Monday, January 05, 2009
These former teen idols seem like some pretty nice guys
OK, I'm not saying I'm going to watch this show regularly. But while nursing a bad cold over the weekend, I lighted on VH-1's Confessions of a Teen Idol...and I actually didn't hate it.
Granted, I only watched it because there was nothing else on...and if it had even begun to exhibit the disgustingness (is that a word?) of most VH-1 reality shows, I would've zapped it immediately. But this gathering of formerly famous entertainers (other columnists and writers are labeling them "has-beens," "washed-up," etc), did catch my attention.
It's unclear what the aim of the show really is. Apparently it's to give the seven former "heart-throbs" another shot at fame, although the first episode didn't go into how that would be accomplished. I guess just being on the show will restore a measure of fame in itself.
To be honest, they kinda touched my heart in a weird way. Here were seven guys who had experienced pretty much the pinnacle of fame and adoration, and now they're back to being just normal guys.
All seven of them seem--at least from the initial episode--like nice guys. Most of them still retain the good looks that helped catapult them to fame--although Christopher Atkins of The Blue Lagoon (I'm sorry, but I always thought that was the lamest movie) and Adrain Zmed are looking pretty craggy, and Billy Hufsey (of, ironically, the show called Fame) is looking a little beefy.
A mean-spirited prank?
The show is produced by former kid stars themselves, Scott Baio and Jason Hervey. I'm sure a stunt played on the seven former idols was aimed at stirring up controversy and therefore drama for the show, but it did seem a bit mean-spirited.
Spoiler if you haven't watched it yet and intend to: the guys are told they're going to be the focus of a red-carpet event in which they'll be appearing for their "fans." They dress excitedly and are whisked away by limo, where, sure enough, a red carpet lined by (admittedly a rather small number of) fans and photographers awaits them.
Their eagerness as they wait backstage, hearing their names announced and cheering fans, is kind of sad...because you have a slight premonition that they're being set up.
The curtain rises, and Jason Hervey and Scott Baio are standing in an empty room. The cheering fans were nothing but sound effects.
Apparently it was supposed to be some sort of object lesson about the fleetingness of fame and how these guys need to have a tough skin if they want to make comebacks, but I thought it was lame.
So did the guys. In fact, a couple of them were positively irate at being punked and made to look like fools.
I've gotta say, I liked Adrian Zmed's attitude throughout the entire episode. Apparently he has a nice career as a cruise ship entertainer, so he lacks the desperation evinced by some of the other guys. He also actually seems to have some wisdom and maturity that comes across as very appealing.
Maybe it's just my thing to cheer for the underdog, but I found myself rooting for the guys. I'm not sure if I'll ever watch the show again, and maybe future episodes will reveal that some of them really are jerks, but I honestly wouldn't mind if they did succeed.