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A&E serves Louisiana gumbo/jumble with The Governor's Wife


Ex-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and child bride Trina. A&E photo

Premiering: Sunday, Oct. 27th at 9 p.m. (central) on A&E
Starring: Edwin Edwards, Trina Edwards, Anna Edwards, Victoria Edwards
Produced by: Brent Montgomery, David George, Will Nothacker, Dominic Pupa, Shaun Sanghani

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We revel in reviling our bad boy politicians. Or do we?

The A&E network very much hopes the answer is in the affirmative for The Governor’s Wife. Think Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall before fast-forwarding to the now 86-year-old Edwin Edwards and his 35-year-old wife, Trina Grimes Scott, who’s inherited two 60-plus stepdaughters from the former Louisiana chief executive’s first marriage. She also has two teenage sons from her own first husband. They first met while the scandal-entangled Edwards was serving prison time on a racketeering conviction following years of dodging bullets. He was released to a halfway house in January 2011 -- after eight years behind bars -- and married Trina in July of that year.

In “reality” TV terms, this is the Taj Mahal, the Rolls Royce, the Ritz Carlton of dysfunction junctions. It’s from the battle-tested maestro behind Pawn Stars, Cajun Pawn Stars and Monster-In-Laws. So perhaps it’s best not to bet against it.

Trina sets the table with her opening narration before hubby hits the ground running by telling the camera, “You know what my favorite saying is. You(‘re) only as young as the woman you feel. And brother, it’s fun feeling her.”

Unlike Anna Nicole’s billionaire benefactor, this ol’ rascal remains lucid, ambulatory and in possession of some frozen sperm he deposited a while back. The first half-hour episode in part is built around hastily made plans to start their own family while Trina frets about breaking the news to Edwin’s tart daughters. She also sobs while saying that Edwin’s longevity is up for grabs but having “just a little piece of him” would make her forever happy.

Filming on Season 1 ended in March, with the two principals both a year younger. And since it’s already been widely reported, there’s really no harm in divulging that Trina in fact gave birth to a son, Eli Wallace Edwards, in August of this year. So maybe their romance runs a little deeper than outward appearances would suggest.

Older Anna, a four-time divorcee, is the nicer of Edwin’s two sexagenarian daughters. Nicer being a relative term. She’s still “bossy as usual” in Trina’s view, but a popgun compared to pistol sister Victoria, who’s affixed with a perpetual scowl and an electronic cigarette lodged firmly between her lips.

Anna accepts her stepmom’s pregnancy plans with borderline equanimity: “At 34, you’re not supposed to be this crazy. That comes later.” And besides, her father is no spring chicken, being “three toes from the grave” and all.

Victoria immediately worries about having to split daddy’s money four ways instead of three. “Most of our inheritance went to the federal government,” she grouses.

Still, Edwin and Trina appear to be living pretty high on the hog in a pillared home in Gonzales, Louisiana. And they have lots of other made-for-TV activities to share, including a book-signing, Trina’s participation in a Dancing with the Stars-themed charity event and her plans to pop out of a giant fake cake at a big 85th birthday part for Edwin.

“So tell me I’m beautiful, bitches,” Trina instructs her stepdaughters before stepping out with their daddy.

Anna draws the line on stepmom’s birthday party gambit while also highlighting the elemental ingredients of The Governor’s Wife. “You spent a year rehabilitating your gold digger, trashy for marrying an old man reputation,” she lectures Trina. “I don’t think jumpin’ out of a cake is gonna help.”

Trina agrees to a “more private” display after many of the guests supposedly have left. But her cake pop only further aggravates sour ball Victoria. “Dummy jumped out of the cake facin’ the wrong way,” she says after also lashing Trina for living up to her dumb blonde stereotype.

The ex-guv/jailbird is a Democrat who served three separate terms in office and defeated white supremacist David Duke in his last go-around. He now seems more than happy to roll with the punch lines to achieve the greater glory of putting himself in a spotlight again. This includes making a couple of jokes about his incarceration while regularly marveling at the trophy wife who’s his and his alone.

“Trina is a constant reminder that the road ahead will still have plenty of surprises and some very sweet curves,” he says as the curtain-closer to Sunday’s premiere.

It’s easy to envision Bill Clinton enviously watching The Governor’s Wife -- in the absence of Hillary, of course. And even easier to imagine him saying or thinking, “That ol’ dawg is livin’ the life I should be livin’. The lucky sumbitch.”

A&E has ordered 12 half-hours of The Governor’s Wife, and originally announced a Feb. 27th premiere for the series before several other false starts. But it’s now full steam ahead with a show that again shows us what we already know. Politicians are a collective group of crooks who very seldom get what they deserve. Instead, Edwin Edwards gets a sculpted blonde honey, another pay day, publicity aplenty and a chance to tell his third wife, “I don’t know about Jim Kardashian.”

That’s “Kim,” she laughingly corrects him. They get bonus points for that.


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