When watching VH1's LeAnn and Eddie for the first time last night, you may not have realized that LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian are in fact the same person, but they are! It's in the corners of their mouths, I think; how their eyes and hairlines have become so mean. They're in love!
That their courtship has been by turns inevitable and apocalyptic has all to do with the confluences of celebrities as they move through time and space, drawing together and apart like celestial bodies. I would like us all to think very hard about five different, five additional, reality shows about mismatched but utterly necessary celebs that could be airing after LeAnn and Eddie. I'll start:
Reba & Joey McE/Inty/ire
This is one of those projects that cannot help but be about the changing of time, tastes, and homophonic last names. Frankly, Reba McEntire's entire family sounds amazing, and Joey McIntyre may actually live in a crawl space where he is rapidly aging out of the national consciousness. Which is weird! Reba left the national consciousness the afternoon after the series finale of Reba, starring Reba. Joey just needs a guide into this new country. It will be like he is her squire. He's still got his looks.
Jessica & Cody Simpson
I do not think that Jessica Simpson probably knows all that much about Australia—I don't, and I'm far less busy than she!—and I further do not think that Jessica Simpson probably has any idea who Cody Simpson even is, let alone whether or not he can be trusted to help manage the roll out of one of her new cosmetics, but of course she decides to let him because the first lesson any of us are taught is that we should trust men with tall hair. Thus begins season 1 of their new show, The Price of Beauty.
The Michelles Williams
That sound you hear is the chorus of immense nervous laughter once this project is announced; and then the clenching thought, Do you think they're in on it, too? Each Michelle has more to teach the other about fame and so pairing them together results in a kind of fame-negative Life Size where they're both becoming people. Obviously Beyoncé does not cameo, but she is asked about the series in several interviews and it comes out, months later, in a John Seabrook New Yorker profile, that she did the backing vocals for the opening theme.
Kristen & Martha Stewart
It is not that Martha would be grandmotherly to the definitely not granddaughterly Kristen, but rather that they would be like distant cousins who are forced to bond following the sudden, tragic death of everyone else in the family tree. Martha, bearing wisdom from the Old World; Kristen, still with some scars from New Hollywood. I do not know what either of them looks like while watching the other one try to make a soufflé, but I would very much like to find out.
Dermot Mulroney, Dylan McDermott, and Dean McDermott
It's funny how time works. Or maybe that isn't quite right: It's funny how famous North* American men work, and how three different ones could end up here, all kind of looking a like and with similar names, like different batches of the same recipe. The most pressing question, always, Which one is cutest? becomes a kaleidoscope to sort through so many of our regrets and giddy elations that fate has allowed Oprah's TV network to star these three in Triple D. Whole episodes become about beard etiquette. And isn't it strange how she can just slip in some gender politics like that, right there in the title?