While it is true that only a few people have achieved the sort of international face recognition as Shaq, Terrell Owens has not only managed it, but has, in many respects, managed to surpass him: unlike the good-natured, happy-go-lucky O’Neal, T.O. is a walking, talking reality show. He is whiny, annoying, overrated, and playing for one of the worst teams in the country: can you imagine anything that would appeal more to teenagers? Also, unlike Shaq, T.O. is incredibly good looking–so the more he takes off his shirt, the higher his ratings go (and believe me, he very, very rarely wears a shirt).
So, to put this in very real terms, the T.O. show already existed before it became “The T.O. Show”; we already loved watching T.O., so why the hell wouldn’t a T.O. show be awesome? The key to the “T.O. Show” isn’t just watching Terrell, it’s watching the way that the (more or less) normal “publicist” friends Monique Jackson and Kita Williams help T.O. navigate his turbulent life, deal with his multiple personalities and crazy ideas, and finally, try to find him a girlfriend. This isn’t a “reality show” in the classic sense of a reality show, because it’s actually real; T.O. isn’t scripted, or playing a character–because he doesn’t need to be! He’s actually crazy, and his existence includes everything a show should have: drama, romance, professional life, fights, insanity, and sex! It’s his whiny, annoying, overrated-ness that makes him who he is–and it’s what makes people immediately perk up their ears when they hear his name.
He may not have had the same personal and professional success as Shaq, but the truth is that’s not the point of his show; in fact it’s the opposite. We get to see him change and grow, not lamely take on random people according to some script; we get a glimpse into his, annoying, whiny, overrated life, not into his turgid, egomaniacal fantasies. “The T.O. Show” is better than “Shaq Vs.” simply because it’s not about someone who’s life is perfect, but about someone who’s working to make himself the best he can be–and about how his friends help him get there.
“The T.O. Show” holds a mirror up to America–I hope you like what you see.