Saturday, April 04, 2009

Attending an Osbournes: Reloaded Taping, or Journey to a Lower Circle of Hell

Julie and Dave being forced to applaud at a taping of The Osbournes: Reloaded

WARNING - Spoilers of upcoming episodes of The Osbournes: Reloaded

I've lived in LA long enough now to know that attending TV tapings is usually excruciatingly dull. You have to show up early and wait in line. There's a lot of herding. The studios are freezing. There's usually a bad warm-up comedian. And it will take at least 3 hours to tape a 30-minute show unless it's live like
American Idol or a well-oiled machine like The Price is Right.

Occasionally, my fandom takes over and I forget this painful reality. Thus, I attended a taping of The Osboures: Reloaded. I somehow convinced my friend Christopher and boyfriend Dave to join me on this adventure.

We arrived about an hour before the taping and started the herding process. In the holding pen, we were asked to fill out questionnaires. We were told there would be some audience participation in the show and the chance to win stuff. So we had to answer things like "would you eat crickets for $50? $100? $500?" We also had to fill out some fun facts about ourselves.
Once inside the studio, we were asked if we minded getting wet. We said we didn't. I figured this would mean Ozzy would spray the crowd with a fire hose, the way he does in concert. So because we were game, we got seats in the front row, off to the side.

And so the variety show began. The Osbournes took the stage with their dogs. Immediately, we could tell the writing was horrible. Due to a dispute with the Writer's Guild, the show was using non-union writers. Boy, did it show. The banter between the Osbournes was so cheesy and stilted that it made Sonny's and Cher's banter seem positively Shakespearean in comparison.

We were introduced to a super Fall Out Boy fan. She was shown a video of the band, allegedly sitting in her bedroom. She then was told she would get to go meet the band! A limo whisked her away. We later learned the bedroom was just a set, and when she got to her house, the band wasn't there. But never fear, she got back to the studio in time to see the band perform. The "superfan" tried to lipsynch along but didnt seem to know the words. She was clearly an actress, as was everyone brought on stage.

Another segment involved a girl and guy being picked from the crowd and asked to make out on stage, while blindfolded. For a second kiss, they swapped the cute young girl for an old lady. Hilarity ensued as we watched them kiss. Yuck. Again, all actors.

The kids didn't seem happy. Ozzy looked pretty miserable. Only Sharon seemed to be enjoying herself.
I was reminded of the essay I wrote many moons ago when The Osbournes MTV show was all the rage - where I was upset at Sharon for turning Ozzy into a clown and worried that she was exploiting her kids who wouldn't handle fame well. I hate to say I told ya so. You could tell the only reason they were all on stage was because the check cleared. Sharon must want to redecorate one of the houses.

In another segment called "The Other Osbournes," the family hit the road to visit someone named Osbourne who is really into UFOs. This was kinda quirky but ultimately seemed like making fun of the mentally ill.

Another painful segment was called something like "Challenge Jack" and another allegedly random audience member was brought on stage to compete against Jack. They were put in tanks of supposedly freezing water and whoever failed to answer a question would have ice poured on top of them. The water was clearly not cold, and Jack's acting skills couldn't sell it.

The only funny segment of the show was a video segment where Ozzy was inserted into various films, like
Pirates of the Caribbean. These bits have been used as show openers on Ozzfest for many years, and they are always hilarious. Ozzy can be very funny, when he's being himself, not reading off a script.

I was hoping that Ozzy and Kelly might sing a song together, or Ozzy would play with his band. This is a variety show, right? There should be music. Well, the only music was a song by Fall Out Boy. I was suprised at how collectively diminutive the band was. It wasn't great, but it did wake us up a bit.

At the end of the show, Ozzy took out the fire hose and sprayed the crowd. Christopher and I got soaked in foam, but somehow he totally missed the biggest target, Dave. No fair! We were then briefly toweled off but sent out into a chilly December evening in wet clothes. At concerts, Ozzy sprays the crowd because he's gotten the crowd worked up into a sweaty, yelling, tit-flashing frenzy. It feels good to get cooled off by his hose. Here it just felt like The Osbournes were pissing on us. The whole show was so utterly insulting, as was the experience of being in the audience. By the way, the questionairres we had labored over weren't used at all. Yes, the whole evening was a total waste of time.

After three hours of this torture, I again vowed never again to attend a TV taping, and expressed further sadness for Ozzy for having to be in this pathetic mess. Sharon uses him the way Colonel Tom used Elvis. I believe the show is scheduled for 6 episodes, but I'll be surprised if all 6 episodes actually air. The first episode aired last Tuesday, benefitting from the great lead-in of American Idol. Watching it, I noticed they showed our opening and the kiss segment. The other segments were cobbled together from other tapings. Ozzy and Sharon went on Howard Stern this week to promote the show, but Ozzy had nothing positive to say. He said he hoped the show would bomb so he wouldn't have to do it anymore. So do we, Ozzy, so do we.

When the show was annouced, Ozzy promised it would not be like Sonny and Cher. He's right. Sonny and Cher was actually entertaining.

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