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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Surreal Deal: Jordan Knight

It’s embarrassing, even if my family enabled my eight-year-old appetite for Teen Beat magazines and overpriced t-shirts, to admit that I was a fan of New Kids On The Block.

I was the fan. It has taken years of deprogramming, but I am now, fifteen years later, able to admit it. I owned all five dolls and the stage, was perversely comforted by their cartoon presence on my bed sheets each night, and even (once again aided by an adult who should’ve known better) was known to drive back and forth down the Knight brothers’ street hoping to catch a glimpse of them, or maybe their mom bringing in the groceries that they would actually eat. “Oh my god! My mom buys groceries too, we are so destined to be together.”

And now, that I have come to terms with my past addiction, have chalked it up to my not yet-completely developed ability to reason, innocence corrupted by overzealous marketing, Jordan Knight has resurfaced with a host of new reasons for myself and the legions of former NKOTB addicts to cringe at their former selves.

I, like many, spent years of my childhood defending those five hard-working boys from Boston. Anyone who hated them was just jealous, they were stupid, uncool even. I cried my snot-nosed little heart out to “This One’s for the Children,” Jordan Knight’s poetic ode to kids too poor to buy the New Kids Christmas cassette. And I just knew, no matter what anyone said, no matter how many radio parodies surfaced (remember, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, New Kids Suck?”), Jordan Knight especially was a genuinely nice person, unaffected by his own line of trading card.

Now, post-pubescent, thirty pounds heavier and missing that braided rat tail that I just knew was sexy before I knew what sexy was, Jordan Knight, the “fine one” to Joey Mac’s “cute one” is a cast member on VH1’s new installment of The Surreal Life. One might deem his appearance career suicide, but we all heard and saw him “giving it to us” in that train wreck of a single and sideshow-themed video released in 1999.

Upon arrival in the Surreal Life house, Knight immediately established his character, snatching American Idol castoff Ryan Star’s room right out from under her pointy little nose, and announcing his need for privacy, yes privacy, on a reality television show.

As episodes unfold other facets of the former New Kid’s manner surface, from poking fun at a 10-year-old accordion player to drooling over the Olsen twins in conversation with their “Uncle Joey.” Clad in polo shirts of varied colors and striped designs, Knight navigates the world of reality television like a true Z-list celebrity. Whiny, manipulative, and arrogant he distinguishes himself from even ex-con Flavor Flav and an undecipherable Charro as the surreal lifer that would make the worst candidate for a real life roommate.

So, this is my plea. Jordan Knight, if you really are the same Jordan Knight whose favorite color is blue and favorite book is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, grow the hell up. You are on the Surreal Life, where careers in show business go to die. You’re predecessors are Trishelle from the Real World and Vanilla Ice. It’s not 1989 and you are not on the Magic Summer Tour. Stop doing the running-man on the boy band that defined my childhood identity and inspired such greats as ‘NSYNC and Backstreet. Suck it up. Practice your Bullwinkle impression with Dave Coulier, produce your “highly anticipated” second solo album, and either prove me and the rest of the nonbelievers wrong or crawl back into anonymity so I can sleep at night.