Meet the Beetle
In the 1960s one popular TV series was simply titled This Is Tom Jones. Forty years later, viewers can now partake in This Is Beetle, a quasi-reality show entry that chronicles the misadventures of Beetlejuice, famed member of radio guru Howard Stern’s ever-expanding “Wack Pack” of hangers-ons, misanthropes and other malcontents.
While no longer the self-appointed “King of All Media,” Stern has apparently done OK after his much-publicized exit from terrestrial radio in December 2005 (WAQX-FM 95.7 dropped Stern a year earlier, then watched its morning-drive ratings drop into the abyss). Ellen Cooper, head of public relations for In Demand Networks, claims that Syracuse is still one of the top markets for Howard Stern’s Sirius-XM satellite show as well as Howard TV On Demand. And spinoffs such as This Is Beetle, a five-episode reality series kicking off on Thursday, Oct. 29, on the Howard TV On Demand service, showcase Stern’s brand of sophomoric silliness within the anything-goes parameters of the pay-cable universe.
One upcoming installment just may be the high-water mark of the series. Bobby Rooney, who is Beetlejuice’s manager and caretaker, helps to orchestrate a party celebrating Beet’s 101st birthday. (At least that’s the age Beet is claiming.) So instigator Rooney, who always manages to rile the easily excitable Beet, allows his ward to enjoy a Jacuzzi bubble bath, then takes him to a tailor shop to get duded up in pimp gear, plus a trip to a spa for a cucumber facial. Along the way, Beet—who resembles a pint-sized, dentally challenged Tracy Morgan—engages in dashboard-cam ruminations on upside-down vampires, while some of his more incoherent non sequiturs are presented with subtitles. The finale, natch, takes place at a strip club, where lap dances and a rival dwarf await. It’s not quite on the same playing field as an episode of Frasier, yet Stern addicts will surely be salivating over This Is Beetle’s cornucopia of lowbrow outrageousness.