Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

livin' the surreal life

E! Online News - "Surreal" Life with Webster: Did you ever wonder what hijinks would ensue if Webster from Webster and Natalie from The Facts of Life became roomies?      We didn't think so. But nevertheless...      Emmanuel Lewis (aka Webster) and Mindy Cohn (aka Natalie) have been confirmed as cast members of WB's planned reality show The Surreal Life. They'll join rapper-turned-preacher (M.C.) Hammer, ex-Mötley Crüe rocker Vince Neil and onetime Baywatch babe Brande Roderick. The WB says at least one more female celeb (or semi-celeb) will be added to the group's Hollywood Square ranks.

... I don't even know what to do with that!

Per its makers, Surreal Life will play more like MTV's The Osbournes or E!'s Anna Nicole Show than the like-sounding Real World franchise, also of the MTV universe.

Well, frankly, I don't see how it could possibly play like the Osbournes, since they're a real family and actually do live together; the dynamics won't be remotely the same. I also don't know why anyone sane would use the Anna Nicole show as a hopeful point of comparison, but then, the putative sanity of these producers is clearly up for grabs. In any event, despite their disclaimers, the series is more or less forced to play out like The Real World -- as, indeed, the original title of The Surreal World would indicate were the producers' original intentions, before AOL Time Warner management no doubt leaned over and said to people at their WB network subsidiary, "HEY! Stop making fun our own show, you idiots!" Tragically, grievously, and most unfortunately, said corporate management did not add, "And dump this show in the trash," at the end of that statement.

"Our intent is to make you feel like you're really watching a sitcom," Mark Cronin, whose Mindless Entertainment will produce Surreal Life, explained to Variety.

I will forego the easy crack about the name of the production company, since that's clearly what the owners of said company intend you to think, and I will merely state that the concept of people living their life as a sitcom continues to be ... odd. And frankly, I'm not sure that it will work when it's manufactured in this way. I mean, I'm not sure how people actually think of The Real World, but I'm pretty sure that for most people, it doesn't fit in the "sitcom" slot in their minds, for all that it's a half-hour show. After all, sitcoms intend to be funny; any humor in these shows is purely incidental. (Granted, the intent of the producers of The Anna Nicole Show is to make you laugh at her -- I've never quite made it past "utterly appalled" in the grand total of 20 minutes I've watched, myself -- but it's not quite her intent, I don't think. I do wonder if the people around her have the vaguest idea about how the world is seeing them, though.) And after all, the idea seems to be that aside from being thrown together, these people will continue to go about their normal lives. Emmanual Lewis will do ... whatever he does, Mindy Cohn will do ... whatever she does, MC Hammer will do ... something (one hell of a comedown for him, isn't it?), and Vince Neil will have sex with porn stars -- tastefully digitally modified for broadcast television, of course. (I would imagine that they hope he'll have sex with Brande Roderick, actually.)

Posted by iain at 12:47 PM in category



Funny how you say Hammer is a rapper-turned-preacher. He's a rapper/preacher, as he continues to churn out music such as his 2001 patriotic album "Active Duty" under his own WorldHit Music Group. His label has so much talent signed, it recently signed a lucrative deal with the Red Urban Music label ( So yes, Hammer is a preacher, but keep in mind he is still rapping (and it ain't all gospel stuff neither)

Posted by Cherry Popper at November 3, 2002 12:49 PM

I was at the record shop the other day and i saw Active Duty sitting there, so i was like what the hell, why not try it out. Surprisingly it's a good album. I actually didnt hear any gospel music on there. Pop Yo Collar and Not Like This and Where Will I Go are 3 songs that if they hit the radio will definately get requests. But anyways, is the WB REALLY airing this? i can't believe all the reality series' popping up these days. I wonder what the critics will say. If this gets pulled off the WB, you know the show REALLY must stink.

Posted by Kline at November 28, 2002 07:38 PM

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