Comments on: Why Corey Haim Was Not a Good Trainwreck Responses to Media and Culture Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:35:04 +0000 hourly 1 By: Amber Watts Fri, 12 Mar 2010 18:10:57 +0000 A big part of the problem is that, if you are Corey Haim, it’s easier and more profitable to go on a reality show about your dysfunction than to A) get actual help, and/or B) get a job outside of Hollywood. So it’s a quest that gets more impossible to abandon, in a way, the more dysfunctional you actually are.

Which feeds into, as you note, the bigger part of the problem: what the “putatively normal” public actually wants to see. Celebrity Trainwreck Theater is fascinating and wonderful, but it’s “tragic” when it plays out to its logical conclusion. People love hot messes AND happy endings, and the “quest for fame” narrative is so popular because it can give us both, in spectacular fashion — but rarely at the same time.

Ultimately, the “fallen star” narrative is so fascinating because of how closely it toes that line between schadenfreude and cruelty.

By: Jeffrey Sconce Fri, 12 Mar 2010 17:02:26 +0000 Amber–thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Seems like it has been a rough few weeks for child actors.

Haim’s death is sad, certainly, but I wonder to what extent we’ve all been caught up in the Hollywood Dysfunction Industry. I’m sure we all have a sibling, cousin, or some other relation in our extended families who have suffered similar spirals downward — but is there something about the fame won/fame lost narratives that makes these cases seem particularly tragic?

Fame (or notoriety) has become so central to a certain personality pathology today that the quest can never be abandoned (as in “Anvil”– the unfunny version of Spinal Tap). Perhaps programs like “The Two Coreys” will one day be seen as similar to Midway freakshows and Charcot’s theater of hysterics–“sick” individuals put on display for the amusement of the putatively normal.