Somewhere, at some point in time, some network guy actually sat down and said “Hey. I have a great idea for a reality tv show. Let’s take five D-list celebrities, cart them off to Muncie, Indiana, and make them actual reserve police officers! We’ll call it ‘Armed and Famous!’ Ha!” The scary thing is, someone listened. They didn’t laugh hysterically until he left in shame, they didn’t throw him in a nice padded room somewhere, and they didn’t immediately drug test him for talking crazy. They made the show. And they even gave it a horrendously cheesy, bad Vegas-lounge-show theme song.
Yes, really. Stop laughing.
So, without further ado, let’s meet the five “celebrities” that were
suckered intochosen for this strange experiment:
Erik Estrada, 57 year old actor. Best known for playing “Ponch” on the late 70's/early 80's cop drama CHiPs, a show where they never actually drew their weapons. Back in those days, I guess you could just smile and ask politely, and the bad guys would do as they were told. Erik was last seen playing in a Spanish soap opera, an Eminem video, and hawking real estate on late-night infomercials.
LaToya Jackson, 50 years old. I’ve heard she sings, but honestly, I couldn’t tell you what she sings. If she’s ever cracked the top 20, it must have been in Bulgaria or something. Best known for being one of the Jackson clan, and for vying with her brother Michael for the title of “Weirdest Nose Job On The Planet.”
Jack Osbourne, 21 year old son of infamous rocker Ozzy Osbourne. No stranger to reality shows, Jack is intimately acquainted with the legal process, having had many run-ins with the law. Many, many run-ins. But supposedly Jack has gotten his stuff together and straightened himself out. We shall see.
Jason Acuna, 33 year old pro skateboarder. Also goes by the nickname “Wee-Man.” Probably best known for being in the Jackass movies. If you’ve managed to sit through Jackass 2, you’ve seen just about all there is to see of the wee man. Literally. No fuzzy nudity blobs for those guys.
Trish Stratus, 30 year old model, WWE Women’s Champ, and WWE Diva of the Decade. Voted Internet Babe of the Year three times. I’m not a wrestling fan, but Trish looks like she’ll have no problem kicking some ass on the mean streets of Muncie.
I'm Not A Real Cop, But I've Played One On TV
But wait - they’re not going to just be handed their badges and guns. They have to go through actual police training. Accelerated, but training nonetheless. As they pull up to the station in a black stretch limo (was that necessary?), Erik admits that he has always wanted to be a real cop, while LaToya tells us that she doesn’t like yelling and falling on the ground. Yeah, this is going to work out great for her. Jack says that he’s gone from being a fat, lazy drug addict, to someone who takes a lot of pride in themselves. Trish throws out the old “amazing journey” cliche, but seems to be really looking forward to the challenge. Jason thinks that people will expect to see the silly “Jackass” side of him, but he’s going to take this job seriously.
Sgt. Rick Eber, a rather dour looking dude, will be in charge of their training. He makes it clear that he won’t be putting up with any foolishness, and will send their butts home in a heartbeat if they don’t cut it. He starts them out with vehicle stop training, and a very sobering video clip of a small-town sheriff being shot by a man he pulled over. They all gasp, wide-eyed in disbelief as they watch the violent act. This ain’t acting.
They head out to the practice area to learn how to pull a vehicle over, and Erik (I just want to call him Ponch. I can’t help it.) volunteers to go first. His “traffic stop” goes over without a hitch, and he credits his experience on CHiPs with helping him know what to do. As he yells at the guy to get out of the car and get on his knees, the trainer interrupts him. It’s supposed to be just a small traffic violation, not an escaped felon. Whoops. Erik says he misunderstood the call, and the others giggle.
Jack is next, and his guy comes out of the car shooting. No stranger to guns (he’s actually an awesome shot, not counting the time he shot his sister), Jack shoots the pellet gun back and makes some good evasive moves. LaToya is up next, and she starts shooting the poor man before he even gets out of the car. “Jackson just shot an unarmed man!” chides the instructor. Trigger happy is an understatement. Jason does well, disarming his man before he can get a shot off. Trish doesn’t fare so well, getting popped in the face with a pellet after her gun gets stuck in the holster. “If this was real-world, I would have gotten shot in the face,” she exclaims.
