Joan & Melissa: Joan Know Best?

Say what you will about Joan Rivers (God knows she's probably already said it funnier), but the woman really is a piece of work.

Last night, the legendary cut-up kicked off her new reality show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best, and proved to us all that Betty White isn't the only woman of a certain age worth watching these days. Loaded down with more baggage than a Bachelor contestant and enough opinions to put Fox News in a fetal position, Rivers also showed that she's as gutsy as some of her own material as she traded 21 years in Manhattan for Malibu to crash with daughter and red-carpet comrade Melissa. Did hilarity ensue? Sure. But so did some unexpected drama.

Of course, we don't mean Real Housewives levels of drama. No tables or weaves were injured in the filming of the pilot episode, nor did anyone record a dance single. But it seems like we're in for a combo of comedy and real-life emotional conflict, be it their clashing views on Melissa's buxom Swedish nanny (to whom Joan had a priceless reaction), or mom's hurt over being kept in the dark about her daughter's live-in beau. And that's what was so refreshing about last night's opener: The interactions between these two felt like the real deal, not a series of staged celebrity reactions built on trumped-up situations like that Harry Hamlin-Lisa Rinna mess. There's a prickly, familiar, hilarious vibe going on here, and god bless 'em, the ladies don't hold back when it comes to expressing their obvious affection for and occasional annoyance with one another. If they keep this kind of brutal, bawdy honesty up all season, there's no doubt fans will get to see both Riverses at their Best and worst.

So can we talk? What did you think of Joan & Melissa last night?

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!