LAST EDITED ON 06-18-04 AT 06:32 PM (EST)
Official Next Action Star Episode i Summary
Freaks and Geeks
In which, the myriad of the truly, shockingly, horribly bad are pared down to 30 merely quasi-bad, eventually to be cut to 14 finalists vying for 2 spots as Next Action Star(s) in their own feature film(s).
Introduce famous Hollywood producer Joel Silver, to tell us what I just told you, except for the one and only time, he’s actually not the one being redundant. Introduce Blonde Casting Woman, who reiterates that they are looking for two people, one man and one woman, who have the Star Factor to carry a two-hour movie and have the “It” factor. Whatever that is. Apparently from the clips they show, “It” involves shouting expletives, screaming hysterically, and jumping up and down like a fool. From the balance of the show, "It" may or may not involve being really, really boring and incapable of acting one's way out of a paper bag. It's not the Stephen King “It” factor though, for although that is, believe me when I say, available in abundance, those possessing it will make it no further.
The finalists will be put into a house where they will get star treatment, and the crap beat out of them. Joel Silver says it will be a trial by fire, literally. If you need any proof that this is going to be the BEST.REALITY.SHOW.EVER., you need look no further than the fact that this will be the first show that will actually blow the losers up.
JS says it will be a complex process, because making an action picture does require skills; you have to learn how to shoot a gun, how to do wire work, and how to drive. Considering how little it actually takes for some people to legally be on the road, is this really saying anything? Oh, and you have to be able to act, he says, although from the example given of what can only be how NOT to act, this too is a doubtful proposition. Alright, I’ll give them a break since they’re novices. They can’t be expected to have the acting ability of a Keanu Reeves or a Vin Diesel or the personality of a Steven Segal or a Chuck Norris right off the bat, can they?
Each week, they will participate in screen tests that will determine who gets a callback and who goes home. In case you haven’t gotten the point by now (and really, NBC can't count on the intelligent reality viewers of a network like FOX, so they have to pound it into your head), JS makes sure you know that two people will get their own movie. After a montage of would-be action stars busting down doors, the announcer too tells us that one man and woman will become Next Action Star. What the hell? This is America, dammit! I say if you can’t learn to use THE definite article, get back on THE boat! Next thing you know they’re going to be sending (the) injured contestants to hospital and demanding (the) inept go to university for acting classes.
The fates of these DAWs will be decided by four (count them: 1, 2, 3) casting directors and their associates who have been demoted from working on such feature films as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Castaway (and how much lower can you get on the casting totem pole than deciding which volleyball gets to costar alongside Tom Hanks?), and Contact. They are Victoria Burrows, Scot Boland, and Josh Einsohn, along with the horrible woman responsible for the people on such reality shows as The Bachelor, Temptation Island, and Meet My Folks, Marki Costello. Much as in American Idol, or more aptly Superstar USA since Scot looks like and gives similar comments as the goateed judge there, two votes yes or no decide who makes it on to the next round.
The first of the freaks, sporting a horribly dislocated middle finger, promises he will be the Next Action Star because he feels no pain. Nevermind the fact that his middle finger got that way when he used it on the casting directors after they told him he sucked. Apparently Steroid Man too was among those receiving at least two “no” votes, perhaps because he lacked a sufficiently believable Austrian accent with which to explain away his inability to speak English on a 1st grade level.
Victoria, or as I like to call her, Vicky, brak brak braks some more about “It” and explains that the first part of the audition process was to have them break down the door and then to give them a thought process to adlib. For instance, 5187 has to pretend he’s in a Chippendale’s dance contest. 9451 and 4376 are the first of many instructed to pretend like they’ve just walked in on their boyfriends having sex with their best friends, which must have been a traumatic situation experienced by more than one of the casting directors, given the frequency with which it is employed here. Needless to say, none of this was what I expected when they said Next "Action" Star.
Another exercise they do is to actually give them a scene to “role play,” if you know what I mean. One woman was just “up in the Captain’s office,” for instance. Other tough lines delivered by our actors include “Appreciate it.”
Vicky says that two people (don’t fall out of your chairs there) will have the opportunity to work with the producer of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and The Matrix, Joel Silver, who has done 4 movies with Bruce Willis, 5 with Mel Gibson, 2 with Arnold Schwartzenegger, 2 with Sylvester Stallone, and 3 with Keanu Reeves, in case you’re in to name dropping.
