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Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2010

‘Ugly Americans’ goes to hell in NYC

March 17, 2010

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More audacious and purposely weird than witty, “Ugly Americans” (8:30 p.m., Comedy Central) should appeal to “South Park” (8 p.m., Comedy Central) fans showing up for that show’s 14th season opener.

“Ugly” takes place in an animated New York City overrun by aliens, robots, zombies, wizards, demons and other fairy-tale monsters and supernatural freaks. Mark (Matt Oberg) works as a social worker who tries to integrate the newcomers into society. But he’s thwarted at every turn by a bigoted police force and a bureaucracy run by horned demons with a dark agenda all their own.

Mark is carrying on an affair with his boss, Callie (Natasha Leggero), who brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “devil woman.” In one amusing scene, he’s introduced to her father, in hell, depicted here as a shopping mall. Mark has a zombie-slacker roommate (Kurt Metzger) who hangs out and watches TV when not scheming to eat Mark’s brains. Mark’s co-worker is an older alcoholic wizard jealous of his brother’s success as a Vegas-style illusionist in the Criss Angel vein.

“Ugly” is best appreciated for its animation, which is, if anything, more outrageous and graphically powerful than the story, dialogue and jokes.

• Leprechauns! They used to be the stuff of St. Patrick’s Day TV fantasies, lighthearted special episodes of “Bonanza” where Hoss and Little Joe get bamboozled by little people. Leprechaun mania reached its high tide and low road when the Kelly-green creatures were emblazoned on boxes of Lucky Charms, a repulsive breakfast cereal crammed with sugar and marshmallows and aimed at parents who would feed their children literally anything to keep them amused at the breakfast table.

But tonight, the folks on “Destination Truth” (9 p.m., SyFy) embark on a high-tech search for “real” leprechauns. Anyone who has ever seen this show knows that this results in a lot of shaky surveillance footage in dark corners while attendant experts scream, “Did you see that?” They really should call the show “Destination Blur.”

In addition to their search for the green lads and their pot o’ gold, the “Truth” team camp out on top of Israel’s Masada fortress. A site of mass suicide, human tragedy and religious and cultural import, “The Destination Truth” gang see only its entertainment potential.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Veronica relates to a binge eater on “Mercy” (7 p.m. NBC).

• Chance enlists an old colleague to stop another former colleague’s murder plot on “Human Target” (7 p.m., Fox).

• On two episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC), inspired by a bigoted cable-news channel, a killer targets immigrants (8 p.m.), a victim’s story doesn’t ring true (9 p.m.).

• Twelve become 11 on “American Idol” (8 p.m., Fox).

• Claire’s old co-worker (Minnie Driver) offers a portrait of what might have been on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• A killer shows a keen sense of direction on “CSI: NY” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Cupid attends acting class on “Ugly Betty” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Erica discovers her family secrets on “Being Erica” (9 p.m., Soap Net).

• A professional helps intervene in the life of an alcoholic drug addict on the new series “Addicted” (9 p.m., TLC).

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