It's difficult for music fans to think of their idols as anything but hard-partying, wild rock stars. But take a look at Rev. Run (formerly of the rap group Run-DMC) and what you see today is a cool dad exasperated and amused by his children, who probably are much more tame than he was at their age. The two-season collection of the reality TV series Run's House
has more in common with NBC's fictional The Cosby Show
than MTV's previous reality offering The Osbournes
. Sure, Run and his wife Justine (a former MC herself) are hipper than Cliff and Claire Huxtable. But each episode is filled with as much sweetness and patience as wacky shenanigans, with Run and Justine interacting with their children (JoJo, Diggy, Russy, Angela, and Vanessa) in a surprisingly normal way. The debut episode focuses on the high-school graduation of his youngest daughter. To celebrate her big day, Angela wants a big splashy, over-the-top party (like the kind showcased on MTV's My Super Sweet 16
). Her ideal budget? A cool million bucks that'll take care of fireworks, a swag bag with iPods for her friends, a live DJ, etc. Never mind that Run doesn't make that kind of money anymore. You get the sense that even if he did, he'd still have enough sense to say no. He and Justine still spend about $6,000 on her party and surprise her with a new Mercedes. But by celeb standards, that's downright understated. And thanks to his connections, plenty of celebrities pop up on the show, including his brother Russell Simmons and Russell's glamazon then-wife Kimora Lee Simmons, who hires one of Run's kids to work for her Baby Phat fashion line.
Many of the show's most poignant moments occur when Run and Russy interact. Knowing that his child has anger-management issues, Run has a heart-to-heart with the boy and enrolls him in martial-arts classes to teach him how to channel his anger in a controlled way. Watching him take part in his son's latest activity, the viewer gets a sense that Run not only loves his children, but that he truly enjoys being a part of their lives. The second-season finale ends on a bittersweet note: As Run and Justine prepare for the birth of their sixth child, Vanessa and Angela get ready to move out of their parents' home into their own place. The third season will start off tumultuously, but the first two years show that this is one family that can handle whatever is thrown at them. Run's House isn't a guilty pleasure: It's a delight. --Jae-Ha Kim
Pioneer rap master Joey Simmons opens up his world and offers a good look into his life which is now dedicated to his ministry in this unique MTV reality show. Includes six shows from first season and five shows from second season for a total of 11 episodes on 3 DVDs. 2005-2006/color/5 hrs., 15 min/NR.