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Archive for Monday, February 23, 2004

Queer Eye’ straight imitator flops

February 23, 2004

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It had to happen. Given the hype surrounding "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," you knew a glut of parodies and imitations was inevitable. But did the first effort have to be as lame as "Straight Plan for the Gay Man" (9 p.m., Comedy Central)?

"Straight" turns "Queer" on its head, sending a team of hyper-masculine "experts" to offer stereotypically gay men advice about fitting in in the straight world. It's sadly ironic that the network with "comedy" in its name should drain every ounce of humor and wit from the "Queer" phenomenon. Unlike the "Fab Five," the straight team behaves like four separate comedians, each performing his own contrived gig. They are not so much straight men as guys pretending to be somebody's idea of a straight man. If there's anything worse than an ignorant slob, it's a phony ignorant slob.

Much like "The Man Show" and its many imitators, "Straight" perpetrates the notion that men dislike anything more complicated than big breasts, cold beer and large TV screens. At one point, one of the "straight" guys dismisses a "queer" guy's advice as "more than I need to know," while a sidebar runs below reading: "Straight Tip: No Brain, No Pain!" No brains were taxed during the making of this dreadful and humor-free show.

  • "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt" (5:30 p.m., Cinemax) provides viewers with a moving look at one woman's idealism and bravery against the backdrop of Colombia's violence, poverty and corruption. While it rarely makes headlines in the United States, Colombia has been torn by civil war for the last 40 years. Betancourt abandoned a life of privilege in Europe to return to her native land and campaign for the government to make peace with the rebellious F.A.R.C. guerrillas, and to challenge the two established political parties whom she accused of collaborating with drug traffickers.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Vin Diesel stars in the high-test 2001 action thriller "The Fast and the Furious" (7 p.m., ABC).
  • Robert mulls retirement on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • Regis Philbin plays host to "Super Millionaire" (9 p.m., ABC).

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