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Next Action Star - Episode 1 Summary

'Freaks and Geeks' By I_AM_HE
Original Airdate: June 14, 2004

In which, the myriad of the truly, shockingly, horribly bad are pared down to 30 merely quasi-bad, eventually to be cut to 14 finalists vying for 2 spots as Next Action Star(s) in their own feature film(s).

Introduce famous Hollywood producer Joel Silver, to tell us what I just told you, except for the one and only time, he’s actually not the one being redundant. Introduce Blonde Casting Woman, who reiterates that they are looking for two people, one man and one woman, who have the Star Factor to carry a two-hour movie and have the “It” factor. Whatever that is. Apparently from the clips they show, “It” involves shouting expletives, screaming hysterically, and jumping up and down like a fool. From the balance of the show, "It" may or may not involve being really, really boring and unable of acting one's way out of a paper bag. It's not the Stephen King “It” factor though, for although that is, believe me when I say, available in abundance, those possessing it will make it no further.

The finalists will be put into a house where they will get star treatment, and the crap beat out of them. Joel Silver says it will be a trial by fire, literally. If you need any proof that this is going to be the BEST.REALITY.SHOW.EVER., you need look no further than the fact that this will be the first show that will actually blow the losers up.

JS says it will be a complex process, because making an action picture does require skills; you have to learn how to shoot a gun, how to do wire work, and how to drive. Considering how little it actually takes for some people to legally be on the road, is this really saying anything? Oh, and you have to be able to act, he says, although given the example given of what can only be how NOT to act, this too is a doubtful proposition. Alright, I’ll give them a break since they’re novices. They can’t be expected to have the acting ability of a Keanu Reeves or a Vin Diesel or the personality of a Steven Segal or a Chuck Norris right off the bat, can they?

Each week, they will participate in screen tests that will determine who gets a callback and who goes home. In case you haven’t gotten the point by now (and really, NBC can't count on the intelligent reality viewers of a network like FOX, so they have to pound it into your head), JS makes sure you know that two people will get their own movie. After a montage of would-be action stars busting down doors, the announcer too tells us that one man and woman will become Next Action Star. What the hell? This is America, dammit! I say if you can’t learn to use THE definite article, get back on THE boat! Next thing you know they’re going to be sending (the) injured contestants to hospital and demanding (the) inept go to university for acting classes.

The fates of these DAWs will be decided by four (count them: 1, 2, 3) casting directors and their associates who have been demoted from working on such feature films as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Castaway (and how much lower can you get on the casting totem pole than deciding which volleyball gets to costar alongside Tom Hanks?), and Contact. They are Victoria Burrows, Scot Boland, and John Einsohn, along with the horrible woman responsible for the people on such reality shows as The Bachelor, Temptation Island, and Meet My Folks, Marki Costello. Much as in American Idol, or more aptly Superstar USA since Scot looks like and gives similar comments as the goateed judge there, two votes yes or no decide who makes it on to the next round.

The first of the freaks, sporting a horribly dislocated middle finger, promises he will be the Next Action Star because he feels no pain. Nevermind the fact that his middle finger got that way when he used it on the casting directors after they told him he sucked. Apparently Steroid Man too was among those receiving at least two “no” votes, perhaps because he lacked a sufficiently believable Austrian accent with which to explain away his inability to speak English on a 1st grade level.

Victoria, or as I like to call her, Vicky, brak brak braks some more about “It” and explains that the first part of the audition process was to have them break down the door and then to give them a thought process to adlib. For instance, 5187 has to pretend he’s in a Chippendale’s dance contest. 9451 and 4376 are the first of many instructed to pretend like they’ve just walked in on their boyfriends having sex with their best friends, which must have been a traumatic situation experienced by more than one of the casting directors, given the frequency with which it is employed here. Needless to say, none of this was what I expected when they said Next "Action" Star.

Another exercise they do is to actually give them a scene to “role play,” if you know what I mean. One woman was just “up in the Captain’s office,” for instance. Other tough lines delivered by our actors include “Appreciate it.”

Vicky says that two people (don’t fall out of your chairs there) will have the opportunity to work with the producer of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and The Matrix, Joel Silver, who has done 4 movies with Bruce Willis, 5 with Mel Gibson, 2 with Arnold Schwartzenegger, 2 with Sylvester Stallone, and 3 with Keanu Reeves, in case you’re in to name dropping.

Dallas, Texas

Somere, an elementary school teacher from Austin, is instructed to act like Scot's got a gun pointed at her partner. It’s obvious that it wasn’t for her acting ability that they gave her the nod to advance to Hollywood, but rather for her experience “hunting and stalking every animal in the Southern region, from rattlesnake to white-tailed deer to mountain lion.” It’s not that the casting directors didn’t want to mess with a woman who wrestles lions, but that they’ll only have to teach her to drive and do wire work.

Not so lucky are “Say hello to my little friend” Guy and Kelly Ripa doing the cha-cha. One guy tumbles down the ramp in an uncoordinated heap, prompting Scot to declare the time of death to be 2:20. Bob Marley shouting “Show me the money!” also fails to get a call back. The casting directors inform a perky cheerleader that she’s “got the action, but not the star.” Which only leaves the “NEXT!” A guy who seems more suited for a gay fitness video than an action film leaves the directors gaping in disbelief, but not with any less tickets to Hollywood. Several others get the heave-ho, including a constipated martial artist, before Bruce Lee himself comes in, flips around the room, and kicks some ass, which the directors find “fascinating and interesting,” but not for the Next Action Star. These are no doubt the same people who saw the greatness in Sam Bowie.

Mae, from Dallas, who works in software support, warms up with stretching and back bends. Her boyfriend, Derik, informs us that she’s nervous and doesn’t want to be on camera, but he thinks she’ll do great. Her audition consists of a forced reading of the lines “Why didn’t you say something?” and “Yes, ‘Drop dead, Becca!’” Marki votes yes, but Scot votes no, saying her reading was “one note,” which leaves ‘VeeBee’ to cast the deciding vote. The Vickster says she sees her as a Black Widow, that she has good sex appeal, and although her voice was a little weak, she is worth working with, and so we have our second semifinalist.

Coming up, an ensemble of camera fodder with larger pecs and boobage than brainage will get their cans kicked to the curb, along with assorted roundhouse kicks and a woman who defiantly challenges the casting directors to “take it or leave it,” a sadly unanticipated (for her, anyway) easy choice for Marki and the gang.

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