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Surreal Life 3: Six Degrees of Desperationby Mel Ellis -- 09/06/2004
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When our esteemed editor-in-chief said he needed someone to cover Surreal Life 3, my first thought was, "who's more desperate than Vanilla Ice?" Now I know. We know it's not the WB, who passed on any more surreal lives when they thought the series had hit bottom: Tammy Faye and porn star Ron Jeremy. VH1 gallantly stepped up to the plate to prove that, au contraire, there is much more desperation in Hollyweird (as Andy Dick would say). So, who's more desperate than Vanilla Ice? Let's see...
Well, there's Dave Coulier. Billed on the VH1 site as "Full House nice guy," it left me wondering who was the evil guy on that show. Maybe Mary-Kate (or Ashley) was an evil twin; I should check out the reruns, I guess. If anyone knows who the bad guy was, let me know. Anyway, as I remember it, Dave Coulier was the annoying camera hog who thought his Bullwinkle impressions were funny and desperately tried (in vain) to make "Cut. It. Out." (with accompanying hand motions) a rival to Fonzie's "Aaaaayyyy" (with accompanying hand motions). I have to say, I never saw anyone doing that here in the Midwest. Maybe it was different on the coasts. If anyone used that catch phrase or saw someone doing it, please let me know. I actually like to remember Dave as the subject of Alanis Morrissette's great anger in her smash hit album, Jagged Little Pill. Interesting tidbit, to me anyway: her song, “You Oughta Know,” was about him: "I'm here, to remind you/of the mess you left when you went away... That's the song that immortalizes her pleasuring, well, Dave, apparently, in a theater. I call that too much information, m'self. She seems really ticked at him. Maybe he made her use the catch phrase once too often. Anyway, who's joining Dave to in being surreal?
Charo is joining Dave. Charo, who proudly proclaims that she guest-starred on The Love Boat more than anyone else. Charo, whom I can't remember being a star until she guest-starred on The Love Boat more than anyone else. Yeah, she's desperate enough to get surreal with Dave (when I say, "get surreal," I make a kind of wispy veil motion with two hands in front of my face. I hope it catches on like Cut. It Out. Let me know if you see anyone doing it). Charo is billed as "Mrs." Cuchi Cuchi herself, which begs the question who is Mr. Cuchi and what was Charo's maiden name? To her credit, she looks the same as I remember: big hair and thick accent. She's ready to be surreal. Who else is as ready as Charo?
Flava Flav, apparently. I have no idea who that is, but VH1 bills him as a "hip hop jester." I expect humorous rap musings from him and will be satisfied with no less. Being the committed journalist I am, I "Googled" his name and found out that he was in Howard Stern's Citizen Kane-like movie, Private Parts. He was also part of the rap group Public Enemy. I remember Public Enemy vaguely, from the start of rap music in the ‘80s. According to Trouser Press, the self styled "bible" of alternative rock, Public Enemy was "a militant mouthpiece for an abstractly violent form of black nationalism that owes its aggressive stance (if nothing in the way of a cogent vision) to the Black Panthers." Wow. Bet Flav's political debates with Charo will be a hoot.
Certainly there is no one ready to be as surreal as Flav (real name, William Drayton)? Let's try ex-Mrs. Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen. That's all the billing VH1 gives her on its website. You ask, "Mel, there has to be more to Brigitte, no?" So true. According to IMDb, Brigitte is a multitasker, an "actress, model, presenter (presenter?), and singer. Her big break was with Gov'ner Arnold in Red Sonja in 1985. Since then, her career has taken off with such hits as 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor and everyone's favorites, Fantaghiro' 2, and its sequels, The Double 0 Kid, and Chained Heat II. Her six degrees of desperation connection to Surreal Life is via Corey Feldman, with whom she acted in that cinematic classic, She's Too Tall.
Surely no one's as desperate for airtime as Brigitte? Well, I'll have to leave that to the viewers, as I think she's in for a run for her money with Ryan Starr. Anyone? Ryan was the normally named Tiffany Something when she first auditioned for American Idol, Season 1. By the time she made finals, she had renamed herself Ryan Starr. (I'd love to say more, but her fans seem a bit rabid, so I'll leave it at that.) Couldn't find anything other than fan websites, which could explain why she's here.
But wait, there's more. We have ex-New Kid on the Block, Jordan Knight joining this motley crew (hey: I made my own connection! Vince Neil, Motley Crue. This game is fun!). Once again, your dogged reporter goes the extra step to find out what JK's been up to since he moved from the Block. First and foremost, Jordan might be coming to a theater near you. According to Ticketmaster.com, JK's still touring, and some pretty legit places, like L.A.'s The Roxy. If you want to know more, just Google him; Google returned 1,210,000 sites for Jordan. Just looking at that number made me tired, so I'll leave it to you to do further research. However, I wonder why he felt he needed to go on this show. We'll have to see, won't we?
Mel Ellis knows what it's like to struggle with fame, having had one line in the high school play and made a short commercial at age 14. Despite this early harbinger of fame, Mel chucked it away to be an attorney. Mel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, criticisms, or offers for Surreal Life 4.
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