Thursday, August 10, 2006

Don't take your love to MTV

Looks as though MTV is three-for-three at killing celebrity marriages.

First, we saw Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on Newlyweds. History.

Next, Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro on 'Til Death Do Us Part. Toast.

Now, Travis Barker, the tattoo-encrusted, piercing-riddled former drummer of the punk-pop band blink-182, and his bride of two years, Miss USA 1995 Shanna Moakler, are calling it quits after their run on Meet the Barkers.

Note to Hollywood: Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be reality-show newlyweds. It's not a long-term career choice.

Two items occur to me in the wake of this latest crash-and-burn.

Item one: Travis Barker may look like an explosion in a printing press, but the man can knock the skins like nobody's business. I'm not much on the style of music in which blink-182 specialized, but Barker's drumming leaps out of the speakers every time I hear a blink song on the radio. Were I putting together a band, and needed a drummer, I'd look Barker up.

Item two: I'm still annoyed with Shanna Moakler for ruining one of the great guilty pleasures of the 1990s, USA Network's beach-cops-on-mountain-bikes series Pacific Blue. For its first couple of seasons, Pacific Blue made for unequalled brain-dead fodder for those times when you just want to watch something light and fluffy that won't make you think. From its silly premise — frequently described in scathing reviews as "Baywatch on bicycles" — to its impossibly good-looking cast — Darlene Vogel and the bewitching Paula Trickey for the fellas, Rick "Slider" Rossovich and Jim Davidson for the ladies — Blue delivered a weekly hour of innocuous eye candy, with enough plot and action that one didn't fall asleep in between servings of cheese/beefcake.

Then, in the show's third season, Shanna Moakler showed up. And brought Mario Lopez with her.

In an attempt to youthify the show's appeal (as though "Baywatch on bicycles" wasn't youthful enough), Pacific Blue's producers hired Moakler and Lopez, perhaps the two most inept actors (and I'm using that word loosely) ever to appear cheek-by-buns-of-steel in a major television production, to replace Rossovich and drive out a disgusted Vogel after a handful of episodes. At the same time, meth-addicted chimpanzees were chained to computer keyboards until they banged out something that passed for scripts.

The result: What once had been mindless and insipid — yet at the same time inoffensive and eminently watchable — descended headlong into the abyss of grating, audience-insulting imbecility. Blue's viewers — yours truly included — tuned out in droves. Blue foundered for another season or two before plunging off the end of the Santa Monica Pier.

Curse you, Shanna Moakler. You didn't deserve Travis Barker.

Whatever happened to Paula Trickey, anyway?

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