Exploiting the Archives: Britney & Kevin: Chaotic
I suppose it would be safe to call reality television shows a guilty pleasure of mine but when it comes to this least respected and grossest of genres, I don’t fuck around with the middle. Nope, I’m primarily interested in the worst of the worst, in the kinds of exploitative, creepy reality shows that make you feel dirty after you watch them. And while watching them. And while preparing to watch them.
I’m talking about stuff like the Corey Feldman/Tommy Davidson episode of Wife Swap, which I wrote about for a patron-only Control Nathan Rabin entry and that really does depict the controversial The Lost Boys star as the creepy leader of a SoCal Sex Cult. And not in a good way, either. Feldman’s Angel Academy isn’t one of those classy, respectable SoCal Sex Cults everyone wants to join. Instead, it’s one of those SoCal Sex Cults you end up regretting being a part of.
Yes, my love-hate relationship with the scuzziest of reality shows led me to Wife Swap and most recently, Mario Lopez’s fascinatingly terrible 2011 abomination H8R, which I chose for the milestone 100th My World of Fops case file.
But before that it led me to I Wanna Marry “Harry”, a possibly even stupider, even more deservedly maligned exploration of the stupidity and gullibility of the general public and their beloved reality stars that pretended that a man who may or may not have been Prince Harry (he wasn’t) was trying to find a bride not through the conventional means, but by virtue of a tacky, trashy reality show.
I Wanna Marry “Harry” was an abomination but it was not as morbidly fascinating as Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. The idea of the show was to dispel the popular perception that Kevin Federline was a talentless moron and star-fucker shamelessly exploiting his relationship with Britney Spears to launch his DOA rap career by showing what a loving, genuine and committed relationship its stars shared.
Instead, the show ended up depicting Federline as a perpetually baked opportunist shamelessly manipulating and controlling a younger, naive woman who desperately craves his validation and approval and is willing to do anything to get it. The series takes the form of home videos taken by the couple during their raucous, even chaotic courtship and marriage. That’s supposed to give the reality show an intimate quality. Instead, it just seems like two hillbilly lunatics on meth taping themselves making terrible decisions, then broadcasting those mistakes to an appropriately horrified world.
That Britney managed to survive the Chaotic phase of her career suggests she’ll survive anything and anyone, particularly Federline.
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