Testees -- An early look
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.