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'Beach' rides a wave of off-color parody

Tuesday, March 14, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Anyone with an overly sensitive, overly politically correct sensibility should not watch FX's "Son of the Beach." They'll hate it.

Those with a funny bone, a penchant for slightly off-color humor and an understanding of parody are in for a treat.

Premiering at 10:30 tonight (appropriately late in the evening), "Son of the Beach" sends up "Baywatch" the way "Police Squad" spoofed cop shows. But there's more sexual innuendo, no doubt courtesy of executive producer Howard Stern.

Tim Stack, who skewered trashy talk shows a few years back on "Nightstand With Dick Dietrick," stars in "Beach" as pasty and flabby chief lifeguard Notch Johnson (cue genitalia jokes).

Suiting up for "son of the Beach" a parody of "Baywatch," are, from left: Roland Kickinger, Jaime Bergman, Tim Stack, Leila Arcieri and Kim Oja. 

Tonight, he welcomes a new lifeguard, saying, "It's time to show you my unit. It may not be the biggest, but it's the best."

Newcomer Kimberlee Clark (Kim Oja) is the most sensible lifesaver on the team, which also includes inner-city recruit Jamaica St. Croix (Leila Arcieri), dim bulb B.J. Cummings (Jamie Bergman) and German exchange lifeguard Chip Rommel (Roland Kickinger).

Lisa Banes stars as Mayor Anita Massengil, the rescue crew's nemesis. Tonight, she tries to frame Johnson in a scheme that involves a brothel, Asian sweatshop workers-turned prostitutes and a bucket of industrial strength Sex-O-Lube.

"Son of the Beach" is full of sophomoric humor that indulges in obvious stereotypes of blondes, Asians, Germans, gays, chortling movie villains and sick kids. It's equal opportunity tasteless and funny. The thin-skinned might find the show offensive, but "Son of the Beach" casts such a wide net of mockery, I can't imagine people taking it seriously.

    TV Review: "Son of the Beach"

When: 10:30 tonight on FX

Starring: Tim Stack, Lisa Banes


Plus, the whole endeavor is so gleeful, so wanton in its lampooning.

"I wish we knew what Cambodians like to eat," says B.J. Then the lifeguards' mascot dog hurries away.

Not content to merely spoof "Baywatch," "Son of the Beach" apes all '70s-era TV. The show looks like it was filmed in the 1970s due to poor lighting, cheesy special effects and an opening credit announcer who intones the title of the premiere episode: "With Sex You Get Eggroll."

Is this good TV? Of course not. But it's not plain old bad TV either (think "Suddenly Susan," "Veronica's Closet"). "Son of the Beach" is knowingly bad.

Stack, Stern and the other executive producers created "Son of the Beach" with "over-the-top" as the show's mantra. It may not hold up on a weekly basis, but this first trip to the "Beach" is outrageous fun.

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