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Thursday, January 01, 2009

"Confessions of a Teen Idol" Review: Hooked Already

Seven former teen idols live together as they try to reclaim the fame they’ve lost.

It should be yet another cheesy reality show. But in the hands of Scott Baio, Jason Hervey and the team who brought us the two Scott Baio reality shows, “Confessions of a Teen Idol” is actually quite gripping…


The premise of the show is fairly simple. Seven guys who were teen idols live in a house together (actually a house set on a soundstage) as they try to figure out how they lost their fame and then work to get it back.

The seven guys are:

Jeremy Jackson, who played Hobie Buchannon (David Hasselhoff’s son) on “Baywatch”

Christopher Atkins, who is best known for playing opposite Brooke Shields in “The Blue Lagoon” but who some may remember for his role as Sue Ellen’s boy toy on “Dallas”

Jamie Walters from “Beverly Hills 90210” and the little-watched “The Heights,” which produced the #1 song, “How Do You Talk to An Angel?”

Billy Hufsey, who is best known for “Fame,” but who I will always remember as Emilio on “Days of Our Lives”

Eric Nies, who was a member of the first “The Real World” cast and was the host of MTV’s “The Grind”

Adrian Zmed, who is best known for “T.J. Hooker,” but who also appeared in “Grease 2”

David Chokachi, who was one of the hotties on “Baywatch”

Very early on, the guys establish which reality stereotype they are. Adrian is the “Let’s all get along” peacemaker. Eric is the slightly crazy guy as he tries to encourage everyone to engage in his earthy lifestyle. Billy is the loud, outgoing guy. Jamie is the guy who’s not quite sure whether he wants to be there. Jeremy is the guy who screwed up his life with drugs and now just wants to do whatever it takes to get his life back. David is the short fuse that can blow up at any time if things don’t go his way. And Christopher is the quiet guy who just kind of sits back and observes everything.
But even though all of the reality stereotypes are present, “Confessions” is not your stereotypical reality show. This is not a competition and there are no eliminations. Instead there is a lot of honest talk about the addiction of fame as the guys learn to move on from the past and look toward the future. And even though the show tries hard to give the guys all the tools they need to succeed, those tools often come with some hard lessons. In fact, one of the lessons in the premiere is so harsh that David nearly leaves the show.
Guiding the group along the way is celebrity psychology expert Cooper Lawrence as well as Scott and Jason, who having been teen idols themselves know exactly what these guys are experiencing (You’ll remember Jason as Wayne from “The Wonder Years.”). In fact, Scott is like the Mary Alice (“Desperate Housewives”) of the show. He sets the scene at the beginning and then kind of wraps it up for us at the end helping us understand what these guys are going through as well.
And it doesn’t take long for you to start rooting for them. In today’s TV and film world, however, it’s unrealistic to think that all of these guys will find major success again; but you honestly want it for them. Even the ones you don’t really like…
Personally, I’m rooting the hardest for Christopher and I was never a fan of his. I think he’s hotter now than he ever was during his “Blue Lagoon” days; and I have no idea why he hasn’t done at least a dozen Lifetime movies by now. He would be perfect as the romantic lead opposite someone like Heather Locklear. Maybe he just gave up…
As Scott says in the premiere, “Fame is a [witch].” Maybe once Christopher and some of the others got slapped in the face by her they just stopped fighting. And getting to the heart of why they stopped and why they want to start again is all part of what makes this show so fascinating.
Can you tell I’m hooked already?
“Confessions of a Teen Idol” premieres Sunday, January 4th at 8 p.m. on VH1. You can also watch the premiere now at…
Photo Credit: VH1