This week’s episode of Teen Idol kicks off with a red carpet event that turns out to be way more of a test than any cast member bargained for.
Jeremy Jackson arrives first at the house.
The former Baywatch star talks about his glory days as a child actor and growing up in every parent’s nightmare scenario — partying with adults, surrounded by sex and drugs. Years later he was arrested for manufacturing meth amphetamine and tells us that was the “turning point” of his life. He reached a point where he didn’t care anymore and “slammed the doors” of opportunity in his own face. He would be overjoyed to be famous again – that’s his motivation for being on the show.
Jeremy checks out photos of his fellow idols, totally surprised at who his housemates are going to be.
Next up is Chris Atkins, known as Christopher Atkins when he rose to stardom with his his movie The Blue Lagoon, which also starred Brooke Shields – the softcore sexiness of the teen flick was an absolutely huge event in 1980.
Chris talks about becoming a major movie star literally overnight, the Studio 54 days, and the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that went along with fame. He apparently lost the lead in a little movie called Footloose due to his wild ways. His career stalled, and Chris ended up owing a quarter of a million dollars to the IRS. He lost his house right after his daughter is born. He now makes pools for a living – yes, digging holes in the ground, pouring concrete, etcetera. He tells us that his daughter is his motivation for doing the show, as he leaves his house to join the show she tells him to “really go for it”.
Bill Hufsey of Fame the TV series joins the cast.
He now looks the part of his current role as a business man. Bill is nostalgic for the days when he was pursued by female fans and wants that old rush back. He’s sure that as a “triple-threat” performer, he still has something to offer Hollywood, and has an “insatiable desire to make it again.”
Fans of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 will recognize Jamie Walters, who also had a hit song and dated Drew Barrymore at the height of his fame.
When his career slowed down, he left the business and became a firefighter and a Dad. You have to ask: does he really want to get on this rollercoaster again? He seems to be doing awesome, working a meaningful job and taking care of his responsibilities. “At the end of the day” he says “if I get a record deal out of this, I will be really, really excited.” Plus, there’s one other thing he wants us to know: he definitely did not throw Donna down the stairs.
Cast member David Chokachi arrives.
Like Jeremy, David has suffered the Baywatch career curse. While he was living large, flying high on private jets and hanging out at the Playboy mansion, life was good. Then his career came to and end. He says hopes the world will see that he “has depth and an education, and that he’s done a lot of things” and warrants another chance at the spotlight. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Celebrity Rehab, but compared to many other faded stars, he’s still pretty hot – albeit in totally-ordinary-and-not-my-type-kind of way.
The Baywatch guys reunite.
4-Adam-30, it’s Adrian Zmed from TJ Hooker!!
Adrian walked away from the popular cop drama at its prime (it also starred William Shatner and Heather Locklear for Pete’s sake). Unfortunately, the phone stopped ringing after that. He now entertains on a cruise ship, but would love to be back on a huge TV show. “There’s nothing like it,” he says.
Eric Nies was host on MTV’s The Grind, before he went on to become a cast member of The Real World. One of the original reality TV veterans, he explains that he got entangled with a manager who sucked the life out of his career. We don’t learn any more details, but things in his life got so bad that he almost attempted suicide. He ended up going home to his mom to get “back to the beginning.” He claims to have refocused his life, but the cast is dubious of his mountain man-like appearance – shaggy hair, baggy t-shirt, beard, the works. He’s also carrying something that looks like one of those home exercise things you buy from a late-night TV commercial for $19.95 and never use. On which he does this:
But he also brings a message of “truth, love, and healing,” which can’t be a bad thing. Can it?
The guys get a call sheet telling them they have a mandatory meeting behind the mysterious black doors in an hour. Eric sprays some “super-charged” water to cleanse their chakras before the meeting.
Why do all that yoga when a simple spray can fix those chakras right up?
The doors open dramatically and there stands Cooper Lawrence, a therapist red of hair and of dress. She introduces herself as one of the foremost authorities on celebrity and fame. She tells the group she’s worked with a lot of A-list celebrities and helped them through hard times. The guys bristle noticeably when she says, “That’s why I’m here, to help you guys.” She explains that her work helps kids realize that stardom isn’t easy. She also wants to help the guys get to the next level in their careers.
During the group therapy session, Jeremy tells of his downward spiral. Seems he took his career away from himself; he got the freedom he wanted, but ended up in crack houses, penniless, and wearing other people’s clothing. Eventually he was arrested for manufacturing meth. The rest of the group looks taken aback by his story.
Eric tells his story, of how he went full steam ahead for many years, then got involved with a manager who ruined his career. The manager wrecked his relationship with MTV, he says, after which he was basically rock bottom for about 15 years.
David Chokachi talks about how the “inconsistency of the entertainment business” can wear on the soul, and says that what he wants to get back to work on a primetime show that’s really well-written. Adrian breaks in and says that if he’s offered a TV show, he’ll take it, but he’s been doing his own show in a cruise ship and is “quite content” with his life. Adrian is shocked when Cooper tells him that what he’s saying is a cop-out. Jamie wonders aloud if he had stayed in the business instead of bailing, if he wouldn’t have become an even bigger star.
Chris Atkins, in an emotional moment, admits he wants to be back in the business. He “made a lot of people happy” and wants to “step back in.”
Bill Hufsey launches into a goofy but heartfelt speech about how he wants to sing again.
After the group therapy session, they guys share the love.
The next day, Eric offers up some of the strange fruits from his raw diet. It’s not Bill’s idea of food, clearly. The call sheet comes in, announcing that hundreds of their fans will be gathered that evening for a red carpet event celebrating their return. They are psyched.
The guys prepare for their big night. Jeremy’s been working out!
In the limo, the beer and hubris flow. Bill talks about past glories and how they can just hop back into show business whenever they like. Feel a train wreck coming, anyone?
In a set up to what has to be one of the harshest reality TV moments ever, the limo pulls up to a red carpet scenario, complete with paparazzi and screaming fans.
Jamie, however, says he was thinking that something wasn’t right.
They wait backstage, listening to the screams of fans as they are introduced. They take the stage behind a curtain. When it opens…
THERE’S NO ONE THERE…except Scott Baio and Jason Hervey.
Some of the guys take it better than others.
David is one of those people who smiles when they are absolutely furious. These people freak me out.
Scott explains that the show is going to explore the addiction to fame, why he and the rest of the people on the show have it. Then the curtain closes.
In the limo, the guys are fuming. Back at the house, David’s rage takes hold. Refusing to take the chance of being humiliated again, he packs up his stuff and storms out.
Eric and Jeremy go after David and talk him into returning. Jason Hervey is called and soon arrives at the house.
Jason breaks it down and defends their stunt, telling the guys they have to get a good look at themselves to know if they want the fame back.
Ultimately, the guys laugh about it. What else can they do?