Archive for Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cable TV: All over but the shouting

April 28, 2012


“Flipped Off” 8 p.m. Saturday, A&E;) becomes the latest series to celebrate real estate speculation during the worst housing market since the Great Depression. It’s yet another reality show hosted by a “star” from another reality show. And it joins the burgeoning genre that I like to call “Angry Guys Screaming at Each Other.”

Host Russell Hantz earned the nickname “Master Manipulator” on three seasons of “Survivor.” He seems perfectly typecast as the annoying sidekick, but on “Flipped,” he’s the voice of reason. He and his older brother, Shawn, want to buy modest and dated-looking houses, spiff them up and resell them for a tidy profit. They’re assisted by Kristen, a perky real estate agent who is savvy about the market and doesn’t mind renovating with a sledgehammer while tottering on high heels.

Kristen suggests that potential homebuyers should hire a professional inspector. Common sense would suggest this as well. But Shawn disagrees, convincing Russell during several loud exchanges that they could save money by allowing Shawn to do the inspections. You don’t need to be a contractor or a clairvoyant to predict what happens next.

The screaming-guy cable genre cuts across occupations, classes and regions. There are working-class screamers, chef screamers, Cajun screamers, exterminator screamers, Alaskan screamers, redneck screamers and Italian-stereotype screamers.

And it’s not limited to guys. The exchanges on “Jersey Shore” are not exactly sotto voce. Nor are the tirades of “The Real Housewives.” And it’s not limited to television. Rap music and talk radio may occupy opposite ends of the pop culture spectrum, but they’re often insecure, angry manifestos and monologues delivered by men at maximum volume. And couldn’t that also describe a lot of stand-up comedy of the past quarter century?

Cable shows are only the latest example of a fractured pop culture market, where you have to holler to get noticed. No wonder there’s such a market for those noise-canceling headphones.

Tonight’s highlights

• Politics and comedy mingle at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner (5:30 p.m. Saturday, C-SPAN). Jimmy Kimmel hosts.

• NASCAR action at the Richmond 400 (6 p.m., Fox).

• Chloe Sevigny guest-stars on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC).


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