Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, January 27, 2006

VH1: Surprisingly sensitive exploiter of celebrity addicts

I am on record as a fan of "Breaking Bonaduce," VH1's trainwreck reality series about the downward spiral of former child star Danny Bonaduce. Now I have been sucked in by another VH1 reality series about a walking disaster, "Celebrity Fit Club 3." The disaster in question is Jeff Conaway, who set the world on fire 25 years ago as one of the guys who wasn't Andy Kaufman or Danny DeVito on "Taxi" and the greaser guy who wasn't John Travolta in "Grease."

Bonaduce would probably feel pretty good about himself if he spent five minutes with Conaway, a true hard-luck case who claimed in the second episode of "Celebrity Fit Club 3" that he tried slitting his wrists at age 3. (With what? A rattle?) Losing love handles is the least of this guy's problems. He wandered through the first two episodes like Slash in the "Patience" video. Except with Slash, all he had to do was lay on a bed with his snake while slutty rock chicks were hustled in and out of his hotel room. Conaway was expected to engage in competitive canoeing and verbally spar with the likes of Tempest Bledsoe. The pressure must have been unbearable for a guy just looking for a bucket to puke in.

Sure enough, Conaway was gone by episode three after overdosing on pills and booze.

The "car crash" quality "Celebrity Fit Club 3" had early on is gone now, and the show is far less compelling as a result. (Were it not for my odd but undeniable crushes on Kelly LeBrock and Countess Vaughn, I'd probably tune out.) But as it showed with Bonaduce, VH1 seems to have real concern for the E-list celebs they put on the air. Conaway's health and well-being was put ahead of the show and he was sent off to rehab, even though VH1's product is suffering as a result.

Let's not give VH1 too much credit: Surely they knew how batcrap insane Conaway was when they signed him up. But by reality show standards, the network suits are practically St. Francis of Assisi. Still, I'm betting on Conaway making a surprise cameo in the final episode.


Anonymous mark said...

argh, wich i had vh1. i feel like i'm missing out on something. instead i spent all night (so far) kinda watching primetime shows and cooking random ingredents together to make "the perfect sauce". Some luck.. some.

Saw the OC the first time today. Exciting. . .

12:57 AM  
Blogger Thomas Roz said...

That can't be Kelly LeBrock. It just can't be. Why doesn't VH1 just piss on my formative teenage years some more and toss Phoebe Cates onto the celebrity flab pile? Seriously.

And c'mon ... you know "Breaking Conaway" is right around the corner. Or wait, they have to use alliteration, right? How bout "Cracking Conaway" or "Conning Conaway?" When they get OJ on the "Surreal Life," then I'll really be impressed.

1:16 AM  

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