I've got to give it to VH1. Obviously feeling invincible with a supreme confidence that the audience will lap up whatever kitchy reality series they have to offer, the network won't let the minor speed bump that an idea is so brazenly stupid it would never get past a pitch on any other network stop them from putting forth a show the likes of which I've never seen. Having tested the waters with mindless, but harmless washed-up "celebreality" shows like "Hogan Knows Best", they dig deeper and go full force into kitch so bad it isn't funny with the unwatchable "Flavor of Love" and, arguably worse, a little puddle of TV bile called "Scott Baio is 45.. and Single".
Follow this premise around the room: Scott Baio is 45 and single. Got all that? It's not clear if VH1 thinks that Scott Baio is the first person in human history to turn 45 having never been married or if it is living in such an out-of-touch 80s Hollywood bubble that they think we would be so shocked at the idea of a rock-star celebrity "of Baio's caliber" being 45 and unmarried that we will have to tune in each week to see how this happened. I'll say it if nobody else will. Kids, it's OK to be 45 and single.
Suffering from this alien disease of being "45 and single", Baio feels he is a dysfunctional freak in need of therapy. Having been effectively castrated of his natural male desire to spread his seed and adopting the feminized notion that marriage and commitment is the only true path to happiness, he seeks to find out why he can't commit. He hires a life coach (who he nicknames Doc Ali) who puts him on a convoluted 8 week trail of self discovery that includes abstinence, making amends and attending a cuddle party in an attempt to get him to decide if he wants to marry his girlfriend or cut and run like always.
The premise is so laughable, so ripe for camp that under the eye of a network that knew better, "45" could deliver huge, unintentional laughs. I must admit the idea that this was even on the air had me laughing for 3 days until I actually saw it. Then the idea that his friends call him "Scott Baio" instead of just "Scott" had me laughing again. However, talking about this show is 10 times more fun than actually watching it. In the context of the show all that potentially explosively funny camp is smothered by an insufferably overbearing seriousness and a ridiculous sense of it's own importance.
Oh yes, it's phony. Oh no, it isn't funny. And there isn't a bit of insight to be learned from it. "45" simply recycles a bunch of propaganda and cliché we've been trained on our entire entertainment-viewing life: Don't be alone. Settle down. Get married to be happy. The intro croons "You can't be alone forever". It isn't entertainment, it's a lecture. Worse than any political lecture because it attempts to shape people's idea of happiness and self-worth.
A good reality/comedy must have an interesting subject. Witness "The Osbournes". Now witness Scott Baio, a spoiled jerk who can't be bothered with anything. He treats his fans like garbage and finds the minutia of every tiny thing to be just too much for him to deal with. "45" punishes us with Baio witticisms. After something like 2 weeks of abstinence Baio muses that after being celibate "that long" you might as well be a virgin again. He delivers unspeakably pathetic one-liners on agents, Hollywood, women and doesn't spare us from golf metaphors. Hey, VH1, where's my companion 2008 Scott Baio Quote of the Day Calendar?
Stranger still is the way "45" tries to have it's cake and eat it too. Buried in the pro-monogamy, anti-single messages is what basically amounts to a self-indulgent, masturbatory exercise in which Baio revels in regaling us with stories of all the women he slept with and the ease that he could get them in the same breath that he is trying to lambaste his own "terrible" piggish behavior. It goes something like this: "I once went out with one of the stars of 'ViP', not Pamela Anderson - although I did her too but the other one. Then after we had sex on the first date, I woke up and couldn't remember her name. Aren't I a jerk?".
You feel for him, don't you? Scott Baio has had a hard life. Decades of cheating on Playboy playmates with other Playboy playmates has caught up with him and reduced him to this cardinal sin of being 45 and single.
It's odd that Scott Baio flies into such a rage at the mere mention of Chachi or "Happy Days" when this is the show he should really be ashamed of.
0 stars / 4
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