January 29, 2011

News: Testees complete series DVD to come out in 2011

Testees, Kenny Hotz and Derek Harvie’s 2008 Showcase/FX sitcom, has earned a two-disc series set in 2011, through Entertainment One Home Video.  The show stars Jeff Kassel and Steve Markle as Ron and Peter, two human guinea pigs testing products for TESTICO.

Kenny Hotz is long-tenured guinea pig Larry, while Joe Pingue carves a niche as obnoxious schemer Nugget.  Kim Schraner appears as bar owner Kate…at least until she’s written off midseason, presumably to make room for more Nugget.

Testees fans might remember this URBMN article, which debunked rumours of a Canada-only second season.  FX Productions and Blueprint Entertainment originally produced the series, and Blueprint has since folded into Entertainment One.  I’d consider Testees‘ cancellation official now.

Both TVShowsonDVD.com and eOne Home Video’s site give the release date as April 26, 2011.  Amazon.ca has it as February 22, 2011.  I assume the amazon.ca date is wrong, but hey, the Testees DVD is out.  That’s more than I can say for Less Than Kind right now.


August 8, 2009

News: Testees cancelled by FX; Canadian future still up in the air

Filed under: Newsosky,The Glory Day of URBMN — Tags: , , , , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 2:01 pm
I’ve seen information on a few Twitter updates and at least one blog stating that Testees will receive a second season in Canada.  FX President John Landgraf has said at the Summer 2009 Television Critics’ Association press tour that Testees will continue in Canada.  It has been officially cancelled by FX, so bad luck for the American fans.

I recently contacted Michelle Lemmon, publicity coordinator for Canwest Broadcasting, about Testees‘ Canadian future.  Testees‘ Canadian network is Showcase, which is owned by Canwest.   I received a reply on August 7 stating that “a decision has not been made about the future of the series.”  I’ve called her for a followup, but as of Friday, August 7 at 2:01 PM ET, Showcase has not officially renewed Testees for a second season.  I know there are fans of this series – I’m not one of them, but there are fans.  I’ll update this post when news develops.

Addendum (November 9, 2009) | Going through e1tv.com, I dredged up some interesting information.  Testees is listed as having 26 episodes, according to this page.

Since the first season was 13 episodes long, this is the first concrete evidence I’ve seen that Testees will continue past its first season.  This doesn’t mean the episodes have been/will be produced, as Showcase hasn’t formally announced a second season for Testees.

In the meantime, Kenny Hotz fans have the sixth season of Kenny vs. Spenny to look forward to.  They’re hardly hurting…well, unless they’re in America, where Comedy Central shunted Kenny vs. Spenny to 2:30 AM Sundays.  I’m just surprised I can write “sixth season of Kenny vs. Spenny” and not be full of shit.


October 16, 2008

TV Review: Testees 1.1

Since I first saw Kenny Hotz on Kenny vs. Spenny, I’ve known not to underestimate him.  Testees‘ pilot includes an anal probe, a penis enlarging spray and male lactation, which should make for a hilariously tasteless show on par with South Park.  Maybe I overestimated Hotz this time, as Testees‘ pilot is only sporadically funny.

Testees (Showcase: Tuesday, 9:00 PM ET/PT) focuses on the lives of Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel), human guinea pigs for TESTICO.  Ron and Peter are humiliated into returning to TESTICO as they need the money, missing out on a penis enlarging spray in the process.  Larry (Kenny Hotz) is the lucky recipient of said spray, trying to turn on Amy the receptionist (Shauna MacDonald) with his outsized pork sword.

After an anal probe, Ron becomes pregnant.  Cue a visual pee joke and Ron eating melted ice cream with a pickle.  The “man becomes pregnant” angle seems oddly familiar, since I saw much of the same thing on an episode of The Young Ones.  Ron’s “birth” in particular seems lifted from that show, although I don’t want to spoil the joke for Testees fans.

For a show dealing in base humour, Testees comes across a bit subdued.  The best scenes are all Hotz’s, as his Larry is a self-satisfied sleazebag.  Markle and Kassel are good leads for the show, but they’re wasted on a script that only occasionally reaches the Jackass-with-comic-timing heights of Kenny vs. Spenny.

It’s like Hotz is dulling Testees‘ potential by trying to adhere to basic sitcom rules.  This trap caught Trey Parker and Matt Stone in a vise when they launched That’s My Bush!  Maybe this is a case of Hotz overextending himself, since the fifth season of Kenny vs. Spenny is upcoming.  It’s hard to say.

I hope Testees improves on its pilot, since I don’t want this to be the American Dad! of Hotz’s career.  Testees isn’t the worst show on TV like Entertainment Weekly says, but I was expecting a Drawn Together-like paean to offensiveness.  Of course, Drawn Together sucked its first episode, so Testees isn’t a total write-off.


July 3, 2005

The CBC Summer Waves Review Part II

Filed under: URBMN 2005-08 — Tags: , , , , — Cameron Archer @ 2:58 pm
Keep in mind these are preliminary reviews.  I know I need to be less accessible and ignore readers’ pleas for clearer language while I go on about how amazing the word “bloviate” is and start a contest about it.

Yes, I heard The Sunday Edition today.  I also listened to Siege of Hate and the Benümb/Premonitions of War split last night.  I’m complex.

