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TV Series Review

“OK, I’m Ron White, and I’m hostin’ a game show about gettin’ hammered and pickin’ a fight with your best friend.”

The studio audience cackles and cheers as stand-up and sketch comics Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and guest Ron White act drunk, ticked and stupid. Whiskey glasses get smashed over heads, fists fly and cigarette smoke clouds the air. It’s just another hard day down at the salt mines for the guys of Blue Collar TV, a WB prime-time sketch comedy.

This TV series features the same “redneck rowdies” who made Blue Collar Comedy Tour a smash hit. (DVD sales for that event have exceeded 1 million copies; the VHS format topped sales charts for more than 15 weeks.) At its best, Blue Collar TV lampoons television staples with parodies such as CSI: Greater Greensboro Tri-County Area, in which preening police investigate a dead deer. The show also excels at poking good-natured fun at “down home” folks by inviting viewers to eat out at Dan Grogan’s House of Gravy, where chefs will smother every kind of food you can think of, from salad to sushi, with a thick layer of brown sludge.

Entertainment Weekly’s Gillian Flynn writes, “The stars ... spin 30 minutes of skits, most aimed at poking fun at the flyover-state lifestyle before those smarty-pants in New York City get a chance to.”

Clean, clever fun skids to a halt when a young woman pretending to be a 13-year-old girl raunches up a dance routine. The camera peers up her short skirt as she thrusts her pelvis in Foxworthy’s face. She also fondles her breasts and pretends to “grind” on his lap while her parents cheer her on. Also in poor taste, Larry the Cable Guy plays a baby who discharges an arcing stream of urine—a fountain in which his young siblings splash and play. In “Hick Eye for the Queer Guy” a gay man prepping for his first date with a colleague gets a mountain-man makeover. Jokes involve masturbation, penis size, pole dancers, threesomes, proctologists and porn. Amputees and a nude elderly woman are fair game for ridicule. And getting drunk on beer and cheap liquor is a way of life.

A tongue-in-cheek disclaimer reads, “This program contains reenactments of real blue-collar people engaging in lifestyles and behaviors that may be disturbing to some upscale viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.” Upscale or not, classy families will pass. What could’ve been a witty diversion too often descends into juvenile antics.

Episodes Reviewed: July 29, August 5, 12, 19, 2004

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Steven Isaac

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