Is there life after Baywatch? The syndicated tsunami proved T&A translates into any language, becoming the world’s most popular show and making star-exec producer David Hasselhoff even more money than his German pop records did. But can its ex-lifeguards ever be seen as anything more than red-bathing-suited beauties running in slo-mo?
One of the show’s most buoyant starlets is currently testing the post-Baywatch waters, as Pamela Anderson Lee has launched her own action series, V.I.P.. While Hasselhoff treads water on Baywatch, Lee has decided to sink or swim on her own.
V.I.P.‘s pilot was a kitschy treat, mingling elements of creator J.F. Lawton’s two biggest movie hits, Pretty Woman and Under Siege. Lee stepped into Julia Roberts’ spike heels as an L.A. hot-dog vendor swept up into a life of luxury (there was even an homage to Woman‘s Rodeo Drive montage). Now here comes the Siege part: After inadvertently saving a movie star from being assassinated by a member of a militia group (and making the cover of EW!), Lee’s Vallery Irons was hired to be the figurehead for a celebrity-security firm.
Subsequent V.I.P.‘s have been less pleasing, as Lee has surrendered too much screen time to low-rent cameos (Jay Leno, Pauly Shore) and her generic team of bodyguards: supermodel-turned-CIA spy Tasha Dexter (Molly Culver, a Cindy Crawford clone right down to the mole on her face); mobster’s niece Nikki Franco (Natalie Raitano); disgraced boxer Quick Williams (Shaun Baker); and wacky receptionist Kay Simmons (Leah Lail).
Still, V.I.P. remains an enjoyable trifle, its plotlines propelled by Frankie Blue’s cool score and its scripts studded with pop references (Quick: ”We’ll be all over you like pockmarks on Keith Richards”). And after getting screwed out of her full share of profits from her sex-with-her-ex tape, you can’t blame exec producer Lee for wanting a piece of the action. C+