"Sons of Hollywood" has an awful lot to teach you -- if you're planning to make the worst celeb-reality show ever. The new A&E series, premiering tomorrow at 10 p.m., is a showcase of reality TV don'ts, particularly as it commits the No. 1 reality sin of all time: Being boring.
You'd think that, with the license to completely falsify situations and edit footage into wildly fictional story arcs, the makers of "Sons of Hollywood" would at least have entertained us while grossing us out with conspicuous consumption. Say what you will against "The Surreal Life" or "Breaking Bonaduce," and I have said plenty, they do not wander aimlessly into cul-de-sacs of tedium. Their goal is to pry out and hype up drama, absurdity, and Hollywood grotesquery, and they do it -- dishonestly, for the most part, but still, they do it. They aren't dull.
"Sons" unfolds without shape, and without enough exhibitionistic spectacle to make it the freak show it is supposed to be. The series is meant to be a real-life "Entourage," as big boys with money play with booze and babes in L A , or maybe it wants to be a male version of MTV's "Rich Girls." Once again, reality TV invites us to marvel at the idiocy, futility, and self-destructive tendencies of the rich and famous. But this petty, home-movie-level material wouldn't even fly on YouTube.
Sean Stewart is Rod Stewart's son, although the word "spawn" seems more fitting, and he is the show's big character. Sean is a depressive, explosive rock wannabe who drowns his anxiety in booze and throws temper tantrums. He fancies himself a rebel, but the height of his transgressions might be when he breaks the country club rules by taking off his shirt to tan on the golf course.
For the sake of the show, Sean shares a home with two less irritating but equally uninvolving roommates. Randy Spelling is the son of the late Aaron and brother to Tori, who just premiered her own reality show, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" on Oxygen. He's an entitled dude, but he's less narcissistic than Sean. And David Weintraub is Sean's agent and the producer of "Sons of Hollywood." Weintraub didn't grow up in a show-business family; his role is to be the more responsible roommate while the rich kids search for meaning.
As if aware of the pointlessness of the venture, Sean starts an argument with Randy and calls him a mama's boy during a dinner party in Las Vegas. But even that scene lacks drive, as Sean fails to invent a reason for the fight and lets it peter out. Like most of "Sons," the drunken face-off gets sucked down the drain. It's not juicy, or even slightly damp.
The "Sons" nothingness continues even with the impending death of Randy's father and visits from Tori and, separately, his mother, Candy. At the time of filming, Tori and Candy were at war (rumors of a makeup have been filtering out since Tori had her baby this month). And still, "Sons" evokes no dramatic tension; just petty silliness about Tori's pug's vagina and Candy's distaste for the word "booger ." A show that can't even make a lather out of the Spelling dynasty? That's vacuousness of the terminal variety.