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October 8, 2015

Testees -- An early look

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 7th 2008 10:04AM

(L-R): Jeff Kassel as Ron and Steve Markle as Peter, best friends and roommates in their early 30s who work as test subjects. With a healthy stable of hits including The Shield, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, and Damages, you can easily make the argument that FX has a pretty good idea of what makes a good drama and what doesn't. Unfortunately, you can't say the same thing for comedies.

The cable network has scored a huge hit with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (now in its fourth season), but they've had no other comedic successes. You might recall that when Sunny premiered back in the summer of 2005, it aired in tandem with FX's only other sitcom attempt, the Eric Schaeffer vehicle Starved. Personally, I thought Starved was a great show and deserved a second season but the ratings didn't justify it. The subject matter (eating disorders) probably didn't help either.

So after a long hiatus, FX is finally giving comedy another shot with Testees, a new sitcom from the mind of Kenny Hotz (Kenny vs. Spenny). I had a chance to see the pilot episode and after viewing it, I think it'll probably do OK.

Testees stars Jeff Kassel and Steve Markle as Ron and Peter, two dead-beat roommates who earn a meager living as guinea pigs for a local drug research company called Testico. They're completely helpless and are essentially willing to put just about anything in their mouths... in pill form that is.

While the pilot is chock full of some serious laughs (you won't believe how the latest drug they get is administered), there are still an equal amount of moments that felt far too forced and took away from the overall laugh factor. By nature, watching two guys test drugs and deal with the negative side effects is funny all by itself. Adding in pointless gags for extra laughs really isn't necessary.

The highlight of the series premiere is Kenny Hotz, who in addition to being behind the show, plays the minor role of Larry, a veteran of drug testing. As Testico's big man on campus, he gets to test some of the more desirable drugs (such as a penis enlarging spray) before everyone else. His scenes are few, but he steals every one of them. Wait'll you see how that spray affects him.

Of course, the biggest issue with Testees is whether or not it'll be able to retain it's lead-in audience. Testees premieres this Thursday, Oct. 9th at 10:30 PM ET, after a new episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. While Sunny has evolved into a show that's far more than just dick jokes, it's safe to say that most of its audience still loves those kinds of jokes. So Testees should do just fine.

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Joe Fulton

Son of the Beach was with Tim Stack. As mentioned when you watch My Name is Earl, Tim Stack plays himself dressed as his character from Son of the Beach. The show was funny as hell. Howard Stern was the producer of it.

October 08 2008 at 6:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember Son of the Beach, vaguely, wasn't it the show with the bodybuilder-dude that looked amazingly like a young Arnold? It was pretty funny, if I'm remembering right.

October 08 2008 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Fulton

How about the great comedy "Son of the Beach'

October 07 2008 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joe Fulton's comment

SON OF THE BEACH! with the totally awesome Tim Stack (currently being hilarious on my name is earl playing...tim stack) as a hasselhoffish moron of a lifeguard, with requisite hotties and bimbettes and lifesaving. i also LOVED his faux talk show, the name of which i can't recall (night shift? late shift?)...god bless tim stack...

October 07 2008 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just a little FYI:

"Starved" & "Sunny" weren't the only FX comedies, nor were they the first. Back in the early days of FX original programming (around the same time The Shield started), there was a short lived, one-season comedy/drama titled "Lucky" starring John Corbett. It was incredibly well-done and left me aching for a season 2. I believe it was even nominated for an Emmy. I don't believe it available anywhere at the moment (DVD, Hulu, Youtube....anything) which is too bad, because it really was entertaining.

October 07 2008 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Base's comment

I was just hitting the reply to mention Lucky. A great show that was prematurely killed. And yes it was nominated for an Emmy for writing. Craig Robinson is still Mutha LeGandre to me.

October 07 2008 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan Toomey

Base --

You're absolutely right. I remember "Lucky," but I just don't remember it being on FX for some reason :)

As for "Son of the Beach," well that one I just don't remember at all.

October 07 2008 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Starved was so good. "It's not okay."

October 07 2008 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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