LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Has the classic TV family sitcom been replaced by the family-focused reality series? There's a strong argument to be made with the premiere of "Coolio's Rules," starring a bumbling buffoon of a father and his four whiny kids, each with an outsized sense of entitlement.
Instead of playing characters, Coolio and his four kids (out of the six he has fathered) are characters. Exposing your kids to obvious ridicule on a women's cable network might be unthinkable to most parents but not to Compton-born Coolio (a.k.a. Artis Leon Ivey Jr.).
With exposure from the show, Coolio may be able to revive a rap career that pretty much flatlined more than a decade ago. He might also launch a new career as the Ghetto Gourmet, complete with cookbook and catering service.
Coolio's fame peaked in 1995 with the single and his second album, "Gangsta's Paradise." His two subsequent albums failed to chart. Appearances on "Celebrity Fear Factor," "Celebrity Boot Camp" and "Celebrity Paranormal Project" did little to raise his public profile. This reality series, on the other hand, provides a platform for his new music video and a new album, both released earlier this month.
The premise of the series is that Coolio is going to try to be the father he never was when his kids were growing up. Now that the eldest two, Artisha and Brandi, are 20, and the others are 18 (Artis) and 15 (Jackie), dad is going to try to instill in them the wisdom he learned as a child (except, maybe, the part about being jailed for larceny at age 17).
"I love them and they love me," Coolio says, before his kids laugh at his cooking skills and he responds with profanity. Later, he dumps garbage in their rooms to remind them they didn't clean the kitchen before going to bed.
It's side-splitting stuff, all right, or it would be if watching didn't make you complicit in the ridicule of this dysfunctional family.