Somere, an elementary school teacher from Austin, is instructed to act like Scot's got a gun pointed at her partner. It’s obvious that it wasn’t for her acting ability that they gave her the nod to advance to Hollywood, but rather for her experience “hunting and stalking every animal in the Southern region, from rattlesnake to white-tailed deer to mountain lion.” It’s not that the casting directors didn’t want to mess with a woman who wrestles lions, but that they’ll only have to teach her to drive and do wire work.
Not so lucky are “Say hello to my little friend” Guy and Kelly Ripa doing the cha-cha. One guy tumbles down the ramp in an uncoordinated heap, prompting Scot to declare the time of death to be 2:20. Bob Marley shouting “Show me the money!” also fails to get a call back. The casting directors inform a perky cheerleader that she’s “got the action, but not the star.” Which only leaves the “NEXT!” A guy who seems more suited for a gay fitness video than an action film leaves the directors gaping in disbelief, but not with any less tickets to Hollywood. Several others get the heave-ho, including a constipated martial artist, before Bruce Lee himself comes in, flips around the room, and kicks some ass, which the directors find “fascinating and interesting,” but not for the Next Action Star. These are no doubt the same people who saw the greatness in Sam Bowie.
Mae, from Dallas, who works in software support, warms up with stretching and back bends. Her boyfriend, Derik, informs us that she’s nervous and doesn’t want to be on camera, but he thinks she’ll do great. Her audition consists of a forced reading of the lines “Why didn’t you say something?” and “Yes, ‘Drop dead, Becca!’” Marki votes yes, but Scot votes no, saying her reading was “one note,” which leaves ‘VeeBee’ to cast the deciding vote. The Vickster says she sees her as a Black Widow, that she has good sex appeal, and although her voice was a little weak, she is worth working with, and so we have our second semifinalist.
Coming up, an ensemble of camera fodder with larger pecs and boobage than brainage will get their cans kicked to the curb, along with assorted roundhouse kicks and a woman who defiantly challenges the casting directors to “take it or leave it,” a sadly unanticipated (for her, anyway) easy choice for Marki and the gang.
Miami Beach, Florida
JS says some more useless stuff before we get a parade of bozos, including a guy working on “the destruction of mankid” or a hernia, whichever comes first, followed by Tarzan, a man who thinks he’s a chicken, and guys who make their impression by elbow dropping and punching the ever living daylights out of the floor. After a moment of silence for the deceased floor, we get Donna, a self-described ordinary nerdy college professor type. “But,” she says, “put me in a phone booth and I come out with my cape on. I can be your Next Action Star.” Her superpower appears to be striking mute the panel, which, if ever it did put her in a phone booth, would probably lock the door.
3667: This is the face, the fist, and the voice of the New Action Star.
Crow: Not only did he get the name of the show wrong, but what type of lame secret agent number is ‘3667’ anyway?
Tom Servo: My name is Bombed, Just Bombed.
Marki: Wait, that’s the voice, Sugar?
Joel: Ohhhhhhhh! Snap!
3667: That’s the voice…
Marki: What happened?
3667: I wasn’t prepared, I’ve got to do it again.
Marki: Just right here, project something.
3667: Hands up!
Marki: Sheyeah, right.
Next is a guy doing “Monkey Kung Fu,” who would be a lock if they were doing Next Action Primate, according to Scot. Following him, 3605 is instructed by Marki to pretend like she’s his partner in the hospital. His hysterical cries of “Is there anything I can do? Call 911! Call 911! Anybody! Help me please!” force Marki to shout him down, “Honey, I’m IN the hospital already!” Then, a South American heartthrob whose painful reading of “You got up today…you said I’m going to hir…going to hire a private det…detect…detective” probably inspired the immortal line “Honey, just don’t speak” from many of our female readership.
A mountain of a man, 3585 screams “BE NOT AFRAID OF ME!” The casting directors rightly appear more afraid for the future of the show so far. 35GG says “People love me, know my face, my soul, my heart, you understand?” No honey, it’s not your face they remember. But to be fair, they could have given her a call back. I mean, she comes with her own air bags; they won’t even have to worry about setting up a tramp (sic) for her when they have them jump off buildings later!
