The relationship reality series I Love A Mama’s Boy on TLC (DStv channel 135) has that addictive “Oh no you didn’t!” energy. Since its launch on Wednesday, 3 February, we’ve been watching open-mouthed as women in 4 couples get to grips with the other woman in their boyfriends’ life… their mothers. These are “significant mothers” who seem to have no boundaries with their baby boys. In episode 1, for example, we saw Matt (28) go Valentine’s Day lingerie shopping for his then-girlfriend Kim (25)… with mama Kelly (56) in tow, which led to Kim and Kelly sporting identical silk robes. Meanwhile in episode 6 (on 3 March), we saw Shekeb’s (30) mom, Laila (61), invite a blind date for Shekeb to his dinner with her and his steady girlfriend Emily (24), who she’s perfectly aware that her son is dating, and has met many, many times before. And fans will know this is just a scraping of ice from the tippy top of the inappropriate iceberg.
As with all reality shows, though, there are real people behind the sensational moments, who’re now seeing themselves through a TV lens and dealing with people’s reactions to their previously private lives. We spoke to Matt, Kim and Kelly about their impressions of the show… and the other couples.
Matt, Kim & Kelly spill the reality T
What was it like seeing your story from the outside, in this TLC series?
Matt: We have seen the entire series in full. We enjoyed it. We enjoyed making it and we enjoyed watching it. You know, it has a lot of laughs, it has a lot of funny one-liners and it's nice to be able to kind of share our story with everybody. It was kind of like stepping out of your body and watching your life unfold before you. Seeing it on TV, seeing the articles, seeing social media, seeing all these different things, it was a little odd at first, but I think we all got used to it.
Kim: It was crazy seeing it from the outside. We're living these lives and getting that outsider perspective and seeing what other people think about it. It's pretty crazy. This is a real experience and we're appreciative of the opportunity, but it was weird, definitely.
Kelly: A lot of my friends asked me, “Are you going to watch yourself? Are you going to throw a party?” So no, we didn't throw a party, but we did watch and I realised that you do gain that 10 pounds (4,5kg) when you're on TV. So I realised that I needed a tummy tuck and a neck lift.
You got to see everyone else's stories as well. What sort of behaviour crossed a line for you?
Matt: The tracking device is a bit much (Jason’s mom, Annette, uses a tracking device that tells her where her 28-year-old son is at all times). We don't do anything like that. I don't think my mom would do a Mission: Impossible, like Annette, and put the tracking device under the car. I think it's a share your location kind of a situation for your iPhone.
Kelly: Which I don’t know how to do.
Matt: Once Mom learns how to do that…! I thought it was an interesting aspect about their life that was a little different from ours. Would I say that crosses the line? Yes. That would cross the line. Shekeb and his mom, (Laila), they're fantastic you know, we love them, they're great people.
Kim: I just think the shaving was a little odd (we found out in episode 1 that Laila shaves Shekeb’s back for him).
Matt: The shaving was a little odd, but I don't think that's crossing a line because sometimes you can't reach those places. Kim bought me an electric shaver for Christmas 2 years ago because she wasn't going to do that. The other stories, nothing stood out as really too absurd at all.
Is there something in the series where you'd like to tell people not to get it twisted?
Kelly: I’d love to tell somebody don't get it twisted!
Kim: Yeah, definitely. Don't take things too seriously. We're working on this and we’re just having a good time. Some of the stuff might get misconstrued when it’s filmed for TV, but we’re just a normal family.
Matt: A suburban family, totally. With me dying mom’s hair, a lot of people believe that that happens every single time when I dye her entire head. I actually only help if she has to have a touch up. I don't dye her complete head of hair. So I think that's something. And it's with the pandemic. I mean, Blake Lively and her husband (Ryan Reynolds) did it, so if Blake can do it, so can we. And they did it after us, too. I wonder if they're watching? A lot of things changed with the pandemic. You see all of the families go through COVID in S1. You see how we all adjust our lives. That's the only thing I think people really kind of got twisted. People are seeing our lives in a brief hour episode once a week. They don't see all of the different things behind the scenes or what really goes on. If that were to happen, we'd have to be like the Truman Show (the 1998 Jim Carrey movie) and have just like a 24-hour camera on us.
Kim: 1 scene in particular that stands out that people might get twisted or think is odd, is definitely the lingerie shopping scene. Matt and Kelly go and pick up a robe for me for Valentine's day, and I don't think that's a really common thing that mothers and sons do together. I know I was personally shocked when I found out they did that together, but once you know Matt and Kelly, you know, they are close. They're not close in a weird way. They are just best friends and best friends go shopping together. They do those things together and I hope people, when they do watch that scene, they just kind of see it from that lens. It was just a really silly scene and they had fun doing it and I was shocked, but you know, it's just all fun for them.
Now coming up in episode 8 (on 17 March), there’s a scene in which Matt practices his proposal with Kelly…
Kim: I have to relive that? I was pretty shocked. I didn't know that that happened until I saw the episode. It doesn't surprise me that they would do something like that because, again, they're best friends. They help each other out with things like that. But it's still very strange that a son would practice his proposal on his mother. I don't think many men would do that. So overall it was just, so shocking.
Kelly: What? I don't think it was strange at all.
Kim: I know you don’t. That’s why you did it.
