The date: April 21st
The time: 12pm
The place: Norma's at Le Parker Meridien, 118 W. 57th Street
Sighted: "Joey Lawrence dining alone at Norma's at the Parker Meridien. Was listening to his iPod and singing to himself while reading some sort of script. I think it said Chicago on it. Will we be seeing him on Broadway soon?! Woah!"
As in high school, when it was better to be head dungeon master than the fat friend of the cool kids, in Hollywood, celebrities must know their place in the celebrity pecking order so as to ensure the longevity of their fame. When former A-listers such as Tara Reid and Jennifer Love Hewitt refuse to accept their new C-list status and attempt to claw their way back to the top by doing talk show tours about their botched plastic surgery and by starring in Hanes commercials, the result is the bitter stink of desperation and the perversion of the celebrity social order. Friends, this will not be an article mocking Joey Lawrence, for he is a celebrity who knows and accepts his (low) place. Instead, we examine Joey's genius transformation from teen heartthrob to third-rate has-been and pay tribute to his "if you're never really there, they can't ask you to leave" professional strategy.
It's no secret that following the cancellation of Blossom, Joey planned to maintain his fame by doing what he had always done best—playing loveable dimwits and wearing flannel shirts. For a while he succeeded in remaining A-list, as evinced by the wild success of the hit single "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix", the lead single from what many critics consider the greatest album of February 3, 1993, Joey Lawrence. But when popular sentiment turned against Vidal Sassoon mousse and the TGIF Friday evening lineup, Joey's piece of shit show, Brotherly Love, was unexpectedly cancelled, and his music career fizzled.
Despite his attempts to distance himself from his teen idol days by demanding to be called "Joseph," Joey realized it would take something more drastic than an absurd name change and getting a new wife at Disney World in order to reinvent himself - it would take a haircut. Inspired by Howie Mandel's own transformation from mop-haired loser comic to bald and jacked game-show host, Joey shrewdly realized there was room enough on the C-list for two bald and jacked celebrities.
After ditching his luxurious mane and implementing a daily regimen of iron pumping, eyebrow waxing, and spray tanning, Joseph Lawrence, the new C-list celebrity and Mr. Clean imitator, was completely unidentifiable as former teen star Joey Lawrence. Whereas Joey wanted fame and groupies, Joseph is just grateful to be allowed back on TV, even if that means appearing on Dancing with the Stars. Thus it should come as no surprise that in today's dark, dark era for Broadway - "Cats" is no longer playing at the Wintergarden and "Movin' Out" failed to close on opening night - Joseph will be appearing as Billy Flynn in "Chicago," starting May 4th. Whoa, indeed.
So kudos, Joseph Lawrence, for knowing your place. America applauds your humility and eagerly awaits your forthcoming CW sitcom.