An interesting idea — put celebrities in service-oriented jobs; see who recognizes them — mostly fizzles in “I Get That a Lot,” a CBS special that derives its title from the participants’ pat response whenever someone says, “Hey, aren’t you … ?” Fast-paced but only sporadically funny, the hidden-camera format yields a few amusing moments, but the show is forced to resort to silly-prank shenanigans to pad out the hour. In success the concept might still have potential for a summer run, but the intro — while harmless — has the feel of a missed opportunity.
Each celebrity is put in a minimum-wage venue — Heidi Klum dishing out pizza, Ice-T selling shoes, Mario Lopez presiding over a hot-dog cart, etc. — to test what sort of reactions they’ll elicit. Yet because the responses aren’t particularly stirring, the talent goes the next step by doing stupid things — like taking a bite out of someone’s pizza or slathering mustard all over their pretzel — to evoke “Candid Camera”-like exchanges. (There’s also a distracting, inexplicable laugh track that fades in and out.)
The problem is that after the “A-ha!” moment and the rote celebrity denial, it’s pretty much “So now what?” The best bit comes early, when a young guy is so convinced about Klum being famous that he proceeds to order a couple of slices from her with a big grin, calling her “not Heidi Klum” the whole time. As for the (sort-of) ad-libbing, not all the celebs are created equal — highlighted by “Law & Order: SVU” co-star Ice-T expressing a fondness for “CSI,” and lowlighted by LeAnn Rimes, as a waitress, rather creepily flirting with an old guy.
Simpson, meanwhile, shows up near the end as a computer repairwoman, and seeing a few of the guys’ faces light up at the sight of her is mildly funny. It’s just that all the stars appear to be having considerably more fun than the audience likely will be.
So chalk this up as another reality title that’s better than the actual show derived from it — a criticism, frankly, that the genre deservedly gets quite a lot.