In 1997, the LA Times described her as someone who has been "hurled...like a spitball, into the public's collective eye." Somehow, the spitball that is Jenny McCarthy has managed to stay permanently lodged in that collective eye, bouncing from one talk show named after herself to the other. Yes, Jenny McCarthy's continued assumed relevance is a miracle far surpassing that of life or any other career in Hollywood. Yet here she is, living another day in front of us all.
Here's a remembrance of her past selves. There have been many.
The first but certainly not the last program devoted to the actress and her reportedly vivacious and fantastic personality, Jenny was a sitcom on NBC that ran from 1997-1998; 17 episodes were taped but only 10 aired, despite a reported "fierce bidding war" for the series. Of the show, McCarthy said, "I'm so loving it because it's a whole other side of me that people haven't seen yet, where I can sit down and have a conversation without sticking my tongue out," a reference to her signature move on the MTV show that helped launch her, Singled Out. Jenny was about Jenny, a girl who moves to Los Angeles because of an inheritance from a father she never knew. Hilarity ensues.
2. The Jenny McCarthy Show, 1997 and 2013
In 1997, McCarthy got the first version of her own show on MTV. Over ten years later, VH1 gave her the same thing. The first time, McCarthy did a lot of sketch comedy and interviewed bands. The second time, she interviewed celebs. Despite a change in production values, neither were hits.
Jenny plays a prostitute named Sugar in this 1999 movie, one of many roles where she would display her presumably fabulous breasts.
4. Untitled Jenny McCarthy Project (2003) and Honey Vicarro (2001)
Both of these made-for-tv movies were not picked up. I know nothing more about the former, but the latter has a very thorough website devoted to what a travesty it is that Honey Vicarro, a remake of a 1966 show starring Kim Carlyle of the same name, never saw the light of day. IMDB describes it as "A half-hour dramatic series featuring Honey Vicarro, a brash, sexy, swinging private-eye who works the underbelly of The City of Angels with the help of her chauffeur, Chad, and a streetwise Cockney bartender, Trevor leBon."
5. Dirty Love
This 2005 movie is on Netflix Instant, but despite my incredibly low standards and total devotion to the worst culture has to offer, I have not yet viewed it. I have gathered that this "film" (that McCarthy wrote) involves the lead character Rebecca, who has found out her boyfriend is cheating on her, going on rampage against him while also rampaging through dicks. In the way he did, Roger Ebert called it "a film so pitiful, it doesn't rise to the level of badness. It is hopelessly incompetent." Warning: for those who are squeamish, there is an astounding level of menstrual blood in the clip above.
6. Party @ the Palms
This reality TV show aired on E! in 2005 and featured McCarthy interviewing people who were staying/hanging around the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, sometimes on a massage table, nude, gossiping about the best sex of their lives. Of the series, one civilian reviewer wrote, "A few minutes into it and I was suffering."
7. The Bad Girl's Guide
This 2006 show aired for like three weeks on UPN during the summer, and was based off of a self-help book (which I somehow own a copy of?). "This is Sex and The City in the Mall. This is where people can go out and get (the style) for $19.99. We definitely wanted a real girl perspective on it, not a fantasy world," McCarthy said.
8. Santa Baby (2006) and Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (2009)
McCarthy plays Santa Claus's daughter, who heads to the North Pole to help out her dad in these two ABC Family movies. They air them like 5000 times a day around Christmas even though everyone knows that Santa Claus didn't ever have kids because he was too busy taking care of other people's children.
McCarthy plays Ms. Isaac, a former teacher of some boys going on a road trip in this 2008 movie. From this clip, her big issue is that she appears to look good from far away and not up close. Coincidentally, this movie does not look even remotely good from any angle.
10. Love in the Wild
McCarthy hosted the second season of this dating reality show in 2012, promoted by NBC as an experience in which contestants went on "exhilarating quests that will push their bodies and emotions to the limit, including jumping off majestic 40-foot cliffs, traversing over waterfalls and enduring tasks while overrun by hundreds of scorpions...all forcing them to show their true colors under pressure" in the Dominican Republic. It was not renewed after McCarthy's season, despite the Jenny McCarthy It Factor she added to it.
11. Surprise with Jenny McCarthy
In 2012, NBC announced that they'd picked up a a pilot with Mc Carthy that would "spotlight multiple surprises within the one-hour episode — from dramatic reunions to surprise announcements to good-natured pranks with fantastic feel-good twists....As ringleader, cheerleader, head instigator and mistress of ceremonies, McCarthy helps pull off all kinds of incredible surprises on people from all walks of life." In January, NBC said they'd changed their minds.
12. John Tucker Must Die
This project doesn't actually count, because McCarthy is actually weirdly good in it as the "hot mom" who moves her daughter Kate to a different town after every failed relationship. It's worth mentioning only because she is briefly seen opposite Taylor Kitsch aka Tim Riggins, who comes over and starts drooling over how attractive she is. Enjoy it as a brief palate cleanser to the relative distastefulness that is Jenny McCarthy's career in television and film.