Going, going, gong
If you think TV is the enemy, blame Gong Show creator Chuck Barris. He’s the boob tube “innovator” who turned daytime game shows into mind-numbing, puerile entertainment.Long before Joe Millionaire, American Idol and Jackass proved that drooling idiots would soil their pants and eat the soft brown leavings to appear on television, Barris produced some of the lamest programming in the history of man.Barris grew fat and famous with The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show.Critics savaged his work, but the average viewer reveled in the raunch that rolled from the idiot box.You could argue that Barris was a crazed genius who knew a large audience would enjoy Trash TV. If that’s true, then Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer are his bastard sons.Any normal man would have laughed at Chuck’s luck, then spend heavily on whores, yachts and the finest cuts of meat. But Barris was an arrogant SOB, who thought his soft brown leavings didn’t stink.He went mental in the early 1980s, then regained his sanity by venting his demons with a tell-all memoir that revealed his life as an undercover CIA assassin.Such is the odd and hard to swallow plot behind Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a film that claims Barris was a game show clown by day and a Commie-killing patriot by night.That’s right, we are supposed to believe that Chuck Barris, a middle-aged midget, was deadlier than 007.I’m willing to suspend reality at the movies, but not when the film is supposed to be based on a true story. If I accept Barris’s tall tale, next thing you know, they’ll tell me that Alex Trebek clubbed baby seals for Canadian Mounted Police, or that Gary Coleman was the first dwarf to be used as a hockey puck in an NHL final.Hey, for all I know, Barris fired from the Grassy Knoll. But I bet that never happened. Just as I bet Barris never killed a man in East Berlin, or uncovered a CIA mole, or carried out 33 hits for the old Red, White and Blue.But that is what Dangerous Mind tells me.If this story were performed on one of Barris’s old game shows, Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, or some other carp-level celebrity would have reached for the sheep hook and dragged the nonsense off stage before the second act.George Clooney stars in and directs this faux documentary, biopic which claims Barris packed heat and took out KGB agents behind the Iron Curtain.Sam Rockwell plays Barris and does a remarkable job mimicking his Gong Show mannerisms. Still, there is far more gong than good in Dangerous Mind.Dangerous Mind retraces Barris’s beginnings as a humble NBC page. He quickly moves up the TV ladder and pitches his game show ideas. The easy life of a Hollywood millionaire is interrupted when a mysterious CIA agent, played by Clooney, emerges to train Barris on the art of the kill.In addition to his TV brilliance, Barris is said to be a natural born killer. Next thing you know, Barris has whacked more enemy raiders than the Tampa Bay defense front. Before long, Barris accompanies game show contestants to Finland so he can murder a red menace.If any of this were true, the CIA would have brewed a batch of quick cancer and silenced Barris before he spilled his guts.Unfortunately, that didn’t happen either.Until next time, Mr. Hernandez has left the theater to create a reality show that involves human sacrifice.qNickey Hernandez is a former private investigator who can’t wait for CNN’s upcoming reality show, Bloodbath in the Gulf.