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'Hulkamania' Runs Mild In VH1 Reality Offering

6/17/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Someday the wheels are going to come off reality TV's runaway train, and after some viewings it feels like that can't happen soon enough. The once-venerable little sister to MTV: Music Television, VH1, is now just adding to the bad reality pile with Hogan Knows Best.

The show is part of VH1's “Celebreality” block, which also includes the latest iterations of The Surreal Life and Celebrity Fit Club 2, and seens destined to make most viewers cry, “No more.” It follows the day-to-day life of former wrestler Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.

Unlike MTV's surprise hit The Osbournes — which took its charm from the fact that the private persona of its lead, irascible and burnt-out rocker Ozzy Osbourne, was largely the same as his public persona — Hulk Hogan comes across as an overprotective dad, rather than the flamboyant wrestler we all knew and loved in middle school. (Of course, his ex-wrestler friends pop up every once in a while.)

In fact, in the beginning of the show he acknowledges that his 16-year-old daughter Brooke is beginning to turn heads. “I don't have a problem with people looking at my daughter. I just don't want any idiots around,” he growls.

In the first episode, Brooke is angling to go out on her first date. That's a large enough hurdle for any dad, but throw in the fact that the boy is a 22-year-old college student named Adam, and that should be enough to send Hulk over the top. And he does overreact, but not with the shirt-ripping frenzy that Hulkamaniacs probably expect.

After Hulk grills Adam about his sex life, Hulk reluctantly allows the couple to go on their way, subject to calls every few minutes. But that's not enough for the grappler-gone-Father Knows Best (or worst).

Fearing the legal problems created by anything other than platonic pursuits, Hulk has a tracking device installed in his daughter's car.

Future episodes should provide plenty of opportunities for Hulk to fly into one of the vein-popping rages that made him a larger-than-life character, as Brooke pursues a singing career and son Nick gets a girlfriend, but that remains to be seen. But any continued absence of Hogan histrionics will make for a rather bland show.

Hogan Knows Best enters the VH1 ring July 10 at 10 p.m.

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