Shannen Doherty, you’re not alone. There’s no shortage of stars currently suffering from self-inflicted career wounds. And to those lagging luminaries — Woody, Arsenio, Brooke, Madonna et al.— we say this: People don’t hate you because you’re beautiful. Or because you’re famous. Or because your houses have more windows than the Chrysler Building. They hate you because you whine too much in public, or make dopey artistic choices, or lose sight of what made so many fans like you in the first place.
Like hundreds of celebrities before you and hundreds more to come, you probably find yourself insulated from unpleasant reality by a bevy of toadies and yes- people who wouldn’t dare tell you the cold, cold truth. But don’t despair: For you neediest cases whose luster is fading fastest, we’ve outlined individualized five-step programs to help you make that tricky transition from object of scorn back to national treasure. And hey, no thanks necessary.
Woody Allen and Mia Farrow
1 End the public warfare — call in the one man who can settle this once and for all: Judge Wapner.
2 Woody: It may have worked with Diane and Mia, but don’t even think about casting Soon-Yi in your next movie.
3 Mia: Purchase the Von Trapp family lodge and hire Julie Andrews as your nanny.
4 Woody: Memorize your children’s birthdays and the names of their friends.
5 Mia: Channel your anger into a side business designing a line of Ginsu greeting cards for Hallmark.
1 Pay your debts.
2 Keep your promises. (Could Boxing Helena have been worse for your career than, say, My Stepmother is An Alien?)
3 Quit designing your own clothes.
4 Give back Braselton, Ga., the town you bought.
5 Go to Braselton and win rave reviews as Southern fruitcake Blanche Du Bois in a community-theater production of A Streetcar Named Desire, with Alec Baldwin reprising his Broadway role as Stanley Kowalski.
1 Never do another commercial for the rest of your life. How much free Jell-O pudding does a guy need?
2 No more lame comedies like Ghost Dad and Leonard Part 6. Let Spike Lee know that you’re interested in doing serious work.
3 Don’t buy NBC — you already saved it once.
4 If you’re still set on doing a game show
after You Bet Your Life, put your education doctorate to use as a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy!
5 Return to sitcom glory on Roseanne as Rosey’s long-lost obstetrician, Cliff Huxtable.
Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson
1 Stop making movies together — you’re not believable as a couple.
2 Don: Go back to TV and revive the career of Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas.
3 Melanie: Get a voice coach. The helium thing only works for the Chipmunks.
4 Don: Audition for Karl Malden’s old role in the Basinger-Baldwin production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
5 Melanie: Jewish themes don’t suit you (Shining Through, A Stranger Among Us). Go for the goyim.
1 Cut to the punch lines. Your monologues feel almost as long as Clinton’s speeches — and they’re a little less funny.
2 No more obsequious questions. We’re beginning to think you’ve been channeling Barbara Walters.
3 Enough with the barking already. It’s giving us all a headache.
4 Appear on the cover of Entertainment Weekly with the prediction ”I’m Gonna Kick David Letterman’s Ass!”
5 If that doesn’t work, chuck the talk show and run for mayor of Los Angeles.
1 Concentrate on one project at a time. Sex, Erotica, and Body of Evidence proved bad art comes in threes.
2 You’re not a master thespian. Stick to playing yourself (Truth or Dare) or a thinly veiled copy (Desperately Seeking Susan).
3 Take a year off. Everyone will wonder where you are and what you’re wearing. As for that proposed autobiographical TV miniseries — don’t.
4 Start a family with John Kennedy Jr.
5 Don’t be photographed topless unless you’re breast-feeding.
1 Quit whining about how Jay Leno sabotaged your talk show.
2 Cut back on awards-show gigs-the MTV Movie Awards, the ESPYs. It reminds us you’re not working.
3 Don’t take Letterman’s slot at NBC. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result.
4 Lay off the obscure pop-culture references. Does anyone but you remember the assistant on Vega$?
5 Shave the beard. Or leave it on and replace your unfunny twin, Dennis Boutsikaris, on The Jackie Thomas Show.
1 Lose the shades. You were funnier when we could see your eyes.
2 Marriage was a good step. Now kick back, change a few diapers, and play Mr. Mom for a while.
3 Give up on your attempt at a serious musical career, although it has been funnier than your recent movies.
4 To find out what real people are laughing at these days, escape from Bubble Hill at night and work the comedy clubs where you got your start, or…
5 On Thursdays at 8:30, watch Martin.
1 As Freud might have said: If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.
2 Avoid fabulous parties where paparazzi photograph you with potential suitors. You’re beginning to look like a professional escort.
3 Just say no to any more comic-strip movies, roughage commercials, and Bob Hope specials.
4 Marry Michael Jackson and raise money for children’s causes. (Let’s be honest: The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is your only shot at an Oscar.)
5 Pose for a Calvin Klein ad with Marky Mark.
1 Move back to New Jersey. Or Nebraska. Or Brooklyn. Anywhere but California.
2 Get the grease back under your nails: Work on your wheels and be a guest on NPR’s Car Talk.
3 Record a folk album for kids. (”Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips” on For Our Children revealed your sweet, fatherly side.) 4 Reunite the E Street Band for a free concert in Central Park.
5 In a few years, release one (and only one) homemade acoustic album.
1 Steer clear of big-budget movies. After Hudson Hawk and The Bonfire of the Vanities, you can’t afford another bomb.
2 In Mortal Thoughts and In Country, you proved you can act. Seek out juicy roles in films by Quentin Tarantino or John Sayles.
3 Stay away from political conventions.
4 Swallow your pride and do a Moonlighting TV movie with Cybill. Ratings? Over the moon.
5 Detectives are your strong suit, so play Philip Marlowe in a remake of The Big Sleep with Demi. It worked for Bogie and Bacall.