TV Review: 'Sons of Hollywood' in need of star power

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Randy Spelling, left, David Weintraub and Sean Stewart star in A&E's new celebrity reality series "Sons of Hollywood."
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A&E's "Sons of Hollywood" is a mindless "Entourage" without a star for its D-listers to orbit.

Premiering at 10 p.m. Sunday -- but already available on demand to Comcast cable subscribers -- this latest reality show chronicles the lives of three friends who live together, two of them the spawn of more famous parents.

Randy Spelling is the actor-son of the late TV uber-producer Aaron Spelling. That also makes Randy the brother of Tori, who got her own reality show last week with the premiere of Oxygen's "Inn Love." This male Spelling scion has had a few TV acting roles, but most were on papa's series, most notably as the younger brother of Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) on "Beverly Hills, 90210" and in the Spelling soaps "Sunset Beach" and "Malibu Shores." He hasn't been very visible since then, and part of the reason could be his beyond mop-top hair: Dude looks like a raccoon died on top of his head in Sunday's series premiere.

Wannabe rocker Sean Stewart is the son of the legendary Rod Stewart. He writes and sings the "Sons" theme song, "The In Crowd," which is, admittedly, a catchy little pop tune. Stewart is covered in tattoos, likes to roam the house naked and appears to have a raging case of attention deficit disorder with a side order of anger management issues.

The glue that keeps this crew together is David Weintraub, this show's Eric (Kevin Connolly on "Entourage"). Weintraub -- no relation to producer Jerry Weintraub -- didn't grow up in a show business family, but he did grow up around the biz. He's been a Hollywood talent agent and now is a manager for Spelling and Stewart (he also co-created and produces "Sons"). The three moved in together for the duration of this reality show's production last summer.

"We grew up in L.A., and we've lived a certain lifestyle," Weintraub said at a January A&E press conference for the series. "I felt that that had never been shown before, so to be able to do it with my two best friends, that happen to be my clients, and us all living together, it kind of gives you an insight into the business from a young Hollywood standpoint."

Except, of course, it has been shown before on "Entourage," HBO's fictionalized account of a Hollywood star and his hanger-on pals. But where the travails, conquests and bad behavior in "Entourage" come off as dramatic, clever and imaginative, "Sons of Hollywood" is just like any other celebreality show: More boorish behavior by rich people.

In Sunday's premiere, the boys go to Las Vegas. Randy, who at least knows how to treat the help, compliments a restaurant waiter on the "impeccable" service. Sean doesn't know the word.

"I'm about to shove my impeccable in your mouth!" he taunts, before hurling cotton candy at Randy.

Sean's anger seems to come from nowhere, and he tells Randy he would copulate with him like a female dog, but with more colorful language

"Just like I'd beat your gay mama's boy [rhymes with 'grass']," Sean adds, leading Randy to go sulking off to his room.

Yes, warn the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and, while you're at it, summon the American Cancer Society -- these boys love to smoke their cancer sticks.

In a future episode, Randy tattles to Sean's mom about the cotton candy incident, Tori visits with her "retarded" dog (Tori says that was the doctor's diagnosis when Mimi LaRue was a pup), and Tori and Randy argue about whether or not the pug has a "wide-set vagina."

Randy's mom, Candy, shows up in the same episode -- not when Tori is around -- and reveals the word that upsets her most, so much that Randy bolts from the room the moment it escapes his lips: Booger.

"Oh my God, you know I hate that word!" Candy rails. Maybe the Loni Anderson characterization of Candy on Tori's roman-a-clef VH1 series "So noTORIous" wasn't that far off the mark.

For fans of Tinseltown trash, "Sons of Hollywood" is more entertaining than "House of Carters" (and less so than Tori's "Inn Love"), but like that tossed cotton candy, it's bound to give you cavities -- of the mind.

More 'Reno 911!'

I never did get around to seeing the "Reno 911!" movie, and after seeing Sunday's new episode (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central), I'm not sure I was missing out on much. This "Cops" parody has run its course and needs to end.

It was funny in its early seasons, but Sunday's episode, about a Hooters-style restaurant giving the police department a corporate sponsorship, is pretty much laugh-free. Next week's episode is better, but the comedy bloom is definitely off this once very funny rose.

TV Q&A

The TV Q&A column is on spring break this week. It will return on April 6.


TV editor Rob Owen can be reached at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582.


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