Pants afire

By JAMES PARKER  |  March 13, 2008

So let’s review. An addict (Frey), a gangbanger (Seltzer), a rent boy (Albert), and a Vietnam vet (Shields). To this list we can add a Navajo memoirist whose son died of fetal-alcohol syndrome (“Nasdijj,” unmasked in 2006 by the LA Weekly as Tim Barrus, purveyor of gay erotica) and a Jewish woman haunted by her childhood flight from the Nazis (Misha Defonseca, whose 1997 Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years would appear to have been somewhat compromised by her confession this past month that she isn’t Jewish).

For good measure, let’s throw in a steroid-enlarged athlete and a fabricating politician. You can see where this is going, I’m sure — the comic variousness, the common denominator . . . what we have here, my friends, is the makings of a top-notch reality TV show. And a fitting punishment, perhaps. This is where we’ll send them, with their pants engulfed by fire: we’ll send them onto Something to Believe (host: Ashton Kutcher, theme tune by the Bravery), to compete in the production of fantastical whoppers, switching narratives, genders, and accents, until, one by one, they are bamboozled to a catatonic standstill. I’d watch it — wouldn’t you?

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