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'Famous in 12' recap: That's showbiz, folks

Season 1 | Episode 5 | Aired July 1, 2014

A month ago, I posed a question when introducing the premise of the show Famous in 12: What does it take to be famous? I think that over the past four weeks, it’s become very clear to those (apparently very few) of us who’ve been watching—as well as to the Artiaga family: Achieving fame in 2014 isn’t as easy as setting up a Twitter account and crashing a red carpet or two. And after tonight’s unfortunate (but maybe not so shocking) ending, there are crucial and all-too-familiar ingredients to the outcome: connections and the almighty dollar.

Before we stir up that pot, however, let’s find out what kinds of shenanigans our favorite fame-seeking family was up to this week, shall we? Because despite how it may have ended, there’s no denying that in week 5, the Artiagas started to show that they were in it for maybe more than just popularity. They showed real interest in achieving their dreams—and their fame—through hard work.

Let’s break week 5 down through an Artiaga family roll call.

Angie: Momager Angie once again proves who wears the pants in the family. She lays down the gauntlet, telling the girls there will be no more yields, and makes it clear that she expects them to start acting like stars. She goes on to tell DJ Dad that she’s going to start getting serious about networking, and I totally believe her. Listen, if Angie says shit’s about to get real, I’m certainly not gonna argue. That woman means business, now … and next week … and the week after. You go, mama.

DJ Mike (DJ Dad): While it’s pretty obvious that Mike isn’t the official leader in this group, it’s also become exceedingly clear how much he loves and supports his family. Sure, he’s quiet and seems to fade into the background (except when he’s shirtless and wearing a Speedo, of course), but his gentle guidance is obviously hugely important to his daughters, as evidenced by his trip to the recording studio with Maariyah.

Maariyah1Maariyah: Momager Angie, who is fiercely supportive of her girls’ talents, somehow manages to get Maariyah a meeting to sing for Clarence Jey, the music producer of Rebecca Black’s viral hit “Friday.” Oh, good grief. Maariyah, obviously, is overwhelmed. My teenage girls, who are watching with me, are disgusted. Not by Maariyah—whom they love, BTW—but by the mention of Rebecca Black. I mean, if that’s the barometer of fame these days, then God help us all. Moving on.

When Maariyah gets to sing for Clarence Jey and his associate, she’s so nervous, she immediately cracks. Listen, sweetheart, don’t be upset. Even with that terrible audition, you’ve already far surpassed Rebecca Black’s vocal ability. Long story short, Maariyah is despondent. DJ Dad comforts her and raises her back up, just like a great dad should. Clarence Jey and associate agree to work with her because “she’s hot,” and “most people who make it these days are just plain hot.” Hey, I didn’t say it. (But actually—like it or not—it’s totally true.) Later in the show, Maariyah gets a call from Clarence, who tells her he wants to shoot a video with her and (fingers crossed!) it might go viral! Maariyah is ecstatic and is probably already imagining having a sleepover with Clarence in a panda suit.

Clarence Jey gif

Taliah: After last week’s failed love connection with The Game, Taliah is still searching for more than just fame, it seems. At a BET Awards pre-party, she has her eyes on dancer Alvester Martin and is flirting heavily, while Maariyah is trying to make connections of a much more serious nature with other C- and D-listers who are approaching them. Martin does promise to introduce Taliah to a choreographer next week, but she still sees it as a business connection and a love connection. Face palm. (In a related observation, she did look especially gorge.)

Jameelah: For the first time in a month, I’m proud of Jameelah. Spoiler alert: bad timing. But it’s like she finally gets it (see: spoiler alert). This week she finally seems to comprehend that there’s actual work that will go into becoming famous; that it won’t just happen by photobombing a celebrity or walking down the street wearing only a dog. After a meeting with top model Adrianne Curry (who gives brutally honest and very sage advice, and who goes above and beyond the call of duty by arranging a meeting with an agency owner), Jameelah arrives at the agency in a nondescript tank top and jean shorts, with her hair in a ponytail and very minimal makeup. She takes his somewhat disappointing assessment of her modeling skills with humility, graciousness and a desire to keep working toward her dreams. WHO IS THIS? For four weeks we’ve seen her simply try too hard by doing nothing. This is the Jameelah who will get somewhere. Sure, it might only be a catalog page for JCPenney, but isn’t that better than passing out wieners to drunk pseudo-celebrities? (Not you, Lance Bass. You still rock.)

Harvey’s Reality Check: Now we come to the end of the show. But literally.

After shooting the breeze with the family, Harvey reminds them that when “they” started this show, “they” had a question: Can a family from the outside become famous in 12 weeks? He mentions Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton and how they achieved fame by basically being nobodies. But then he points out that both of those ladies had firepower connections behind them (Robert Kardashian, Bruce Jenner, the Hilton Hotel empire). Harvey reminds the family that this show was a social experiment, and goes on to tell them (in his very direct way—you can totally see the lawyer coming out in him) that the reality (no pun intended) is that this is a TV show, and “you have to pull in an audience. It has not happened.”

Simply put? Not enough people watched.

I’m no TV exec, but reading between the lines? The show didn’t bring in enough money to offset production costs. 

So the good news (to the money behind the show, and I suppose to those who spent way too much energy publicly hating on this family, which tells me they must have cared in some backward way) is that their question was answered in half the amount of time. The bad news? The Artiagas are going back to Beaumont. The show is abruptly over.

This Recapper’s Editorial: Despite the small amount of ridicule I may have given the show and its schemes from time to time, I honestly was pulling for the family. At the end of the day, the Artiagas are just a family that wants what every other person out there wants: success, security and, sure, maybe a little bit of notoriety. Is that so wrong? So they went about it in a way that you or I might not have. Who are we to judge an opportunity someone else chooses to take if it’s not hurting anyone?

I feel horrible that they gave up everything for this pipe dream, which seemed to backfire on them from Day 1 and ultimately imploded as a result of what they were trying to escape in the first place: money issues. Was fame promised to them? Not at all, but they believed it could happen. And I hope, in spite of this part of their story ending abruptly, that they still believe that. Hey, stranger things have happened.


TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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