Monday, July 7, 2008
"The Two Coreys" marathon
Because it's what she wanted to do, I spent the evening watching something like eight consecutive episodes of the reality show The Two Coreys over at my friend's house. If entertainment culture is a dying man crawling across a parched desert, then celeb-reality TV is the buzzard that is circling near him and waits patiently for a nibble.
It's a simple equation: Corey Feldman + Corey Haim + 2008 = Roman spectacle of terror.
The thing is, the Coreys were only quasi-heroes even back in the Eighties, and the whole point of this new TV show is for America to gaze at the tragic sight of "the teen-dreams that time forgot" -- in their mid-thirties now, looking the worse for wear, pale shadows of whatever cultural relevance they once possessed. Feldman spends his days pitching "celebrity road-trip" shows to reality-TV producers, while chain-smoking Haim (who looks like he's been through the same physical mangling as Mark Hamill) paces around an apartment bemoaning his lack of acting work. Since Haim looks like a pirate in a seedy pirate bar, he's probably going to be limited to roles in pirate movies.
Every reality-TV show is predicated on something vaguely creepy, and here it's the twisted, onion-layered relationship between two solipsistic child-stars-turned-punchlines. They see a couples therapist together, blame one another for the abuse they endured in their years of teenage stardom, and now scheme pathetically to out-do one another (including a tit-for-tat hiring of personal assistants).
I have to hope that the whole show is essentially a put-on, because in that case I could appreciate the joke. But I suspect this is actually a lot closer to the uncomfortable truth. America has discovered that celebrities really are as screwed up as the rest of us, except with more money -- and the B-listers out there seem to be lined up 100 deep for a chance to confirm this grimly fascinating truth. At least Feldman scored a hot wife and a swank house...Haim looks to be not far off from a job in pizza delivery. In any case, it's a sad sight to see these two pinning all their hopes on cameos in the direct-to-video Lost Boys sequel. With the rise of reality TV, the "quiet desperation" of American life is now getting most of the primetime slots on cable.