Santino, a broker trainee from Miami, whose “Put it down! Put it down! Put it down! Put it down! Put it down! Put it down! Put it down! Hands up! Drop the weapon! Drop the Weapon!” somehow didn’t get a response of “Your reading was one-note” from Scot, advances. I guess his interview clip of “I have a drive, I have a purpose. I’m going to go get it, I’m going to go get it” prepared them.
However, Nathalie, a valet parking business owner from Miami, does get the “your reading was one-note” from Scot. Hey buddy, so is your criticism! He is pretty positive to her though, and encourages her to keep trying if acting is something she wants to pursue. A teary Nathalie doesn’t seem to take much solace in this though, saying she didn’t expect to be so upset.
Matt T., an investment broker from Miami, somersaults into the room, and holds fake guns in either direction before being told to improv like he just saw the woman of his dreams naked. His response is to close his eyes, doff his shirt (since the quota of skin is woefully short here on Next Porno Star) and implore her to put it on. He tells us his mother was an actor and his father played sports, and so he has been genetically engineered specifically for this competition. After a few softball questions, the panel lets him through, despite the acknowledgement that he needs a lot of work, and a giddy Matt implores them to work with him right now before crawling under the curtain of the set.
A fast-forward journey through all the sites – the Mall of the Americas, snow, and a giant cherry on a giant spoon – introduce us to the city, and Josh tells us that he can tell there will be a lot of energy in this group because they’ve been bouncing off the walls all morning. To prove the point, we are shown dozens of people punching, kicking, and flipping all over the place, including Brittany, an executive assistant from Minneapolis, who is into extreme sports, snowboarding, rollerblading, rock climbing, sword fighting, and can throw a baseball farther than anyone in the room, although she’s not getting farther than anyone else in the room either.
We see several others including Fish Man and a guy who can vomit on command. Hey, it worked for Lara Flynn Boyle. Yet another guy is given the “girlfriend is screwing your buddy” prompt, and he pauses, confused, because he’s never seen that before. Scot dismisses him with “That’s why it’s called ACTING!” We really know he’s just jealous that Shaggy’s girlfriend isn’t cheating on him.
Matthew, a computer manager from Minneapolis, says the fat guys are always the comic relief, but this time the fat guys are gonna kick some ass. He tells the panel he can do kicks (which truthfully aren’t half bad for a man his size) and stunts, and attempts to prove this by rolling down the ramp like Violet Beauregard.
The panel asks 9474 to do the Action Star Dance, which apparently involves waxing a car with one’s butt. Marki incredulously asks “That’s an Action Star Dance?” and responds to his “I don’t know how to dance,” with a “Buh-bye.”
Next comes Hissing Spider / Riverdance Woman, who doesn’t know whether or not she’d pay $10 to see herself. Josh and Scot tell her the answer is “no.”
In the audition line, Paige from Trading Spaces tells the camera that for most people coming out, it’s been a bitter disappointment. Wow, I never would have picked her as the Schadenfreude type, myself. Vicky comes out to those waiting in line and says, “I’m out here because y’all suck. You gotta bring your game, guys.” Patrick Duffy, Nerdy Bumblebee, and Big Nosed Woman seem to take the admonition to heart.
Corinne, a former police officer turned boxer from Minneapolis, tells us she is ranked #2 in the world in the featherweight division. She busts down the door and spits out her lines venomously. Vicky tells her to do the scene again, but this time as if playfully with a friend. Josh says he was hoping she’d bring some of her boxing to her performance, but was pleased at the way she took the redirection, and so they punch her ticket to L.A. From the panel’s reaction, she’s clearly the favorite among the women so far.
Vicky says she was lovely and radiant with her mane of gold hair and beautiful eyes, and that she definitely had “It” and star power. JS gives us a useless definition of star power, and off we go.
Austene, a dancer from Minneapolis, delivers a hilarious improvisation to the tired “boyfriend sleeping with your best friend” prompt, and guarantees herself a spot among the 30 semifinalists. “What the hell is this?!? Put your…put your damn clothes on, man! What are…” and then very regretfully, “I’m going to have to shoot you. No really, I’m going to have to shoot you!” Like Corinne, she responds to the good news with “Shut up!” which I really don’t understand at all. Do they want them to change their minds?