Honestly, this is why I can’t stand CBC Radio’s attitude towards programming.  I have no problem with Michael Enright using the occasional ten-dollar word on The Sunday Edition, since that’s a part of his hosting style.  The Sunday Edition appeals to the highly educated blowhards of Canada and I can tolerate Enright’s pompous, look-how-intellectual-I-am attitude towards hosting.  Like anything CBC, though, the network ignores the crux of the argument posited by a listener – that Enright assumes the listeners are as intelligent as he feels he is, when it is his job as a host to describe intelligent concepts to the less knowing.  To that end, The Sunday Edition blows the argument off and starts some armchair etymologist contest where listeners look for obscure words to revive for a modern audience.  Just starting the contest would have been fine, but CBC just had to dismiss thoughtful negative comments about its programming while the iron was hot.  That’s just not scrumtrelescent.  Or cromulent.

This ties in to CBC programming as a whole.  Instead of disseminating intelligent concepts in a way that people of “normal” intelligence can understand, the listener is supposed to gravitate toward the concepts.  CBC programs sometimes take the attitude that the listener is dumb, and if he/she can’t understand and/or agree with what the host is saying the person’s a knuckle-scratching moron.  It’s the attitude I see with “pop culture” tastemakers all the time – if you like something other than what they think is cool, you’re a goddamn retard and should be sent in a concentration camp where your kind die in a fire like your heroes Great White.  I’m Right, You’re Wrong.  Shut Up.  Shut Up.  Shut Up.

That was a generalizing rant, of course.  I still don’t generalize as much as CBC Radio.  HYOOO!

O’REILLY ON ADVERTISING | I’ve only listened to eight or so minutes of the first program but it’s as good as I thought it would be.  See, the program works because Teddy O’Reilly has that rare CBC trait that I see from Bob McDonald on Quirks and Quarks and precious few other MomCo employees – he knows what he’s talking about, and he explains it to an audience in clear, concise language.  The show’s not without its faults – O’Reilly on Advertising feels like a long-form Definitely Not the Opera segment and O’Reilly is, at this point, a bit wooden as a host.  Still, one episode in and I honestly think this show could last a few years.  The show simply does not have the CBC homogeneity to it and Terry O’Reilly’s one of the best hosts I’ve heard from CBC Radio in years.  Hopefully the show won’t turn shit a few episodes in, which I honestly doubt it will. ¤ B+

SIMPLY SEAN | What the hell happened here?  So Simply Sean is an hour of Sean Cullen playing his favourite music?  This is it?  What a waste of talent.  I realize the show is early in its run yet, but the show is boring, to be honest about it.  The show feels like someone just went up to Sean Cullen, said “here’s CBC scale, go play your favourite albums” and that’s it.  The Summer Waves initiative this year feels incredibly conservative – this is the time of year where CBC Radio should be experimenting with programming, and the executives decide to fill the Go slot with what amounts to Sean Cullen’s RadioSonic.  Maybe it will improve in the coming weeks, but Sean Cullen has been more entertaining and funnier than this.  Let the man cut loose.  He has to be as bored with the format you gave him as I am.  He certainly sounds it. ¤ C

LOST AND FOUND | Not bad, not good.  Lost and Found is a show without a format, sure, but I’ll admit that it’s better than the Live 8 MORathon that followed – that’s not saying much, but the first episode of Lost and Found wasn’t bad.  The show’s deathly dull but an interview segment with Tom Green saved the first episode from total meaninglessness.  Tom Green seems like the genuine performer and person he is (although he’s made a lot of dumb decisions in the past, I can’t put that past him) and even though he’s selling a new book he didn’t come across as shilling or promoting himself, which of course he was.  Maybe my feelings on the man are coloured by his naming his book Hollywood Causes Cancer, but Tom Green is not a stupid man despite his cable show schtick suggesting otherwise.  The interview gave an insight into Green that Green’s cries of “BOOBY BOOBY BOOBY BOOBY” never could.  The rest of the show was filled with the event of some guy making 96 out of 100 free throws and other stuff.  WOW, WHAT ENTHRALLING RADIO.  EX.  CI.  TING. ¤ C

PROMO GIRL IN “THE CASE OF THE WASTED THIRTY MINUTES” | This whole show exists as an omnibus for a long-form contest, nothing more.  It’s a lazy way to fill thirty minutes, which ties in with this whole “CBC not trying hard enough to come up with decent summer programming” theme.  I despise this show with a loathing I’ve only ever had for What a Week and National Pastime.  CBC needs to try harder than this. ¤ F

FUSE | Bandwidth is a rather okay program – it’s not like the show is going to play Whitehouse or Sheer Terror but it’s better than the Radio 3 standard in that Bandwidth is local, while Radio 3 is mainly “let’s run through Exclaim! and Spin and see what ‘the kids’ are into.”  Fuse, though – see, the show only works if the subjects are different from each other, because the “pop singer meets pop singer but AH, THIS SINGER’S JUST A BIT DIFFERENT” format doesn’t work.  Most of the featured guests on the Fuse website are the typical CBC musical guests – Feist, Hawksley Workman, Mighty Popo etc.  The guy who wrote “Sugar Sugar” and some tone-deaf schlub from Three Gut Records aren’t exactly awe-inspiring musical guests, guys.  I refer to the Neil Young/Gary Numan model again, because this show needs to be more incorrigible with its format (and because Neil Young diddled with synths before, so it’s not a stretch for him to be paired with Numan.)  I’m not looking for matchups like DRI/Forgotten Rebels, but Randy and Tal Bachman?  How cheap are the executives at CBC Radio? ¤ C