& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & t 9 pm on Sunday, Bret Michaels -- lead singer of hair metal gods Poison -- goes about finding, among 20 contestants, a "serious, love of my life type" girl who "understands [his] lifestyle," which he later confesses means a girl who doesn't mind him making out with other girls. Amazingly, all 20 seem OK with this, at least in theory.
Then, at 10:30, former teen dream Scott Baio (Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, Charles in Charge) hires a life coach to figure out why he can't commit to pretty, saintly blondes who want nothing more than to make him happy for the rest of his life. The coach makes him visit the girls he treated worst throughout his life. This leads him, early on, to form a theory about his problem: Hollywood has made him a commitment-phobe. By the end of hour one, we form a similar, less rose-colored theory: Scott Baio is a sociopath and dirtbag who doesn't want to give up using Playboy magazine like a mail-order catalogue.
Michaels rejoices in his ability to still get laid, coming off as morally vacant but likable. Baio, affecting boyish charm while claiming victim status, treats his celebrity like a curse, complaining that the ease of cheap sex in Hollywood ruined his ability to craft meaningful relationships. He comes off as a self-serving charlatan and a liar.
The shows are close approximations of past VH1 hits I personally despise: Flavor of Love and My Fair Brady. With the unending parade of jilted teen queens telling him what a bastard he is, Baio can't mask his sins under a cloak of ignorance or romanticism. Brett Michaels, still loving the decadence, wouldn't want to. Taken together, they provide one of the most nauseatingly frank denunciations of a lifestyle -- era, really -- I've ever seen. Gays, feminists and liberals didn't ruin the traditional American family, Jerry Falwell. Los Angeles in the '80s did.
Tune in next week as Julie McCullough, the eight-episode Growing Pains veteran and Playboy playmate, tells Baio in her cute, jaded drawl, "Ah had mah first AIDS tehst because'a yoo."
I'm going to get sick of this in less than two weeks. Until then, don't try calling me on Sunday nights.
Three celeb-trash takes on the nuclear family for your summer:
The Two Coreys
Adolescent duo Corey Haim and Cory Feldman are getting their own reality show. Haim was always the cute one and Feldman was always the funny one. Makes sense that Feldman would settle down into a happy relationship while Haim would continue milking his vanishing charm. Now Haim is moving in with Feldman and his wife, for some reason. Spells trouble? Hopefully. (Premieres Sunday, July 29, 10 pm, A & amp;E)
Hogan Knows Best
The story this season is that the Hulkster is probably getting his ass a divorce. Selfless of him to wait to end his loveless 25-odd-year marriage until the popularity of the show could land his talentless daughter Brooke a huge record deal. (Premieres Sunday, 10 pm, VH1)
Probably the most stable family on reality TV, Joseph Simmons (Run of rap pioneers Run DMC) has a wife, skads of kids, and has become a fairly convincing reverend. Originally airing on MTV, the third season is being rebroadcast on BET. (Fridays, 8 pm, BET)