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TV Reviews: Bizarre talent show provides big-time entertainment

Thursday, September 11, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

With the departure of ABC's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and with "Candid Camera" relegated to Pax TV, "Steve Harvey's Big Time" is a welcome diversion. It's a family-friendly showcase of bizarre talents hosted by a master showman.

 
 

'Steve Harvey's Big Time'

When: 8 tonight on The WB.

Starring:: Steve Harvey.

'Run of the House'

When: 9:30 tonight on The WB.

Starring: Joseph Lawrence

'The Mullets'

When:9:30 tonight on UPN.

Starring:David Hornsby

   
 

For a half-hour, The WB turns its airwaves over to "everyday people" with unusual talents as Harvey acts as the audience's guide.

A 10-year-old boy from Philadelphia, dubbed "the Godson of Soul," imitates James Brown and claims to understand his lyrics.

"You understand James Brown?" Harvey says incredulously. "Because there's some full-grown African-Americans who are struggling with James Brown."

When a contortionist arrives with plans of being shackled and stuffing himself into a spinning washing machine, Harvey feigns fear. "If I kill this white man on this show ..."

Harvey's humor mostly shines through in his facial expressions, whether he's being deadpan or sincere. When a 4-year-old who can name every state's governor thrusts her fingers at him to show her age, Harvey recoils in mock horror.

Through his personality and the, ahem, talents of his guests, Harvey's show gently entertains -- big time.

'Run of the House'

Michigan teens run amok after their parents move to Arizona because of Dad's heart condition in this insult-strewn comedy series. It's a WB template show: beautiful, young people in cool clothes who behave a little naughtily, but not to an unforgivable extent.

Kurt (Joseph Lawrence) is the oldest sibling, who likes to think he's in charge, but isn't. Chris (Kyle Howard, "Grosse Pointe") is the wisecracking law school dropout. Sally (Sasha Barrese) is a serial dater. These three are charged with the upbringing of 15-year-old Brooke (Margo Harshman), who's never heard of Perry Mason, Mrs. Kavitz or Ted Nugent (ah, sweet ignorant youth).

The older kids slam one another with continuous put-downs or they create awkward moments.

"Hi, Brad, how does my sister taste?" Kurt asks as he interrupts a kiss between Sally and her date.

Sometimes it's humorous, but it doesn't come close to must-see TV.

'The Mullets'

Dumb and dumber? Try dumber than dumb.

That's "The Mullets," an unapologetically lowbrow comedy about the Mullet brothers, muscled Dwayne (Michael Weaver) and the smarter Denny (David Hornsby, a 1998 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and part of "The Joe Schmo Show" cast). The boys wear their hair in the mullet style, "business in front, party in the back."

They're roofers in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, and because this is brain-dead comedy at its most dormant, both fall off a roof in tonight's preview, which follows a 90-minute "WWE Smackdown," natch. After tonight, "The Mullets" will air regularly at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

"Who can tell me the three sweetest words in the English language?" Dwayne asks his brother and friends.

"Miller Genuine Light," guesses one.

"Bacon double cheeseburger," suggests another.

"Pamela Anderson Mullet," Denny adds.

Nope, Dwayne announces, it's "Girls Gone Wild," and soon they're watching a video.

Loni Anderson plays the boys' been-down-a-thousand-miles-of-bad-road mom, who's remarried to starched shirt Roger Heidecker (John O'Hurley), a game show host who doesn't appreciate the mullet culture.

Even if you do, "The Mullets" is enough to make you get a good buzz cut.


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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