I swore I was NOT GOING TO WATCH THIS. Seriously, I think that the reality shows on MTV and VH1 are to the genre what MD 20/20 and Thunderbird are to Moet and Chandon. I always avoid them like the plague, and won't even use my remote to find either channel - and it's not that hard. But I used not turning there as the excuse not to watch and so I didn't. But lo and behold, some of my friends on a message board I frequent started yakking about it and the more details they gave, the more intriguing it sounded. So since I surf the web a lot, I figured...why not try one or two clips? It's not like I'm making a major commitment or anything.
Well, that's like having an alcoholic just do "one or two shots". Because the full episodes are on the VH1 website, I had plowed through the first two in no time at all, and was sniffing around for Number Three.
As celebrity car crashes go, this is the one I definitely couldn't tear my eyes away from. Executive Producers Scott (JOANIE LOVES CHACHI) Baio and Jason (THE WONDER YEARS) Hervey, former teen heartthrobs themselves, took seven former idols from the late Seventies/early Eighties who have seen much better (and definitely worse) days, put the Carrot Of Fame on a hook, dangled it in front of these poor guys and posed the question: "Wanna have another bite?"
Every one of them tasted all the ridiculously rich fruit that came from having enormous success and having it early, and all of them, whether it was because they walked away from it, had it snatched from them or simply fell out of the public eye, have lost it all. And watching them being exploited to the hilt in an almost desperate quest to get a piece of that old life back is uncomfortable, jaw-dropping, embarrassing and as humiliating for the audience at times as it has to be for them. It's also mesmerizing and even funny as hell, as they face down therapy sessions, focus groups, makeovers and their own haunted pasts.
It's also the wish list of the girl from that song about being "stuck in 1985." You have Adrian Zmed (T.J. Hooker), David Chokachi and Jeremy Jackson, (BAYWATCH), Billy Hufsey (FAME), Christopher Atkins (THE BLUE LAGOON and A NIGHT IN HEAVEN), Jamie Walters (BEVERLY HILLS 90210 - the ORIGINAL, not the current remix) and Eric Nies from THE REAL WORLD and those MTV exercise videos I used to hate (because I NEVER looked like any of those people, even in my twenties.)
Should I be ashamed of myself for even being able to remember all these guys? Probably...about as ashamed and embarrassed as I should be to admit that I even know this show exists. But you've seen the title of this review, right? Plus I already watch American IDOL. AND SURVIVOR. And even (=gasp=) MOMMA'S BOYS. I think I'm just about shame-proof by now.
Plus, when all is said and done, you can't help but wish these guys well, no matter what the outcome. After all, in many ways I grew up with them, and I'm plenty older and probably even less wiser than any of them. So I'M going to judge? Nope. So if you are, I hope you have plenty of wiggle room on top of your ivory pedestal to get comfy...before something or someone comes and knocks you right off of it.
Because as this show proves more than a little - sooner or later, it happens to EVERYBODY.
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