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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Summer surfing: Reno 911! and Two and a Half Men

June 9, 2004

I did some surfing this week. OK, there weren’t actually waves involved. Or a surfboard for that matter. But, hey, I did have a wipe out, when I tripped over the coffee table and dropped the remote control.

Channel surfing is one of my summer pastimes. It’s a chance to see what shows I’ve been missing during the regular season. Here’s a rundown of what I found this week:

RENO 911! – At first, I thought I had stumbled onto an episode of COPS. But within seconds I was laughing so hard, I knew better. These cops are flawed, fumbling, foul-mouthed, and funny. If you haven’t guessed, the show is a parody.

This episode featured a UFO sighting, a prostitution sting, and a paintball attack on a mailman. As the paintball gunman turned his palette pistol on the female officers’ car, they hid on the floor and called for backup. “I’m sorry. I’m not getting paid enough to deal with this,” one of the flustered females said.

Then back at the department, another cop gave a tour to kids in the junior deputy program. His presentation just happened to include instructions on how the youngsters could make their own wine and sell it to their peers in exchange for cigarettes.

Be warned: this show isn’t for kids. There is plenty of adult content. If your sense of humor leans to the bizarre side, you won’t want to miss this. Catch it Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

Dinner and a Movie – Not only do you get to watch a fun movie, you get a fantastic recipe and cooking instructions during the commercial breaks. (OK, I can’t actually vouch that the recipes are fantastic, since I’ve never made one, but they look like they’d be great.)

The beauty of this show is the clever recipe titles and the colorful cooking commentary offered by the show hosts. And you never know when a celebrity guest will stop by to whip up one of the movie-themed dishes. This week, Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit was the featured show, along with a seafood dish entitled Habit Forming Monkfish.

Here’s a sampling of some other movies and treats: Major League with Batter-Up Bundt Cake; Mars Attack! with a liver and onions dish called Take Me to Your Liver; Wedding Singer with a banana-coconut dessert called It’s A Nice Day for a White Pudding; and The Cable Guy with a lobster/steak combo, appropriately named Channel Surf and Turf.

You can find the recipes at the TBS Superstation Web site. Catch the show Mondays at 9 p.m. on TBS.

Two and a Half Men – He’s been the deputy mayor of New York City, a baseball player with poor vision and a soldier in Vietnam. But my love for Charlie Sheen began with his role in Ferris Bueller. In his latest sitcom, he is a jingle-writing womanizer, whose brother and nephew move in with him and disrupt his bachelor lifestyle.

The show is a bit simple at times, but for some reason it works. Jon Cryer is entertaining as the high-strung brother Alan, as is the precocious Angus T. Jones as nephew Jake. Sheen’s character is named Charlie. Original, I know.

Something as mundane as a cab ride proved hilarious this week, as a drunken Charlie chatted up the cabbie about the fact that chocolate pudding now comes in tubes. “My nephew eats them. They’re surprisingly good,” he deadpanned.

So what if Sheen seems to be playing the same character he did on Spin City. It’s summer, so we have to make allowances. Catch it Mondays at 9:30 on CBS.

Summerland – I’m a sucker for a summer soap. And when Aaron Spelling’s involved, that’s just the fabric softener in the rinse cycle. This is Spelling’s latest drama. It stars Full House alumnus Lori Loughlin, as a California fashion designer, who inherits her sister’s three children after a tragic accident claims her life.

It’s been called a less depressing Party of Five. Having only watched one episode, I’m not yet sold on it. But, the gorgeous beach landscapes alone are reason enough to take a peek.

There is one way to ensure an audience: bring on Uncle Jesse. Um, John Stamos that is. Catch it Tuesday’s at 9 p.m. on the WB.

Originally published 6/9/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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