Category Archives: Pop culture

Dancing With The “Stars”

Having your cultural references surgically removed when you become an expat can be fairly wearing. If ever I watch television with The Special One, I spend most of my time apologizing for not knowing that the guy from CSI: Milwaukee was actually the former star of the hilarious CBS sitcom Three Women & A Toaster back in the 80s. Obviously I retaliate by trying to get her to name every vet in All Creatures Great & Small, but then she snorts with derision and mutters something under her breath about calling her tennis coach.

Anyway, given that my knowledge of D-List American ‘stars’ is marginally worse than my understanding of avant-garde Ukrainian crochet work from 1951-53, watching celebrity-based reality TV shows is about as enticing as a double date dinner with Tiger Woods and his wife. Infact, even just watching the trailers can be confusing for me, as I discovered this weekend when I saw an ad for the new series of Dancing With The Stars (the American, Bruce Forsyth-less adaptation of Strictly Come Dancing).

Don’t get me wrong, some people I know. I mean, there’s probably not a person alive who hasn’t heard of Pamela Anderson, although I’m starting to believe she might be more famous these days for her – erm – live action self-directed short films than for her glory days on Baywatch. Obviously Nicole Scherzinger is a Pussycat Doll, although a) I wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a police line-up if it hadn’t been for the fact that she dated a British racing driver, and b) making up a silly surname does not automatically guarantee you fame. I also have to confess that in the early 1990s, I had a bit of a thing for Brenda from Beverly Hills 90210, and so the appearance of Shannon Doherty in the show would at least provide me with the opportunity to tell The Special One that I only married her because she too came from Tennessee.

Buzz Aldrin. Yes, that Buzz Aldrin. Even if we put aside the fact that he must be 97 by now (and that zimmer frame is going to be tough to swing around in a show about ballroom dancing), did Buzz really need to do this? I mean, seriously Buzz? I know you’re still upset that that Amrstrong bloke beat you in an arm wrestle for the right to be first on the moon, but is making a fool of yourself on national TV going to take away that pain?

As for the rest of the sorry bunch, I was initially lost for words. This Brit Out Of Water doesn’t give up without a fight though, so I quickly scribbled down their names, and have finally managed to work out what brought them to our TV screens.

Chad Ochocinco
Born and raised in Bad Axe, Michigan, Ochocinco (real name: Bill Perkins) is the inventor of the Sham Wow cleaning cloth. He officially changed his name three years ago, to reflect the number of different uses he claims his miracle cloth can be put to. Chad Eightyfive clearly wasn’t catchy enough for him. Became the subject of a controversy last year when federal consumer experts claimed that they were unable to find more than one use for the Sham Wow, and “even that doesn’t work very well.”

Aiden Turner
One half of the hit country combo, “Turner & Hooch”. Guitarist Turner met former flight attendant Holly Hooch in 1987, on a trip to Denver, marrying her three days later after a whirlwind Makers Mark-inspired romance. The pair began performing on stage together the following year, and are perhaps best known for the 1993 hit “You Caught Me Looking At Your Cupcakes”. The pair split in 2005, after Turner took a flight alone and was given a much-publicized ‘upgrade’ in the cabin’s rear galley by a blonde former colleague of Hooch’s.

Erin Andrews
The former Miss Poughkeepsie was stripped of her title when she was found stealing Chupa Chups from the supply cupboard of her paediatrician’s office. The “Beauty Star Steals Candy From The Babies” headlines forced pageant organizers to strip Andrews of her title, and prompted Andrews into a tearful mea culpa on Larry King. Andrews claimed to have developed a forty-a-day lollipop habit after the death of her beloved dog Francis in 2008.

Evan Lysacek
Star of the hit NBC comedy “Up Against The Wall”, Lysacek has perhaps the most irritating voice in sitcom history – quite an achievement in a field that includes The Nanny, and that woman from Will & Grace. Last year, Lysacek became the public face of Clorox’s multi-purpose cleaning sprays, although rumours abound that he is shortly to be replaced by Daphne from Frasier.

Niecy Nash
Until last year, Nash was the senior Republican senator for Utah, winning a landslide 2005 election running under the slogan “Niecy and Easy”. He narrowly avoided indictment on corruption charges after using public funds to put his son through culinary school, and was swept out of office after more than one million people joined the “Not So Niecy After All” group on Facebook.

Jake Pavelka
The Atlanta Braves catcher, who fought a very public battle with alcoholism. After one particularly heavy drinking session, Pavelka still managed to hit a triple in a key play off game against the Chicago Cubs, but ran the wrong way around the diamond to end up only making first base. Pavelka is now the poster child for Budweiser’s no-alcohol beer “Clear” (slogan: Even Less Tasty Than Bud Light).

Kate Gosselin
One time labour and delivery nurse who – not happy with having already had twins – turned to fertility treatment in her to have more kids, and ended up with sextuplets. Her and her husband – let’s call him “Jon” – then sell their souls to a television network in order to get some cold hard cashvaluable exposure for the struggles of parents with eight kids. Five years later, Kate and Jon split up, and their story was plastered over the cover of entertainment titles for approximately three years.

Yeah, alright, the last one was a bit far-fetched, wasn’t it?