Ken Tucker
January 05, 2009 AT 07:51 PM EST

Last night it wasn’t just ABC’s housewives who were desperate. (And they were indeed pretty desperate: having Teri Hatcher sleep with her gay neighbor, but then reassuring us there was no sex? Rather lame.) On the premiere of VH-1’s Confessions of a Teen Idol, we were supposed to think it was an act of grand tragedy when Adrien Zmed rued the day he “walked away from TJ Hooker” instead of this just being an ego-fed bad career move. Now Zmed performs on cruise ships. Boo-hoo. Failure can often be fascinating when it happens to someone else: VH-1 has built its entire programming schedule around this idea. And if Christopher Atkins–whose sole claim to fame is co-starring with Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon–really does break his back these days toting wheelbarrows full of cement mix for steady employment, well, who can blame him for wanting to spend some time back in front of cameras, and living in a cushy reality-show house?

The washed-up 80s stars in Confessions of a Teen Idol call each other “bro” and “dude” incessantly, and are all pretty tedious (most amusing: MTV leech Eric Nies and his raw-food proselytizing), but the only person who interests me isn’t one of the washed-up–it’s one of this series’ producers, Jason Hervey. Yes, Wayne on The Wonder Years. When Hervey and the other producers pulled a stunt on the ex-teen idols too boring to detail here, it was the stubby, defensive Hervey who marched out to justify the show and mollify the craggy housemates. Unlike the teen idols here, Hervey has managed to stay involved in show-biz–not, for the most part, as a performer but as a producer of this and other shows. In that role, he comes across as likably pugnacious; he seems like a tougher dude than the whiny bros on Confessions of a Teen Idol.

Happy Monday. Did you watch this thing? Will you watch it again?

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