Jokes about Monica Lewinsky aside, being an intern sucks.
In journalism, it often means sorting the mail, researching oddball story ideas that have no hope of making it into print and fact-checking features you know you could have written better than the schmuck with the byline if given the chance.
Sometimes a pitying editor will toss an intern a bone. The intern will proceed to pour every ounce of his or her creative juices into each bit of perfectly placed prose, only to see the resulting 900-word opus on an upcoming knitting symposium gutted to 75 words and buried near the back page next to an ad for riding lawnmowers.
It's enough to incite an attack on the boss's occipital lobe with a Black and Decker cordless.
Having interned briefly at one of Canada's most prestigious and now deceased glossies, I was curious about I'm From Rolling Stone, a new reality series that follows six young rock journo wannabes interning at the middle-aged music mag.
If all golden-fingered rockers thrill to see their picture on the cover of Rolling Stone (and they all do, even if mags like Mojo and Harp have more cred), then every aspiring Lester Bangs wants his byline on the cover.
Unfortunately, the only thing these interns know about Bangs is what they learned from the film Almost Famous. Hell, one of them, a would-be "hiphop celebrity" from San Fran named Krishtine, who worries more about her gold grills than getting the story straight, doesn't even know who RS founder Jann Wenner is when he calls to offer her the gig.
That's not to say the show isn't entertaining. When Russell, a part-time writer who got his start while in juvie, unintentionally does the Fosbury Flop into a garbage dumpster backstage at a Lupe Fiasco concert, his Jackassery does provide a laugh.
It's just that these so-called interns are experiencing a made-for-MTV fantasy of what an internship involves: having lunch with Nelly Furtado, jetting to Toronto to interview pop rockers We Are Scientists at Koolhaus, going to Chicago to profile rapper Ghostface Killah. You can almost see RS exec editor Joe Levy seething at the incredible opportunities these punks are squandering.
Of course, this is all part of the billion-dollar Rolling Stone empire's attempt to make itself relevant to younger audiences even as it approaches its 40th birthday later this year. RS used to be all about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But since its Dr. Hook heyday, it's straightened up, put on a shirt and tie and become the Entertainment Tonight of music publications. RS doesn't break new bands, but celebrates established acts, its pages reading like a greatest-hits LP.
Teaming up with media giant MTV, which turns 26 in August (ancient in TV terms), gives both institutions a shot at acquiring a little of the other's fading cachet, perhaps to recapture a little of their glory days, like Van Halen going on tour with David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar sharing lead vocals.
While that might appeal to the show's intended demographic (the result feels like a less catty version of MuchMusic's veejay search), those of us who remember RS and MTV when they were setting the trends and not following them are probably going to feel it's a bit like watching Gary Cherone try to scissor-kick his way through Jump.
I'm From Rolling Stone premieres Thursday (January 11), at 10:30 pm on MTV Canada.
What to watch this week
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11
OPENING NIGHT (DOCUMENTARY; SEASON PREMIERE) The acclaimed offbeat Amadeus appreciation Mozartballs.9 pm on CBC
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14
24 (DRAMA; TWO-HOUR SEASON PREMIERE) Terrorists are blowing shit up all over America, and only Jack Bauer can stop them. (Hours 3 and 4 of Jack's sixth-worst day air tomorrow, same time.)8 pm on Fox and Global
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17
MY BARE LADY (REALITY) Porn stars go from hard to Bard as they try to become Shakespearean actors.8 pm on IFC