Add another name to the list of once-top-of-mind celebrities whose exploits are being chronicled by reality-TV cameras: Pauly Shore, the “wease” of late ’80s and early ’90s MTV: Music Television and cheesy movie fame.
Even at his career’s height, more than a few found Shore hard to take. And while he’s not so manic in Minding the Store — where he’s charged with helping to turn around the flagging fortunes of his mom’s landmark comedy club, Los Angeles’ The Comedy Store — it’s clear that his actual personality is just a (very) toned-down version of that persona.
To wit: In the first episode, “Hot Girls,” Pauly searches for a way to put some spice into his mother’s moribund “theme nights.” He come up with an idea after watching a 1980s vintage Girls of The Comedy Store videocassette: “Hot Girls of The Comedy Store.”
Next, Pauly is off to a radio station to drum up contestants and then holds club auditions, only to find out, as some of his comic friends have warned, that “hot girls aren’t funny.” There are a few cringe-worthy standup moments, yet they’re the episode’s sole highlights.
The second installment hits a new low, in terms of celebrity self-indulgence. In Austin, Texas, for a standup stint, Pauly again is faced with girl trouble — apparently, he’s having sex with too many groupies while out on the road.
Sex therapist Dr. Pat Allen convinces Pauly to make a contract with himself not to sleep with anyone while on the trip. His problem — he’s also using it to bond with his dad, comedian Sammy Shore, who’s inviting would-be groupies backstage after the show.
And the secondary plot in the second episode — in which Pauly’s buddies Marc Hatchell and Dean Gelber travel around L.A. searching for the perfect food to serve in the kitchen-free club — tries too hard and falls flat.
That’s the main problem. Shore in real life isn’t really all that interesting: He doesn’t party like he did in his MTV-fueled heyday, and aside from his persistent girl-craziness, he’s not all that different from your average late-thirties single guy.
In the press materials, Shore concedes as much, likening his life to a Seinfeldian farce in which he plays the straight man. But there are no Cosmo Kramers among Pauly’s real-life compadres to make his world imitate such high comedic art. The end result: Minding the Store is a rather pedestrian reality effort.
Minding the Store begins Sunday, July 17, at 10 p.m. on TBS.