At the behest of Erin Medley, who recommended on our radio show this past week that I watch Confessions of a Teen Idol, I set my TiVo up to air one of VH1's umpteen repeats of the premiere. Last night, I had the “good fortune” to have a hole in my viewing schedule which I managed to squeeze this little reality nugget into.
In case you haven't heard of this show, it features a bunch of 1980s and '90s “teen idols” trying to get back just a wee little bit of the fame they either threw away or which passed them by. These one-time heartthrobs (folks like Jeremy Jackson and Christopher Atkins) have decided that they want to make a big comeback, and put aside whatever it is that they currently do – grand stuff like building swimming pools, working in “business,” or performing on a cruise ship – in order to recapture that which they (apparently deservedly) lost. Frankly, the whole thing is a little embarrassing and I felt more than a little dirty watching it.
I completely grasp the fact that these one-time stars would love to be stars again, and that they all want to use this show as a springboard to greater success. I actually believe that these guys have a greater chance of using a reality show to garner greater film/TV success than the typical reality show star (all of whom I tend to believe want to build on their reality TV fame with more roles down the line), after all, these guys have actually been a part of the business previously.
But, my understanding of what these guys are trying to do and my belief that they have a greater shot at success then most does not in anyway translate to my liking them or the show. These guys are all whiny and petulant, and I firmly believe that the vast majority haven't changed, at least in terms of their massive desire to hobnob with the rich and famous and have women run after them (from what we saw anyway).
There seemed to be some sort of sick one-upmanship taking place on the premiere. They former stars would talk to one another and their therapist about all the horrid things they'd overcome and/or how they were so much wiser now than they used to be. It was as if they were looking directly into the eyes of their fans – or, more likely a casting agent – and begging to once again be taken into the bosom of fame. It all reeked of desperation and certainly didn't endear any of them to me. I'm very happy that they all learned from their mistakes, but that doesn't mean I have to care what happens to them now.
The former stars' manipulative gestures went well beyond simply sobbing and moaning about their lost fame, various cast members did everything in their power to try and garner more camera time (and therefore have more casting agents eyes on them). One of them tried to hawk his nutty lifestyle and health remedies, another pretended like they were going to leave the show because they were oh-so-unhappy with how Scott Baio (host and producer) and Jason Hervey (producer) dared treat them. Never was there a real intent on this former star's part to leave, he just wanted to ensure that the editors had to give him more screen time.
It's a trap I won't fall into, which is why I haven't mentioned his name and why I pretty much done speaking about the show… now.