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Keep Your Feet on the Ground And Keep Reaching For The Remote June 18, 2008

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, TV.
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It was for most of the people in my generation, the show we honestly believed we could someday be on. It had everything one could hope for in an 80’s TV show. Blue and red laser lights in glass tubes? Check. Fog at inopportune moments? Yup. A synth heavy opening theme complete with star wipes and Polaroid picture outlines of last week’s show? Oh, hells yeah. And the host? Big, sweaty, with that kind of assistant principal thing going on. It was Star Search. It was Ed McMahon. It was our dream.

And when it left the air, it left, not with a bang, but with a whimper, we wondered how? This show which produced such talented mainstays as Rosie O’Donnell, Alanis Morissette and the guy from the commercial that did the thing with the thing, couldn’t just fade away. Like a supernova, it collapsed into itself. It exploded and left its talent full goodness all over our TV landscape.

Think about it? They packed so much talent and had such a laundry list of people waiting to get on that the show begat other talent competition themed extravaganzas. And now each show was its own entity. Like Europe after WWII or when the Beatles embarked on solo careers, each section of the show now had its’ moment to shine.

The comics? Well, NBC gave them Last Comic Standing. They even employed semi-famous judges to rate the talents of people who are marginally less famous than they are (a Star Search tradition). And while Bill Bellamy is only slightly less sweaty than Ed McMahon (anyone who actually signed on to be in DefJam’s How To Be a Player cannot not HAVE a post traumatic sweat disorder), the show still gives you comics, fighting it out to be the next person to host a VH1 reality show, open a Harris Teeter in Wisconsin or date one of the ugly interns on an E! show. The comics still have chance to shine, even if they’re not getting 3 and ¾ stars anymore.

The singers? Of course, you’ve got your American Idol, your Nashville Idol, your Singing Office, your Rock Star: The Search to replace a guy who was only marginally successful and died due to asphyxiation related to masturbation (though they shortened that to INXS, which I think was a good choice). And now, not only are there the marginally successful judges, but we get to see the audition process. Star Search just gave you the best of the best. Our tastes have changed though since the go get em 80’s (I think it has to do with the fact that 1 out of every 3 people was on cocaine) and we now want, nay, NEED to see people fail. And fail miserably. And rewind to the exact moment when they have the realization that their dreams are shattered. Now that’s worth a hundred version of Mariah Carey for me.

The Spokesmodels? Thanks Tyra! You have given us a whole show based on a medium where there is no speech required. It’s all about looks and body type. And while you are trying to manufacture drama by placing several women in a house, the whole point of the old Star Search was you only heard the models talk when sending you out to a commercial. While your show provides more opportunities than Star Search could, it’s not as much fun watching girls frolic in a hot tub than watching them play in a Hollywood constructed beach scene. Call me crazy but if I want to watch women I have no shot with dance around, I’ll head to the strip club. At least there they have a good buffet.

Which brings us to the dancers. And while I don’t think I ever saw a good set of dancers on the show (or a group that didn’t rent their clothes from Stereotypical Pseudo Gay Leotard Emporium…where every fifth headband is free), apparently there are millions of them. TV has given us So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Fever, Step Up and Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, Your Mama Don’t Dance, Dancing With The stars (where the marginally talented are no longer judging but getting involved), Dance, Dance, Dance, Baked beans and Dance, and of course, Hey, Douchebag, Get Up and Dance! Apparently there are too many amazing hoofers that one, nay, seven shows was not enough. I have never seen these people. I know no great dancers. Maybe I am spending my time at too many suburban weddings, night clubs and the local Y, but I know nobody who dances that well. Maybe that’s why? Maybe they are all waiting somewhere in a giant cattle call, hoping David Hasselhoff gives them a thumbs up.

So Star Search may have left but its babies still dot the landscape like so much tasty goodness. Maybe that’s why the Arsenio Hall retread never succeeded. Because a house divided against itself cannot stand. Abe Lincoln said that.

And the Gettysburg Address received….3 and a half stars.

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