Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Confessions of a Teen Idol

with 7 comments

From LA Times

In the endless discussion of the shared desire to resurrect their careers, none of these guys, not one, uses the word “acting” or even “performing.” Over and over they repeat their desire for the fame, but none expresses the least interest in the work that would get them there. Now, no one expects a graduate of “Baywatch” or “T.J. Hooker” to wax rhapsodic about their midlife desire to play Hamlet or Willy Loman, but the lack of even lip service to the profession they hope to reenter is perhaps the most significant thing about “Confessions of a Teen Idol.”

Fame isn’t even fame anymore; it’s just media exposure.

Gone is whatever tissue-thin belief remained that talent or skill or dedication is part of the equation. All you need to succeed in entertainment, according to “Confessions of a Teen Idol,” is the desire and the commitment to not act like a complete jerk. As Lawrence tells them with all the earnestness of a self-made expert, she is there to help them get back on top. And she is the help they need. Not a director or playwright or, heaven forbid, acting coach, but a celebrity expert to help them work through the scars of early fame.

I got up this morning and turned on the tele and this is what I see. I guess what I have been saying about Hollywood is actually true. There is no creativity left, less it seems also is dedication to craft or willingness to really work at something.

Now really, this guy from Fame? Shit I remember “Fame” the show and this guy had the acting ability of a lump of pudding. Now he wants that fame back? A tenuous fame at that back in the day.

So Chachi here is going to cash in some more on these guys pain and suffering. Whats likely though is that this show will do well as the mindless drama starved masses will watch this steaming pile of shit and think

“How can I get on a show like this?”

Even Andy Warhol is spinning in his grave on this one…

‘Confessions of a Teen Idol’ on VH1

Reality show shows just how far fading stars — Christopher Atkins, Jamie Walters, Jeremy Jackson, David Chokachi, Bill Hufsey, Eric Nies and Adrian Zmed — will go.
By MARY McNAMARA
Television Critic

January 2, 2009

Watching the premiere episode of VH1’s “Confessions of a Teen Idol,” it’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. The “refreshingly honest” (see VH1 promo notes) hook of this show is that fame is an addiction that drives many young stars onto various paths of self-destruction, and this show is going to help a group of them, now adults, find it again.

Presumably, VH1 will also be sending cases of Champagne to their local AA meetings.

Of the eight former teen idols showcased on the show, the best known is the host, Scott Baio, who recently recharged his career on VH1 with the reality show “Scott Baio Is 45 . . . and Single.” Still, he manages to use his former Chachi pinup status to express brotherhood with the seven actual participants while remaining safely aloof from the bachelor pad crucible in which the real “action” takes place.

There, the term “teen idol” has been granted the sort of elasticity one might suspect would be necessary to cast a show like this one. The still rather dreamy Christopher Atkins (he of “The Blue Lagoon”), Jamie Walters (” Beverly Hills, 90210″) and Jeremy Jackson (“Baywatch”) may have been bona fide teen idols, but the rest — David Chokachi (“Baywatch”), Bill Hufsey (TV’s “Fame”), Eric Nies (the original “The Real World”) and Adrian Zmed (“T.J. Hooker”) — well, perhaps they came after my Teen Beat-reading days, but they seem more like former teen stars than teen idols.

Be that as it may, they all have the basic where-are-they-now requirement. Except Zmed, who works as a singer and dancer on a cruise ship, none are full-time performers. Atkins, at least according to the Internet Movie Database, has kept his hand in showbiz, but his real job is building swimming pools; Nies, who has appeared on fitness videos and “Real World” reunion competitions, is a vegan life coach; Walters is a firefighter-paramedic; Jackson is still working to overcome drug and alcohol problems; and so on.

Still, they share the same basic desire: to get back into that corrosive limelight.

To do this, they are each willing, apparently, to share digs with six other grown men (Jackson, rather touchingly, points out that this will not be a problem for him as he has served time in jail and been in and out of rehab), undergo group therapy administered by “celebrity psychology expert” Cooper Lawrence and, during the first episode anyway, endure being pranked by Baio and child star turned producer Jason Hervey (“The Wonder Years”). All in the contradictory and more than unsettling pursuit of exploring their addiction to fame while actively courting it once again.

It is not a competition but a drama. No one will get voted off the soundstage, though some may try to flee in disgust that may be real or scripted. In many ways, “Confessions” is like “Celebrity Rehab” without the rehab, which turns out to be a large and significant omission. As shamefully entertaining as it might be to see what has happened to these young stars, to observe the changes that age and, in some cases, hard living have wrought, the premise of this show is such a naked submission to the most shallow and troubling aspect of our culture that it might require its own special rating.

In the endless discussion of the shared desire to resurrect their careers, none of these guys, not one, uses the word “acting” or even “performing.” Over and over they repeat their desire for the fame, but none expresses the least interest in the work that would get them there. Now, no one expects a graduate of “Baywatch” or “T.J. Hooker” to wax rhapsodic about their midlife desire to play Hamlet or Willy Loman, but the lack of even lip service to the profession they hope to reenter is perhaps the most significant thing about “Confessions of a Teen Idol.”

Fame isn’t even fame anymore; it’s just media exposure.