Catching A Buzz
No, not that kind, silly. Buzzed by a Taser. The rules in Indiana are, you can’t use one until you’ve been zapped by one. One by one, the trainees get the clips attached to them and get jolted. Jack hollers, then falls to his knees. Erik screams at the jolt, and says that one of his testicles has enlarged as a result. Way too much information, Ponch. The Wee-Man takes it pretty well, but then again, he’s been through worse things on Jackass. LaToya screeches when she is shocked, falling to the floor in a heap. After all that plastic surgery, you’d think she could take it. Trish gets all hard-core, wanting to be shot by the barbs instead of using the clips. The trainers oblige. She’s left with two small holes in her back, and Jack tells her “You’re more of a guy than I am!”
For whatever reason (filler?), LaToya calls her brother Jackie to fill him in on her whereabouts. Apparently the family doesn’t know she signed up for the show, and Jackie has trouble believing it. “Don’t tell mother! Or Michael!” LaToya implores him. Psst, LaToya. The secret is out - it’s on national tv.
The trainees then get a lesson in hand-to-hand combat, and LaToya gets a little too intense for Jack’s liking as she jabs him in the neck. She’s scaring me, he says. Jason gets cuffed by her, and laughs “I’d never thought I’d be handcuffed by a Jackson.” For his part, Jason doesn’t have any trouble taking down a larger opponent. Erik gets pinned to the ground and he lets one rip, cracking up the crew. “Ponch just farted!” says Jason. After this sessions, the celebs hit the town. Well, LaToya goes to wash her clothes in a laundromat, and attempts to stuff a dollar into the machine. It only takes quarters, however, and someone has to clue her in. Jason hits a local bar, whooping it up.
It’s time for real firearms training. They’ll be using Glock 40 handguns, and Jack can’t wait. The celebs fire their first shots at the targets, and LaToya is all over the place. I half expected to see a few birds fall from the sky. Both Jack and Jason have reservations about being near her with a loaded weapon. The instructor compliments Jack on his shooting, calling him Rambo, and gives LaToya some much-needed help with her aim. They all qualify (eventually) and head back to the station. After the instructor gives them kudos for outperforming his expectations, the five celebs get their official swearing-in at a ceremony attended by half the town, it seems.
Time For The Real Thing
The newly minted cops get paired up with partners, and go off into the night. Jason and his partner get the first bit of action, pulling over an obviously drunk man. When Jason pats the guy down, he finds a few knives, a wrench, and two crack pipes. Because one crack pipe just isn’t enough, I guess. Off to jail he goes.
Erik and his cute blonde partner get called to a SWAT raid. The place has been cleared already, and Erik goes inside to inspect the house. He finds some crack and a log of customers, indicating trafficking. It turns out to be a toothless old grandma, who looks like she should be baking cookies instead of dealing crack. She’s also a big fan of Ponch, and flirts with him relentlessly. Ew.
Jack and his partner are called to a domestic dispute, and a guy with a bloody face answers the door. They take the man outside, and Jack feels bad for him, wondering how the guy could hit back with his deformed hands. Jack’s partner chides him for a few mistakes he made during the arrest.
LaToya and her partner stop by Texas Roadhouse for something to eat. If you’re not familiar with the place, it’s pretty informal. You throw your peanut shells on the floor. LaToya, accustomed to dining at Spago’s, asks for a tablecloth and fingerbowls. It’s not a five-star restaurant, for crying out loud. The waiter obliges, making do with small bowls and lots of napkins laid out as a tablecloth. They are then called to another domestic disturbance, and LaToya is a little apprehensive. The man they’re after is such a dumbass that he answers the door with his crack pipe in his hand (what is it with the crack in this place?). They need two sets of cuffs to hold his arms back (he’s a big guy), and he gets a trip to jail for being so stupid.
It’s midnight, and Jason spots a couple of young women walking. They pull up to the girls, and of course, they recognize the Wee Man, taking pictures and getting autographs. Jason’s just eating up all the attention. Trish and her partner are called to a house fire next. Apparently it was started by the Christmas tree (how sad!) but all of the family got out unharmed. Trish tries to comfort the upset people, and they discover that most of their Christmas presents made it through the fire, having been hidden in a big metal box.
The five celebs celebrate their accomplishments at a local diner (sans tablecloth), and the first show comes to an end. It’s been a little weird and quite funny, actually. I’m pleasantly surprised. Catch the next show, when LaToya conquers her fear of cats (huh?) and Jack hunts down a murder suspect. And I’m sure there will be more crack found.
I am so demanding a tablecloth at McDonald's next time...firstname.lastname@example.org