Stay Tuned
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Friday, July 20, 2007

My New Guilty Pleasure

With “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” wrapping up its season Tuesday, I need to pick a new guilty pleasure and last Sunday, I found it—VH1’s “Scott Baio is 45…and Single.”

I call “Kathy” a guilty pleasure because there are times when I feel a little guilty for watching it. But for some reason, I never felt guilty for watching “Baio.” Maybe that’s because in some odd way, the show is actually quite compelling…

If you missed it, “Baio” follows Scott (Don’t ever call him Chachi!) Baio as he tries to figure out why he’s still single at 45. To help him, he hires a life coach, Doc Ali—who he affectionately calls Dark Alley. She tells him to stop seeing his girlfriend, Renee, be celibate for eight weeks and talk to his old girlfriends to try and get some answers (She even makes him sign a contract.).

On this journey with Scott are his friends, who look like they’re right out of an episode of “Entourage”: Restaurateur Steve Cuccio, Jason Hervey (of “The Wonder Years” and one of the producers of the show) and Johnny V., Scott’s self-described wingman since he was 15. Steve and Jason like Renee and are all for Scott doing Doc Ali’s program, but Johnny V. is not on board at all. As Scott tells us in his voiceover, without him, Johnny probably wouldn’t have any success with women. It becomes pretty clear as the episode progresses that he doesn’t want that to stop anytime soon.

Renee, meanwhile, is extremely unhappy about the situation—especially since it probably looked to her like Scott was about to propose (It was SO “Legally Blonde” it wasn’t even funny.)—and gives him an ultimatum that if he doesn’t make a commitment to her by the end of the two months, she’s gone.

First up on Scott’s old girlfriend visit list is Sue, the first girl he had real feelings for. When she reminds Scott how he used to breakup with her for a weekend just so he could see other girls, Scott is horrified at his behavior and apologizes.

Next up is the first girl Scott ever slept with, none other than Erin Moran who played Joanie on “Happy Days” (as Scott tells Doc Ali, “Yes, Joanie really did love Chachi.”). They have apparently had some kind of falling out (although we don’t hear what it was) and the tension between them is pretty obvious as she calls him on some of his bad behavior. She tells him that she broke up with him because he freaked her out with a marriage proposal, which makes Scott think that maybe she led him on his current path. Erin convinces Scott to join her at an autograph session—which he despises—and he actually manages to have a good time until Johnny V. intervenes and gets in a fight with Erin.

Now, it’s possible that Johnny is not nearly as bad of a friend in real life as he is on the show and that he’s just trying to amp up the drama. But I’ve got to believe that he is a big part of Scott’s problems. Apparently, Doc Ali agrees because the previews for next week show her telling Scott he can’t see him anymore.

I think the reason the show works is because it’s like we’re watching a therapy session unfold on our TV screens. Every one of these women teaches Scott something else about himself and the reason he hasn’t been able to commit. And maybe along the way, we can all learn something too…

It may be uncomfortable for him, but it makes for good TV for us.

“Scott Baio is 45…and Single” airs Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on VH1…