Stars go incognito on ‘I Get That A Lot’By Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Our continuing search for novel format and program “hooks” on TV was rewarded last June 19 by a new show on the beTV channel, “I Get That A Lot.”
The unusual show fields around five celebrities in stores, fast-food outlets and such, pretending to be people who just “happen” to look like their real selves.
At first, customers press the incognito stars to admit their true identity, but when they hold steadfast to their new workaday personas, the people they interact with eventually relate to them with much less awe and adulatory excitement.
In fact, some of them even candidly share that they aren’t all that impressed with the stars’ looks or talent, and the poseurs enhance their cover by “enthusiastically” agreeing!
Last June 19, the stars who went incognito included Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, Martha Stewart, Wynonna Judd, Jay Mohr, Wayne Brady and Tim Gunn. They had a whole lot of fun pretending to be “just folks” who happened to look exactly like popular luminaries.
In the process, they saw how their fans live and shop and pass the time, and their customers’ honest opinions made a big impression on them.
Force of habit?
Indeed, even if the stars were pretending to be noncelebrities, the difference between them and their customers was instinctively significant: Everything about what their customers said and did was natural and spontaneous, while the “stars in hiding” were still “performing” and trying to come up with entertaining remarks and reactions. Force of habit? You bet!
Occasionally, things got a bit out of hand when the celebrity “workers” ticked their customers off by providing poor service. Most of the time, however, the customers accepted the fact that they were being attended to by real, “faceless” workers who just happened to be dead-ringers for certain luminaries.
Of course, the time had to come for each star to own up to his real identity. As the TV cameras and boom mikes appeared from their hiding places, the customers were often completely amazed, blindsided and taken aback. How could they have been fooled so convincingly that they had fallen for the incognito stars’ elaborate ruse?
This was especially true with the teen girls and their moms who were both stunned and thrilled to realize that the shop-clerk who had been attending to them for the past 15 or so minutes was Nick Jonas!
One of those blindsided teens was an especially perfervid fan of the young idol, and she was so overwhelmed that she almost fainted.
It’s “money shots” like those that make “I Get That A Lot” a fun and instructive viewing treat. The show effectively erases the otherwise string dividing line between “them” (the scented, sainted stars) and “us.”
The insights gained from that unusual encounter help to democratize the entire entertainment experience, and to make ordinary people realize that, looks and popularity aside, they’re just as deserving of interest, attention and importance as the members of show biz “royalty”!
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