Fox’s so-called reality show about the idle sons of the filthy rich — “The Princes of Malibu,” featuring David Foster’s stepsons/Bruce Jenner’s kids — lasted a whole two episodes in 2005. A&E has lower ratings standards, which should be a blessing for “Sons of Hollywood,” an almost comically vacuous exercise that doesn’t muster a semblance of plot or story arc in its back-to-back half-hour episodes. Randy Spelling (Aaron’s son) and Sean Stewart (Rod’s kid) are joined by manager David Weintraub (no relation to Jerry), but the opening salvo does little more than provide a good argument for an inheritance tax.
The fundamental problem is that there’s zero point to the action unless you subscribe to the theory that all wealthy youths should be tailed by their own full-time camera crews.
“Sons of Hollywood” also advertises how long these episodes have taken to hit air, inasmuch as Randy is grappling with the illness of his father, who died more than nine months ago. Mother Candy and sister Tori drop in, with the latter’s appearance triggering a thrilling exchange about her dog’s vagina.
The first half-hour instantly whisks the boys off to Las Vegas, a tried-and-true reality tactic that, in this case, simply makes it difficult to differentiate one guy from another, given that there are no introductions to speak of. The one bit of drama comes when Sean throws an unprompted fit and wants to fight Randy, calling him a “pussy little momma’s boy bitch.” Weintraub isn’t much better; he calls everyone “bro.”
The net effect is to make the Jenner kids and Paris & Nicole appear relatively deep and charming by comparison. The principals have so little to say that a golf outing is scored to music from “Caddyshack,” ostensibly to create a zany “A Hard Day’s Night” vibe, but probably just to kill time.
Producer J.T. Taylor (MTV’s “Rich Girls,” appropriately) shares “created by” credit with Weintraub, Bobby Heyward (DIC Entertainment CEO Andy’s kid) and Adam Moonves (CBS chief exec Leslie’s son), which makes one wonder how the division of labor went into saying, “Let’s tape winners of the genetic lottery and hope some desperate-for-demos cable network buys it.”
For those eager to accentuate the positive, “Sons” does focus on himbos instead of bimbos, as Sean runs around at one point naked with vital areas strategically blurred and everyone reacts as if he’s Groucho Marx. There is, however, something a trifle morbid about all the discussion regarding Aaron Spelling insomuch as the producer’s demise becomes a cheap emotional prop to give Randy some depth.
Otherwise, this is merely another addition to A&E’s flight from anything that might be confused with “Arts & Entertainment” — one that should remind the fathers of Hollywood not to let their babies grow up to be reality TV boys. Until then, as they’re apparently fond of saying in the hottest clubs, thanks for nothing, bro.