- Scouted by America – This one’s about some hot-shit talent scout and his hot-shit team scouring the country in search of new models/actors. It’s not a terrible idea fundamentally—watching the nervous kids take their first meeting, seeing the totally suspicious parents—but they don’t just let it be what it should be: a documentary. Instead, it’s Reality TV, with flashy cuts, too many talking heads, and a contrived There Can Be Only One Winner contest. Grade D+
- Flirting With Fame – Terrible title; great show. There’s two parts to this one. To start, it’s about this charismatic but totally conceited Italian aristocrat, and his opinions on fame, sex, and the common folk (needs to be seen to be appreciated). It’s only well into the episode that we learn what the show’s really about—taking average protégés and making them famous. His belief is that money can make anyone famous. His co-stars/co-hosts—Kelly Osbourne and Kimberly Stewart (Rod’s daughter)—respectively believe that talent and sexy appeal are what’s required. Each week, the hosts and their protégés are given challenges— have their name appear in a gossip column, get in a slap-fight with a celebrity etc. Sounds dumb as I describe it, but it was a lot of fun and probably something I’d watch if it got picked up. Grade: A-
- Lean on Me – Jesus, was this ever a morally abhorrent show! Ex-celebrities—Milli (or maybe it was Vanilli?), Cindy from The Brady Bunch, Daniel Baldwin, Leif Garrett, and more—enter several weeks of treatment, largely for addiction issues, but also just to improve their overall feelings of self worth. The show tracks their progress from week to week. Stopping there, I suppose it’s a decent idea for a show. However, it’s also got a Survivor component. Each week, the person who’s making the worst progress in their recovery is booted out. They just drop all pretence of actually wanting to help these people. It might as well be called Degrading the D-Listers. Grade: F
For our time, we score two free tickets to Madame Tussaud’s, which is good because we’d never actually pay to see it. It’s designed to be very interactive (to this end, the figures aren’t wax so much as… wood, maybe?) You can cozy up to J-Lo, try to dunk on Shack, audition for Simon of American Idol, or as Sarah did, put on a wedding dress and live out your dream of marrying George Clooney. From there, we went North to Wynn, then gambled our way southward while fulfilling our goal of picking up matchbooks in every major casinos on the strip (henceforth known as MatchQuest 2007). It’s a super slow day for drinks, so we end up getting drawn into a shithole called:
The Theme: Don’t waste our time—give us your money.
Why You Know It: You don’t.
What’s Good: Nothing.
What’s Bad: Everything.
We only go inside to further MatchQuest 2007, and because of a sign out front promising one dollar draft beer during happy hour (10am – 3 am). Once inside, we decide to play a little video poker, and the bartender gives me sass for not playing full credits, actually calling out to a colleague, “Hey, this guy’s only playing one credit at a time. Pffft.” So I glass the fucker, and we move on.
A short way down the road, we come upon
The Theme: Pink.
Why You Know It: It was the first significant casino on the strip, financed entirely by mob money. It was once owned by Bugsy Siegel.
What’s Good: The fact that it’s still standing. There’s also a nice little wildlife enclosure in the back with—among other things—a flock of Chilean flamingos.
What’s Bad: It’s dated, and there are so many better places a step away.
We’re there for about an hour, but slot wins and drinks are hard to come by so we head home. Tomorrow is the day we go home, so we do a bit of packing, have a few drinks, and watch some teev. Funnily enough, Ocean’s Eleven is on. After some down time, we decide we’d rather watch the fountains at the Bellagio than watch Danny Ocean’s crew watch them, so we stroll on down. We see the fountain show twice (they go off every half hour). The first time it’s a dull sort-of ballet, but for the second show is to the tune of the Calgary Winter Olympic theme, and it’s just one forty foot blast after the next. Phenomenal.