July 5, 2005 --
"The 70s House"
Tonight at 10:30 on MTV
YES, gang, it's another unreal reality show with a twist. This one? Take 12 modern-day, young adults and put them up together in a '70s-style, split-level house complete with green-shag carpeting, bean-bag chairs, avocado appliances and rotary phones.
What must the gang have to learn to live without? Cell phones, computers, e-mail, text-messaging, voicemail, iPods, digital anything. And, yes, no MTV.
In exchange, however, "The 70s House" gang gets to wear not-so-groovy '70s clothes all the time. They must not only act '70s they must be '70s. They are required to break into the hustle every time the song blares from the big, wooden speakers placed all over the house.
The house is divided into two teams, which each week are given (yawn) challenges. The winner walk away with "cash and prizes!"
In Week 1, the '70s house teams must play a top-ranked local co-ed basketball team in a high school auditorium where students in the audience laugh and jeer at them.
It's hard to know what's more hilarious, the too-tight, too short Richard Simmons-type uniforms the '70s housers are wearing or the baggy, even dopier uniforms players wear now. Watching the audience laughing at them is pretty funny, too.
Anyway, after the game, the losing team loses a member. Two big losers are chosen for possible elimination and the one who made the most '70s gaffs that day gets the boot or should I say the Earth Shoe?
The "gang," as they are called, all seem pleasant enough, but presumably as time goes on they will all show their spots.
There are two fake '70s hosts of the show, Bert Van Styles (Bil Dwyer) and Dawn (Natasha Leggero). Dwyer kind of acts as a game show host in a hilarious polyester jacket and horrible big tie, while Dwyer plays the house mother in a mini and Farrah hair.
Dwyer plays game-show guy to perfection, but Leggero is possibly the most annoying woman on television since Paige Davis replaced Alex McLeod on "Trading Spaces."
Leggero, a stand-up comic, is not funny and takes away from the action every time she shows up by over-acting, posing and screaming for attention. If we want to see anyone on the show (and that's debatable at this point), it's the contestants.
There's also a man named Oscar, who we don't see but whose voice comes out of an old intercom sitting on the table, like "Charlie's Angels." He gives them the challenges in which they'll have to compete.
In future episodes, 1970s icons like Erik Estrada, Deney Terrio, Jimmie Walker and Leif Garrett step up to the plate to teach them some dy-no-mite lessons. It will be fun to see Terrio take these kids to a hip-hop club dressed in their '70s loser outfits.
Without a doubt, at some point in the not-too-distant furture, a show like this will be created to make fun of everything '90s beginning with men's sky-high, spiked, gelled-hair and pants so big the crotches touch the ground. There will be women in skirts and pants so tiny that their thongs are their biggest clothing item.
But that's at least two years away.