“The Osbournes” have not only captivated you, your bleeping grandma and your bleeping hairdresser, but probably your favorite bleeping rock star as well. The most popular series in MTV history, with nearly 8 million viewers a week, has acquired a particularly loyal audience in perhaps the only people who can truly relate to the madness – other musicians.
Incubus, for example, fell so hard for the show they asked their management to record it when they are on the road and send them copies for tour bus screenings.
Singer Brandon Boyd said when “The Osbournes” is on, his eyes are glued to the TV. “The Osbournes are an amazing family, and they are amazingly watchable,” he explained. “I knew that they were a quirky family, and when I heard about the idea initially I was like, ‘Hmm… I don’t know if that’s going to work.’ But it really worked.”
“Worked” is an understatement. “The Osbournes,” which ends its first season Tuesday (May 7), has managed to become not only the most successful series in MTV’s 21-year history, but one of the top shows on all of cable.
Perhaps more importantly, it has become cultural phenomenon, with the family appearing on the cover of nearly every major entertainment magazine. Even the Osbournes’ pets are covered by the media.
The show, which stemmed from an episode of another MTV show, “Cribs,” is loved by most viewers for its intimate look inside a celebrity household, something that had only been done with scripts before, a la “Ozzie and Harriett.” Musicians, however, adore it for the accurate lifestyle it depicts.
“It’s my favorite show on TV right now,” said Box Car Racer’s Dave Kennedy, whose entire band, which includes Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker, watches the show. “[Ozzy’s] crazy. It’s just so much fun to watch the ridiculous sh- – people screaming and cussing.”
Oh, yes, the cussing. The bleeping on “The Osbournes” is almost constant, much like it would be if a camera crew was to film a band in its dressing room or on its tour bus.
“I love the part that every other word is a beep,” said Pink. “That’s my favorite part. It reminds of me of old-school MTV and it makes me very excited because they are being daring again, and that’s exciting to me ’cause that’s why I loved MTV in the first place. ‘Cause my mom didn’t want me to watch it. So if more moms out there today are saying, ‘Oh that’s disgusting, don’t watch that,’ then I love it.”
Many rockers, like Incubus, are especially entertained by the reality program because they have experienced the Osbourne family firsthand, whether on the Sharon Osbourne-organized Ozzfest or via other musical encounters.
Mike Einziger, Incubus’ guitarist, befriended the Osbourne children over the years and recently recorded with Kelly on her Jack-produced demo of “Papa Don’t Preach”.
“There is nothing fake about that show,” Einziger said. “People go, ‘Oh that’s fake, they staged that.’ None of that’s fake. It’s all real.”
Singer Dez Fafara of metal band Coal Chamber, who were managed by Sharon for several years, agreed entirely with Einziger.
“We knew they were that dysfunctional years ago,” he said, laughing.
Some musicians, including Pink, have even become so enthralled with “The Osbournes” that the family members, especially Kelly and Jack, have become the cool celebrities to party with or even just spot out. Kelly’s appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs a few weekends ago (female bodyguard in tow) had the whole VIP tent buzzing.
“I met the kids the other day at the [ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards] and they’re so funny,” Pink said. “I was trying to get Kelly to dance with me. She’s got pink hair now! I love it! It looks cute on her.”
Unwritten Law singer Scott Russo boasted recently that he hung with the underage Kelly at a Los Angeles club.
“She was super cool,” Russo said. “I don’t think she liked our video, though. She was like, ‘Oh, I’m sick of your video. I’ve seen it like every day for the last two months.’ But I bought her a drink and it compensated. So hopefully she likes us now. That show rules.”
Even without Kelly and Jack and even Sharon, artists say they would still love “The Osbournes” if only because Ozzy is such an iconic person in music and, understand him or not, you just have to love the guy.
“I’m a huge fan of anything Ozzy,” Coal Chamber’s Fafara said.
Box Car Racer’s Anthony Celestino agreed. “I wish Ozzy was my dad.”
Even the president of the United States recently gave props to the prince of darkness.
There is one musician, however, who admits to not liking “The Osbournes.” “I like them better when they are outside of the TV,” Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis said. “But Flea loves it!”