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Making the Band

Hey all. Welcome to another ten minutes inside my brain. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Or not.

So, I'm sitting in front of the television with Mrs. DrOp, slowly being victimized by the current choices in channel surfing, which at this time happened to be MTV. On this particular afternoon, MTV was running a marathon on their television show called Becoming.

Now, for those of you that don't know, Becoming, is the latest in MTV's long line of garbage television geared towards fans of garbage music. The show goes something like this:

Average Blonde is met by her Excited Friend.

Chaos ensues.

Average Blonde: Hey girl, what's up?

Excited Friend: Guess what? I have a surprise for you.

YOU'RE becoming Britney Spears!!

Average Blonde: OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!! I DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!


Over the course of the next 30 minutes (time-lapsed and edited for the MTV audience, of course), Average Blonde is taken through the motions of becoming a modern young, pop diva-in-training who will one day make B-level porn for sure.

She is set-up in a lavish hotel and showered tons and tons of free gifts, including a fake letter from Britney via her publicist or gofer. She receives a compete make-over that would make Ricki Lake and Sally proud, including hair, make-up, and clothing that gives her that unforgettable, totally Britney look. Next, the choreographer from Britney's Slave video is brought in and Average Blonde is taught all those hot dance moves that make Britney such a teen icon. She rehearses, she lip-syncs, she falls, she gushes and blushes with excitement. In come the cameras, or if you're counting, the cameras in front of the cameras and Average Blonde begins the painstaking work of remaking Britney Spears' Slave video. Speedy video clip montage starts and we are finally resented with the results of all her (30 minutes?) of hard work: Slave by Average Blonde, MTV's Becoming 2002.

The video is shown in its entirety. It cuts from Average's version of the video to Britney's seamlessly. To MTV's credit, Average Blonde is almost indistinguishable from the 'real' pop star. I , for one, could barely tell them apart. Average dances just as crisply and lip-syncs just as well as Britney. It was at that moment that I realized that it had never been more obvious that Britney Spears and her stardom are totally manufactured. On TV she looks great. In the controlled environment of make-up, and video effects, she is extremely talented.

But, in person, she's comes up way short.

Just like the nWo and Goldust.

Oh, I see your blood pressure rising. But think about it. These two acts are totally made and manufactured for television. And given that the WWF seems to think that their audience is exactly the same as MTV's, it shouldn't be that surprising. They are modern day creations of the WWF hype machine and Vince McMahon's (sometimes) genius machinations. While each individual wrestler has a different level of "star-power," none of them is quite as good as all their hype.

Don't buy it? Let's run down our checklist for manufactured stardom:

  • Flash entrance video that looks nothing like anyone else on the show, giving the wrestler a unique presence, at least on TV? CHECK

  • Effects can never be reproduced live: CHECK

  • Seeing the wrestler live and in person (or at least their in-ring effort) pales in comparison to the image crafted through the magic of the WWF production team and their editing process? CHECK

  • Even though you like said performer(s) you feel somewhat disappointed after seeing them live? CHECK

    Goldust has been moderately enjoyable in his feud with RVD (and Van Dam deserves lots of credit for this as well), but his promos and entrance are far more exciting than anything he's done in the ring so far.

    Glitter will only take you but so far, just ask Mariah Carey. The nWo is in a similar predicament. Hogan, Nash and Hall have a great entrance to the ring that comes across on TV as a perpetual mark-out moment. The burnt-film, black and white, slow-frame effect is the shit. Their killing the Rock angle gives them an exciting ring presence for now and they should be able to ride this hot angle for a bit, but deep down you know that the only one of them that can easily have a decent match with no opponent in particular is Hall. And, ironically enough, he seems to be the one being watched the closest.

    Currently, the three, ah hem, veterans, seem to be living off the leftover appeal from their WCW glory days and the Internet backlash of Net fans everywhere. Interesting. I wonder just how long that can sustain before they need to keep heat based on their current effort and merit.

    Now, I don't mean to sound like the ultimate nay-sayer of gloom and doom for the ultra-hot nWo angle and Goldust's resurrection, but I can't help but think: If this was 1979 and none of these guys was afforded the glitz and glamour of digital production and incessant promotion (Hogan excluded), would they even be who they are? Are they even who or what we think they are? Or what the WWF tells us they are? Would they be mega-stars? Are they even mega-stars now? Or like Britney (and Lean Cuisine) are they simply pre-packaged, manufactured goods aided by aggressive marketing and the power of preservatives that we just think taste good?

    You make the call.

    Send feedback and hatemail to

    Until next time: Be a fan. Drink a few. Mark Out. Have no shame.

    I'm out.

    [slash] wrestling

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