With names like “Tugboat Circus,” “Firecracker Institute” and “Proton Saints,” it’s pretty clear that the made-up bands on VH1Classics’s latest reality program are trying just a little too hard to be something they’re not: cool. The age-old adage of coolness is: If you say you’re cool, you’re actually not. And the bands on “Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp” can’t stop proclaiming their coolness every chance they get.
“Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp”
Saturdays at 10 p.m.
In the latest line of cheesetastic music reality shows, 15 amateur “musicians” try to relive their teenage dreams of becoming rock stars. In order to do so, they try out in front of the “camp counselors” ― who include the once famous Kip Winger, Rudy Sarzo and Mark Hudson ― then are hand-picked based on their “skills” to join one of the counselor’s rocks bands. Once in band, they practice rock classics and perform for to wild crowds of aging and balding men.
These amateur musicians include people from all walks of life, who have always dreamed of being in a famous band. The majority of contestants have some of the most “normal” jobs out there: mechanic, lawyer, accountant, advertising executive, realtor and photographer.
But this is the biggest flaw of “Fantasy Camp” ― it relies on very mundane personalities to drive the narrative. Successful reality programming relies on huge fights and booming personalities to carry the show, and none of it is present in the pilot. The people cast to be in the bands don’t really fight about anything ― they just pretend to rock out. With nothing really there to make an hour long show, the simplest disagreement between band members and counselors is edited to look like World War III. As the name states, it’s just “camp.” Nothing will become of everyone’s time at camp, other than a few fun performances and the chance to be on TV, and everyone is well aware of that fact.
Even the host is poorly chosen. Watching Carrie Keagan (“Up Close with Carrie Keagan”) try and present these cast members as gritty rock‘n’rollers in her Pepto Bismol pink t-shirt is totally unsettling. She tries too hard to make herself look edgy by wearing a leather blazer and boots, but it ultimately makes her look like a wannabe. It is obvious she knows absolutely nothing about rock‘n’roll. Even Bret Michaels and his gross fake hair would have been a better fit.
If you were ever that kid who wanted to grow up and be part of Quiet Riot or Poison then “Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp” is just for you. Chances are, however, most people watching this show actually did grow up and realize that those guys who were once so cool are not all that cool today.