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‘Young Americans’ is great fun — to mock

SHARE ‘Young Americans’ is great fun — to mock

PASADENA, Calif. — I'll admit it. I'm sort of interested in seeing where "Young Americans" is going to go after its Wednesday night premiere (8 p.m., WB/Ch. 30).

Not that this sort-of spinoff of "Dawson's Creek" is such a great show. But it could be interesting to see where the writers go with all the silly, preposterous premises they set up in the pilot episode.

"Young Americans" is the story of Will Krudsky (Rodney Scott), a character who was introduced toward the end of last season's run of "Dawson's Creek." He's a blue-collar guy who gets a scholarship to the prestigious and hugely expensive prep school in the small New England town where he grew up. Will is also the most visible example of the show's town vs. gown, poor vs. rich premise.

Will, of course, has a secret. A secret that he foolishly lets out of the bag in the first hour.

He also quickly acquires a new best friend, his roommate (Mark Famiglietti), who goes by the name of Scout. Really.

Scout wants to cross social barriers and get cozy with local girl Bella (Kate Bosworth), but her overbearing, overprotective father won't hear of it. And he soon reveals a secret of his own that's surprising only because of its complete lack of originality.

Elsewhere, there's the dean's odd son, Hamilton (Ian Somerhalder), who makes friends with Jake Pratt (Katherine Moennig), who apparently has seen "Boys Don't Cry" a few too many times.

One minute, they're acting wise beyond their years. The next, they're acting impossibly immature — far less mature than most of the real teenagers out there.

Of course, "acting" may be too strong a term for what these youngsters are called upon to do. Maybe they have talent, but they don't get a chance to show it off here.

They do get plenty of chances to show off their bods, however, including one extended scene in which Scott and Famiglietti wander through the town in their underwear. (The producers do seem to have at least saved a few bucks on wardrobe, as the cast wears as little as possible as often as possible.)

Basically, this is about pretty young people who think their lives and their problems are waaaay important. Sort of like "Dawson's Creek," only less interesting.

"Young Americans" is not, however, a show that was so bad the network held onto it until the dog days of summer. The plan is to offer teen viewers something new when it doesn't face much competition.

And the show could turn out to be one of those guilty pleasures like the early years of "Dynasty" or "Melrose Place" — a show that's fun because it is so melodramatic and dumb.

"Young Americans" isn't going to win any Emmys. At best, it could turn out to be a light soap opera. At worst, it might be fun to get together with your friends and mock it.

Which shouldn't be hard.

E-MAIL: pierce@desnews.com