March 18, 2005

Want Fries With That?

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FOX TV Network’s new attempt at garnering a new audience isn’t titled with an acronym, feature feats of vocal chord use, or tell tales of rich people who opt for The Simple Life. Fox’s new sitcom (premiering March 23rd) Life on a Stick wont be at the top of Mount Nielsen but the show offers a potentially short-lived comedic time slot following American Idol. Life on a Stick is about the life of a corn dog — gotcha, but sounds like it right? Actually the comedy is about a corn dog that is impaled by a wooden stick with ketchup and mustard on it — haha gotcha again. For real this time, Life on a Stick is the latest plot from writer and producer Victor Fresco. Fresco can be associated with shows such as Mad about You, Dinosaurs, and Alf. Yet, in a business where ratings matter, Frescos’s lime plaster might dry up faster than he can paint.

The plot surrounds the lives of two just-outof high school guys, Laz (Zachary Knighton) and Fred (Charlie Finn). Could someone please tell me what the deal is with casting twenty-somethings to play eighteen year olds? It does not stop there, Laz and Fred work at Yippee, Hot Dogs earning money while they are not in college. Laz meets the girl of his relish — I mean dreams — Lily (Rachelle Lefevre) at the food court hot spot and they instantly hit it off like a hot dog in a bun.

Laz lives with his dad Rick (Matthew Glave), step mom Michelle (Amy Yasbeck) who looks like a cross between Lindsay Lohan and Julianne Moore, angry stepsister Molly (Saige Thompson), and half-brother Gus (Frankie Ryan Manriquez). It’s quite the happy family: parents who have sex in the garage with the father’s glow in the dark lotion, a tomboy daughter who always seems to speak through clenched teeth that look like the onset of TMJ complications, a 9-year-old Buddha who seems to solve all the problems in the house, and an 18-year-old whose current obligation in life is to keep living at home (why I ask?) and get Lily to commit to him, kind of like the breading that surrounds a corn dog.

I watched the premiere, the second episode, and a later episode. Judging from those three, I do not really see where the show is going to go. The fake laughing that overlays most sitcoms is entirely overdone in this show. A character says the word “the” and someone laughs. The Yippee, Hot Dogs uniforms look like a primary colored rainbow meets Wal-Mart’s rollback smiley face guy. There are plays on the overdone “I am Spartacus” except they state “I am the dimwit,” many gross comments referring to genitals, including the pleasuring of one’s self to french-tipped toe nails. And to add to that, no name actors who I don’t see winning an Emmy any time soon.

Another question: with a title like Life on a Stick what is the show trying to say? Do the characters of the show live lives that are impaled by a stick? The show title could be more meaningful if explained in terms of living life on the edge or living on “a piece of the materials composing something” (according to Webster’s Dictionary) as Laz and company search for a steady pace of life where all is well. But too bad, because this show is too much of a joke to relay any grand, worldly moralistic theme.

But the Roy Liechtenstein-esque pop culture opening credits are pretty cool with a guy riding a french fry and, after commercial breaks, a blurb comes up letting you know what character you are going to see next on the screen — neat if you have trouble actually seeing them in the next scene for some reason.

So watch “Life on a Stick” for a not so hot-diggety-dog half hour Wednesday, March 23rd starting at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. It’ll add some fried food flavor to your spring break festivities.

Archived article by Jennifer Rice Sun Contributor