NBC's War for Fun and Profit

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A new military-themed reality show from NBC, entitled “Stars Earn Stripes,” debuts tonight. The show “enthusiastically melds warfare and fame,” as a Washington Post review today put it. It features eight celebrities (using the loosest definition of that term) — such as husband-of-Sarah Todd Palin, former Superman Dean Cain, and former boy band member Nick Lachey — paired up with “military and law enforcement veterans, including a Green Beret, a SWAT officer, two Marine sergeants, a retired member of the Delta Force and two Navy SEALs”, whom NBC hails as the “Bad Ass Operatives.” They’re all under the “command” of Gen. Wesley Clark, who once actually thought he should be President, as he co-hosts this reality show with former Dancing with the Stars host Samantha Harris (subjecting oneself to the two preview videos below, one wonders how much NBC had to pay to purchase Gen. Clark’s dignity in full: probably more than the Terror group MEK paid him to become its loyal shill).

Together, says the LA Times quoting NBC, the “stars” and the Bad Ass Operatives will participate in “missions reminiscent of counterinsurgencies that have taken place all over the world,” with “real bullets” and “real danger.” Just in the first episode, says the Post, “they have to leap out of a helicopter into a lake while weighted down with automatic weapons and full gear; swim to a motorized raft; wade ashore under enemy fire; destroy a lookout tower with a grenade; shoot at paper ‘enemy’ targets with live rounds; wade through mud to seize the enemy's ammo cache and then, finally, blow it all to kingdom come.” In this maiden episode, one of the Bad Ass Operatives marvels at Todd Palin’s skill in performing one of these tasks, and exclaims: “[He] is an animal! Good God! . . . . He's just straight-up Rambo!” The Bad Ass then adds: “Next time I go to war, I want Todd Palin on my side.” Another Bad Ass Operative vows to take “Nick Lachey, guy in the boy band, and turn him into Nick Lachey, bad boy guy with a gun.”

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