This week our former teen idols take a tour of their past lives, and find out that embracing fame is crucial if they hope to revive their Hollywood careers.
Adrian probably speaks for all the guys when he says he says being in the house feels like a dream.
Jeremy is the first to snatch up the call sheet from the fax machine again. Must be his youthful enthusiasm. The guys have to be at the main gate in a half hour.
They’re advised to wear sunblock (yes!), as they’ll be taking a ride in a convertible.
The group is excited, but Adrian cautions them. “Every time we think something’s going to be fun, they stab us in the heart,” he says. Welcome to VH1 guys!
A red double-decker tour bus pulls up the driveway. Jason Hervey steps off, and tells the men they will be going on a tour of places that were meaningful to them in their prior careers. Fun – love confronting those past demons. On the bus, Jeremy can’t resist letting loose, shouting, “Sunset Boulevard, Daddy’s baaaack!”
The first stop is Paramount Studios where Footloose was made. The bus conductor asks Chris to tell the story of how he lost the lead role in that movie. Turns out, he had the part locked, but went in to his first meeting with the director and producer wasted. “I was a total idiot, I was off my head, and I messed up,” he says.
After that, he had a breakdown and ended up in the hospital, then went on to rehab. He’s been sober now for 22 years. “I’ve been there, man,” says Jeremy as he gives Chris a hug. Chris acknowledges he needs to “learn to deal with these emotions, because I’m looking at getting back in to all that stuff.”
The next stop is Warner Brothers studios where TJ Hooker was produced. It’s Adrian’s turn to talk about why he left that show when he did.
“I don’t know… I guess I had been offered Dance Fever then, and… I said it was time to move on.” He doesn’t sound as if he really knows himself why he left. He reveals that he’s regretted this decision for years, but never told anyone.
The bus continues on to the MTV Networks building, home of The Grind. Eric was host of the popular dance show for three years, at which time he feared he was coming to the end of his host shelf life.
When Jenny McCarthy was hired, Eric was threatened by her presence. “I thought she was coming in to steal my thunder,” he says. Paranoid of being told it was time to move on, he abruptly quit. “It’s a love-hate relationship,” he says of MTV.
The bus driver asks for a show of hands as to who’s been to the Playboy mansion. Most of them raise their hands. When asked how many have dated a Playmate, they all raise at least one hand, with some dudes raising two. The bus driver asks if maybe they have any of the same Playmates in common. Cue sound of crickets chirping.
The bus pulls up at TV impresario Aaron Spelling‘s house, the producer of The Heights. Jamie had originally written his hit “How Do You Talk To An Angel” as the theme song for that show. The Heights was instantly canceled, but from that opportunity came Beverly Hills, 90210, where he got to throw Donna down the stairs.
The tour bus heads for the beach where much of Baywatch was shot. Both David and Jeremy were stars of that show, which, incidentally, is the most watched TV show of all time, with 1.1 billion viewers. Take that, focus group ladies!
When Jeremy came to Baywatch, he was just ten years old. He arrived bearing a huge ego, and things went from bad to worse as he became convinced he was too good for the show. “I walked away with my middle finger in the air,” he says. Jeremy quotes Charles Dickens, who could not have foreseen the likes of Baywatch, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
It’s becoming obvious that although Jeremy’s antics make the guys laugh, he’s quick to go a bit overboard.
St. Bartholomew’s Church is the next stop. “I was like, oh no, because I have a lot of memories there,” Bill says. This is the place he came every day for two years when he was young, homeless, and hungry. “I used to just pray that God would take care of me.” Visibly emotional, he says he still thinks about the church a lot. He decides to take a couple of minutes and go in.
The bus heads back to the house. The day ends on a high note as the guys all cheer.
Later, Jeremy is out laying on the deck, deep in thought.
Adrian comes out and asks him how he’s doing. Jeremy says he’s been reliving the regret of his early career decisions over and over again.
Adrian explains that Jeremy was a kid when he had all that stardom, so how could he have behaved any differently with all the attention he was receiving? Adrian tells him that at a certain point you have to stop looking over your shoulder and live in the present. “I couldn’t go anywhere in the world and get better feedback than I’m getting here from these guys,” he says.
Inside, the guys relax and take a breather. “I am the most famous person in the house!” shouts Eric.
To see just how wrong he is, they go online and look at their star meter ranks on IMDB.com. Sounds potentially super-ego bruising. Bill’s ranking is fairly low, “he’s gotta get a sex tape out asap,” says David.
