Stream It Or Skip It: ‘TMZ Presents: Lamar Odom: Sex, Drugs & Kardashians’ On Fox, Where Odom Talks About His Marriage To Khloe And The OD That Nearly Killed Him
The clumsily-titled TMZ Presents: Lamar Odom: Sex, Drugs & Kardashians is pretty much what that title suggests. TMZ honcho Harvey Levin interviews Odom, the former NBA star and ex-husband of Khloe Kardashian, about his life with the the first family of reality TV and the drug and sex addictions that not only brought down his marriage to Kardashian, but nearly killed him after a 2015 overdose.
The Gist: Interspersed with Levin’s interview with Odom are talking head segments from various TMZ reporters and editors, including executive producer Charles Latibeaudiere. There’s news footage, clips from Keeping With The Kardashians, and of course footage from one of the many times TMZ’s cameras tracked either Kardashian, Odom or both.
Odom, now 43 and sober for the last few years, looks back on his marriage to Kardashian; they got married 30 days after they met in 2009, and he became pretty well integrated with the Kardashian family. He was close to Khloe’s siblings and her mother, Kris Jenner, to the point where she managed his career. He also recognized that being in the Kardashian family gave him a level of celebrity that even two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award couldn’t afford him.
But he couldn’t stop cheating on Khloe, and she filed for divorce in 2015 after seeing a video he made while high rapping that he will cheat on her the next chance he gets. But the divorce was put on hold after he was found barely breathing at the Love Ranch; to this day, though, Odom claims that he never took drugs that day and late Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof drugged him.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: TMZ’s Lamar Odom doc (we refuse to keep typing that kludgy title) is essentially an extended episode of TMZ, but a whole lot more skeevy-feeling.
Performance Worth Watching: The only person here worth watching is Odom; given that doctors told him eight years ago that he’s lucky to be alive after his overdose, and that he may not walk or talk again — he did have 12 strokes and six heart attacks in the hospital — the fact that he’s speaking to Levin with what seems like relatively full recall is nothing short of a miracle.
Memorable Dialogue: When Levin asks him if how he’d react if Khloe wanted to give it another go, he lit up at the notion, and said it’s because “I’m not a loser, and I lost” when it comes to what he thinks was the love of his life.
Sex and Skin: None.
Our Take: What’s ironic about TMZ Presents: Lamar Odom: Sex, Drugs & Kardashians is that if the special just concentrated on Levin’s interview with Odom and dispensed with the whole “TMZ-ness” of it all, it would have had much more impact. After all, Odom was fodder for TMZ and other tabloid outlets for years, from his marriage to Khloe Kardashian through his overdose and arduous recovery. Odom’s outlook through the entire interview is chastened but positive, shy but effusive, and obviously very aware of what he lost.
Instead of concentrating on that, though, Levin and company decide to infuse the special with ominous music, talking head “interviews” with TMZ staffers that are completely scripted (and awkwardly read), and more shots of Levin and his biceps than anyone would want. Yes, TMZ is known for turning pretty much any celebrity news into something scandalous. But what happened with Odom was scandalous enough without the breathless talking head segments and leering paparazzi footage.
We think a lot of people will start watching this and get turned off if they’re not already fans of TMZ, which is too bad, because there’s a lot of good information about Odom, his marriage to Kardashian, and the overdose that almost killed him. The most satisfying revelation is just how solid he and Khloe were when things were going well. His integration into the Kardashian clan actually felt warm, much warmer of a feeling than we usually get from that family, and something that Odom responded well to, given his background growing up in Queens, New York. We just wish that there was more of Odom today and less scandalous footage.
Our Call: STREAM IT, but only if you can tolerate the more tabloidy aspects of TMZ Presents: Lamar Odom: Sex, Drugs & Kardashians. If so, Odom is more than interesting enough to carry this special by himself.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.