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Archive for Monday, October 24, 2011

‘In-Laws’ has all the appeal of a car wreck

October 24, 2011

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What would it be like if Dr. Phil counseled the knuckleheads on “Jersey Shore” and mediated their every argument with New Age blather? The answer arrives on “Monster In-Laws” (9 p.m., A&E), a sickeningly compelling new reality series about feuding family members with absolutely no sense of boundaries.

The show kicks off with the Ciccones, a stereotypically hot-tempered Italian-American New York family continually on the verge of emotional Armageddon and bouts of physical violence. The problems stem from Richie, a proud grandfather who thinks nothing of monopolizing his granddaughter and all but banishing his son-in-law Anthony from her life. Richie’s disrespect for his daughter and her husband is apparent to everyone but Grandpa. Problems are compounded by the fact that he and the young couple own and run a restaurant together — a restaurant named after the granddaughter.

One half expects “Kitchen Nightmares” host Gordon Ramsay to show up and knock some sense into Richie or to browbeat Anthony into growing a backbone. Instead, we get relationship expert Mel Robbins, who spouts platitudes about the obvious and puts the feuding family through workshops and exercises for our entertainment. In less than a half hour, Robbins “solves” everyone’s problems and banishes festering resentments decades in the making.

Not believable for a second, “Monster” has an addictive, guilty-pleasure component that some will find difficult to resist.

• A seemingly content mother of four vanishes the day before Valentine’s Day 2001, on the fourth-season premiere of “Disappeared” (9 p.m., ID). Family members spend years searching for her and wondering if she was a victim of violence or simply left on her own. A decade later, an investigation into a seemingly unrelated triple-homicide unearths unsettling information about the case.

Every week, “Disappeared” follows families as they try to solve the most emotionally wrenching puzzle of their lives. Some segments end well, others in tragedy. Almost all hold surprises few viewers will see coming.

Tonight’s other highlights

• The Cardinals and Texas Rangers meet in Game Five of the World Series (6:30 p.m., Fox).

• The top eight compete on “The Sing-Off” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Jonathan appears on a revival of “The Dick Cavett Show” on “Bored to Death” (8 p.m., HBO).

• Murder and charity don’t mix on “Hawaii Five-O” (9 p.m., CBS).

• The child of a murdered mother goes missing on “Prime Suspect” (9 p.m., NBC).

• A professional ghost hunter joins his spectral prey on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

The sole survivor of an auto wreck (Candace Hilligoss) takes a job as a church organist and finds herself pursued by ghouls in the 1962 shocker “Carnival of Souls” (7 p.m., TCM). Directed by industrial filmmaker Herk Harvey for an estimated $33,000, this odd little movie remains one of the creepiest films you’ll ever see.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"The sole survivor of an auto wreck (Candace Hilligoss) takes a job as a church organist and finds herself pursued by ghouls in the 1962 shocker “Carnival of Souls” (7 p.m., TCM). Directed by industrial filmmaker Herk Harvey for an estimated $33,000, this odd little movie remains one of the creepiest films you’ll ever see."

Herk was one of the kindest people I ever knew. And it is a great little flick.

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