The “T” Stands for “Therapeutic”
“I Pity the Fool” on TV Land
By Devin D. O’Leary
Mr. T must be listed in the celebrity has-been phone book under “T.” It makes sense, since his new reality show comes right on the heels of the one they gave Gene Simmons. Which means--alphabetically speaking--Bob Uecker should be getting a call from Hollywood producers any day now for his new reality series. (I’m thinking, “Celebrity Euchre Tour with Bob Uecker.” ESPN2, call me for the pitch on that one.)
With every nostalgia-fied, C-list celebrity in creation--from Danny Bonaduce to Hulk Hogan--staring in their own reality show, it actually seems strange nobody has tapped Mr. T before now. Perhaps no one found the right vehicle for him. Cooking show? Too tame. Extreme sports show? Too hard on the gold chains. “Mr. T’s Celebrity Hair Salon”? ... Hey, that’s not bad. BRAVO, call me for the pitch on that one.
Leave it to TV Land (which recently started showing reruns of “The A-Team”) to locate the perfect outlet for the personality that is first name “Mr,” middle name “period,” last name “T.” The what-else-could-it-be-titled series “I Pity the Fool” finds Mr. T in the role of celebrity advice-giver. Much like the gals on “Nanny 911” or the nice rabbi on “Shalom in the Home,” T travels around the country helping ordinary people sort out their everyday problems.
What the hell. Mr. T’s no more or less qualified to do this kind of work than Dr. Phil (plus he’s not, as yet, hocking any sham diet products). Anybody who remembers 1984’s inspirational home video “Be Somebody ... or Be Somebody’s Fool!” knows the sort of role model Mr. T aspires to be. Thanks to T’s patented rhyme-heavy form of tough love, an entire generation knows to treat its mother right, to exercise every day and to not smoke cigarettes. (Seriously, if you have to kill someone to get a copy of “Be Somebody,” do it!)
“I Pity the Fool” finds T doing his level best to help people. T cuts through all the jibba jabba and lays out his “rules for fools.” Mostly these rules involve a few quick clichés about motivation and a lot of yelling. But you’d better listen up, or Mr. T will go all Tony Robbins on your ass. ... Sorry, “your behind.” T don’t curse.
The sentiment gets pretty thick (not “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” thick, but thick nonetheless). A wrap-up at a dysfunctional, family-owned car dealership, for example, finds T concluding, “Two things I know were working: the windshield wipers on Scott’s eyes and the radiator in Mr. Nemet’s heart.” Awww. Of course, there’s not the slightest indication that these people will be any better off in the long run for having been visited by Mr. T. ... Then again, there’s no proof the bad guys didn’t return and kill off that pretty gal who was just trying to save her family farm the second the A-Team rolled out of town.
“I Pity the Fool” airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on TV Land.
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