Classifications for the species Celebrity

January 26, 2003|By Robert Philpot | Robert Philpot,New York Times News Service

Here's a recurring nightmare: The United States is taken over by an invading force. But it's not extraterrestrials or terrorists. It's celebrities. And it's happening already.

You know it's happening because some guy named Jared is famous for losing 240 pounds by eating nothing but one brand of fast food. Because Carrot Top and Andrew "Dice" Clay are still landing gigs. Because of the slew of reality series, that are using celebrities instead of normal, everyday backstabbing whack jobs.

When a guy named -- wait, let me look it up -- Erik von Detten qualifies as a celebrity (he's on Celebrity Mole, thanks to his quickly canceled series Dinotopia)," it's time to redefine "celebrity." Here's a system we propose:

Meta-celebrity: Not only are you on the cover of Vanity Fair, but the editors called your agent, not vice versa.

Zeta-celebrity: You've just given your best performance in the best movie of your career, but you're still doing stupid cell-phone commercials, a la Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Beta-celebrity: You haven't had a hit since Beta videotapes became obsolete, but you've appeared on Fear Factor.

Feta-celebrity: Nobody had heard of you before My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but now you're hosting Saturday Night Live.

Wait-a celebrity: If it weren't for Celebrity Mole: Hawaii or The Surreal Life, you'd probably be working at a restaurant.

ET-a celebrity: Either you're big enough to be on Entertainment Tonight, or the show wants you for a look back at your '80s sitcom, which was the last time anyone recognized you in public.

AMA-celebrity: At the beginning of 2000, only a bunch of loyal heavy-metal fans knew much about you. Now, thanks to a hit reality show, you and your family can be the hosts for the American Music Awards.

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