Gone is whatever tissue-thin belief remained that talent or skill or dedication is part of the equation. All you need to succeed in entertainment, according to “Confessions of a Teen Idol,” is the desire and the commitment to not act like a complete jerk. As Lawrence tells them with all the earnestness of a self-made expert, she is there to help them get back on top. And she is the help they need. Not a director or playwright or, heaven forbid, acting coach, but a celebrity expert to help them work through the scars of early fame.

Watching these guys preen, watching Baio and Hervey smugly rationalize humiliating grown men on TV, all I could think of were the countless hardworking, dedicated actors in this town who have watched their fees slip and their opportunities dry up as reality shows like this one have steadily replaced all the comedies and dramas and procedurals that once kept them employed.

Should a miracle occur and one or two prove they still have what it takes (Atkins has the looks, but my money’s on Zmed, who remains a dedicated performer), they will find that work is harder to come by than it was in their heyday.

But then as “Confessions” makes abundantly and unabashedly clear, it’s not about the work or the talent. It’s all about feeding the addiction.

Written by Krypt3ia

2009/01/03 at 08:25

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. I totally agree!

    I do not watch tv anymore.. with the exception of Sunday Morning..(the show) and the Sunday evening cartoon line up on Fox.

    I can’t stand it.

    Although… I have head there have been some good shows.. I just don’t have time.

    I am VERY nostalgic, however, for old TV. (which you can now go into target and buy the entire series of THE GOLDEN GIRLS or LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE….)

    I think that for the most part tv has never been about “real acting”… it is a different medium than film. I think of course there has been ExCELLENT writing for TV and excellent shows and character developments… but the TV has degraded down into ratings and “exposure” and $$. Which is unfortunate.. because it is a powerful medium.

    But we live in that hyper “FAME” age. I suspect most “famous” people come out of the woodwork because they 401K is a little light and they need to make some more $$. They can come out.. show their mug.. fake a few tears… people like me take a look… get nostalgic and poof.. on to the next thing.

    I think it is something to ponder with regards to the overall evaluation of where we are in day and age..

    Thanks for posting this..

    btw.. as a girl growing up in the 70’s and 80’s.. I just thought Christopher Atkins was really really cute!! ;>P lol!..

    caelidh

    2009/01/03 at 09:25

  2. Oh. One more thing

    I was thinking about Soap Opera “stars”. Unless one watches Soap Operas (as I admittedly did back in the early 80’s with the GENERAL HOSPITAL hysteria at the time and Luke and Laura)

    most of those actors are LONG TIME players. I am AMAZED that these folks can play the same character for 30 years!!!.. day in day out.. clock in.. come in play your part.. clock out…

    but most of these people are never break out. There have been a few.. but most never seem to desire to go and seek other acting areas in the movies or plays or whatever.. they like their comfortable role and probably hope that their character doesn’t get killed off!!

    Bizaar.. utterly strange but there you have it!!

    I think that there are STILL “actors” that are in these shows since from the beginning of the show.. they are the 80 year Matron or whatever.. but they are still kicking it around… strange…

    caelidh

    2009/01/03 at 09:30

  3. There has been some really good television in the last ten years, and you can find it all listed under “An HBO Original Series.”

    Oz, Big Love, Six Feet Under, DEADWOOD, Sex and the City uncut… Great stuff if you ever have a long flight and need some entertainment.

    evilegg

    2009/01/03 at 10:21

  4. I’ve never understood the whole ‘celebrity/celebroid’ thing. I’m the sort of person who prefers to avoid the limelight and attention – seeking such a thing has never occurred to me. I did get enamored with one or two actors, but digging into their personal lives, I kept getting stories about how grinding the whole industry was, and how hard it was to balance privacy and public life.

    I hate ‘reality’ shows. They’re like a cancer on the whole industry. They look for the most extraverted, narcissistic, mentally unstable and desparate people they can, scribble up a block diagram of the trials they’ll put them through, and stick cameras in their faces and tape their every little move.

    Boring.

    sunfell

    2009/01/03 at 10:29

  5. I’ve never understood the whole ‘celebrity/celebroid’ thing. I’m the sort of person who prefers to avoid the limelight and attention – seeking such a thing has never occurred to me. I did get enamored with one or two actors, but digging into their personal lives, I kept getting stories about how grinding the whole industry was, and how hard it was to balance privacy and public life.

    I hate ‘reality’ shows. They’re like a cancer on the whole industry. They look for the most extraverted, narcissistic, mentally unstable and desparate people they can, scribble up a block diagram of the trials they’ll put them through, and stick cameras in their faces and tape their every little move.

    Boring.

    sunfell

    2009/01/03 at 10:29

  6. Yeah.. see.. that is the problem.. I don’t get FULL cable. I am sort of jealous.. I know I keep hearing all this great stuff.. but I honestly don’t have a ton of time to watch tv…and I am not wiling to spend 40 or 50 bucks a month to get these extra channels. I think I will wait when they are in the library

    caelidh

    2009/01/03 at 12:26

  7. Yeah.. see.. that is the problem.. I don’t get FULL cable. I am sort of jealous.. I know I keep hearing all this great stuff.. but I honestly don’t have a ton of time to watch tv…and I am not wiling to spend 40 or 50 bucks a month to get these extra channels. I think I will wait when they are in the library

    caelidh

    2009/01/03 at 12:26


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