Kelly: I think it was perfect.
What was it like comparing the live proposal to the practice version?
Kim: The live version was 100 times better. More thoughtful, genuine. Rest assured that Matt did not use the same speech on his mom as me, verbatim. Matt made the proposal so special. The proposal for Kelly didn't even compare.
Matt: It was like a dress rehearsal.
Kelly: Thanks Kim.
Kim: A mini dress rehearsal in community college.
How has the pandemic living situation impacted you, and how are you feeling about living together at the moment?
Matt: In the first part of the pandemic we got a little cabin fever, not being able to go anywhere, do anything. The world just completely shut down. We were blessed to be able to all be together and everybody remained healthy. I know so many people weren't as lucky. But I do think everybody can agree that everyone locked in a house, family loved ones, friends, it doesn't work. No one can just stay locked up together.
Kim: We haven't killed each other yet so…
Matt: Yeah we haven’t killed each other yet. I think we all have our different quadrants of the house kind of where we go and do our own things but other than that, we've ridden it out nicely.
Kim: But Matt and I are definitely ready to have our own space, and hopefully that comes sooner rather than later.
Matt: It’s soon.
How are your wedding plans coming along?
Matt: Organising anything is a challenge. We are looking at the best way that we can do this, and also to do it the way we want to do it. Looking at what's safest and things like that. For more wedding details and more of that stuff, that people are going to have to wait to see later on.
Kim: Right now, because of the pandemic and just the state of the world, we have a lot of things for the wedding put on the backburner. It's just not an ideal time to plan a wedding. You can't really set things in stone right now, because things are still getting cancelled and there's just so many other factors that most women planning a wedding don't have to consider. We're just waiting things out. We want to do it the right way and it's just going to take some time.
Matt: Mom's looking at it as now she has time to work on it to become the officiant. This is a blessing for her because she's trying to figure out what interpretive dance she can do. Mom's going to try to make it about her, too. It's just how it rolls.
How has being in the show affected the way that you watch reality TV?
Kim: I definitely see reality TV in a different light. I'm a huge fan of The Bachelor and those kinds of shows, and there's definitely a lot more effort in that filming and planning, that you don't really consider because you don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Our days of filming are very long and tiring and it's so exciting and fun, but you just really don't realise how big of a production it truly is.
Kelly: That's true. It is hard work but we do love it. We love making something that makes other people happy. But there's a lot of work in it; picking out clothes, making sure your hair's done.
Matt: That's for mom. That's all for Mom!
Kelly: Making sure I have different rings to go with my outfit, different shoes…
Matt: For me, it's a bigger production than my mom’s wardrobe.
Kim: Even just emotionally, letting cameras into your home and into your personal life, is a big invasion of privacy at times. We allow them in because we want to do this show, but it's just a lot more of an emotional commitment than I think people realise.
Matt: I definitely don't harshly judge reality TV as much anymore, or just speculate because now being on it, I know how things can be construed. It’s actually made me like reality TV more because I know how so much more goes on behind the scenes. And if the Kardashians see this, we would love to be friends with you guys, and you could have your own row at the wedding.
How have you guys been handling social media around the show because people have mad opinions?
Matt: Do they ever.
Kim: Yeah. People have a lot of opinions. Still, people are entitled to their opinions. We are putting ourselves out there, and people are going to pass their own judgment and that's okay. It's definitely been hard emotionally for me, seeing a lot of the tweets or mean things people have posted. It's not an easy thing to read when people are not really getting the best impression of you. But overall, we've gotten a lot of amazing fans out of the show. We've gotten a lot of great feedback and supporters and that makes it worth it because people who love us, I mean, they're just the best and in the end, we're really appreciative of them.
Matt: The one person that's a good fan and supportive, that conquers the 10 people that may hate us. Everybody has opinions. Social media has allowed people to hide behind their computers and phones and cast judgment. The same people probably would not have the nerve to say the things to our faces that they say about us online. We knew going into the show that things were going to be said, lied about, anything. You have to have thicker skin to do this and I think that it made us a stronger unit. There have been days where we've each been affected or bummed out because of something that was said or something we saw. We got over it together.
Kelly: Agreed. We talk about things. We vent about things and we just talk it through. We are a strong unit. In Kanye West’s words, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Matt: Isn’t that Kelly Clarkson?
Kim: I’m pretty sure that was Kelly Clarkson.
Kelly: We're going to take a bet. We're going to Google this later. We'll let you know. My point was that we're strong (fun fact, both Kelly Clarkson and Kanye West have nicked this quote from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche… as have at least 13 other musicians).
Where would you all like to see your relationship go from here? What's the dream scenario?
Matt: I think Kim wants to see our relationship in a moving van and leaving.
Kim: Kelly has to respect me and have boundaries. She's caressing me with her foot! (right now, Kim jokes). I think Kelly would give us some more space and just respect me and Matt’s relationship…
Kelly: Okay, your life would be boring. Boring.
Matt: I want boring! I want quiet. I want peace and quiet and a cleaner house. (Matt laughs) I think ideally, we would just all respect each other's space and have good relationships with one another. Obviously Kelly is not leaving the picture entirely.
Kelly: I am the picture, dear. I am the picture.
Watch I Love A Mama’s Boy S1 Wednesdays on TLC (DStv channel 135) at 21:00
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