Oil slick

Jan 23

“Grease: You’re the One That I Want” is the worst kind of “reality” TV tripe. So why am I watching it and sort of looking forward to Sunday’s TWO-HOUR voting show?

From the outset, I wasn’t going to watch the show at all. Other than “Project Runway,” I don’t do reality TV (insert snobby sniff-sniff here). I missed the first episode of “Grease” on NBC and my doggone TiVo (it knows me too well and it scares me) recorded a rerun on Bravo.

For those who don’t know, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” is patterned after a similar show in England in which a lengthy audition process to find the Maria for a new Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced The Sound of Music in London’s West End was televised, and viewers got to vote on the winner. Apparently the woman chosen by the public is very good, and the revival is monster hit.

For the American version, they’re casting the roles of Danny and Sandy for a new Broadway revival of Grease (the musical least in need of Broadway reviving).

Some real talent (director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall) (left) is involved in this process as well as some non-talent (“hosts” Billy Bush and Denise Van Outen). All the worst reality TV trappings — dumb-ass sound effects, slow-mo, agonizing repetition — are here in full force and nearly ruin the show.

Notice I say “nearly.” There is fun to be had here. My favorite drama so far has been all the cry-baby auditioners. One girl melted down mid-audition for producer David Ian. That can’t be fun (hey — I hear vocal training can really help in these situations — check it out!). And the saga of jock Matt Nolan has been great. He’s a major sports guy (even works in sports marketing or some such) who has a secret desire to be a Broadway song and dance man. Turns out he was the biggest cry-baby of all. His session with producer Ian is a hoot. Watch it:

Going into what is sure to be two hours of torture on Sunday, what with the live component and viewer voting, I’m pulling for Ashley Spencer (who played Barbie in the national tour of Barbie in Fairy-topia) and Juliana Hansen (who’s in a Bruce Springsteen tribute band) in the Sandy category and local Foster City boy Jason Celaya and pure pro Austin Miller. I suppose I should also throw my support behind Chad Doreck because I support anyone named Chad who isn’t a porn star.

Visit NBC’s official “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” Web site here.

2 comments

  1. It’s kinda like a bad car accident, you know you shouldn’t look, but you can’t help yourself. My favorite part of the show is watching Kathleen Marshall’s bored and annoyed expressions. She seems so over the whole proceedings, as if to say “What the hell am I doing here? Who talked me into this bullshit?! I’ve got better things to do with my time!” I was sort’ve sad to see Matt get the ax – he was the hottest thing on that show. Seems like it was just last year that I saw a revival of Grease (with Lucy “Xena” Lawless no less) – is it time for another one already?

  2. Emily and I got hooked into an episode one night. Emily was shocked that they told the 40-something year old mother to go home and buy a mirror to hang on her wall. Brutality at its finest.

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