Schadenfraude: The Return of Chicken Little
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 26, 2008
The hearts of a million little old ladies, instantly dashed
Yet another unfortuante by-product of watching too much ESPN this summer is getting straight-up assaulted by previews for College, the latest cinematic perpetuation of the myth that if you have a miserable high school experience, you will be rewarded with unlimited beer, pussy and irresponsibility within 15 minutes of your arrival on university campus. Fair enough, but the movie looks absolutely dreadful, like yet another entry in the Van Wilder series without even the benefit of Ryan Reynolds (and/or Kal Penn) star power. Apparently it stars the guy from Drake & Josh (guess which one!), although having never seen a lick of the series that means relatively little to me. However, I recognized one face in the preview, a face that rang all sorts of bells in the very recesses of my subconscious. I couldn’t quite place it, but I know I had seen it before. Those glasses. Those beady little eyes. That pale skin. That protruding forehead. That nervous little twitch. Where had I seen it? Then I wiki’d it, and it was so obvious. Of course:
If you missed the 5th season of American Idol, you have no real reason to know who this person is, and more power to you for it (my advice would be to skip College, though as an IITS reader I’d imagine you’d have sense enough for that anyway). I personally didn’t even watch the whole thing–I had gotten hooked with S4 because my roommate Freshman year was super into it (Joey and Leno, his other two televisual vices, didn’t quite take), and without his enthusiasm feeding the process, I only made it about halfway through five before getting fed up with the patter, the filler episodes, and the lack of Bo Bice (I got your back now and always, Bo-seph–keep rocking those Badlands ballads and laughing at that loser Constantine Maroulis).
But Kevin Covais was one of the dramatic lynchpins of those early S5 episodes. In each Idol season, there tended to have one candidate that didn’t quite seem to fit–too young, too physically and/or socially awkward, too generally LOL-worthy. You imagined (s)he appealed to some sort of niche audience, some oppressed minority that wanted to make sure their representative got all the support they needed. Then you found out it was just that shadowy internet cabal Vote for the Worst was behind the whole thing, and a little of the magic was lost. Still, there was definitely some truth to the idea that, as Simon often so derisively suggested, the then-16 year old pipsqueak Covais (nicknamed “Chicken Little” due to his physicaly similarity to the title character of the then-hit Disney flick) appealed to Idol‘s nursing-home contingent with his nasally vibrato and interminably pinchable cheeks. Whatever the cause, it was enough to somehow get Covais into the top 12, at which point he became not long for this world. He was voted off shortly thereafter, and that was the last we ever heard of Kevin Covais.
Until now. Chicken Little plays one of the three friends visiting the titular educational phase on a weekend’s orientation, with craziness ensuing–something of the Christopher Mintz-Plasse to Drake’s Michael Cera and the fat kid’s Jonah Hill, I presume. Except compared to Covais, even McLovin himself is practically Zac Efron–there is no part of this kid that shouldn’t bring out the inner Revenge of the Nerds-era Ted McGinley in all of us. Don’t you just feel your fists balling up looking at him? It’s a rare talent, truly, but one that should only be reserved for when absolutely necessary. College is definitely not absolutely necessary.
Hopefully the film debuts of Sanjaya Malakar and Scott Savol will be far more auspicious.
(IITS might be taking something of a hiatus for the next week or so, as we move westward to sunny California for the last of our summer soujurns, possibly with an aching in our hearts)