March 28, 2007

And You Thought Your Spring Break Was Shallow

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Oh what a week. While the majority of my Facebook friends were letting loose their morals and their tell-tale Cornell pastiness in various hubs of depravity throughout the southern hemisphere, I was merely losing my ability to eat solid foods. My spring break journey started in the beige patient’s chair at the office of my oral surgeon and spanned a meager six miles towards the final destination of my own bedroom. Though like most of you, I did spend the majority of my spring break trip inebriated and lying down. And as the drug cocktail wore off and the puffiness set in, I knew with creeping resignation that I was in no shape for social interaction. The days were long, yet ironically sunny. Yup, it was just me, the cream puff where my face used to be and a refrigerator stocked full of yogurt, oatmeal and hummus.

That’s when I found it: the pure gold nugget of entertainment brilliance that completely evaporated the toxic sludge of my mope-y stupor. And if that’s not a hyperbole, I don’t know what is. Well, perhaps the show itself. What is this shining gem of a series that I’m referring to? To be honest, gentle readers, I feel that once I divulge its name, you will simply stop reading. You will lose that last iota of interest that urges you to skim my consistently shallow column, mostly since the alternative means vacantly navigating the intricacies of your overpriced lunch (Do they brew in the souls of orphaned children with that chicken? Come on!). In fact, even I don’t really know the “official” name of the show for which I am about to confess an unhealthy enthusiasm and just now, I Google-ed the gist of its premise hoping to uncover the answer of this perplexing non-issue. Okay, so there are these Pussycat Dolls, and they need a new member. If you are now disgusted and need to vomit in your mouth a little, you may do so while pretending that this week’s column ends here. Yes, the wisdom teeth removal sucked, but at least I still have my dignity!

But for the rest of you, the show is actually called Pussycat Dolls Presents: The Search for the Next Doll. It should probably be called The Search for the Next Nicole Scherzinger Because None of Us Can Sing. In the PCD reality show, like in most talent competitions, ability always takes a backseat to personality. In fact, I feel at times that the producers did their best to compile a who’s who of strong personalities just to ensure the emergence of crazy antics and backstabbing among their contestants. There’s the ex-fat girl, the teen mom who dances for the New York Knicks, the Danity Kane reject, the ex-punk band vocalist and the teen pursuing her dreams despite reservations from her conservative parents.

The girls fight, they bicker, they’re forced to live in a PCD-style dormitory that seems to be styled by the people who did the album art for Garbage’s first CD, and they’re put through physical as well as mental duress. They’re forced to learn and perform routines while simultaneously being subjected to random “challenges” Survivor-style that guarantees them “immunity” from being cut. Basically, it’s an Antonella Barba makeover of the typical talent show. Like My Super Sweet Sixteen or Gastineau Girls, it was initially difficult to pinpoint why I felt compelled to stream three episodes of this drivel from the CW website. Was it the horridly insensitive judges? The ridiculous outfits? The obvious disregard for actual talent in lieu of some subjective bitch factor? I suppose I must credit the show’s shameless absurdity. Challenging the convention that audience interest coincides with relatable characters, The Search for the Next Doll seized my attention through a cast of self-involved, manipulative, ruthless, fame junkies. Plus, I’ve always had a weakness for Mark McGrath.