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'Testees' tests the boundaries of superbad taste

It's going to look totally uncool to do what I'm doing next, but I don't care. I'm a 40something guy who still gets excited by Heroes episodes and new Rush albums, so I have little shame left.

But having just finished watching the debut of FX's new series, Testees, I'm prepared to pronounce this the most disgusting comedy I have ever seen outside premium cable television. Including Jerry Springer and that TLC show about the parents with 17 kids.

I know Hollywood is enthralled with the Superbad demographic — college-age stoners mostly impressed by broad physical comedy, the more bodily fluids and sex jokes, the better. And in an age where Charlie Sheen is TV's most successful comedic actor, the bar is set pretty low.

But here is what happens in the first 15 minutes of Testees: Two buddies who quit their jobs as professional biomedical test subjects are forced to lick their supervisor's bare feet to get their jobs back; the medicine they test is administered with an anal probe the size of a baseball bat; and when one of the guys suspects the medicine has made him pregnant (complete with milk-producing breasts), he takes the test by projectile urination.

And that was a cleaned up description of events. (I didn't even get into the guy happily testing a medicine to make his, um, equipment grow.) In the face of such material, the play on words in the show's title almost seems quaint.

Just be glad I risked the psychological scarring from watching this stuff so you don't have to.

Of course, the whole point of a button-pushing pilot like Testees is to produce a column like mine. FX wants us middle-aged critics up in arms, convincing the youngsters that this show's gotta be cool, if only because we graybeards hate it.

Don't believe the hype, youngsters. This is just a new-school tactic aimed at getting you to watch a show that makes There's Something About Mary look like Frasier.

Much as I love a good bad joke — including the "hair gel" scene from Mary — this is simply an array of shocking, sex-tinged scenes that play like a new-school TV version of an underground comic, minus the cool creativity.

You'd be better off turning on a new episode of a surprisingly revitalized Entourage than spend a single second consuming this ill-advised exercise.

Unless you need further proof why TV still hasn't figured out how to make a good new comedy worth watching.

Testees debuts at 10:30 p.m. Thursday on FX.

'Testees' tests the boundaries of superbad taste 10/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 11:11am]

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