It is a sad, sad time for not only America, but for the entire world. No, I’m not referring to the massive surge of terrorist attacks in recent years, or the terrible political climate in this country, or the racial divide splitting our people apart to a degree greater than anything since the Civil War. No. I’m referring to this. It’s hard for me to discuss this topic, as it is very dear to me, and I hate to see this in such a bad light, but I have to. This video contains some of the saddest cases of a midlife crisis I have ever seen, and of no one else, but Corey Feldman. Yes, the Corey Feldman. One of our favorite childhood actors of all times, if not our actual favorite. This is Mouth from The Goonies, Teddy from Stand By Me, and so many other iconic roles from our youth, or, more specifically, our parents’ youth, but you get it. In this performance, Corey and his ‘Angels’ present his new hit single, and make an absolute mockery of themselves, doing the strangest seizure-like dance moves and Voldemort-esque singing. He makes us weep for the charming boy that we have lost, and the strange, Michael Jackson-ified man we now have.
Corey Feldman, like so many other childhood actors, had succumbed to the grasp of childhood fame long ago, but it has reached a new low as of one month ago with his performance on The Today Show. The topic is not strictly Feldman, but, rather, the effects that his early fame had on him, and the effects that it has on several other people in his situation. Feldman is by no means the only person to be going down this road, or, already being so far down it. We’ve seen this a countless number of times with dozens upon dozens of actors, such as Macaulay Culkin, Shia Labeouf, Lindsay Lohan, Frankie Muniz, Aaron Carter, Amanda Bynes, and so many more. Corey’s case is not a unique one, but it still crushes a tiny bit of our childhood to see him like this.
It’s a cruel game that child actors play. Often times, they never even experience a real childhood because they get so caught up in their work and their fame, and they never know what it’s like to be what their title implies: a child. Fame at a young age comes at a consequential price, and it tends to deprive children of the childhood that is so crucial to a healthy development. In the case of Corey Feldman, he talks about how he was “literally famous before he even knew his own name”, referring to a McDonald’s commercial he appeared in when he was three years old. When kids become so famous at such a young age, their entire lives are redirected to accommodate for their work, and whatever else comes with it. This restricts kids from attending a standard school – or a school, in general, in some cases – which results in a drastic decrease in interactions with other children, and only increases interaction with adults (e.g. agents, directors, caterers, other actors, studio execs., producers, etc.). In many cases, these child actors can develop a large sense of self-entitlement and become rather pretentious, which can further drive other children away from them, again, resulting in a serious lack of same-age interaction and experience. When a child only socializes with adults, most of whom are only doing so in order to make money off of said child, they never understand how to act with their own age group, and they develop a sense of loneliness and a desire to belong to something, although they usually can’t due to strict schedules and/or contracts made without their full knowledge.
Once these childhood actors go through their fifteen minutes of fame, and their agents have moved on and their managers off to the next client, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They had been living their growing years for, basically, the benefit of other people, instead of themselves, and now that those people are gone and the cameras have shifted away from them, they’re lost. The aftermath of a dense childhood acting career is never pretty. The pressure that had been put on them for all those years finally catches up with them, and they can very well grow mentally unstable. The two most common effects of a childhood actor’s downfall are: drug addictions, or a deep desire to return to that fame at whatever cost, and then a drug addiction. For instance: Macaulay Culkin, drug problem. Shia Labeouf, drug problem, and attempts to reclaim fame, and god knows whatever else went on in that man’s head. Amanda Bynes, drug problem(s) in addition to reclaim fame.
It’s unfortunate, really, what these kids go through in their acting careers, it really is. Now, should we prohibit all children from acting because of the injurious effects it can have on them? Should we try to prevent these kinds of things from happening anymore? I don’t know. All I know is that no one is going to give Corey Feldman a lickery kiss any time soon.