More kicking and flipping and screaming and stuff. The producers apparently have just realized we’re halfway into the show and only have 6 semifinalists so far, so things are about to come hot and heavy, with little time for names or even numbers. William Wallace is rejected (dude, they already did that movie). They tell Cat Woman that they would cast her if they were doing Girl Fight II (you mean they’re not?), but not for Next Action Star. Which brings us to
Julielinh, an executive assistant from Atlanta, says she has never acted before, but a pretty good reading and a sweet and innocent look make her #7 to get a pass to Hollywood.
JS tells us that there is a degree of fierceness that is needed. When the star puts a gun to someone’s head, the audience has to believe he’s going to use it. While this observation isn’t totally useless, I’m beginning to suspect he’s getting paid per appearance here. Next thing you know he’s going to be pulling an Alfred Hitchcock or M. Night Shamalan and start wandering through the crowd in the background and mug for the cameras. I guess it’s reassuring in a way that the Boss is as shameless a DAW as the contestants.
Damon Wayans, a.k.a. Harold “House” Moore, a youth counselor from Detroit, becomes our first celebrity impersonator to make it through to the next round with a very funny improvisation for the prompt “your fly is down and you’re in a room full of nuns!” He’s also very smooth in his reading:
Reader: Sir, that’s the VIP area.
Wayans: What makes you think I’m not a VIP?
Reader: Uh, the sense of sight?
Wayans (flashing badge): Vincent Incarnicio Pick, V.I.P.
Melissa, a sales associate from Atlanta, advances with a mostly unseen audition. Either she’s an early out or is being hidden for a long run, by standard spoiler rules.
Josh takes his turn at Master of the Obvious and says “They owned it. Except for the ones we sent away.” Such as this guy, whose performance forces Marki to call a spade a spade: “It’s just bad, isn’t it? It’s just bad. It’s bad 5984.”
Teance, a painter from Atlanta thinks her spastic kicking and chain-smoking-diner-waitress posture will bring her a more glamorous lifestyle. It did leave the judges speechless, at least.
5913, whose wild dancing and kicking and “woman of the night” makeup prompts Marki to ask if she’s ever popped out of a cake at a bachelor party, says that she’s done a lot of things at a bachelor party, but never a cake. I’m sure she’s done lots of parties, since she looks like a clown. A scary, Stephen King “It” type of clown, but a clown nonetheless (aaaahh, don't you love payoffs halfway through the summary?)
Young, a club doorman from Atlanta, moves forward despite one of the worst readings of the show to date. Vicky says he’s manly, yet boyish.
4185, an idiot with all the cockiness of Rob Mariano and just as little to back it up, requests that they “Stop everything please! The Next Action Star has just arrived!” To which Vicky retorts, “Uhh, the next action star is just leaving.” Hehehe.
5876 comes in and says “F*** you!” to her boyfriend sleeping with her best friend. That’s what she said. Scot says she’s a woman with a ‘tude, but she says she’s just a sweet little girl. The guys don’t buy it, but she’s moving on.
Another woman in a black trenchcoat, whose name and number both are not mentioned, gets to move on for nearly kicking Josh’s head off. Scot says he doesn’t even need to see her walk through the door.
Pina, who is unemployed from Atlanta, thinks there is nothing sexier than a woman who can kick butt. Her improv, while no worse than 5876’s, isn’t get enough to get her through. You know it’s never a good sign when they pull out the Patented Randy Jackson “So how do you think you did, Dawg?”
New York, New York
Our first New Yorker assures us he’s the Next Action Star because he’s so full of action his name should be a verb. His first and last action will be disappearing from our screen, never to be seen again. JS blathers on some more.
Matt S., a New York firefighter, gets through despite the caterpillar eyebrows crawling all over his face and restricted punches (which I guess were a refreshing change from the wild, uncoordinated ones thrown by most of the contestants) because he worked in the World Trade Center. It’s almost enough to make me not respond to his “God forbid, if I should die tomorrow, and never did something that I really wanted to do, where would I be?” with “I don’t know, in the ground?” but God forbid, if I should die tomorrow and wasn’t tasteless and irreverent to every last one of these guys, where would I be? Kicked out of the Summary Writer’s Guild, that’s where. And that’s no place to be when you’re dead, let me tell you.
