I recently saw my first episode of Dancing with the Stars. I know people love this show, and it was entertaining, but I can’t help but think that this is a show where celebrities go to resurrect their careers. From what I observed, DWTS is not an easy gig. In the broadcast I saw, Melissa Gilbert suffered a concussion. Did she ever think when she was the darling of Little House on the Prairie that she would have to hoof her way back into the spotlight? To be fair, she has done her fair share of Lifetime movies, but somehow the multiple roles playing the long-suffering, jilted, protagonist turned murder investigator has not given her back the clout that her Laura Ingalls Wilder role had.
Melissa Gilbert is not alone in her quest to find her comfort zone of fame again. As we all know, reality shows have made their fortunes trying to coax once A-list celebrities from their couches back to television. They also seem to exhibit a ready-made hierarchy of celebrity desperation. Some shows capture the hearts of the television-viewing audience while others just make us sit there and say, “Aw, what a shame his career is in the toilet.” I took the liberty of listing some of the best known celebrity competition shows that have aired and ranked them from “This show could get their careers back on track” to “Just keep them in jail and do society a favor.”
Dancing with the Stars – The best of the best. Fans neither speak nor or write the full name of the show referring to it only as DWTS. While this show is a haven for pseudo celebrities like Kate Gosselin and NFL players who have nothing better to do during the off season than dance, it can catapult contestants into the limelight. So, because of its power potential, this is the reality shows for those celebrities who have found it difficult in recent years to get the invites to premieres or a table not next to the kitchen in posh restaurants.
Stars on Ice – This show was for celebrities whose careers had started to circle the bowl but were not quite making their way into the sewer yet. However, it was also a disaster waiting to happen, and so it’s good it was canceled. I am surprised that there were no fatal injuries with the premise of this show. Take out-of-shape celebs, toss them on single-blade ice skates and give them routines where they get thrown into the air, the chances are pretty good that blood would be spilling. Celebrities who signed on for this show did so knowing they might not make it to the end. They feared getting cut – not cut from the competition but sliced-to-bits cut by their skate blades. Luckily, even if blood did appear, the sequined costumes hid the horror from the television audience.
Celebrity Boxing – This show came to us from the geniuses of FOX. Yes, how could a show that featured almost famous people with colorful criminal records, fighting each other to near death not become a viewer sensation? This show did not have enduring power because the “stars”, who included felons such as Tonya Harding, Todd Bridges, Danny Bonaduce and Joey Buttafuoco, had never reached true celebrity status before their participation in the ring. The general viewing audience didn’t care enough to help them back to their careers. Everyone just rooted for all the contestants to be knocked out as painfully and bloodily as possible. It was Gladiator meets the Three Stooges.
Celebrity Rehab – This is where the stars from celebrity boxing went when they failed their court-mandated drug tests. Yes, nothing says “Hire me for your movie” like a public stint in rehab where everyone can see how attractive one looks in a forced lock down.
While many of you reading this are saying, “Look at the bright side. They can’t come up with anything worse than some of these shows,” allow me to tell you why you are wrong. Since America tends to borrow ideas from Great Britain TV, there is a chance–however slight–that the United States might one day become the home for Worst Celebrity Driver. Lindsay Lohan, you might just get another chance!