Facebook Twitter

HBO SITCOM `DREAM ON’ IS UTTER TRASH

SHARE HBO SITCOM `DREAM ON’ IS UTTER TRASH

Maybe I'm completely out of touch with the rest of television critic-dom.

While there's never a unanimous consensus about anything in the critic community, the majority of my fellow television editors seem to love HBO's adult sitcom "Dream On."Since it debuted, it's been No. 1 or No. 2 in the critics' poll of top cable shows. One critic, whose opinion I value quite highly, says of tonight's season premiere of "Dream On" (11:45 p.m.), "Start to finish, this is most uproarious 45 minutes of TV this season."

Personally, I found the show offensive, tasteless and not particularly funny.

Not to mention that it was the trashiest 45 minutes I've seen on TV this season.

This episode, accurately titled "Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape," opens with the show's lead character, Martin Tupper (Brian Benben) in bed with his girlfriend, watching an X-rated videotape he'd made of the two them.

When Martin takes the camera out on the street, he inadvertently catches the host of a popular kiddie show (Tom Poston) in an illicit encounter with a prostitute in a nearby alley.

As tacky and tasteless as this may sound, it's much more grotesque than that.

Martin is eventually persuaded by a friend who's a talk-show host to sell him the tape for $250,000, and after it's broadcast the kiddie-show host commits suicide. Martin is then sued by the man's daughter for $2 million.

This show is not completely without humor. James Woods and Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld") have their moments as sleazy lawyers on opposite sides of the case.

But "Dream On" has become the "Married . . . With Children" of cable. "Married" began six years ago as a slightly offensive, off-center sitcom about family life that has degenerated into a self-parody of perversion.

And "Dream On" began a couple of years ago as a rather naughty, R-rated sitcom that has degenerated into one big dirty joke.

There's so much wrong with this show it's difficult to know where to begin. To begin with, the "unique" device in the show doesn't work.

To portray Martin as a child of television, his thoughts are displayed at various moments throughout the show with black-and-white clips from low-budget anthology shows from the '50s.

It's supposed to be cute or funny, but these clips just serve as jarring glitches in continuity.

(Not to mention the fact that it seems incredible that he'd remember these obscure scenes as opposed to "I Love Lucy" or "The Honeymooners.")

And, while "Dream On" is supposed to be for adults, it's really quite childish in its prurience - like teenage boys telling dirty stories in the locker room.

Maybe I'm a prude. Maybe I'm narrow-minded.

But, as far as I'm concerned, "Dream On" is utter trash.

LARRY SANDERS RETURNS: HBO's other adult-sitcom, "The Larry Sanders Show," also returns tonight (11 p.m.).

And, while I'm a big fan of Garry Shandling, this is not a particularly good episode of this normally quite amusing series.

It seems that Larry's wife has left him, his show has been dumped by another affiliate, he's got trouble with his eye, and even dating actresses like Dana Delany and Helen Hunt doesn't work out.

But it's all rather flat and unfunny. Too bad.

Like "Dream On," "The Larry Sanders Show" is intended for adults. It's full of R-rated language but is considerably less crude than "Dream."

Still, the R-rated language really isn't necessary and detracts from the series.

COMMITMENT?: KSL-Ch. 5, which has always proclaimed an undying commitment to news, didn't air it's noon newscast on Memorial Day, instead opting for reruns of "Designing Women" and "Cosby."

KUTV-Ch. 2, however, aired its noon news as usual.

WHY TV IS BETTER THAN RADIO: TV doesn't run those awful ads for National Dynamics tapes to learn new languages.

S-O-C-K-S.