Viviana, a club dancer from New York, tells us she was born to be an actress. Despite her bizarre and eye-raising reading, the judges love the feisty Columbian vixen, and send her on to Hollywood. She convulses and screams “I’m going to be a star!!” After the next episode, I suspect most viewers will be more than willing to help turn her into a fiery ball of gas.
Tara, a personal trainer from New York, despite having “great height, a great look, and a great body” isn’t what they were looking for.
9410 assures the panel that he has what it takes because he is going to be the best actor there. His wordless performance for the “girlfriend sleeping with best friend” is enough to make them give him a call back, forgetting for a moment that this isn't Next Action Mime.
Onward the parade of losers, starring Ryan Seacrest, a Viking with really bad breath, a guy from Brooklyn who says of Marki and Vicky “Those are some tough ladies,” and a multitude of folks who barely get through the door before being pulled away by the old shepherd’s crook. Average Joe confesses that he is curious why he was rejected. After all, he kicked, he threw punches, he screamed, he yelled, he busted a rhyme, what’s not to love?
Reggie, a Yale drama graduate from New York, introduces himself to America with “My real name is Reggie Austin, however my alias is Fan Man! Because I go to the streets with a fan. And I have fans. Ergo, Fan Man” and flourishes red oriental fans. For no rational reason whatsoever, I like the guy. His dramatic role in “Your wife has been shot, and the burglar is still in the house!” impresses the judges, as does his acting background. Scot wonders if that is enough though. They look at each other seriously before Marki says “I do” and so does Scot. Haha, just playing with you! Fan Man is moving on!
David J. Scott Jr., an actor from New York and the last one to audition at this stop, doesn’t fit their vision of an action star, despite their approval of his cold reading skills. He says he’s going to keep on going though, because the day that he quits is the day that he quits.
Los Angeles, California
Marki says she’s walked the lines and knows the bar is going to be high in L.A. JS says something repetitive.
A woman who can scream in Italian at her boyfriend having sex with her best friend becomes our first semifinalist from L.A. A pushy woman who threatens to beat them up and a woman who proclaims herself the next Angelina Jolie (well, she’s about as dog ugly, anyway) are not.
Sean, a bouncer from Los Angeles, tells the camera that there’s a lot of things that goes into being an actor, but can’t think of one until someone holds up the cue card that says “everyone’s on a quest to understand themselves as an artist, as a creator.” Despite an utterly mediocre reading, he moves on. Or stays there, as the case may be.
6520, in her Japanese schoolgirl outfit, looks more fit more for a part in Sailor Moon: The Movie than in Next Action Star, but gets a call back.
6740 was too cute, another was too boyish, and yet another too rugged. One guy is too G.I. Joe action figure, another too mobster. One too nondescript, and another too distinctive. Okay, I made that last one up, but they really do sound like the American Idol judges, don’t they?
John, a waiter from Portland, is decribed as Clark Kent by Marki. Although the writers deserve credit for a funny line, a very good delivery of “Three dead cops: Liefert, Canning, Dimaio, and all with one thing in common, they’re all…bachelors. All of them, single,” pushes him on to the next round.
That’s only 20 by my count, but here is your NetZero HiSpeed Recap of the 30 semifinalists (but not before another redundant comment from JS):
Reggie, New York
Laura, Atlanta (F*** you woman)
Matt T., Miami
Michelle, Los Angeles (Sailor Moon)
Jared, New York (Next Action Mime)
Melisande, New York*
Dan, Los Angeles*
Greg, New York*
Matt M., Los Angeles*
Linda, Los Angeles (Italian speaker)
Jeanne, Atlanta (trenchcoat girl)
Krista, New York*
Matt S., New York
Sean, Los Angeles
John, Los Angeles
Viviana, New York
* = those we didn’t see, or at least didn’t see audition/get a call back
And, I'm out. Stay tuned for Swami’s Next Action Summary, in which the semifinalists will arrive in Hollywood, meet each other for the first time, and get their first screen test.
Legal Disclaimer: Some (but not many, because I’m masochistic like that) lamers not affecting the outcome of the show were reordered or deleted for the sake of time and/or the impossibility of doing anything funny whatsoever with them. Some words put into the mouths of real people may or may not have been spoken, but they’re no less true for that.
edit to link to Swami's summary