The notorious David Hasselhoff, also endearingly known as “The Hoff” and (self-referentially) “The German Elvis,” follows in the fine tradition of B-list celebs-turned-reality-stars Hulk Hogan and Denise Richards by starring in a self-titled new series that focuses not on his career, but on his family life. The A&E show, The Hasselhoffs, features The Hoff at home with his two teenage daughters, Hayley and Taylor-Ann (adorably nicknamed “Hay” and “Tay”) trying to prove that, Hollywood sensation or not, he’s basically just a cool dad and a sensitive guy at heart.
As far as I can tell from the two back-to-back premiere episodes, The Hasselhoffs relies on two major hooking points – the obvious overwhelming desire everyone has to see the former Knight Rider star at home as a “real guy,” and the remote memory the public might still maintain of the 2007 “hamburger scandal,” in which Hasselhoff’s elder daughter, Taylor-Ann, videotaped her inebriated dad in a self-destructive stupor, eating hamburgers on a bathroom floor. The footage was somehow (though it’s never explained how) leaked to the public, created media buzz, and led to Hasselhoff’s recovery from addiction.
Apart from a brief stint on last season’s Dancing with the Stars, that’s about the last anyone saw of Hasselhoff. Until now, when he suddenly seems determined to become more ubiquitous than ever, to the detriment of reality television’s reputation. Hasselhoff’s show blights even the abysmally low standards of this media format. For a show that is so clearly scripted when trying to appear fresh and unpredictable, it seems astonishingly unaware of how all the characters actually sound like they’re reading straight from the cue cards.
If that weren’t bad enough, the “plot” has less emotional depth than a filler episode of Baywatch. In the course of two episodes, I can sum it up here pretty succinctly: Hasselhoff addresses the student body at the University of Arizona and jokes about “the hamburger incident” (while suppressing shame, of course), attempts to persuade his daughter to stay in school in lieu of starting a band, celebrates when his other daughter gets offered a role on a reality show, pretends to give up coffee while his daughters give up Red Bull, and begrudgingly takes his dog to pet psychiatrist, even though he’s grounded enough to be skeptical!
All the while he wears T-shirts that prominently display his face, demonstrating his advanced appreciation for irony. The Hoff also incessantly (yet humbly) refers to the bravery involved in being a recovered addict. For the better part of two precious minutes of screen time, he pours his heart out to his dog in a shabbily veiled attempt to “forget” that the cameras are there. A child could figure out the tropes and plot devices behind this reality star’s latest desperate grasp at greatness.
I would normally argue that there is absolutely nothing worthwhile about The Hasselhoffs, but that may be a bit unfair, given Hasselhoff’s good nature in blatantly humiliating himself, the notable contributions he made back in his Knight Rider heyday, and the fact that Germans still love him. We should probably all just be grateful that he has finally found a fitting niche in the dregs of reality television.
This show was cancelled by A&E on December 10 after two episodes. The season's remaining eight episodes will not air.
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