Should Some Stars Avoid Stripes?


So, Stars Earn Stripes Week 2. The weirdest thing about this reality shows is that they’re shot and edited to look like live sporting events but the fact is that the entire series was shot before the first episode aired. So it’s impossible to incorporate the excellent feedback our readers offered in the comments section on last week’s post.

Now that we’re past the introduction stage, NBC doesn’t need two hours to set up the challenge, so things moved a lot faster. The celebrities had to jump out of a helicopter onto a rooftop, take out some targets, rappel down the side of the eight-story building, meet their operative partners, take out some more targets and meet their extraction pickup truck.

Stop reading now if you don’t want to find out what happened in the challenge/competition/mission.

Watching this week made me realize what’s weirdest about this show: running around in the desert, jumping out of helicopters and playing with automatic weapons in a situation where no one’s shooting back at you ought to be a hell of a lot of fun. Instead, someone involved with the show (NBC? the producers? General Clark?) decided that making it a “tribute to the troops” would do what exactly? Shut up the folks who would complain that NBC was glamorizing warfare? That didn’t work.  Amp up the drama? I’m not sure that works either.

Playing solider is fun. Ask any eight-year-old boy (or quite a few girls as well). Why so serious?

The guy who has to be loving this is Nick Lachey, who does surprisingly well when he relaxes and stops comparing his newfound combat experience to being in a boy band. It’s almost enough to make you forget that show he did with Jessica Simpson.

Terry Crews, on the other hand, has to wonder what he signed up for. After a long career in the NFL and some real success as an action movie star, you’d have to think he’d perform well here. If you make your living as a guy who pretends to be a badass in the movies, you don’t want to be shown up as someone who can’t swim or even really shoot straight. Goodbye, Terry. Get ready from some serious razzing on the set of Expendables 3.

If you want to check out the complete second episode, it’s embedded below:

  • Chuck

    Its just a tv show, why make a big deal about.

  • Terry L. Dashner

    And the best thing–it’s all make-believe, Nick. I remember the draft of Vietnam. Sure were a lot of young boys who would have opted out of combat–fearful they might get hurt and never have a chance of making a boy band. It really sucks, Nick. Soldiers–especially the lowly grunts–don’t have the option of turning down a combat mission. This show may appeal to eight year olds, but to veterans of the bush it is hyper make believe.

    • Jeff Newman

      If they really want to earn their stripes,then join up and do it for real.The military is not make believe and eveybody does not get to go home at the end of the day.Personally as a Marine veteran I find this show to be a slap in the face.

    • Leon Suchorski

      I was a Marine in Nam and had a couple of my buddies from bands One was from the Morticians, and the other was with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Neither of them was drafted. So it seems that you have it backwards. These guys MADE a boy band, and THEN went into the Marines.

    • jumper

      Really? You’re going to compare being a Vietnam draftee to this kid who wasn’t even born yet? You guys SERIOUSLY need to get over yourselves. It’s a harmless show that shows the military in a positive light. So no, Terry, nobody is actually comparing this to real combat… it’s just an interesting reality show that features real operators. Why so many “vets” find this offensive is beyond me. It in no way reflects badly on us or denigrates anyone’s service.

  • Chad Johnson

    How about all the “stars” ruckup and do something patriotic like serving the military instead of playing soldier. If they want to see was being a soldier is like, do it full time, for real. Join up and serve an enlistment. Maybe they might have a little more respect for our service men and women. Then they can see what the difference is between playing soldier and actually being a soldier.

    • jumper

      Another rocket scientist… So how are they not respecting the military now? Every comment on the show is about how incredible the men and women who serve are and every “mission” earns money for military charities. How is this not patriotic?

  • Sgt.Bear

    Guts they are playig (key word playing) for a military charity. Don’t think the t.v shows would put it on if it didn’t have some Hollywood in it

  • Sgt.Bear

    Guys they are playing (key word playing) for a military charity. Don’t think the t.v shows would put it on if it didn’t have some Hollywood in it

    Gotta use spell check more

  • Ken Cronenworth

    Here’s an idea for theses folks. Do like Pat Tillman quit your high priced do nothing job and sign on the dotted line and do it for real!

  • Brian

    When I first saw this coming I thought cool, but since it’s nothing more than a Hollywood stunt set, for actors that need jobs….I’m not watching it all. Finding it a bit offensive actually, charity..really? Why not just give some of their big $$ they earned over the years…why not go ‘over there’ and stay with the troops. Want to ‘earn’ your stripes, go out on patrol, otherwise, they’re still nothing but a bunch of REMF’s craving attention, doing make believe.

  • Chris

    I won’t watch it. It is not reality.

  • Judith

    The author should be a little less snarky & cynical & try to view the show from a non-military person’s perspective. Most people have no idea what the difference is betw/n a navy corpsman & a navy seal. Most people don’t have family or friends in the military & if it takes a G-d forbid entertaining format using true military & law enforcement heroes to draw in viewers & engage them enough to learn a little about their people’s army, well then, kudos to NBC.

    Now when people read about a soldier’s sacrifice in some remote region of the world they can put a face & not just a statistic on it…that’s a big deal.

