Marcia Brady has “Gone Country”


OK, I’m part of the problem.

I’m calling her Marcia Brady instead of Maureen McCormick, and she’s doing this American Idol meets The Surreal Life reality show

partly because she’s sick of everyone calling her Marcia.

But I’m a child of the ’70s.

And once a Brady, always a Brady.

However, I’m also a country

music fan, and that’s what’s drawing me toward and repelling me from

the new CMT show Gone Country. I watched the first episode of it

this weekend and was not as horrified as I expected to be. But I was

a little horrified.

The premise is your basic fish-out-of-water reality

show: Seven mostly non–country music professionals are competing to

be the next big country sensation. And, of course, they’re living together

in a mansion and sharing bedrooms — because that’s what people on reality

shows do. It’s not really clear what all of their agendas are.

Dee Snider (of Twisted

fame) doesn’t like country music and seems most interested

in getting into a pissing match with Bobby Brown. Bobby Brown,

however, seems pretty interested in exploring another type of music.

Sisqo (of “Thong Song” fame) seems pretty interested in the

musical challenge as well. And I cannot really tell what Julio Iglesias

is doing there, but host/judge John Rich

(of Big & Rich) seems very interested in developing an artist

who will appeal to a Latino audience.

And then there are the women.

American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo is “in

it to win it.”

Former Wilson Phillips

member and talk show host Carnie Wilson seems determined to

battle some personal demons.

And, of course, Maureen McCormick

wants to establish herself as Maureen rather than Marcia. And she

also seems to want to cry a lot. And to smoke cigarettes with Bobby


There’s definitely an element

of Rhinestone

here. (Dolly Parton bragged that she could turn anyone

into a country singer, and proved it with cabbie Sylvester Stallone.)

Of course, all of these performers

are professional musicians of one stripe or another. And Maureen McCormick

actually released a country album (which I own!) in 1995. (This was

in addition to her Brady-era LPs.)

Therefore, it may be a little

more like The

Thing Called Love

in which Samantha Mathis, Sandra Bullock, River Phoenix

and Dermot Mulroney were all mentored by KT Oslin

in their quest to write the breakthrough country song — and find themselves

in the process.

And there’s a touch of The

Simple Life
as they do things like shovel the things one shovels

in a barn in order to learn that being “country” is more than songwriting

and singing.

As a country music fan, I’m

encouraged that the competition is as much about songwriting as it is

about performance. Because, in my opinion, a good country song has a

little bit of twang, perhaps a little steel guitar and, definitely,

a good story. (According to David Allan Coe, the perfect country

and western song

has to mention mama, trains, trucks, prison and/or getting drunk.)

So, I’m hoping that this show will be more than wearing cowboy hats,

playing the rhinestone-studded Gibson guitars the contestants were issued

and affecting a country accent. But I’m not exactly holding my breath.

However, now that I’ve stupidly watched

the first episode, it’s a pretty safe bet I’m going to keep watching

to see what happens.

Any other country music fans

out there drawn to this train wreck?

Zergnet Code