Surely parents can do better than turn out children whose major goal in life is to be on television and become a star. But thanks to the "reality" show format, we're exposed on nearly every night of the week to young people parading their clawing, scraping ambition to become famous in nearly every desperate look-at-me field. The fad of look-at-me TV started with the singers on "American Idol" and has now branched into modeling, business building and acting. Why would anyone want to be an actor today, when TV is so full of "unscripted" programming?
NBC failed at the actor-reality concept with its series "The Next Action Star" -- no star was made -- but now, WB is floundering right out of the box with its desperate show, "The Starlet." It's lucky to capture one-tenth of the "American Idol" audience. WB calls it "the ultimate wish-fulfilling reality series," but the show's 10 aspiring actresses are competing fiercely for the humongous prize of some "starlet" minutes on the WB teen drama "One Tree Hill" -- as if anyone's heard of that show.
The WB's publicity's campaign to make this show sound as tough as military combat is almost comical. Contestants will have to survive "an intense Hollywood boot camp, complete with harrowing acting classes, agonizing live performances and brutally honest critiques" from a panel of judges. How rough a life have you had if you fear "harrowing acting classes"?
The show took the predictable turn into the gutter in Episode Two, in which the girls were told the theme was "seduction and passion," but they had no idea what it was they were going to be seducing. They started by acting slutty and sensual with -- you won't believe this -- a two-foot teddy bear in a director's chair. Now that's a "harrowing" acting class. Can you imagine how proud you'd be of your daughter making it to Hollywood so she could strip in front of a stuffed animal on national television?
From there, the competing starlets graduated to stripteases in front of male human beings, and in the end, everyone seemed most pleased with the performance of the 18-year-old contestant we're told is a virgin. Congratulations, you've come so far from that place of teenage innocence to convincing depravity with a stranger.