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'The Franchise' ignites after coach proclaims his love for Fidel Castro

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If only. The series turns out to be crudely written and acted, with no more insight into D.C. than you or I have. The characters are reduced to one note apiece — the Cynical Harridan, the Clownish Philanderer — and none of those notes are in the right key. In the absence of believable characters and plotlines, Political Animals tries to shock us with the profane language politicians use behind closed doors. But, of course, we’ve been pretty unshockable in this regard since the profane Nixon White House tapes came to light 33 years ago.

Come to think of it, listening to those stomach-turning Nixon tapes would be more enjoyable than watching Political Animals. Yep, it’s that bad.

Trust Us With Your Life (8pm Tue, ABC)

This new improvisational comedy series follows in the footsteps of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Host Fred Willard interviews celebrities, and a team of improvisers uses the information to act out scenes from their lives. The people on the hot seat can’t help but laugh as the comedians make them look silly, and neither can we. In mid-scene, Willard instructs them to start rapping, or to play Elvis, or to recast the bit as a Jerry Springer episode — anything to make you squirt milk through your nose.

As with all improv, the jokes in Trust Us With Your Life are hit-and-miss. But they guys have enough hits that I’m prepared to trust them with my summer.

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