Muncie's freaky finest

Having gone through some form of police training, Jackson was almost cut from CBS's Armed and Famous when she couldn't do enough push-ups but was allowed to stay.

We wouldn't be surprised if the crime rate in Muncie, Indiana dropped sharply last year. That's when La Toya Jackson and four other, B-list and lower, celebrities patrolled the streets on CBS's Armed and Famous. Running into La Toya must be far scarier than anything a jail cell could offer. The series, which features WWE wrestler/diva Trish Stratus, Ozzie Osbourne's son Jack, dwarf skateboarder Jason Acuna, and ironically, CHIPs' Erik Estrada, debuted recently on (where else) AXN. The premise entails our five celebs serving with Muncie's police, aiding them to deal with prostitutes, petty thieves and disorderly folk in the Indiana night. Having gone through some form of police training, Jackson was almost cut from the show when she couldn't do enough push-ups but was allowed to stay after managing to hit a bulls-eye on the shooting range. The program's also right on target - if you happen to love The Jerry Springer Show. Most of the complainants filmed are even stranger than our five heroes and even freakier than whatever mask of a face Jackson's currently sporting. It's hard to tell how much is reality and how much is scripted, especially considering the "candid" remarks the celebs make after collaring someone. In one instance Estrada offers, "I don't like violence in any form. I don't like it. And I'm glad I'm in uniform so I can do something about it." Them's tough words, hombre. Estrada, who may be used to weird stuff in Hollywood, has probably been asked to sign a boob before. But the former Latino heartbreaker seemed taken aback when, on the show, he's asked by a female passerby to do so and, having agreed, she pulls up her shirt and hands him her prosthesis. To Estrada's credit he still did so happily. We watch the celebrity cops before shifts in the locker room and later chowing down at the local grease pit after hours. In between, they strut their law-enforcement stuff, which is a bit underwhelming. In one instance we watch from behind, as Stratus chases after a robbery suspect - only to see that she's about 50 meters behind two other cops who've already cuffed the guy. But she really gets mad when he starts with the profanity, "like really rude stuff," she says. Fortunately for the show, weird stuff happens on the streets of Muncie. As for La Toya, "I've totally become a different person," she says of her opportunity to work alongside the peeps in blue. Well, almost. She's afraid of cats (apparently after a friend was attacked by one during their childhood). So when a feline appears as Jackson handles a car break-in, she freaks out then takes refuge in the patrol car. When it comes to their stance on crime, Jackson seems to sufficiently express the cast's no-nonsense policy, declaring that punk kids on the street "are a menace to society, just a burden and I don't like it." Jackson was shown, for about 10 minutes, in the company of a "cat therapist" to, ostensibly, help her overcome her phobia. Hoorah to God, she's cured, but wouldn't you know it, the very next call entails a cat in the yard. Not to worry, La Toya is on the job. On another note, it was pathetic watching her lecture a young pregnant homeless woman about getting her life straight. All in all it's pretty cheesy stuff. Particularly Osbourne participating in the arrest of a murder suspect, the only really serious crime of the episode. Essentially he kept watch at the back door while all the action took place elsewhere. But you do have to grin at the set-up where a young woman asks Osbourne if he can get her into rehab. Basically, this show is a mix of a lousy COPS episode with an even worse E! special. The composite result is best watched for the sheer campy awfulness alone. Once upon a time, floundering celebrities vacationed on Fantasy Island or The Love Boat in their attempt to relive the good ole days. Now they must don a uniform and move to Muncie. Armed and Famous airs Saturday nights at 22:00 on AXN.