I'm From Rolling Stone

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10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7
MTV


For the reality effort "I'm From Rolling Stone" to work, one has to buy into the idea that Rolling Stone magazine still matters and it somehow is a dream come true to work there. Oh really? How perfectly quaint. I thought Rolling Stone had devolved into at best an afterthought, having jumped the shark in the mid-'80s.

But oh well, MTV begs to differ in serving up this unscripted series of 10 half-hours that follows six aspiring writers ages 19-25 as they compete to win a yearlong contributing editor position at the magazine in New York. By virtue of this being an iconic periodical for the parents of the young adults we meet here, it would seem the show might be a far better fit for VH1. Just the idea of a journalism-themed reality series proves almost surreal, as if it's pitting people bidding for a trip back in time. Perhaps MTV didn't get the memo that the printing press is a brontosaurus sinking slowly into the tar.

It doesn't much help that the competitors have personalities ranging from empty to disturbing. There's the USC-attending grunge rocker Colin, San Francisco hip-hopper Krishtine (no doubt the most misspelled name in America), classic-rock fanatic Krystal, Aussie party boy Peter, lesbian slam poet Tika and bipolar, self-sabotaging Russell. You can tell a lot about them simply by what they say during their congratulatory phone calls from Rolling Stone founder and publisher Jann Wenner. Krishtine: "Ian? Is it Ian?" That should have knocked her out of the competition right there. The clearly disturbed Russell bids Wenner goodbye with "Later, Skater." Oh, the humanity. In the first two installments, we see the six agonize over story assignments and deal with excruciating deadlines and office pressure. And the winner gets ... to stay? This isn't "Almost Famous," it's "Almost Employed." You're excused for not caring.

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