So, this is what it feels like to be Punk'd?
The minds of MTV's Punk'd are the conspirators behind Adventures in HollyHood (MTV, Thursdays, 10PM ET/PT), a "reality" show that portends to show how Memphis's own Three 6 Mafia tried to capitalize on their enhanced fame after becoming the first rap group to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2006.
That perhaps explains why the first episode of HollyHood felt like a 30-minute practical joke on Punk'd, except that Ashton Kutcher didn't come out at the end laughing. He should have.
A disclaimer: though I live in Memphis, Tennessee, I am not among the city's residents who disavow any knowledge of Jordan Houston (Juicy J) and Paul Beauregard (DJ Paul), the hearts of Three 6. I was pleasantly conflicted the night of March 5, 2006 when they – aided by the strong vocals of Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow's "Shug") – performed It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp at the Oscars.
I mean, a man named Crunchy Black (who is no longer with the group) stood on the red carpet, grill blinging, and basically, in our city's own flair, told the world: How do you like me now? Who couldn't love that?
Yet, HollyHood has none of that flair, that unforgiving bravado. It has no soul, no drum beat, no harmony, no life.
It just feels scripted and forced, starting with the Beverly Hillbillies country-twang in the opening scenes filmed in Memphis (and by the way, Memphis is not hardly "country" — ghetto, at times, yes — country, never) that turn Juicy J, DJ Paul, Project Pat (J's brother and a rapper with strong cred in these parts), Big Triece (their personal assistant), and Computer (an assistant and friend) into stereotypical caricatures: uneducated black men who can't help themselves around white women.
Now, we really know what HollyHood thinks of them, but I digress. It would have been nice if the producers allowed viewers to see that 1,700-mile trip in a luxury car from Memphis to Hollywood. (Did that trip really happen?) It reminded me of the road trip that Oprah and her gal pal, Gayle, took cross-country. With big men like Triece and Computer alone in the back seat, that would have been a trip worth watching. Comedy for days.
But the show seemed to be in a hurry to get Three 6 to Hollywood, even though the footage was shot last year.
So, you don't get to understand Juicy J's life as a preacher's son, or why DJ Paul avoids showing his right arm, or how much work they really put into their music, or anything that really matters.
You're just supposed to sit there jaw-dropped like Fern, one of their quirky HollyHood neighbors, and just listen to the music, see these "gangstas" sambos dance, go crazy and pimp themselves — for Hollywood.Powered by Sidelines