According to the star meter, Christopher Atkins is the most well-known name in the house. The fame rankings for the guys according to IMDB.com are: 1. Christopher Atkins 2. Jeremy Jackson 3. David Chokachi 4. Jamie Walters 5. Adrian Zmed 6. Bill Hufsey 7. Eric Nies
Jason Hervey stops by. Eric hands Jason a mysterious green drink.
Jason has come to announce an opportunity for they guys to audition for a new ad spot to run on VH1. Most of the men are enthusiastic, but David asks Jason to talk with him a minute outside. He tells Jason his manager would rather he not audition for commercials, as it might spoil his chances to get better jobs.
Jason tells him the chance is there, but it’s not required that he go out for it. David has a decision to make, but his gut feeling about doing the spot isn’t good.
A couple of the other guys are also dubious about the audition. Eric says that he is very careful about the products he chooses to endorse and won’t be vying for the part.
More gratuitous shots of Jeremy shirtless wearing interesting underwear.
In the morning, Bill finds Eric’s note on the refrigerator saying he has taken off for the day. He crumples it up, annoyed. Bill is concerned about Eric because he thinks Eric’s missing out on a great opportunity to get his products out there. “He’s punking out,” he sighs.
There’s a knock at the door, it’s Alyssa Starkman from Aussie shampoo and Mark McIntyre from VH1. They brief the guys, pitching the product as fun and quirky. But only one of the teen idols will get the job. They’re handed scripts to go over for the audition.
David drops the bomb to the guys that he won’t be auditioning. Jeremy points out that maybe he would be offered the kind of jucier endorsement he seeks if they saw him in the Aussie spot, but David’s not biting. Jeremy sees this as lameness.
Meanwhile, Adrian checks on Bill. We find out Bill is dyslexic and is having trouble working with the script they’ve been given. Adrian feeds him the lines verbally to memorize. Jeremy is busy doing those embarrassing things actors do to warm up.
The producers call Adrian to audition first, which he isn’t happy about. But he does an awesome job singing a song about hair in a falsetto voice – overall a great job.
But there’s a second part to the audition, where the guys will be asked to don a ridiculous ’80s rocker outfit complete with gold spandex pants. Adrian is dumbstruck. He can’t fit the spandex, but he rocks out impressively on top of a car in a sleeveless purple t-shirt.
When it comes to Chris’ turn he is nervous, but ends his audition going nuts and yelling at the top of his lungs.
Jeremy comes out in full tiger-striped leggings and t-shirt regalia, and gives it all he’s got. He totally looks the part.
He is seriously jazzed after his turn, and it shows in his pants. Poor taste alert!
While Bill is squeezing himself into the outfit, Jamie is telling the group he has decided not to audition. “That’s not the way I want to get back into it,” he says.
David concurs. Bill says they should give it a shot because this is the whole idea of what they do. Bill wears the stripes with pride and walks out for his turn.
Bill goes absolutely ape, making a total fool of himself (in a great way) and having a good time with it.
Bill, scoring major points for having a sense of humor!
Eric, Jamie, and David should watch and learn. But then, on his way out of the audition, he inexplicably smashes the guitar against the building. Points retracted.
A group therapy session with Cooper is next. She looks as scary as you can wearing a cute Juicy Couture top.
She tells the guys that it’s beginning to become clear that some of them don’t get it. She lays into them big time for not understanding how crucial fame is to their careers. Scott Baio is in a control room watching and listening to the whole thing.
Some of the men start yelling back at her, until Jeremy silences them. He tells them he can’t learn from Cooper’s expertise to get his career back because they aren’t ever open to what she has to say. Adrian and Eric turn the tables on Jeremy and tell him they fear he may go back to using if he gets fame again. Jeremy loses the run of himself and storms out. As Cooper goes after Jeremy, Scott says he’s going in.
Chris catches up with Jeremy and asks him what he’s thinking.
He’s extremely concerned about Jeremy because they’ve been through the same experiences. “Are you ready for this?” he asks. If Jeremy’s breaking down in a therapy session, how will he handle the intensity of a Hollywood career?
Jeremy goes back to the session with Chris and apologizes to the group. Scott enters and takes Cooper’s place. “We’ve all been chewed up and spit out in the business…but we’re still here. Why? Because we want to be famous. The only reason I jump in here is to say fame is not a bad word.” With that, Scott has said what he had to say. He tells them they’re his brothers, and he takes off.
Later the men are at the house decompressing, shooting some pool. They they receive a call from Aussie. Bill gets the spot!
We almost got away from this episode without a teary moment, but here it is.
As Adrian says, Bill almost does a backflip, and he’s not capable of doing that. I have to agree, he was amazing. Can’t wait to see the spot. Go Bill!