By Stacey Harrison
Deep down everybody wants to be loved, right? Even people who go out of their way to gain notoriety for being shallow, obnoxious, confrontational jerks who don’t think life is worth living unless it’s in front of the camera.
The CW attempts to heal this raw societal wound with H8R, which premieres tonight at 8pm. The Mario Lopez-hosted show pairs one tragically misunderstood celebrity with an ordinary person who openly despises them. Some of the H8-ees include Snooki from Jersey Shore, Kim Kardashian (Note: the “H8R” in her episode is NOT new hubby Kris Humphries), Bachelor scumbag Jake Pavelka, science experiment Janice Dickinson, grody Girls Gone Wild entrepreneur Joe Francis and NBA nutball Ron Artest.
Like much of reality TV, H8R is easily watchable but entirely full of caca. Most of the defenses mounted by the celebrities don’t amount to much more than the tired cries of “You don’t know me!” heard on so many episodes of Maury and Jerry Springer. The argument might be more effective if they weren’t railing against the very public image they’ve worked so hard to craft and promote. Call it Celebrity Image Rehab. They also seem to cling to the rather self-serving idea that anyone who could possibly hate them is just jealous. Oh, and all the H8Rs are reality-star wannabes.
Nevertheless, the show’s concept is appealing, so we went around the Channel Guide office and asked staff members to name their biggest celebrity nemeses, why they “H8” them, and what could possibly change their minds. Feel free to send us your own “H8” fests.
Karen Ruud vs. Kim Kardashian
Why I “H8” Her: I’m sick of seeing squeaky, high-pitched girls become famous for who their parents are. Throwing down all this money for lavish weddings and lifestyles when there are tons of people in such great need is just wrong.
How Could She Turn Me Around? Maybe rather than blowing all the money on lavish parties in Vegas, she could start helping the communities and people around her. It’s so unfair that someone can waste $200,000 on a wedding cake just to be looked at. Ohhhhh, my blood is boiling now.
Barb Oates vs. “Teen Mom” Amber Portwood
Why I “H8” Her: OK, first let me say I don’t like to use the word “hate” (or “H8”), so I dislike Amber because she’s mean, cruel, downright nasty, lazy and ignores her kid. I can’t tolerate watching her or reading about her. Run Gary run!
How Could She Turn Me Around? By demonstrating love, kindness and compassion. Good luck with that!
Jeff Pfeiffer vs. Mario Lopez
Why I “H8” Him: He’s just in too many damn things! I can’t seem to flip the channel without seeing him on something, including an infomercial for some Bowflex type of workout thing. Oh, and of course, now as host of H8R. Maybe I still envision him as his Saved By the Bell character who bugged me, the douchey jock A.C. Slater. I still get that vibe off Lopez in his real persona. He also kind of seems like a phony, even by Hollywood standards.
How Could He Turn Me Around? He could turn down a project once in a while, or maybe take a hiatus from all of his current projects and then make a “comeback” years down the road in a more legit project. I can’t say I honestly, truly, hate (or H8) him, but he has a high annoyance factor with me that I don’t think will ever fully leave.
Mike Doney vs. Gwyneth Paltrow
Why I “H8” Her: The fact that she herself tries to give advice to others (especially mothers with “full-time” jobs), because she is so successful and “earned” everything she has is almost too much to take. I loathe this woman, especially now that she is taking her “talents” to the music industry. I guess maybe it’s also people who look up to her or think her music/acting is special that I’m a H8R of, too! Anyway, quick reference for all my material of hate: http://www.wwtdd.com/tag/gwyneth-paltrow/
How Could She Turn Me Around? Stop being so pretentious. Maybe succumb to some sort of ponzi-scheme where she loses everything and has to “start” her struggled journey again … maybe lose a limb, a finger at the very least. Not really sure.
