Some of Fox Reality’s offerings are so cheerfully silly, cheesy and downright stupid (the porn-star competition “My Bare Lady” comes to mind) as to almost defy criticism. The search for the next Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — the latenight hostess whose D-sized cleavage sought to distract audiences from the B movies she was proffering — nearly falls into that category, providing the channel with an excuse to showcase lots of breasts counting down to Halloween. If only the show went down as easily as its concept; as executed, it’s almost as impossible to watch as it is to dislike.
The mere fact that Cassandra Peterson can still squeeze into the ol’ costume is in itself both impressive and a trifle scary, and she still tosses off groaning one-liners with unabashed glee. As for the contestants, it’s hard to believe many of these young women (and a few men) truly grew up worshipping Elvira, but that’s probably not the biggest lie that will be uttered in an audition this year.
Peterson sifts through the contenders (including one who pronounces “macabre” as “macaw-bray”) with a pair of drag Elvira imitators flanking her, and the bitchy comments fly fast and furious. There’s even a feeble stab at production values, as the dismissed candidates — told to “rest in peace” — go up in animated flames, while a maid sweeps up their smoldering ashes. Like, dude, pass the bong.
Cheeky, however, isn’t always enough, and other than young guys willing to pay for cable but too cheap to purchase lad mags, it’s difficult to envision much of an audience returning for the duration of this limited four-episode haunting to see who among the 13 semifinalists emerges with the yearlong contract.
So thanks for popping in (or as the hostess would say, popping out), but beyond the premiere, it’s only fair to say, “Rest in peace.”