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Published: Saturday, 5/21/2005

Bad boys, bad girls: Talk about bad TV

BY ROB OWEN
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE
Melanie (Michelle Clunie, left) and Lindsay (Thea Gill) have
relationship problems as the Queer as Folk season starts. Melanie (Michelle Clunie, left) and Lindsay (Thea Gill) have relationship problems as the Queer as Folk season starts.
L. PIEF WEYMAN/SHOWTIME / L. PIEF WEYMAN/©SHOWTIME Enlarge

Bad boys, bad girls, bad shows. Bad TV is this week s theme.

Showtime s gay soap Queer as Folk returns at 10 p.m. tomorrow for its fifth and final season. I ve never been particularly fond of the series for the same reason I never took to Sex and the City: The characters were too juvenile; their commitment-free sexual acrobatics betrayed their immaturity.

It s true, the Queer as Folk characters have matured and grown, as they must to sustain a serialized drama, and their trials and tribulations are more relatable to viewers at large (domesticity having more prevalence in society as a whole than nonstop partying with wild abandon).

But the writing, sadly, remains clever only when it s crudely clever.

As the episode begins with some cool storyboards from the Rage comic created by Justin (Randy Harrison) and Michael (Hal Sparks) calculating Brian (Gale Harold) dances with Michael at the nightclub Babylon.

It s all a lie, an illusion, just cheap theatrics, Michael says of the party-hearty atmosphere. Though Michael resists at first, by episode s end, he and his partner, Ben (Robert Gant), are shopping for homes.

Written by series creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Queer begins its final season with lesbian couple Lindsay (Thea Gill) and Melanie (Michelle Clunie) living apart. There s a real downer moment in the first hour, but a sneak peek at the series finale reveals Cowen and Lipman contriving plots to give many of the characters happy conclusions, unrealistic though some of them may be.

I guess there s something perversely admirable about a show that s unrepentant to the end, indulging in gratuitous, explicit sex scenes and refusing to allow its most childish characters to gain much maturity.

Now put on your sluttiest club clothes and bring plenty of drugs, cause we re going out, Justin tells Brian, succinctly capturing the show s raison d etre.

If Queer is a poorly scripted soap opera, UPN s The Bad Girl s Guide at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday is a wretched sitcom.

Jenny McCarthy stars as good-time gal JJ, who hangs with her girlfriends, smokes pot on the job, and daydreams about marrying a man she meets in an elevator.

Remind me, why are we doing this again? asks roommate Sarah (Christina Moore, Hyperion Bay) when she, JJ, and friend Holly (Marcelle Larice) head out for a night of partying.

Cause we re horny, JJ explains.

JJ and Holly work together at an ad agency with a fourth friend, Patric (Jonathan McClain), the office receptionist who is oblivious about his sexual identity. This sitcom was inspired by the best-selling book series of the same name by Cameron Tuttle. A future episode makes a drastic tone shift midway through that s jarring and unconvincing.

What to do about these bad shows? Nothing. Bad TV shows, like bad behavior, are usually best ignored.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen is the TV editor for the Post-Gazette.



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