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Monday, July 20, 2009

That's Still On? "Brooke Knows Best" might be the worst

Whatcha gonna do when divorce runs wild on YOU?

Yeah, I'm an old-school WWF fan, so you'll have to excuse my enthusiasm for a VH1 CelebReality project that might result in cameos from Bam Bam Bigelow or "Ravishing" Rick Rude. (Wait, they're both dead? Errrr, nevermind.)

But really, I was probably most curious (morbidly, of course) by the fact that the Hogans are still on TV in some meaningful capacity.

After all, celebrity outside his customary brand of yellow trunks has not been super kind to "Terry" Hulk Hogan since he was placed atop the "Father Knows Best" mantle for reality TV.

Since the Hulkster's show debuted, he and longtime wife Linda announced a divorce (Hulk allegedly couldn't keep Hulkamania from running wild with one of his daughter's friends), son Nick served six months in jail for a high-speed car crash that left a passenger with serious brain injuries for the rest of his life, and daughter Brooke ... well, she gets plenty of magazine covers showing her tight bod, but her singing career is about as credible as Paris Hilton's.

Already in its second season, "Brooke Knows Best" follows Little Miss She-Hulk as she ventures out "on her own" in a big, bad world where not everyone says their prayers or eats their vitamins. Like the "Ashlee Simpson Show," it's a transparent vehicle for her to promote a vapid music career, so ultimately, there's no reason anyone other than dudes who read Maxim on the can would want to check this show out.

"Brooke Knows Best" is "Jon and Kate" plus "The Hills," so you can imagine the scripted drama that unfolds. In the episode I watched, Hulk introduces his new girlfriend -- man, I thought Thunderlips could do SO much better even in his crippled condition -- to Brooke. The two share several uncomfortable silences before Brooke drops the "Are you getting married? Do you want to have kids?" bomb on her. Hulk's gal pal replies: "First, he has to get divorced."

That makes for an appropriate segue to Linda Hogan's mansion, where she's shacking up with a 19-year-old who apparently used to live with the family back in their healthier days. Hulk talks about how painful it is to see a 19-year-old profiting off his blood, sweat and tears in the ring. While taking a well-orchestrated boat ride past the old crib, the Hogans' dogs still living at the family house see the boat from shore and start howling like mad. This causes Brooke to cry ... and well, it's actually kind of a downer.

That the whole situation was contrived should probably diminish any emotion behind the moment. But it seemed pretty legit even if Brooke knew what was coming.

Bottom line: You can't have two sets of cameras following now separated parents (at right) and expect that everything is legit between both sides. The worst example of this comes when Linda calls Brooke on the phone to chat about their ongoing rift -- Brooke disapproves of the age difference in her new relationship. Brooke has to pretend that she's SHOCKED to receive the call when her roommate answers and says, "It's your mom." On the positive side, according to my wife, Brooke's acting was much better than anything she's ever seen on "The Hills." Small victories.

So ... yawn ... not much to be excited about -- unless you fall in the neanderthal category that believes every blonde with a tan and nice body is automatically super hot. If anything, this show is an accurate reflection of what the Gosselins are about to experience when their TLC show resumes post divorce. Both sides will have to pretend that they don't see what's coming, when in "reality," every situation has been plotted out well in advance inside some sleazy production room.

So while "Brooke Knows Best" is pretty horrible, it's probably not the worst Hogan reality installment I can think of. That title would be reserved for "Nick Knows Not to Drop the Soap."

That's Still On? Score: 2 (out of 10)

DVR Priority: Somewhere between "Mr. Nanny" and "The Greatest Matches of Doink the Clown's Career"

What You Could Be Doing Instead: Taking steroids in an effort to die prematurely like most professional wrestlers. Repeatedly ashing yourself in the head with a steel chair. Watching "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" so you can see Jon Gosselin's balding head instead of Hulk Hogan's.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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