Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is David Hasselhoff Suffering From a Bout of Abdulitis?

As I watched last week’s two episodes of the utterly obnoxious “America’s Got Talent,” I kept thinking to myself “What’s up with David Hasselhoff?” As he began giving his critique of each performer, he seemed to continually get confused about what he was trying to say. Not only did he become terribly long-winded, but he also began slurring his speech and getting very expressive. (An amazing accomplishment in itself, given the amount of botox his face certainly must have endured over the last several years.) You could even see tears welling up in his eyes several times, as if he was actually emotionally touched by some of the performances. In fact, during his often unintelligible mumblings, he showed an emotional range that was far superior to anything he ever displayed on “Baywatch” or “Knightrider.”

What I found even more interesting was that his comments began to get shorter and shorter over the course of both evenings, as the producers began to cut him off with loud musical interludes after only a few sentences. (A technique that has been perfected on Award shows like the Oscars or Emmys, when the swelling of the music let’s everyone know that the winner’s acceptance speech is threatening to become a one act play.) And what’s even weirder is that I don’t think Mr. Hasselhoff even realized it, as he obliviously kept prattling on until they eventually turned his microphone off as well. Even Sharon Osborne seemed confused by the Hoff’s behavior, particularly when he stood up to show her the neatly embroidered “Back Hoff” on the back of his pants pockets. (One hopes this wasn’t a prototype for a new line of designer jeans, as I can’t imagine any store would want to stock them other than maybe Wallmart or Odd Lots. And of course, the entire country of Germany, who often mistake Mr. Hasselhoff for a really good singer.)

This kind of erratic behavior is similar to another iconic judge of talent, Miss Paula Abdul, who has become more famous for her bizarre onscreen conduct than whatever it was that made her a star in the first place. (Oh right, she was a singer/choreographer/actress/girlfriend to Emilio Estevez.) Is the pressure of being a judge on two of America’s most popular talent contests too much pressure for these two faded celebrities? You would think instead of (allegedly) drinking or drugging away their time on camera, they would celebrate this opportunity to actually be in the spotlight again. After all, it could just as easily be Tiffany and Larry Hagman at the judge’s podium, since the judge’s panel almost always consists of at least one has-been, one Brit and one person you’ve never even heard of. (And sometimes all three of those qualities can even be found in the very same individual—i.e., Piers Morgan.)

I’m not convinced that “America’s Got Talent” always showcases the best of what America has to offer. It seems to me that every year they put through one or two acts that are more focused on shock value than anything that has to do with talent. Otherwise, there is simply no explanation for last year’s choice of Boy Shakira (exactly what it sounds like) or this year’s Rommy B, whose rendition of “She Bangs, She Bangs” conjured up images of another “American Idol” favorite, William Hung. (Which was utterly intentional, I’m sure.)

And what’s with all the dance acts that got through this year? It seemed like the judges cut a lot of very talented singers and individual dancers in favor of several large groups of big breasted girls bobbling around on stage. Clearly their talents are purely superficial, so why expose us to so many acts of a similar vein? If that’s what America views as talent, then plastic surgeons all over the country certainly have a solid future ahead of them.

But back to Mr. Hasselhoff, who in recent years seems fairly determined to self destruct in front of our very eyes. First, there was the embarrassing rendition of “Jump in My Car,” a song which was apparently supposed to put him back on the charts. (Though I’m not even sure it made the German charts this time.) Then there was the embarrassing video his daughter took of him eating and wallowing in self pity. And now, the introduction of the David Hasselhoff “Back Hoff” line of designer jeans. Not to mention the prevalent use of his last name in phrases like “Don’t hassle the Hoff” or “I’m getting pissed Hoff” or “Don’t be a jerk-Hoff.” Can there be no end to this madness?

But that’s just me. What do you think of David Hasselhoff or “America’s Got Talent?”


Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hilarious post. I'm glad I don't watch AGT. But I did see a clip on AOL's Top Five Television: It was of the cross-dressing Derrick who looked like Brittany Spears and The Hoff said after watching Derrick that he was confused about his sexuality. Not a good career move to utter such a line on national television...America doesn't get self-parody.

I like the idea of Tiffany and Larry Hagman...I think I'd watch.

Oh well, at least the show is mindless drivel to keep Americans distracted from the Hurricane/Election cycle which is front and center 24/7 through November. Because we all know that watching the Hoff is more important than the future of our country.


Mo said...

Thank goodness I dodged a bullet by not watching that particular show!
How sad that your own producers are "playing you off" with music.
Of course, that would be "playing you Hoff" wouldn't it?

This is mo, signing Hoff.

Bradley said...

I stopped watching television a few years ago and your post validates that I'm not missing anything. I can't believe "The Hoff" is still around. The man was a has been during the peak of his career IMO.

VintageGent said...

Well, I was a producer (not for a network) a few yon years ago and let me tell you...if you watched 12 people or acts who were the absolutely most talented - the pitch perfect singers, the flawless dancers, etc, it may not be "boring" but you wouldn't be able to choose because it would be apples and orange.

Maybe to a very seasoned director, they would recognize some subtle nuances that would make one pick one excellent person over the other, but the regular viewing public wouldn't remember one person to the next unless something stuck out like a store thumb about them.

So in otherwords, they need to throw someone in the mix who seems to have missed the "Gong Show" door down the hall and seemed like they wandered into the wrong place. Hosts that seem on the verge of a nervous breakdown are a plus.

The morning headline of "EVERYBODY WAS REALLY GOOD LAST NIGHT!" just don't sell papers :(

Henson Ray said...

Matt--Glad you enjoyed it. The Hoff said the same thing about his sexuality last year with a drag queen. And the other phrase that he repeats incessantly is "This is what this show is all about."

Mo--Very clever, as usual. I'm Hoff to see the Wizard.

bradley--yes, the Hoff is still around. Though just barely.

vintagegent--Oh, I totally realize this is just a "show," and as such they need to cast it well...regardless of whether it's a contest or not...it's important to have the right demographic mix, and the right mix of good and bad...it's just sad that real talent gets cut to make room for the crappy acts...I realize it supposedly makes "good television," but it also gets very boring when they spend so much time on the bad acts..