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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Terrell Owens' world, we just live in it

Most professional football players do everything they can to run from the media (see Ben Roethlisberger this week).

Others try to maintain private lives, but become so ubiquitous, the media can't help but follow their every move – even if, you know, it’s the same tired song and dance we’ve seen before (see Brett Favre).

Then there's Terrell Owens.

Let's face it, T.O.'s life has already been a crazy, cartoonish reality show in front of the cameras. Only now, it officially has a name and home on your DVR guide.

Being a football fan living in a football town, I already know more about Owens than I would ever care to. And trust me, I don't respect his me-first drama and blatant attempts at quarterback sabotage.

That said, the guy is an absolute physical specimen, which is exactly why a team like the Buffalo Bills snatched him up two days after the Dallas Cowboys finally got tired of his diva act earlier this year.

So this much we know about Owens: He can help you win. He can help you sell tickets. He can make you want to stab your eyes out because he’s a perpetual adolescent stuck in a Greek god’s body.

But can he produce a compelling TV show?

And as you'd expect of an athlete who once did sit-ups in his driveway for the media and blasted a bucket of popcorn into his face during a touchdown celebration, "The T.O. Show" should stand for “totally outrageous.”

In the pilot episode that aired Monday, Owens finds out he's been released from the Cowboys and clutches a tablecloth owner Jerry Jones drew on the day they parted ways as if it were the Shroud of Turin.

In comes Owens' publicists to perk him up -- two women who seem genuinely interested in keeping their star client on a respectable leash. Except when they convince him to move from Miami to L.A., Owens spends his days dropping Benjamins on Rodeo Drive and flirting with gold-digging sexpots.

It’s T.O.’s world, everyone else just lives in it, right?

Of course, it’s Owens’ version of his world, but having searched for flaws in the pilot, there seems to be very little “acting” going on. Sure, circumstances are scripted for TV. But you can't fake the reaction that fans and women give him when he's out on the town or waiting for his luggage at the airport.

That has nothing to do with a VH1 entourage following him. It has everything to do with being Terrell Owens, multimillionaire and narcissistic lapdog.

Owens already has more than his share of haters, so you'll likely find TV critics and sportswriters across the country bashing his reality TV foray as self-indulgent tripe.

They’d be right, of course. But getting on your reality TV high horse or sports-as-pure-entity pulpit is a tired shtick.

You can scoff at self-promotion until your face is as bloated as T.O.’s ego. Love or hate him, at least this guy has earned his fame (or infamy) unlike the Heidi Montag’s and Kate Gosselin’s of the world.

Or put it this way: This show could be about Chad Ochocinco instead.

“The T.O. Show” airs at 9 p.m. Monday on VH1.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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