    And what’s so wrong about seeing celebs who are mostly champion athletes care enough to salute the military w/ their praise, reputation, & sincere respect for the operatives who are shining a little light on the elite skills & commitment required of a soldier. Live ammo gives the danger effect & vet charities are highlighted.
    So lighten up & just enjoy on whatever level.

    Sarah Palin, a military mom & whose Iron Dog snowmachine racing champion husband is participating , summed it up nicely in her facebook post, “I don’t know if I’ve ever met such a genuine, dedicated, and hardcore self-disciplined group of “stars” and operatives. This show can change your life if you understand the discipline and dedication our troops and first responders go through in order to bring honor to this great nation and then apply that same courage and discipline to your own life.”

  • charlie

    i have to say that its not as bad as most you all make this out to be i watched it and liked it. i was in the marines for 8 yrs so to have stars thank the service personel and get a understanding of how it could be thats great. i think Everybody should aleast have to go through a bootcamp of somesort after highschool to learn how to be a good citizen and but if it takes stars do it first so be it . so one step at a time i guess

  • Ed

    Relax. It’s a TV show. Some Hollywood types step away from poolside, do a bit of the cool stuff we all saw on the recruitment videos, and make a little money for charity…nothing wrong with that. You may as well head over to the local national park and complain about how the campers aren’t being tactical.

  • Wow I don’t get it half of you think this is an attempt at a reality series and others think that this is an insult to all who have served. It’s a show !! They are raising money for worthy charities for those who have served. The comments made by the stars have been humble and appreciative of all who have served. I’ll grant you it’s not deep intellectual shows like real housewives and Jersey Shore. But we can’t have everything. I served for twenty years in some pretty tough units. I’m glad they bring these subjects into the spotlight.

  • O’Dell

    Will they be making C-130 or C-17 tactical airborne insertions at night with equipment? Just wonder’in…

  • O’Dell

    For ‘Pain Dude’: Easy man. Like you said, it’s just a show. And, it is for charities which is cool. But it’s not combat and you can’t replicate that and say it is the same. I think that’s the point some of these guys here might be trying to make. Actually, I’m impressed no one shot anybody or shot themselves, yet. I thought one guy was gonna drown, but got pulled out…

    But, GEN Wesley Clarke? Really? Couldn’t they have gotten somebody else?!? Even the ‘Old Gunny’ would have been a better choice!

  • jumper

    @ O’Dell… I agree 100% there, I was a little disgusted to see Gen. Clark on there. R. Lee or maybe Capt. Dale Dye would have at least made it a little more “military”. Gen Clark has the presence of a nursemaid.

    • jw

      General Clark was chosen to appease the Code Pink protestors & the anti-military/anti-gun Hollywood Libs. (You can be sure the General & producers won’t let Palin win this competition & go full hog conservative…everything gets political in the end.) But, it’s still a good show that also hires vets…which is impressive in these otherwise union-hire-only times.

  • ABNGreenLight

    My biggest question with this show is how have they not had any NDs (Negligent Discharges) with the actors? Do they edit out the actors as they change to an empty mag at a clearing barrel or do they really have ACTORS running around with LOADED weapons.

    I haven’t been in the Army that long but even real Infantry Soldiers don’t run around with loaded weapons unless there are all sorts of safety measures in place along with months of training and still NDs happen.

    If I was paired with an actor and told to get them up to speed in just a few days before we go Air Assaulting around on “Operations” locked and loaded I might have to say **** no. I saw major flagging in both episodes.

    • ECKO

      The participants don’t go red until they fire. the rest of the time, they have to clear their weapons. for everyone else, just relax and enjoy the show. if you don’t like it, watch jersey shore like you always do. i have been in for 11 yrs and i have 3 combat tours. i enjoy the SHOW. so does my wife.

  • Mr. Barber:
    Its a brand new concept’s 1st Season. Lots of input from active and retired military would help. Having R. Lee Ermey and Dale Dye put the recruits through a short course boot camp would have not only increased the ratings, before the contests started, it would have better prepared the celebrities AND the audience for how tough military service truly is on our personnel.
    If this program lasts beyond the first season, it would be nice to get input from military personnel to improve the authenticity of the program.

  • Sgt F

    This show is entertaining yes, but in a laughable (WTF is this) kind of way. If you pay any attention to the show when they area doing their ops and supposedly fireing live ammunition, you can clearly see that it is not. The M203 they used in the first episode was clearly firing training rounds, you could see the orange paint explode beneath the tower. The targets the “stars” shoot at explode when impacted, but you see no other impacts from rounds anywhere when they “miss” the target. This show is straight hollywood and nothing else. As far as the message about the military, there really isn’t one. As far as the charities, yeah they earn money for their charities but its probably 1% of the money it costs to build the training and mission sites, pay the actors, provide the “live” ammo, vehicles, fuel, weapons, gear. Why not just take all that money and put it in a fund for wounded warriors or families that have lost loved ones. I’m just saying.

  • staggernaut

    not every one can be pat tillman. we still need stars to watch. you ever eat dirt for 13 months with nothing to watch?