"Tommy Lee Goes to College"
Tuesdays at 9 on NBC
The tagline you'll never see: Brings new meaning to the phrase "Big Man on Campus."
The basics: Tommy Lee, the former drummer for Motley Crue, never really needed to go to college after striking it rich with the heavy metal band that was fond of spandex, hair spray and mascara. But that's not stopping the tattooed Lothario -- who achieved Internet immortality (and immorality) through a videotaped romp with Pamela Anderson -- from heading off to the University of Nebraska for some higher learnin'. As a man whose vocabulary is limited to "awesome," "rad" and "What's crackin'?" Lee might find his English lit class a challenge. (On the other hand, chemistry should be a breeze.)
The lowdown: Although NBC bills it as a reality series, the six-episode show really stretches that term to the limit. It's obvious from Act I, Scene I that everyone, including teachers, classmates and even the university chancellor, is in on the joke. Don't be fooled that Lee's motive was to actually pick up a diploma, either -- he never officially enrolled. NBC includes a disclaimer at the end the show stating, "Some elements have been produced and/or edited for comedy." The most telling disclaimer, however, may be the one telling viewers that the music heard in the show is from Lee's new album and is "available in stores now." Aren't you rich enough, Tommy Lee?
Reality check: Despite Lee's ulterior motives, you can't help but root for the guy. He may have years of partying and roughhousing under his belt, but here he comes across as a doe-eyed innocent who shows at least a marginal interest in learning. Still, this is a one-joke show about a fish out of water, and six episodes seems about three too long.
-- John Maynard