Former boy band star Nick Lachey embraces his Hollywood B-list career
While Justin Timberlake is the most successful 1990s boy-band member, Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees has been more of an underdog, but now has an American TV sitcom with his brother Drew
There's no real debate about which 1990s boy band member is the most successful. Obviously it is 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, with his chart-topping solo albums, film appearances, magazine covers and Saturday Night Live hosting gigs.
But there is another former boy-bander who is in the big time after a reality show that premiered in the US last week, 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey.
Timberlake easily made the jump to solo pop singer and A-list star. Was anyone surprised? That's not really a great story. The best story is the tale of the underdog.
That would definitely be Lachey, who has quietly racked up the most steady B-list career of any of his boy-band brothers, staying in the spotlight with a stream of various showbiz jobs (hosting gigs, VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live) while appearing to stay fairly grounded and likeable. That in itself is an impressive feat, especially given that 98 Degrees were always the least-respected of the boy bands.
Lachey's Bar follows him and his brother, Drew, as they open a bar in their hometown of Cincinnati.
It is, simply put, a delightful half-hour of television. Nick pokes fun at his "more famous sibling" image right away in the first scene as Drew drives to pick him up at the airport. Drew, also a former 98 Degrees member, still lives in Cincinnati with his wife and children.
"You're not going to come in with a luggage cart?" Nick asks over the phone. "No, and I left my chauffeur cap at home too. You're going to have to slum it," Drew shoots back sarcastically.
Much of the episode proceeds the same way, as the brothers make fun of each other and try to figure out what it takes to open a bar.
They decide to name the pub "Lachey's" and do very little actual work on camera. Otherwise, they help plan a surprise party for their mum; make a stop at the performing arts school where Drew and his wife teach classes; and drunkenly ride around on a pedal wagon with their high school friends.
It's all mundane, and at the same time fascinating to watch. Nick exhibits a humbled attitude that you wouldn't expect from someone who has been a tabloid punchline and punching bag for so many years, thanks to his high-profile marriage and split with singer Jessica Simpson.
He's not ashamed of his boy-band roots - you probably wouldn't see him, say, scaling back on the number of songs at a 98 Degrees reunion the way Timberlake reportedly did at an MTV awards show in 2013, upsetting his band members.
Lachey may have been the recipient of constant headlines over the years thanks to his love life, but he's managed to turn it into quite a solid career, something that many other '90s stars have struggled with.
And even more significantly, he's managed to do it without alienating people.
The Washington Post