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On the Tube: 'Fizzle' has sizzle; 'Greenlight' is a go

Friday, June 20, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette Tv Editor

Snoop Dogg -- rapper and all-around youth culture icon -- gets his own weekly series, "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle" (10 p.m. Sunday, MTV), a sketch comedy that will appeal to teens and twentysomethings, particularly those with a sly, satiric sense of humor (for instance, suburban kids who joke about living in "the ghetto of Upper St. Clair").

Some of the sketches work -- a fake ad for "the Race Card" that depicts its use is hilarious -- and others don't -- Snoop takes senior citizens out on the town -- but they go by so quickly, even the bad ones don't last long enough to be painful.

A sketch about de-ghettoizing suburban white kids is particularly funny, although the same comedic ground was covered in the recent movie "Malibu's Most Wanted."

Much of the "Doggy Fizzle" humor is fairly lowbrow, and almost all of it has a racial twinge. It's certainly politically incorrect, which in an era of play-it-safe comedy is welcome, but parents should consider themselves warned.

Then again, it's not like anything featured in "Doggy Fizzle" is unexpected, given the show's pedigree. Its star is a language-creating, youth culture force. This is a Snoop Dogg world. We just livizzle in it.

'PROJECT GREENLIGHT'

(10:30 p.m. Sunday, HBO)

HBO's "Project Greenlight," the most comic docudrama on the air, returns for a second season with a significant change from its first season.

Rather than hiring a single writer/director to make the movie of his or her dreams, producers sought separate writers and directors. It will probably result in a better film, but an added bonus is the chance for better television with more opportunities for conflict.

Sunday's one-hour premiere introduces the Top 10 screenplay candidates and the Top 4 director candidates. In an inverse of "American Idol," which is at its best during the initial auditions, "Project Greenlight" gets much more interesting next week after the winners are chosen and begin work on their film, which is set to hit theaters in late August.

The same producers from the first "Project Greenlight" contest -- Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and angry, puffy man Chris Moore -- are back for round two. And Affleck's love interest, actress Jennifer Lopez, distracts one prospective filmmaker during his interview.

The directors chosen are technically skilled filmmakers based on their funny, special effects-filled audition tape, but making low-budget home movies for 10 years hasn't entirely prepared the pair for Hollywood.

"Why do we need a production designer?" one asks, much to the horror of the veteran Hollywood types. That includes producer Jeff Balis, the guy with the red 'fro in the first "Greenlight," who returns for another expedition into the heart of neophyte filmmaking.

Unlike Pete Jones, the winner of the first "Greenlight," who made the film "Stolen Summer," this year's directing team don't espouse much of an opinion. For Hollywood insiders used to vocal control freaks, their winners turn out to be too laid back, too sedate.

No matter, it's still a source of tension and that makes for an enjoyable voyage into a movie-making maelstrom.


Rob Owen can be reached at rowen@post-gazette.com" or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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