| Now that we’re entering the summer TV doldrums, broadcast and cable networks, desperate for programming, are dusting off their B-lists of also-rans, less-thans and wannabes. So order some pizza, grab the remote and plonk your fat ass on the couch.
Heading the list are shows trying to cash in on ratings juggernauts like ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and so-called 'reality-based' shows like Survivor (CBS):
You be the judge.
Corpse Challenge (MTV): Seven attractive young people must live in a beach house with a rotting corpse splayed out across the kitchen table. Contestants can rack up points by eating directly off the corpse. Last to hurl wins a year's free tuition and therapy.
Celebrity Intervention (WB): Armed with arrest warrants and tranquilizer blow-dart guns, deputized contestants prowl the strip clubs, dive bars and crack houses of Los Angeles looking for Robert Downey, Jr.
Shave That Beaver! (MTV): Fraternity pledges are liquored up and given 24 hours to find, capture and subdue a wild beaver, then shave their fraternity's Greek letters into its pelt.
Babel Island (CNBC): Five contestants are placed in a small room with Charlie Rose, Larry King and Howard Stern. The last person to go insane wins a million dollars.
A Clockwork Regis (ABC): Contestants are placed in restraints, their mouths duct-taped and eyelids propped open with toothpicks, and seated in front of Regis Philbin while he recounts his favorite Kathy Lee anecdotes. If no contestant is able to break free and strangle him, Regis gets to live.
Naturally there are plenty of cop/buddy shows in the summer lineup:
Keeshaun And Mrs. Mankiewitz. A widow and a reformed gang leader team up, fight crime.
Code Bleu. A crime-fighting sous chef and his heart-surgeon wife.
Aarnold and the Sarge. A crime-fighting aardvark and his reluctant human partner who, at first, do not care for each other. Starring John Goodman as Sarge, with the voice of Jackie Mason as Aarnold.
Shitz and Giggles. A crime-solving vaudeville comedy team.
The Crackhead and Sister Lucy. A crime-fighting nun and her schizophrenic, drug-addicted illegitimate son/lover.
Dangerous Mimes. Can a beautiful, sexy ex-Marine combine her love of dance with her military training to turn a ragtag band of mostly Black and Latino misfit students into a top-notch street-performance/crime-fighting troupe? No? You obviously haven't been paying attention.
The lifetime Network weighs in with three original movies:
Jaclyn Smith is Valerie Bertinelli as Ann Jillian in: My Name is ?: Portrait of an Alcoholic Amnesiac with Multiple-Personality Disorder. The heart-wrenching story of a young woman who, as the result of a near-tragic accident, can remember only one of her personalities. The drama unfolds as ?'s near-psychic therapist, Fortitude Clarity (Whoopi Goldberg) brings her to the threshhold of remembering---only to lose it all when time for the 50-minute session runs out.
George Wendt is Howie Mandel as Ed Begley Jr. in I, Waiter: Portrait of an Unemployed Actor.
Colon: Portrait of an Abused Punctuation Mark.
And for more demanding palates:
The Independent Film Channel presents Dogme 2001, an experimental film series. Various independent filmmakers pledged to abide by a single agreed-upon criterion (known as the Daisy Bumstead vow): each frame of film must have a dog in it somewhere.