Why Can't I Make Nick Carter Look Bad?

As a student of the *NSYNC school of boy band praise, it's long been my pleasure to gloat about the success of one Justin Timberlake. Every time he releases a song, music video, or, hell, winks at a camera, he's basically a walking I-Told-You-So to the Backstreet Boys' most beloved crooner Nick Carter, because unlike Justin, Nick never quite reached the golden peak. He tried with Now or Never in 2002 (it reached number 17 on the charts) and I'm Taking Off in 2011 (the album, sadly, did not take off). It seemed like an apt time for Nick to retire and throw in the towel, but lo and behold, in 2013, Carter is back and no matter what I do, I cannot make him look bad. (It's my *NSYNC-loving duty to try.) Even Carter's new VH1 reality show seems like it might not be all that bad. Dammit.

It seemed easy enough. "Nick Carter's doing a reality show about his wedding preparations" coupled with his IndieGoGo plea for cash to produce the horror movie he wrote was all I needed to jump right in for a "Backstreet's broke, alright!" quip. Obviously, if the Backstreet bro is hopping into the reality boat and the Kickstarter bandwagon that Veronica Mars built, he's hard up for cash, right?

But no, he isn't. Despite finding one bogus site that claimed Carter had earned a massive fortune selling WonderCarter vodka and owning a National Football team in Jamestown, N.Y., the general Internet consensus is that Carter's still sitting on a pretty pile of boy band money — $35 million, according to multiple sources.

With that, I was back to square one. Hell, his IndieGoGo bid was so popular that it's already succeeded his goal by over $60,000 and there are still four days left in the campaign.

Attempt number two to make Carter look bad came at the expense of the entire Backstreet troupe. Oh, how sad, the Backstreet Boys had to do a cheesy Old Navy commercial, like some comedian who can't quite get off the ground, or Robin Leech now that Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is over.

Nope. That Rockstar jeans commercial just awakened the nostalgia in millions of once tween-aged Backstreet fans who left comments on the video like "THE BEST" or "I was so surprised when I saw this. I seriously freaked out:-D (sic)" and promptly cried out for a real reunion — a prayer which was answered by the boys' 24-date 20th Anniversary summer tour. Sure, Pauly D and Jesse McCartney opened for them, but just think: they were trying to sap the cool off of Backstreet. When's the last time you thought you'd hear that? Dammit again.

What about the Backstreet cameo in summer's comedy hit This is The End? Submitting to the Franco crew so that they could make multiple sophomoric (and probably homophobic) jokes at your expense reeks of desperation, right? Again, no. These dudes not only evoked memories of their album Millennium by donning all white for their performance of "Backstreet's Back," they come off looking really, really cool. Seriously?

Then, I thought I had it cornered. This is Nick's second reality show after his first one, House of Carters, fizzled. Plus, it's basically copying Kevin Jonas' Married to Jonas. What could we possibly get out of this? Well, for starters, Carters spawned a spot-on SNL skit (below), so probably more of that. Secondly, anything will be more exciting than Married to Jonas, a show about two well-adjusted newlyweds living in New Jersey. Carter, on the other hand, is preparing to wed a fitness model who's been approached by WWE and looks like she could crush him in one fell swoop. He's already about 15 points ahead of the least-famous Jonas. Nerds.

And now comes the moment at which I simply must give up. Despite every fiber of my being screaming out for me to take down Carter, it's official. I must admit: I cannot make Nick Carter look bad. My hat's off to you, you '90s wunderkind.