By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
The men, in comparison, are almost pleasantly dopey, though not without delusions themselves. Josh, who could have a shot at being Andy Richter’s body double, wants to star in his own sitcom, which seems much less realistic, but De‘Angelo, a rangy black guy from Ohio, just seems pleased that he’s landed a gig after only nine days in L.A. Still, given the city‘s vast talent pool, why these particular performers have been chosen to star in this series is a mystery. None of them, male or female, ever mentions another actor except when asked who he or she is most often compared to in the looks department. No love for acting as a craft is communicated, and no history is imparted. There’s no reverence for language, writers, movies, theater or even music videos. There is only ME -- my hopes, my dreams, my needs. “I wanna be an actress, and I will do it at my own pace,” says LisaRaye, making it sound like a threat. Take as long as you like, baby.
The only way that a show like The It Factor can work is if the actors are people we care about. And for us to care about them, they have to be special in some way, or at least able to exhibit some soul and a smidgen of original thinking. But David Clair, Lauren Friedland and Nicole Torre, the people responsible for this 13-part exercise in tedium -- and I‘ve only seen the first three episodes -- seem to think that we’re all so careerist in our assumptions that we‘ll automatically identify with anyone trying to “make it.” Thus when LisaRaye gets the call telling her she’s been selected for The It Factor, we‘re supposed to share her joy as she whoops and hollers at the news. But why should we be excited about her life when she shows no interest in anyone else’s?
If I were an actor on a reality show about actors, I hope that I‘d feel a need to justify my presence in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of living rooms by at least trying to say something interesting about the business, and why I was in it, and what I thought the point of the whole thing was. Some of these actors actually have good credits -- Jeremy Renner got some critical raves for his starring role in the indie feature Dahmer, for instance -- but as portrayed here there’s nothing remarkable about him. For all I know, the real-life Jeremy Renner has a passion for the plays of Tennessee Williams and is itching to stun the world with his interpretation of Hamlet. But I suspect that if he‘d mentioned such an ambition to Mali Finn and the rest of the goons in charge, they’d have yawned and said, “Next!”
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