There was a brief era in television history when The Osbournes seemed fresh and interesting. Who didn't fall in love with grumpy, ol' Oz and his profanity-spewing brood? It was an inspiration to this nation's dysfunctional families to see that, yes, life can work itself out despite decades of drug abuse, a domineering spouse, and hopelessly spoiled, selfish children. Good for Ozzy! Good for us! But even as we moved on with our lives to seek other forms of pacification (pathetic single women in Alaska, for instance), TV executives are still living in the past, working tirelessly to bring us the next Osbournes. Despite the fact that the show's initial charm (see the aging rock star get sassed by his green-haired kids!) can't be replicated, that won't stop the networks from bringing us hours upon hours of "intimate" footage of has-been celebrities trying to resuscitate their careers by acting "normal." Here's the worst of what we'll soon be watching.
Honorable Mention: The Osbournes Season Two
Have we not seen all the queasy moments of reality that the Osbourne family has to offer? Must we witness Ozzy struggle with treacherous garbage bags once more? Can we really be touched by his affection for small, yappy dogs all over again? Do we really give a rat's ass what personal injustices Kelly and Jack are whining about? No, no, no
As follow-up series go, MTV could've done worse than Diary Presents: BrandySpecial Delivery, a mini-documentary following the pop star as she prepares to give birth (which she did two days before the show's debut). Unlike most other proposed or in-production Osbournes rip-offs, Special Delivery at least has a genuine life-changing event to record. But even this seems prepackaged for public consumption. "From baby showers and doctors visits to photo shoots and recording sessions, fans will get an inside look at what this working expectant mom's daily routine is like," promises MTV's senior vice president of development. But why stop theredoes the newborn have a publicist yet? Let's delve into the daily routine of a celebrity babyits squirming, its burping, its innermost thoughts!
We must admit that as ranters go, Mr. Rotten is more accomplished than most. In fact, on-camera ranting seems to have superceded his career as a punk-rock musician. The former singer for The Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. is now most familiar to viewers of VH1 as the fellow who said "piss off" a lot on Rotten Television. While the thought of watching John Lydon burst several blood vessels each week assailing hapless oafs isn't altogether unappealing, the premise for his reality show is. According to foxnews.com, "There is even talk of punk legend John Lydon, a.k.a. Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten, who has two grown adopted black children, filming a new take on the 1970s sitcom Diff'rent Strokes " Please, oh television gods, spare us the sight of Johnny Rotten dispensing fatherly advise in a gruff but lovable manner.
Sean "P. Diddy," nee "Puffy," Combs
Sean Combs is not a particularly strong rapper, he doesn't dance very well, he certainly can't sing, and his production skills in the recording studio consist mostly of acquiring old songs and then putting rather lame rap lyrics on top of them. Nevertheless, he is a millionaire. Mr. Combs is the American dream realized: Despite his near total lack of genuine talent, he reached the summit of achievement in his field through pure hype. Now, his marketing plan/life will reach its ultimate zenith with "a reality show focusing on his professional life" being considered by MTV. Ah, just imagine the hours and hours of entertainment to be had by watching P. Diddy act like an important executive/producer/artist/homeboy! Why, there'll be cell-phone conversations aplenty, not to mention many dazed looks of disorientation (which appears to be his most natural state) as he's shuttled around by his handlers. Might not there be autograph sessions with adoring fans? Yes! How about late-night visits to dance clubs with an entourage of gun-toting thugs? No!
You would think that months of exposure during the televised O.J. Simpson trial would be all that America could possibly stand of Brian "Kato" Kaelin's singular presence. But somewhere in the Hollywood hills there are determined television producers who strongly feel that we viewers yearn for more of Kato's un-star quality. And here's the ironic twist: Playing off his reputation as the nation's most famous house guest, Kaelin will knock on the doors of unsuspecting families and invite himself to live with them as their house guest! Do you get it? Eh? With a pilot episode in the can, it's only a matter of time before we can watch weekly episodes of House Guest, starring the aging beach boy of our saddest dreams as he fumbles for something funny to say to his aghast hosts.
Anna Nicole Smith
From what dark, sulfuric pit of hell was this show conceived? Of all the pathetic non-celebrities to choose from, why did the E! Network pick the one whose lifeamazing as this may seemis the most void of meaning? Ms. Smith enjoys fame for two reasons: 1. Exposing her artificial breasts, and 2. Marrying an 89-year-old billionaire and getting $88 million after he kicked off. As a personality, she exudes all the charm, wit, and intelligence of a perfect vacuum. She is the worst kind of celebrity: not just talentless but boring.
Not to worry, though. According to E! executive Jeff Shore, as quoted on foxnews.com, "We've gone with Anna to the dentist, we've gone with her to a Guess? jeans 20th anniversary party, we're going to go with her to get her driver's license." A trip to the DMVnow that's television entertainment! But if that thrill ride doesn't immediately set your pulse racing, then consider this promise from the esteemed subject herself: "People will see me and see that I have a little talent and start taking me seriously as an actress." Yes, indeedby sharing Anna Nicole Smith's fascinating real-life trips to the dentist, we will at last view her not just as a bimbo who traded her soul for a mountain of cash, but as a true actress. Who can forget her last dramatic role as terrorist-fighting helicopter pilot Carrie Wisk in 1995's Skyscraper? Certainly not any of the people who mistakenly rented this straight-to-video epic at Blockbuster.
"My life is funny," Ms. Smith insists. "There are things that happen to me all the time. And it just is funny." Unfortunately, these scenes won't be "funny ha-ha," but rather "funny nauseous-feeling-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach-as-you-witness-yet-more-degradation-of-the-human-spirit." Thanks, E!
July 12, 2002
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