Friday, May 02, 2008

I Know This Show's Trash

One of the trashy reality shows I'm watching now is "I Know My Kid's A Star" with Danny Bonaduce. It's one of those VH1 shows that seems to serve no purpose but to give past-their-prime celebrities a paycheck. Although the premise is unique - Bonaduce, a former child star himself from "The Partridge Family," has enough of a familiarity with how the business can fuck up a kid's life that he's set himself up as the right person to determine who's got the stuff to make it in Hollywood. Or, more precisely, who, along with his or her parent, has the stuff. The show judges the parent as much - or more - than it does the child. (Which makes it nicely less squirm-inducing.)

But like any good hour of trash, the drama comes not from the competitions themselves (even though these are often about acting) but from the interactions in the house where the competitors live - in this show, the kids with their parents. Right now it's all moms, but at the start of the season, there were a couple of dads. You can imagine the cat fights when one mother crosses the path of another's ferocious defense of their child. One accused another of wearing hair extensions and even searched through all the trash cans looking for evidence of a discarded weave! Last night Danny even said that with their repeated "You went after my daughter, now I go after yours" sounded a lot like "The Sopranos."

I think the only reason I watch it is that the crazy is balanced with some really interesting and talented kids. One, a biracial girl who looks disarmingly identical to her icy-pale redheaded Mom (but with light African-American skin and kinky dark hair), is so good you know she's going to be a star. But then you wonder if being on this show is the right way to start that career, or is there too big a stigma attached to reality these days? Maybe she'll grow up to be a professional reality star, joining the stable of post-Real World and Road Rules quasi celebs who eke out a living doing other reality shows about reality shows.

Because you know how cannibalistic MTV/VH1 is about their own successes - right now they are already calculating how long they need to wait before scheduling the "My Kid's a Star - Where Are They Now?" series. (You think I'm kidding? "Which child do you think will be in rehab first" was a question posed to the parents during an interview in a recent episode.)


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