Lori Acken vs. Kate Gosselin
Why I “H8” Her: She was comically tolerable as the freaked-out, mall-haired, uber-prolific mother of more babies than she was counting on — until the TV cameras became her real babies, and the show her court of public humiliation for now ex-husband Jon. Soon enough both decided they’d rather be celebrities than parents, sporting all the trappings that non-celebrities think celebrities sport — Ed Hardy clothes, Oompa Loompa spray tans, hair extensions and stilettos at the grocery store. And the kids that made them famous became an 8-piece set of befuddled (but well-traveled) props.
How Could She Turn Me Around? Go home, fall out of love with the sound of your own voice, and raise your kids into well-adjusted human beings who don’t have cameramen and production assistants as their Facebook friends. And then, when they’re safely on their own, maybe approach TLC about Kate Plus Empty Nest. Or Kate and Steve Plus Enough Pizza For Everyone.
Dave Lange vs. Guy Fieri
Why I “H8” Him: His food critiques are more about grunting and less about using the English language. He also looks like a guy who may have been kicked out of the band Smash Mouth.
How Could He Turn Me Around? Wear a beard net when cooking.
Athena Voulgaropoulos vs. Nadya Suleman a.k.a. Octomom
Why I “H8” Her: Octomom seems like too easy a target, but she’s one of the few pseudo-celebs who inspires actual H8. The rest, just varying degrees of indifference. So, to start, ever hear of a carbon footprint, lady? The world doesn’t need your welfare (sorry, “disability”) funded spawn. No one needs 14 kids. No one even needs the six kids you already had before gaining infamy as “Octomom.” Want a large brood? Try adopting. Need someone to love? Join match.com. You have no job, you have been living off government assistance, and you lied about the details of how you got pregnant and why. It’s downright irresponsible and pathetic. I have zero sympathy for you. Zero respect. And it is absolutely cruel to put your crap choices onto these children.
How Could She Turn Me Around? Hysterectomy. Get a flippin’ job. Get psychiatric help. Find a wealthy benefactor who’d be willing to put up with your very obvious insanity. Seriously, though, there’s not a chance this woman could change my mind. At least the Duggars had the decency to create their own baby sitters.
Stacey Harrison vs. Ethan Hawke
Why I “H8” Him: This goes all the way back to 1994’s Reality Bites when Mr. Hawke forever cemented his space in the hipster douchebag firmament with his grating portrayal of Troy Dyer, a low-rent John Bender whose petulant covers of Violent Femmes songs and constant railing against
people with jobs corporate whores proved irresistible to Winona Ryder’s character. I’m well aware that this movie hit me at a particularly touchy time. I was a senior in high school, and completely frustrated by all the girls who claimed to want nice guys (which I fancied myself to be), but constantly ended up with dudes like Troy Dyer, who looked the part of sensitive, touchy-feely musician but really treated anyone who wasn’t himself with elitist disdain. Seriously, ladies, every time you sigh lovingly at his artistic brilliance and devil-may-care charm, the terrorists win.
How Could He Turn Me Around? Once you’ve become the guy who left his wife for the nanny, admittedly it’s a tough sell. But I’m willing to leave the guy’s private life out of it. I mean, how do I know what Uma Thurman’s like in real life? And, hey, I’m sure naming two of your kids Indiana and Clementine carries at least a 30 percent chance of not scarring them for life. More importantly, it’s not like I’ve never enjoyed Hawke’s work. Explorers was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and Before Sunrise and (especially) Before Sunset are two of the most honest and entertaining treatments of romantic relationships ever put on film. Plus there’s Training Day, Gattaca, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead … all great movies, and he was good in them. But every time I’m ready to let him off the hook, he has to go write a laughably pretentious book like The Hottest State, or direct a claw-your-eyes-out bore like Chelsea Walls. There are signs he’s starting to take himself a bit less seriously, and that he’s fully aware of how he’s come across at times, which is encouraging. At some point it’ll be up to me to let go of my H8. I’m sure having a beer or two with the guy could do the trick.
Photo: © 2011 The CW Network, LLC. Credit: Scott Alan Humbert