A new reality TV show featuring C-list celebrities doing military training exercises to compete for charity was denounced as "empty jingoism" and a modern-day spin on "[a]dding a celebrity quotient to the military-industrial complex," kind of like when Bob Hope entertained the troops during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
That's pretty much the reaction of Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever to the new "Stars Earn Stripes" program, which debuts tonight at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC. "It also feels about five years too late, in both its reality-TV tropes and its message of pride," Stuever huffs. "It harks back to the 'Mission Accomplished!' era of attacks and setbacks in the Middle East":
“Who was Bob Hope?” To anyone over 35 that seems like such a strange question. Bob Hope, everyone knows, was one of the greatest American entertainers of the 20th century, and whose greatest public service was his decades-long commitment to U.S. troops all over the world for many decades, which earned him the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors.
And yet it's quite possible that a senior graduating from high school this month would scrunch up his face with a puzzled look over the question. It is why it was refreshing to hear that the Library of Congress has a new exhibit called “Hope for America: Performance, Politics and Pop Culture,” drawn from the Bob Hope Collection, which was donated to the Library by the Hope family in 1998.
Unfortunately, as with so much that affects our popular culture, this man’s legacy is also an excuse to unveil a leftist political agenda, the likes of which Bob Hope would be the first to denounce.