Volume 95, Issue 94

Wednesday, April 3, 2002
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Say YES to Yoko Ono's collection at the AGO

Unfortunately, Smoochy is already dead

Becoming a nightmare

Outside the Box

Care Bear stare causes enjoyment

Britney more savvy than Square

Trail, the Hives and Fellows breathe life into music

Becoming a nightmare

Probably Not
Matt Pearson
Deputy Editor

I can't decide if I would be Britney Spears or Tori Amos.

That is, if I had my chance on MTV's Becoming, aired frequently on MuchMusic.

For those not familiar with Becoming, the premise is fairly simple: grab a bunch of kids (usually from Southern California), parade them around town in a limousine, cut their hair, buy them lots of stuff, put them up in a fancypants hotel and, oh yeah, let them re-make a video by their favourite band or artist, all before the camera's watchful eye.

But Becoming is more than that. It's a bad nightmare where television hells bleed into one – Reality TV meets Total Request Live, with a little bit of a Jenny Jones makeover show thrown in for kicks. Every minute of the day is filmed – from 'surprising' the participants at their homes, to watching them make awkward small talk and high five each other in the limo, to waking them up early the next morning to shoot the video.

And when the camera is not watching them learn how to be someone famous, it's busy doing psuedo-intimate, Real World-esque one-on-one interviews, where the person admits they grew up in the projects, or once had cancer or failed grade two, but all is now made better simply because they got to be on MTV's Becoming.

But what the show reveals, besides the complete creative vacuum at MTV, is how serious pop celebrity has become and how far some young fans are willing to go to honour their celebrity of choice. The thought that people actually filled out an application begging to be turned into someone else says an awful lot about the superficiality of our culture.

Once someone gets on the show, it's uncomfortable and, at times, painful to watch how seriously they take it, how much they want to 'become' their favourite performer. Some go to great lengths to take on the personality or features of their celebrity hero. For example, on a recent episode of Becoming – where four college guys 'became' the Red Hot Chili Peppers – one had a swirl shaved into his head and strutted around in his tightie-whities, all in the name of 'becoming' the Chili Peppers' famed bassist, Flea.

On another episode, one of the wannabe Backstreet Boys – the guy who 'became' Nick Carter – actually started to cry. He was so touched that he could be Nick Carter for a day that he cried. And we wonder why the youth of America have been led astray?

Still, if I had my chance, I think I'd have to go with Britney – that "Slave 4 U" video is hot.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002