Friday, June 01, 2007

ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS: "The Next Best Thing" Sucks An Hour Of My Life Away

It's not every day I get a bona fide request for something, so when Shady asked for a review of The Next Best Thing, ABC's new celebrity impersonator reality show, I was pretty much morally obligated to comply. Not that it took much arm twisting: ever since my first trip to Las Vega$ at the onset of the 90s -- when I went to a seedy club to watch an Elvis impersonator (who juggled a lyrics sheet during his attempts at karate moves) and a Roy Orbison impersonator (who was blond, svelte, and unsunglassed) -- I've had something of a latent obsession with the particular brand of pathetique involved in the celebrity impersonator world.

So let's start with the judges, who I don't think anyone has ever heard of. You know a reality show's gonna be good when the celebrity judges are D-listers. And of course the guy in the middle is there because he himself is a veritable Rich Little -- so we can look forward to an entire season of at least one of the judges snidely out-doing the contestants at the one thing they think they know how to do: be pathetic.

But now what you've all been waiting for: the gallery of the worst contestants from the first episode. First up, everyone's favorite caucasian Texan media therapist, "Dr. Phil." His eyebrows and mustache were painted on, he needed a fat suit, and he sounded more like a John Wayne impersonator. And he did standup instead of a Dr. Phil impression. Hot dog, we have a wiener!

"James Bond" didn't look like James Bond, he looked (and sounded) like a bald, bearded Stan Lee. He was AWESOME!

The second Johnny Depp impersonator kinda looked like him (if Johnny Depp had a goiter problem). Not only did he not sound a thing like him, he couldn't even come close to acting like him. Stomach-clutchingly poor.

I think "Frank Sinatra" was just some guy they pulled in off the street and asked if he wouldn't mind making a fool of himself on a reality show. He couldn't sing, and he didn't even bother to wear a tux. He was the chairman of no one's board. Regrets?...I've had a few...not the least of which was watching this.

There were three, count 'em, THREE Michael Jackson impersonators, which is pathetic enough since there's very little left of the original to even impersonate. And altho none of them looked like him, they at least attempted to dance like him -- which is more than can be said for the woman (at least, I think it was a woman) who impersonated Janet Jackson earlier in the show. But when I came to the realization that one of the MJs might actually have been Project Runway season one's Austin Scarlett, I got kinda excited. It's almost like how they brought that one guy back for season 2 of Project Runway, except EVEN MORE PATHETIC.

"Ann-Margret": WHY??? What possible need can there be for an Ann-Margret impersonator? Especially one that looks like Terri Garr?!?

One of the only legitimately funny moments of this episode came when one of the judges told "David Letterman" that he looked exactly like David Letterman, Albert Brooks and Drew Carey had a baby. That's pretty much spot on, except he forgot to say he looked exactly like David Letterman, Albert Brooks and Drew Carey had an untalented baby.

And finally, we come to the pinnacle...the top of the list...the alpha and the omega...WHITE BILL COSBY. He looked nothing like him. He sounded like someone on acid who'd been punched in the mouth and swallowed some marbles for good measure. He made TWO references to Jell-O®.

There is NO topping that.

And...there's an hour of my life I will NEVER get back.


Anonymous "A" said...

It has the worst logo of any reality show. And the set! There's nothing to it! It's one step up from cable access.

I think the meta joke is that the show itself is *impersonating* a reality show. Except it's not a funny joke. At all.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Gene K. said...

What possible need can there be for an Ann-Margret impersonator?

Without Heinz Baked Beans®, no need at all. of the judges told "David Letterman" that he looked exactly like David Letterman, Albert Brooks and Drew Carey had a baby.

Whatever else you say about the judges, you've gotta give insight-props for that observation. Although my cat could have made the same comment (although in Kipper's case, he would have expressed that sentiment by regurgitating still-warm-&-moist IAMS® on the floor right in the path of my unslippered feet).

10:42 AM  
Blogger Psychictoad said...

From the Next Best Thing, ABC website:

a panel of popular well-known judges -- comedians Jeffrey Ross (Comedy Central Roasts, The Aristocrats), Lisa Ann Walter (The Parent Trap, Shall We Dance?) and Elon Gold (Stacked, Cheaper by the Dozen)

Let me say that again, John, "popular well-known judges."

and further down...

Peter Engel Productions has produced over a thousand episode [sic] of weekly entertainment, including the teen mega-hit Saved by the Bell.

Couldn't have said it better myself. They did forget to mention Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas. Those were also "mega-hits."

12:34 PM  

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