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"Get This Party Started" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 02/08/2006

Do you know what the only thing that was surprising about UPN's “feel-good” reality show “Get This Party Started?”  The fact that its theme song wasn't “Let's Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas.  Otherwise, nothing on this show surprised me.

The show attempts to help people through their tragedies by throwing them a party.  Yes…a party.  As my mom would say, “Whoop-de-kadoo, Batman.”  Each week, a team of party planners to the stars, led by special events coordinator Lara Shriftman of Harrison & Shriftman Event Specialists, along with hosts Kristin Cavallari and Ethan Erickson, works with one person’s friends and family to plan a surprise party for them.  They have two days to put this party together.  They give this person a fake reason why the cameras are following them around, and they keep this person in the dark until the reveal.

In the first episode, we meet Arin and Alexis Jones, both students at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, whose family house was one of the casualties of Hurricane Katrina.  The family has been living in a hotel ever since, and the sisters have had to be the breadwinners, since the father, who was the co-owner of a bride & groom reception hall and limo service, lost his business in the hurricane. Alexis had to put her 21st birthday plans on hold so that she could help the family out.  So…is the show going to help rebuild the Jones family’s house and business?  No…they are going to throw Alexis a surprise birthday party!  Younger sister Arin is the “party accomplice,” and she is in charge of keeping Alexis in the dark.  The excuse given to her as to why there are cameras around is that they have been chosen to audition for a talent show.  Since they are both very good singers, this isn’t hard to believe as an excuse.  Their idols are the R&B group Mary Mary, and they like to sing their songs.  They are flown out to Las Vegas and they are put up in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  They get the VIP treatment (do audition hopefuls on FOX’s “American Idol” get that?), while Arin has to keep up with excuses to slip away and help set up the party.  Alexis starts to become suspicious, so in order to keep the ruse going, they meet with a music producer named Warryn “Baby Dubb” Campbell, who coincidentally produced for Mary Mary.  Next, they have makeovers done by professional hairstylists and makeup artists (again…why the VIP treatment for people who are just auditioning? What if they sucked?)  Finally, they do the reveal.  Right before that, they have to wait in line with a bunch of other “audition hopefuls” who aren’t nearly as dressed up as they are.  Once they get into the “audition room,” a huge crowd filled with their friends and family surprises Alexis.  Of course, she is surprised, but I bet in the back of her mind she was thinking, “A party?  So…no audition?  No chance to become a famous singing star?  Ain’t this a b***h!”  Along with the party, according to her, the surprises just kept coming and coming.  They were given a family photo shoot with a professional photographer, 21 items of clothes (which Arin also got), and the chance to sing with…you guessed it…Mary Mary.  Finally, the family was given a new Ford Explorer (aside from the party, Alexis apparently didn’t get anything that was hers alone.)  Now…the family can go back to Baton Rouge in their new car filled with a new wardrobe for both girls and stay once again in their cramped hotel room that they can barely afford, since the dad is continuing to rebuild the business still.  Ah…fun times.

I’ve never seen MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” but I have no idea why Cavallari has become the new “it” girl.  She’s about as average as I’ve seen on any other reality show.  The same thing goes for Erickson, an actor who has only had bit parts on various TV shows.

The show borrows heavily from other shows.  The first and most obvious one is ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”  Since I don’t like that Emmy-winning reality show, it’s a good sign that I won’t like this one.  At least that show attempts to rebuild their recipients’ lives with a new house.  NBC’s short-lived “Three Wishes” also had their hearts in the right place by helping out with their individual problems (even A&E’s “Random 1” was more effective on a smaller scale.)  After that, it would have to be MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” and Bravo’s “Party/Party.”  Part of the fun of those shows is seeing spoiled kids whine about their parties.  These people on this show don’t even know that there is a party going on until the reveal, so they have nothing to complain about.

Get This Party Started” has to be the cheapest way for UPN to fill time that I’ve ever seen.  I guess that they figured that this show would be better than repeating old “America’s Next Top Model” episodes.  According to overnight ratings though, it did very badly, so maybe they should continue to rerun “ANTM.”  It doesn’t matter anyway…since UPN is soon to become the CW…and I’m pretty sure that this party won’t be included in that lineup.

Get the first season of Kristin Cavallari's MTV show:


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Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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