The new reality TV show, “Grease: You’re the One that I Want,” has done something that I never would have thought possible: made me appreciate Paula Abdul. I’m not a huge “American Idol” fan – though I must admit to having caught a mild case of the McPheever last season. Generally, I have found “Idol” judges Paula and Randy to be insipid and repetitious when not downright moronic. Simon is the “bad guy” but most often, he’s just the most honest, occasionally with a brutality that adds entertainment value to the show.
However, as flawed as Simon’s cohorts are, at least they have personalities. “Grease” director Kathleen Marshall may be a great choreographer but she showed the vitality of a stone when judging during the show last night. And “Grease” author, Jim somebody or other, could barely get a coherent word out, let alone say something amusing or even mildly insightful. The tour of the haunts that inspired “Grease” basically insisted of him getting out of cars and pointing. Scintillating television.
Producer David Ian is a solid enough screen presence and he isn’t as brittle as Simon. But he’s also not nearly as entertaining. He also dominates the show in a way that Simon doesn’t dominate “Idol” so I fear he will grow tiresome soon. His “You’re…NOT Sandy” tagline grew tiresome after only one episode.
I have to respect “Grease” for using the real people whose careers and whose money are wrapped up in the Broadway production. If (when) Katharine McPhee’s first album tanks, it’ll barely distract the “Idol” judges. But putting their livelihoods on the line here has perhaps paralyzed the “Grease” team in a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ kind of way that doesn’t play that well on the small screen.
The strongest aspect of the show so far is the potential Dannys and Sandys. Of course, the judges then didn’t do the show any favors by booting a few of the most interesting prospects (the plus-size dancing cupcake, the pharmaceutical rep who walked in from a convention, and the Danny who was doing it for his dead brother). I’ll probably give the show one more chance (overheating the DVR next weekend thanks to ‘24’s premiere) but, unless I see anything compelling next week, interest in theater alone won’t keep me squandering an hour a week of my life on this show.
What did you all think?