- Tinseltown /Shutterstock
Back before life itself became a reality show, it was still the province of a chosen few.
In 2003, Donald Trump began filming The Apprentice, a reality TV series that was premised — much like his presidency — on the idea of Trump firing people.
That same year, Corey Feldman co-starred in the first season of The Surreal Life, a Real World-style show in which he lived in a mansion with former superstars like MC Hammer, Emmanuel Lewis and Vince Neil.
Four years later, Feldman and Corey Haim — who'd co-starred 20 years earlier as teen vampires in The Lost Boys — reunited for The Two Coreys, a reality show in which a drug-addled Haim tried, unsuccessfully, to get his life back together by moving in with the more functional Feldman and his wife. The show's final episode aired in 2008, two years before Haim's death.
Much has changed since then, with Trump holed up in the Oval Office and Feldman out touring the country with his band, Corey's Angels, after a much-maligned Today Show performance (see our feature story for more on that) that brought him back into the public spotlight.
In the following exchange, Feldman holds forth on Trump's current troubles and his own reality show past.
Indy: After the reaction to your viral Today Show appearance, you talked a lot about bullying. You said at one point that public shaming should not be accepted, no matter who you are...
Corey Feldman: That's right.
I'm wondering, does that include Donald Trump?
Ha! Good question, I like it.
After all, he feels like he's a victim, too. You've heard him say how he's been treated worse than any politician in history.
Listen, it's different when you throw yourself out there and decide that you're going to change the world in a way that suits your best interests, but you're not thinking about the interests of others. Or the interests of the environment. Or the interests of the world as a whole. So when you're just looking at the bottom line, as opposed to the human beings it's affecting, then, yes, I think you do set yourself up for lambasting and ridicule. But that's just my own personal opinion.
You and Donald Trump have each had your own reality shows. Which of you would you say has a better grip on reality?
I think I'm going to plead the fifth on that one, buddy. [Laughs.]
But I do think that, in my reality, we all live in a world that we share, and we should respect each other's needs and wishes.
And from Donald's perspective, maybe he feels he's doing the right thing, but who exactly is he protecting? There's so much speculation going on about collusion with Russia, about meddling in the election, about fixing things to go his way.
Let's just put it this way: If you know that people question your integrity, wouldn't you want to go out of your way to prove 100 percent, by any means necessary, that what you did was righteous and that you're a right-eous man walking a righteous path? When there's smoke, there's usually fire. So stop trying to cover up the smoke with dirt, and instead let it rage, let it burn. And if there is nothing there, then we'll see that when the dust clears.
And if he's completely innocent of all charges — and everybody's wrong and there is nothing there — then I'm sure the whole world can send him a big apology cake with a giant bow around it and say, "We love you Donald, you've always been the best."
One more reality show question: If The Two Coreys had gone on for a third season, how do you think the show — and the lives it reflected — might have changed?
Well, there is a very good reason why it didn't go on for a third season, and that was because, unfortunately, I could sense the danger coming. I knew that Corey was in a very bad place. And if we had continued on at that point, knowing the position that he was in, I would have been a bad friend. It would have been a ... [Pauses.] What's the best way to put this? I would have been taking advantage of his disadvantages by capitalizing on his downfall. So I stepped away from it, and I was the one who made the call: There is no third season. Because I just knew that this couldn't go on like this.
And that said, it was the right call. Because, during that time, his mom ended up getting sick, and he ended up really doing a lot of growing up and maturing to take care of her. Had we been dealing with a TV show, he wouldn't have had that time to give.
He probably would have died either way, but he would have been a lot less at peace if he had died in the midst of filming a reality show versus actually having the time to dedicate to his mom, which is really what he wanted. So I think, in a way, it was a bittersweet finale for him. He needed time, he needed healing, he needed to get himself together, and that's not going to happen in a public forum. Much like Donald Trump.