It’s nice to turn on a celebreality show and see someone who, while obviously scarred in some way, is emotionally stable and articulate enough to handle the “journey” that’s before him. No matter what happens to Scott Baio — who’s hired life coach Doc Ali to help him find out why he’s never been able to commit to a woman, including his “basically perfect” current girlfriend, Renee (whom he’s not allowed to see for eight weeks) — you feel confident it won’t break him. Translation: This isn’t a guilty pleasure; it’s just a pleasure.
So last night’s premiere offered three main theories as to why Scott Baio is 45 and single…
(1) Baio’s self-diagnosis: Fame f—ed him. Because he was on TV, it was easy for him to get women. If one aggravated him, he’d show her the door and someone new would walk through before he closed it. A call to his Happy Days costar Henry Winkler, who’s been married for nearly 30 years, however, made Baio see that his celebrity was just an excuse. Is there anyone who doesn’t love Henry Winkler?
(2) After lunch with Happy Days costar Erin Moran, to whom he lost his virginity, Baio had a new theory: Blame her. According to Moran, sometime during the short time they dated when they were teens, he told her that they would get married. She freaked out and broke up with him. Maybe, Baio thought, when someone reacts like that to your first proposal, you don’t ever think about marriage again. I think Baio was giving his 14-year-old self too much credit. Moran also told him that he was insecure about his “small pee pee” back then, which he denied and had a good laugh about with his friends. (More on them later.)
(3) The most promising theory came from Susie, another of the former lovers whom Doc Ali is having Baio confront. She said Scott’s problem is that he’s always looking for the next best thing. She recalled how he broke up with her for a weekend — like five times — so that he could date a Playmate. Susie, I have no idea how you let someone do that to you — five times — but Baio seemed to recognize that he was once evil: “That’s horrible. If I met me back then, I’d kick the s— out of me,” he said. Which I guess was an apology?
Like Baio, I’m still not sold on Dr. Ali. Clearly, she was the best option presented to him — as opposed to Miss ”I’ll Intimately Engage With You” — and she showed a certain amount of professionalism by not asking him to diagram how he mistook the couch for Moran during their first sexual encounter. But shouldn’t she have already told Baio to take a break from his horndog buddy Johnny V., who’s been his wingman since he was 15? I know we’d have missed out on Johnny V.’s
jackass classic I don’t care that you’re Clint Howard until I’m told your brother is Ron moment, but come on! If Baio can’t see the woman who wants him to commit, then he shouldn’t be able to see the man who’s taking $5,000 bets that Baio will cheat on her. In the coming attractions, Doc Ali does try to get Johnny V. to back off, and Johnny yells something like, “Don’t stifle my time with Scott Baio!” I don’t want to judge their 30-year friendship on an hour of television, but I’d question anyone who uses my full name like that. Keep golfing and smoking cigars with The Wonder Years’ Jason Hervey, Scott.
As for the show’s other cast of characters, I liked that we got to see Baio’s agent questioning whether the reality show was the right move — after he told Baio that the Hallmark Channel wanted to know if he could ride horses. (You know I’d watch whatever that project is.) I wish the show had gotten more into what Baio’s problems are with Moran. Presumably, they revolve around the fact that she genuinely embraces her Joanie-ness, while he genuinely wants to kill anyone who calls him Chachi. I hope Doc Ali works on that with him, too. I can imagine how that makes him feel like he’s accomplished nothing since 1984, but I guarantee you he wouldn’t have this show if we didn’t all remember his rendition of “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” I think he had every right not to kiss the girl in the autograph line — and will even sanction his snippiness with that woman who was upset that he didn’t remember her from her extras work on Charles in Charge — but there’s no excuse for letting Johnny V. Hollywood him out of that store and make everyone in line feel like an insignificant nuisance. (Okay, I need to step away from Johnny V.) I’ve already set my DVR for next week’s episode, when we’ll get to see Growing Pains’ Julie McCullough weigh in on Baio’s philandering: “I had my first AIDS test because of you, that’s how much you cheated on me,” she says. I love these women!
So what do you think, PopWatchers? Why is Scott Baio 45 and single? What are the chances that his tour of ex-girlfriends will yield a cameo from Heather Locklear? (I say slim to none, and slim’s out of town.) Shouldn’t Baio have at least told Renee (who you know he’s gonna end up proposing to in the end) that he was going to hire a life coach before he interviewed them? Why is he going to be going on dates? When will he be able to “do No. 2” again? And who wants to knee Johnny V. in the nuts? (I can’t let it go. I’m sorry.)