Your average TV-actor scandal is a bit lame

Lea Michele thinks well of herself.

John Doyle
The Globe and Mail
Published on Wednesday, July 14, 2010

During the World Cup (I’ll stop mentioning it soon), the English team caused much mirth when some players complained about their daily routine. Isolated at a luxury hotel/resort, like most teams, some guys whined that after breakfast and training and lunch, they were obliged to rest for the remainder of the day. Watch television, play video games, watch World Cup games on TV. “Very boring,” one fella said.

As one pundit in the English press acidly remarked, the chaps were finding their days rather tedious because they weren’t able to engage in their usual, daily post-training routine of “drinking, gambling and whoring.”

We expect male pro athletes to be boorish and a bit thick, easily distracted, with the attention span of a three-year-old and the adolescent appetites of a 15-year-old. They’re not paid to be models of propriety.

In the big-shot acting racket, we expect a goodly number of movie stars to be impossible jerks, attention-seeking weirdos and egomaniac cranks who believe that their opinions about various things matter greatly. Mel Gibson is only the most high-profile serial offender in this category.

But what about the TV racket? Television actors work longer hours and about eight months of the year. Generally they have less time to behave badly. Thus, TV-actor scandals – with a few exceptions – tend to be rather mundane. (By the way, movie actor and general-purpose celebrity Lindsay Lohan is expected to invade the TV racket soon enough. It is reported that she is in demand, thanks to her recent jail sentence. According to the New York Post, the bidding is more than $500,000 for the rights to the pre-jail interview, the prison diary and the first chat when she is released.)

The number of jerks, divas and self-indulgent idiots in the TV racket is rather small. Mind you, reality TV has given us some sad cases of weirdness.

Herewith, a round-up of the rather pathetic scandals that have happened in the TV racket.

Tila Tequila. Ms. Tequila (born Tila Nguyen) shot to fame of a sort with her MTV show, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Billed as “a cross between The Real World and The Bachelorette, but with lesbians and mud wrestling,” the show allegedly dramatized Tila’s search for a love-buddy. Viewers thought she liked the lads. Turned out she liked the ladies. Recently, after some drug problems, she was scheduled to appear on the Celebrity Rehab series, but she was rejected for reasons too murky to explain. One of her friends acknowledged that Tequila was still hooked on the sedative Ambien. Her day was described as this: “She would base her entire day around it. She would wake up, snort Ambien, Google herself, do more, Twitter all day and then sleep.” It’s the “Google herself” remark that’s defining.

Lea Michele. Ms. Michele plays the annoying but splendidly voiced Rachel Berry on Glee. She was a Broadway star before Glee, but TV stardom has allegedly gone to her head. At a Time magazine event in New York City, photographer Patrick McMullan (a real big shot in his racket) took her photograph. But he wasn’t sure who she was. When he asked her name, she got snooty and said, “Sarah Palin,” and then, “Taylor Swift.” The conversation, such as it was, ended with a good deal of swearing. One wonders if Ms. Michele Googles herself daily.

Charlie Sheen. Where do we start? Some trouble with his missus. Charges of assault and threats. Much murkiness. Legal hassles. Postponements. Could be doing Two and a Half Men on weekdays and jail on weekends. More sad than scandalous. Definitely doesn’t Google himself.

Hugh Laurie. A few years ago in Los Angeles, at a press conference, the House star was asked how he had spent the summer break. “I was a taxi driver,” he said. As TV critics got excited about a scoop, Laurie said, “I’m joking.” Then he explained that spent his summer in England, mainly driving his wife and kids to lessons, waiting around and driving them back. He probably reads a good book after work. Definitely doesn’t Google himself.

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Also airing

Minute to Win It (NBC, CITY-TV, 8 p.m.) is a new summer game-show thingy. Engaged couples compete side by side for the cash to afford their dream wedding. For instance, they stack cans.

Beast Legends (History, 10 p.m.) is described as this: “Beast Legends investigates and creates incredible creatures: Unidentified Mysterious Animals … animals unknown to science. In the same way that paleontology speculates about what dinosaurs were really like, our experts now do the same for creatures of legend.” Actually the show is staggeringly overblown. In Wednesday night’s episode, the “experts” attempt to recreate “the Kraken,” a sea monster of legend. A booming voice goes on and about the Kraken – “deep in the dark depths of distant seas … mesmerizing men with its piercing gaze … a vast writhing mass of muscle … dragging sailors and ships to a watery doom.” We get it, we get it. Then there’s a lot of stuff about how your average octopus is kinda like a Kraken. If the show calmed down, it might be more interesting.

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