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Monsters in the making: 'Face Off' and 'Fatal Honeymoon'

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Face Off


Hillbilly Handfishin’ (7pm Sun, Animal Planet)
The reality series’ second season is much like its first. In each episode, Oklahoma fishermen Skipper Bivins and Trent Jackson take a bunch of tourists into lakes and creeks to “noodle” for catfish. Noodling involves pulling the fish out of holes with your feet and hands — and, apparently, a lot of yelling and cursing.

No, there’s not a lot of variety here. Not a lot of sophistication, either. People splash around in the water, get covered in mud, and wave their slimy catfish in the air. The show is watchable, though, thanks to the friendly approach of Bivins and Jackson.
“This fish looks like it was beat with an ugly stick!” somebody screams as the latest 20-pound monster comes wriggling out of its hole.
Hillbilly Handfishin’ looks like it was beat with an ugly stick, too. That’s part of its charm.

Hollywood Heights (8pm Mon-Fri, Nickelodeon)
Base on a Mexican telenovela, this series follows a teenager (Brittany Underwood from One Life to Live) on her path from shy high school senior to music superstar. Among the huge cast are gorgeous delinquents, would-be supermodels, a good-hearted pop idol, lots of concerned parents, and an eccentric movie mogul played by none other than James Franco.

Franco’s presence suggests that Hollywood Heights is no ordinary Nickelodeon production. Yes, it’s basically a teen soap opera, but one with wit and energy and loads of chemistry among the actors. Unlike the many adult soaps with a showbiz setting — including the recent Smash and L.A. Complex — the series feels no pressure to be edgy and raunchy, and thereby avoids falling flat on its face from the strain. Instead, the tone is amiable, and the characters are the sort you want to keep inviting back into your living room. They’ve worn well over the summer.

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