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The Televisionist, May 6



9 p.m. Thursday

Though it pains me to admit it, I'm partial to shows like “Jackass,” wherein young folks who haven't divorced themselves from the idea they're indestructible fall, rack, burn, crash, drive and flail themselves unmercifully for my entertainment. Perhaps it's a flaw in my character, or maybe just the strange human desire in us all to see The Fool act like … well, a fool. Which brings us to the new show: “The Dudesons in America.” Never heard of The Dudesons? That's okay. Millions of people around the world are taking up your slack. The show — then called “Extreme Duudsonit” — started on the Finnish equivalent of public access TV, and has since spread to over two-dozen countries. Featuring a quartet of blond, skater-type dudes hurting themselves in ways that border on performance art, with the action captured on hand-held video cameras, the show has since become an Internet phenomenon. See for yourself: Just go to YouTube, where there are dozens of clips from their previous effort in the states, a show they did for several seasons over on The Testosterone Channel (AKA Spike TV). Here, the Dudesons bring their brand of very physical comedy to that spot on the dial that used to be known for music videos before the Internet killed the video star. With “Jackass” creator Johnny Knoxville and a $6 million budget behind the new show, it's bound to be entertaining — if you're into watching guys who look like Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” get hit in the junk with heavy objects, that is.

7 p.m. Friday

n Hooray! Critical darling and ratings stinker “Friday Night Lights” is back, improbably, and, even though a number of the original stars have left to date New York Yankees and star in indie movies you haven't seen, the show's still populated by perhaps the fin-est group of actors as you'll find on network TV. Especially, longtime TV vets Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler, who reside at the show's moral center as Principal Tami Taylor and Coach Eric Taylor, who forever solve problems for wayward students and ath-letes and the fictional community of Dillon, Texas, as they fight and feud (but always warmly resolve things) with each other and their teen-age daughter. Yes, they can come across as saint-ish. And, yes, “Friday Night Lights” is a soap opera (remember the murder cover-up?). But the dialogue — augmented by all kinds of great, empty space and inarticulate stumbling — and the emo-tion the cast delivers into what can be distilled down to a typical network TV drama, makes “FNL” seem like anything but. This pe-nultimate season finds Coach Taylor dispatched to the new, underfunded East Dillon High team, while his wife remains principal of the coach's old employer and new rival, Dillon High. Sparks are bound to fly.
— Lindsey Millar

9 p.m. Monday

If reality TV wasn't already a vast pool of liquid pig manure baking under the summer sun, I might say the trend toward fake real-ity programming is a disturbing trend. It's waaay too late to say that anything about the genre is disturbing, however. Which brings us to Southern Fried Stings, the show that is to “Cops” what pro-wrasslin' is to women's beach volleyball. Which is to say: same outfits, but not much else. The show purportedly follows the adventures of former South Carolina State Trooper Jay Russell and his team of lawbringers. They're not cops, but they ACT like it. For some reason that's never quite explained, people call Jay, Kung Fu expert William and sassy lady/sidekick England instead of the police when they get involved in stuff that Johnny Law could handle better: drug cases, domestic violence, and more. Russell and company then proceed to do stuff like tackling people in their own yards and stuffing them into faux patrol cars, all without getting arrested themselves. It doesn't take Stephen Hawking to figure out pretty quick that something stinks in Hooterville. That a channel called TruTV is putting something on the air that's so untru (they do the same thing with – in at least some of the segments, if not all – on their show “Operation Repo” and others) kinda makes you wonder whether America has a shortage of kooks willing to be followed around with a video camera. How can we ad-dress this growing problem? In other news, up next on TruTV: Nut Patrol, in which camera crews follow a band of vigilantes led by a former pastry chef, hellbent on finding more people to make reality TV shows about. Riveting.
— David Koon

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