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"The Surreal Life" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 01/22/2003

Celebrity versions of reality shows are now in vogue, and I don’t have a problem with them.  Just like their “real person” counterpart, they can vary in degree by quality.  I wasn’t too impressed by “Celebrity Boot Camp” on FOX or “Celebrity Fear Factor” on NBC, but I do like ABC’s “Celebrity Mole Hawaii” (see my review.)  I also like the WB’s new show, “The Surreal Life,” which might as well be called “Celebrity Real World.”


Seven celebrities were chosen to live together for ten days to see what it was like when they stopped being polite, and started getting real (sorry, I had to do that!)  Those seven celebrities are: Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe, MC Hammer, Emmanuel Lewis (“Webster”), Corey Feldman (Goonies, Stand by Me), 2001 Playboy Playmate of the Year Brande Roderick, Gabrielle Carteris (played Andrea Zuckerman on FOX’s “Beverly Hills, 90210”), and Jerri Manthey (“Survivor: Australia.”)  They gather together to live amongst each other in country star Glenn Campbell’s former mansion.  For some reason his mansion only has three bedrooms, so they have to bunk together.  Neil and Feldman are in the “bad boy” room, Hammer and Lewis are in the second room, and the three women are in the third room.  Manthey was apparently a last minute change to the line-up, because apparently Robin Givens (“The Howard Stern Show”) was supposed to be the seventh celebrity, as Roderick tells us repeatedly.  Every day, they are sent a daily tabloid-looking newspaper that tells them what their day’s activities will be.  It also stirs up trouble by letting the housemates know what the others have said, like that Roderick would have preferred having Givens there instead of Manthey.  Manthey is the last to arrive, giving the other celebrities plenty of time to complain that she wasn’t a “real celebrity” because none of them had heard of her.  They had all heard rumors about her; the main one was that she was a bitch.  The celebrities are given various tasks, like shopping for their groceries (with a $500 budget) and giving brownies to the neighbors (shouldn’t it be the other way around?) to see how they handle it.  The finale is supposed to include Feldman’s wedding to his girlfriend Susie.


This show is great!  I love how whiny these so-called celebrities are!  Even the producers of this show realize that none of these people have been on the A-list for years.  The tag line of the show is, “when the stars fall from sight ... this is where they crash.”  This could be considered the second official “reality sitcom” (right behind MTV’s “The Osbournes” of course.)  Their delusions of grandeur seem to slip in and out.  They think they are too famous to go camping or visit a truck stop at one point, and the next, they realize that this might be their chance to make it again and that “real people” do these activities every day without complaint.


The star of the show is clearly Feldman.  He seems to hog the camera time constantly and he complains so much about their situation and his own life that his housemates get tired of it.  He is the main source of conflict in the house, and judging by the previews, this will be the case throughout the season.


My only complaint is that they should have made “Celebrity Big Brother” instead of “Celebrity Real World.”  Think how many more fights and conflict (or possible hook-ups, besides the disturbing one in the second episode between Manthey and Lewis) there would be if they couldn’t leave the house and were denied contact with the outside world.  In addition, ten days just isn’t long enough.  If it were anyone other than celebrities with egos bigger than Mount Rushmore, then it would be boring, since ten days isn’t long enough to generate any real tension.


Check out “The Surreal Life.”  Either you will be disgusted at the snobby attitudes of these celebrities, or you will have the reaction I had, which is that these celebrities are severely fooling themselves.  I find that incredibly funny.


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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