Up until a few years ago the world of reality television was mostly a platform for everyday men and women to get their 15 minutes of fame and garner small fortunes. Celebrities, afraid of soiling their brand, mostly shunned what they deemed to be a proletarian enterprise, but that point of view quickly shifted after the nation witnessed a sharp spike in the profiles of early reality TV stars like Anna Nicole and Jessica Simpson. The latest star to jump on this bandwagon is Paula Abdul, one-time pop music princess and current American Idol judge. Hey Paula showcases a side of Abdul that we don’t get to see on AI. Gone is the likeable and inoffensive panelist with a tendency for on-air erratic behavior. Instead, we’re swept into the glamorous life of a big-time diva. In the first episode, rather than rush to catch a flight that is about to take off, she angrily berates an assistant for bringing her the wrong outfit she wanted to wear for the transcontinental journey. In the third episode (which serves solely to spin-doctor the media blitz she created after conducting a series of bizarre interviews), Abdul menacingly tells an editor that if the reporter who apparently misquoted her doesn’t get the quote right, she “will come after her.” The slurred speech and inconsistent behavior that is occasionally glimpsed on AI is now on full display. She spends most of her time on-air acting clumsily—bumping into things, tripping, and so on. These moments are meant to be silly and ditzy but they instead come across as odd, and one can’t help but feel sorry for Abdul. It is clear that the woman should have avoided the reality television route, and her handlers should have parlayed her resurgence into the spotlight after AI’s debut into a trip back to the recording studio. A new album as harmless as her criticism on AI would have been more tolerable.
- Bravo, Thursdays, 10 p.m.
- Paula Abdul
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