sylar standing in the shower, assuring Claire that Season 2 was just a bad dream.

Poor Tim Kring. He’s spent the last year having to deal with non-stop comments about how the second season of “Heroes” didn’t live up to the expectations that had been set by the first season, so much so that he felt obliged to go on the record with Entertainment Weekly and apologize to the fans. But don’t feel too badly for him: Kring’s reputation is already on the mend, courtesy of this first hour of Season 3 (subtitled “Villains”), of which the producers of “Heroes” were so proud that they debuted it at Comic-Con way back in July.

Our man Jason Zingale was on the scene at the time…yes, that’s right, he saw it before I did, the bastard…but sadly for those who love their spoilers, he was willing to say precious little about what he’d witnessed.

“I’d like to talk more about what I saw, but I simply don’t want to ruin the experience,” he said, in his original blog entry. “All I’ll say for now is that it is mind-blowing, and it’s exactly what the series needs after season two was interrupted by the strike. Some cliffhangers are explained and others aren’t. New characters with powers are introduced, while older characters reveal new powers of their own. And perhaps most importantly, it’s all done with a comic flair that was sorely missing from last year’s mini-season.”

Having now seen it for myself, I have no arguments with any of his statements. It really does feel like a return to form for the series…though, of course, let’s be honest: given how long it’s been since we last saw a new episode of the show – can you believe the last one aired on Dec. 3, 2007? – isn’t it possible that our desire for more “Heroes” might be making us a little bit more forgiving than we might otherwise be?

Sure, it’s possible…but when you see it for yourself on Monday, I’m pretty sure you, too, will agree that the series hasn’t been this much like a live-action comic book since Season 1.

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