New York The power players at the WB network have embarked on a dubious strategy to attract young viewers they have decided to make shows as vulgar and stupid as they can get away with. The results of this plan can be seen every Sunday night with the dismally-crude "Off Centre" and tonight with the debut of the hyper-actively dim "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star" (7 p.m., WB). As bad as "Guide" appears, it is not even a homegrown batch of badness it's based on a British series of the same name.
Oliver Hudson plays would-be rocker Jace Darnell, who opens "Guide" with the following lame voice-over: "Getting to the top how do you do it? When you're a kid, everybody wants to be famous. To be in a band, make millions, screw your brains out, grab a piece of history and screw your brains out. And, while many are called, few are chosen."
Funny, when I was a kid, I didn't have a clue what the phrase, "screw your brains out" meant. I guess that's because they didn't have lame voice-overs like this on "I Dream of Jeannie." But, in Jace's world, everyone, including children, are fodder for raunchy punch lines. In one scene, Jace is seen dancing to a Duran Duran song in his underwear. This would seem as dated and tame as a clip from "Risky Business" if he weren't being watched by a troop of cookie-selling Brownie Girl Scouts who are clearly stimulated by his gyrations. One of the tykes shouts out a crude phrase in appreciation of his posterior. Later, Jace horrifies a child when she glances at his crotch. He happens to be hiding a stolen microphone in his pants.
Jace spends most of episode one introducing his band mates with precious voice-overs. There's his best friend guitarist Doc Pike (Kevin Rankin), his sexually omnivorous bass player and van owner Josephine Delamo (Lauren Hodges) and their doomed drummer Danny Whitaker (James DeBello). "Guide" riffs on the old "This is Spinal Tap" joke that drummers have a short shelf life. It was funny back in 1984.
When not spending his time practicing with the band Slip Dog, or scamming unemployment benefits, Jace tries to avoid his father (Michael Des Barres), a washed-out hard rock icon. His mother is played by Shannon Tweed, who appeared on "Falcon Crest" and about five million direct-to-video movies.
A second episode follows (7:30 p.m.) in which the band meets a beautiful deejay (Emmanuelle Vaugier) who might help the garage band adjust to the new music scene. If we're very lucky, there won't be a third episode.
Tonight's other highlights
The NCAA Basketball tournament (6:30 p.m., CBS) continues.
Monica buys expensive boots on a repeat of "Friends" (7 p.m., NBC).
Faith has to fire a beloved advertising icon on "Leap of Faith" (7:30 p.m., NBC).
Cole has his own plans for Phoebe's weeding day on "Charmed" (8 p.m., WB).
Unable to leave the emergency room, Carter copes with a full patient load, including rowdy heavy metal roadies on a repeat of "ER" (10 p.m., NBC).
On back-to-back episodes of "Family Guy" (Fox), Peter takes dramatic license (7 p.m.), then he fights city hall (7:30 p.m.) Drew Carey hosts back-to-back episodes of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., ABC) Wrestling on a new episode of "WWF Smackdown" (7 p.m., UPN).
Bickering over mayoral candidates on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC) Bobby breaks up with Connie on "King of the Hill" (8 p.m., Fox) Maya's attractive new assistant (Tiffani Thiessen) makes waves on "Just Shoot Me" (8:30 p.m., NBC) Bender inherits a haunted mansion on "Futurama" (8:30 p.m., Fox).