Speed Read: “The T.O. Show” Predictably Lousy

For those of you who didn’t watch “The T.O. Show” on VH1 last night, consider yourselves the lucky few: like the residents of Johnstown who weren’t washed away by the giant flood, you somehow missed out on being carried away in a torrent of filth, muck and debris. For those of us contractually obligated to watch the show (this is why you should read contracts before agreeing to become a blogger), there’s no Red Cross volunteers coming to our rescue. We’re left shaking on the banks of the river as we try to comprehend what we just saw.

Terrell Owens

Maybe I’m being a bit over the top. But man, it wasn’t good.

To recap: Terrell Owens has a great body (honed by only the finest rubber bands your $19.95 can buy), and enjoys spending time showing it off. A lot of time showing it off. As in, going shirtless for about three-quarters of the show.  But, as you would hear any good pitchman say, that’s not all.

Terrell Owens and friends

No VH1 “Celeb Reality” show can just be about following a celebrity around, so there has to be some sort of convoluted plot, and here the one for “The T.O. Show”: his “best friends” and “publicists” Kita Williams and Monique Jackson have convinced him to move to Los Angeles during the off-season to “find himself.” Which - according to the first episode - means the following things:

  • Spending more than $100,000 on new diamond earrings.
  • Hooking up with the trashy real estate agent who rents him the mansion he’s staying in during the show.  (I know that the market is tough, but this seems like excessively aggressive sales tactics, although maybe now is the right time to buy.)
  • Going out to a club with said earrings, meeting a bunch of trashy women and inviting them home to “party” with him.
  • His half-assed attempt to get back together with his ex-fiancee, who seems like the only semi-intelligent person on the show by getting the hell out of Dodge.

Somehow T.O. has managed to create a show with less likable characters than “Rock of Love” and even fewer morally redeeming qualities as “I Love Money.” It’s an exercise in egotistical wish fulfillment - T.O. is famous and wants a show, so someone had to give it to him - and the early reviews have been particularly brutal:

Terrell Owens is one beautiful man and he knows it, oh, Lord, he knows it, and so do his publicists, Kita Williams and Monique Jackson, the forces behind “The T.O. Show,” which premieres tonight on VH1. Why else would the publicity art include a nude portrait of the football star, why else would Owens spend at least 60% of his time in front of the camera shirtless?

Good thing too, because the sculpted pecs, mighty shoulders and perfect abs are just about the only thing the show has going for it. No, wait, I take that back; he has a lovely smile as well.  - LOS ANGELES TIMES

Your mama never warned you to watch out for reality TV, but it can be poison. You sense its brain destructiveness when you get up in the morning, thinking, “I can’t wait to see if T.O. makes it with the real estate agent.”

The T.O. Show is so shallow mosquitoes couldn’t breed in it, though it appears some of the humans are trying to, as Terrell Owens joins up with two publicists, who are also supposed to be his best friends. -PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

What VH1 gets out of the deal, frankly, is less clear, other than a strange amalgam of soap-opera pathos and jock-like bravado, with Owens taking marching orders from his ubiquitous “publicists,” who, given their time commitment to the athlete, surely must have no other clients. - VARIETY

…and don’t even get me started on T.O.’s bodyguard Pablo. Just…no.

Meanwhile, while”The T.O. Show” was premiering, another type of muck was being dredged up in Pittsburgh. PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Ben Roethlisberger is the subject of a civil suit filed by a hotel employee in Washoe County, NV who says that in July 2008, the Super Bowl MVP called her into his room to fix her TV, and then “forced her to have sex with him.

Ben Roethlisberger

Using a little bit of local knowledge, based on the locations given and the date, I’m going to assume this allegedly happened when Roethlisberger was in South Lake Tahoe last year for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. And if this sounds a lot to you like the allegations made against Kobe Bryant in Colorado a couple of years ago…you’re not the only one. Of course, the big difference here is that these are civil allegations - no criminal charges have ever been filed by Roethlisberger’s accuser.

Finally, former North Carolina wide receiver and point guard Jason Holley was revealed as the winner of Michael Irvin’s “4th and Long” reality TV show on Spike, and with it has earned a shot with the Dallas Cowboys during their training camp. Is it possible to do a reality show about football and not have the Cowboys involved? So help me, if Alvin Harper gets a show, I’m never watching TV again.

Other sports stories from last night:

  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark has the details of Pedro Martinez’s contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and as expected it’s heavily incentive-laden. He is only guaranteed $1 million for the rest of the season, but could make more than double that if he meets certain longevity and performance-based milestones.
  • Pedro Martinez, Nelson de la Rosa

    (Can Pedro keep his midget well-cared for on $1 million a year?)

  • Anyone who questions whether or not Jeremy Mayfield is hooked on crystal meth - as NASCAR and his stepmother claims - should check out this video from a few years ago of him giddily blowing up watermelons and full gas cans. Nope, that doesn’t sound like something a meth head would do at all.

  • Maybe John Smoltz should have retired last season so he could go into the Hall of Fame with former Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine instead of trying a comeback with the Red Sox, if last night is any indication: he gave up three home runs as the Rangers (and another former Braves pitcher in Kevin Millwood) beat Boston, 6-3.
  • A few weeks ago, Quinten Richardson was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Clippers, which pretty much defines “sideways movement.” Last night the Clippers turned around and shipped him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, somehow going from bad to worse. On the plus side, Mark Madsen’s back in Lipstick City. Watch out on the dance floor.
  • I guess it’s a job: former big league manager Terry Collins lands a new gig - leading the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League. Is this a step up or a step down from managing Team China?
  • What to do if you’re eight months pregnant but want to hang out at the sports bar watching your favorite team play. Get a Maternity Jersey, of course. Or as they are otherwise known, “Rich Garces Style.”
  • To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, the Houston Astros wore special patches and caps. In addition, they also went out and got loaded on Tang and vodka.
  • Mississippi State might have a first-year coach in Dan Mullen, but they’re already in midseason form in terms of arrests. Leading running back Anthony Dixon has been arrested on a DUI charge, the fifth Bulldog to be nabbed by police this off-season.
  • Police have arrested a man who shot and paralyzed former NFL player Michael Woods 27 years ago and charged him with aggravated murder after Woods died from a related kidney infection six weeks ago,
  • Tom Watson might have lost out on his bid to win the British Open at age 59, but his equipment sponsor Adams Golf might be a big winner, as their stock price has risen 18 percent since Watson took the tournament lead on Friday.

Who was the least likable person on “The T.O. Show”

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