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Primal Screen

Playing dress up

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The BFRO decides to conduct an evening investigation using a baboon borrowed from a local zoo. And even the baboon seems to have trouble keeping a straight face.

Angry Boys (9pm Sunday, HBO)
HBO shows a rare lapse in taste with this so-called comedy, a showcase for creator-writer-star Chris Lilley. According to the press material, Lilley is adored in his native Australia, though I suspect the description from a local newspaper review — “jaw-dropping” — might well have been taken out of context. The series claims to explore the 21st century male, with Lilley himself playing asinine adolescents, a black rapper, a cold Japanese woman, a butch prison guard, and other characters.

These people are supposed to be entertainingly pathetic, but Lilley forgot the entertaining part. The adolescent subplot, for example, consists of a foul-mouthed idiot baiting his deaf brother. The prison guard subplot focuses on her allegedly humorous racism. Laughing yet?

Angry Boys is, indeed, jaw-dropping.

Work It (7:30pm Tuesday, ABC)
This new sitcom is a response to the country’s high unemployment rate. Things get so bad for laid-off Lee (Ben Koldyke) and Angel (Amaury Nolasco) that they resort to dressing up like women to work on an all-female sales staff.

I’m all for gender-bending, but Work It dresses guys in bras and high heels only to affirm rigid sex stereotypes. The series’ men are clueless macho horndogs, the women either ditzes, bitches, saints, or sex objects. The writers’ only idea of a joke is to keep emphasizing the fact that dudes know nothing about women. Sample punch line, delivered by one of those dudes to overwhelming laugh-track approval: “Thanks for the tampon!”

If the unemployment rate drops, Work It’s premise will no longer make sense, and it will have to be canceled. President Obama, the ball is in your court.

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