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'Wedding Band' finds laughs in the gap between swagger and sad reality

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

'Wedding Band'

Wedding Band (9pm Sat, TBS)
This wonderful new comedy series combines Spinal Tap and School of Rock in a satire of the wedding-band biz. The band in question is made up of four aging musicians with day jobs and, in one case, a family, but the wedding circuit allows them to keep their rock ’n’ roll dreams alive. Their goal is to “make sure everybody has a good time,” which basically means playing “I Will Survive” at every gig — even country-western style, if need be. Still, the guitarist (Peter Cambor) gets to do scissor kicks, the drummer (Derek Miller) twirls the sticks to his heart’s content, and the lead singer (Brian Austin Green) has his pick of bridesmaids. Wedding Band finds laughs in the gap between their swagger and the sad reality of their place in the musical food chain.

Aside from a few dumb breast-job jokes, the sitcom is as sophisticated as The Mindy Project, Parks and Recreation, and other single-camera gems. Green’s character is an appealing con man with Jack Black bluster, and Miller shines as a barely civilized drummer à la Keith Moon (though it’s hard to imagine Moon playing in a yarmulke at a bar mitzvah party).

If the goal is to make sure everybody has a good time, then Wedding Band has accomplished its mission.

The Christmas Consultant (7pm Sat, Lifetime)
I admit to feeling grumpy about watching a Christmas movie before the Halloween pumpkin has even rotted on my front porch. A harried couple (Caroline Rhea, Barclay Hope) reluctantly hire a “Christmas consultant” named Owen (David Hasselhoff) to keep their holiday from descending into chaos. Dressed in a red-and-green bowtie, Owen is the personification of crazed Christmas cheer, marching the skeptical family through drills of shopping, caroling, and decorating. Ultimately, they can’t resist his over-the-top commitment to holiday happiness.

This is kind of embarrassing for a cynical TV critic (around this time of year I answer to “Grinch”), but ultimately I couldn’t resist Hasselhoff’s over-the-top commitment to his role. As we know, the Baywatch mastermind has no fear of looking like an idiot, and as a result he’s willing to give the sort of shamelessly hammy performance that puts over the material.

I wouldn’t mind seeking Owen’s advice on how to survive the much drearier holiday programming that’s sure to come during the next month and a half.

Finding Bigfoot (9pm Sun, Animal Planet)
A better title for this reality series would be Finding Something That Might Possibly Be Bigfoot, But Probably Isn’t. The four-member Bigfoot Research Team races across the country at the merest hint of a sighting — for example, high school kids catching a distant “apelike” figure in the woods on their camcorder. The team members, God bless them, are the only ones who don’t entertain the possibility that the kids are pranking them to get on TV. Instead, they throw themselves into a full-blown investigation, tramping through the woods to check out the “very compelling evidence.”

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