Ain't 2 proud 2 beg

Categories: Television
Based on it's unfortunate title, one might think UPN's newest reality show R U The Girl documents a riotous abortion pill trial. In actuality, the premise ain't much better: R U is the televised search for a new member of R&B trio-turned-duo TLC. After rapper Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes--arguably the group's most charismatic member--died in 2002, remaining members T-Boz and Chilli kept busy with such nonglamorous jobs as parenting (T-Boz) and getting publicly cuckolded by Usher (Chilli). Something had to be done to resuscitate TLC without the crucial L.

Enter UPN. On R U, T-Boz and Chilli will select one lucky hopeful from a pool of thousands to record a single with them and perform at a concert. The terms of this reward are carefully described--it's never explicitly promised that the winner will officially join TLC or even be invited to perform with the duo more than once. These ambiguous conditions dampen the drama considerably--we want to see someone plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight Kelly Clarkson-style, dagnabbit! One token concert is not enough for us calloused Star subscribers--it's gotta be life changing. We need to smell fear.

Shows like R U and Rock Star seem crass and exploitative for obvious reasons; are groups suddenly choosing to replace deceased members--on television, no less--for artistic reasons? But perhaps this vaguely morbid new subgenre simply lays bare the truth about the industry; most performers were always in it for the money, so why should loss change that? R U is a charming enough show, and T-Boz and Chilli are likeable gals; it seems pointless to hold the premise against them. However, they totally need to up the ante on the grand prize. No risk, no drama.

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