“The Ride” brings finesse to an ambitious undertaking: an uncensored look at the real life of teens as they interact with their peers, parents and teachers in various communities across the nation. While the result often borders on moronic (at times becoming America’s unfunniest homevideos), an occasional nugget sneaks in, making the show worthy of a perusal.The first of eight segs opens in Denver, where the cast and crew, dubbed “travelers,” have been dispatched to hang out with their “guides,” locals who permit the cast members into their homes to film their day-to-day activities. The result is a gritty, no-frills peek that will sometimes shock viewers. Unlike other shows purporting to offer an unadulterated look at American youth, but which waffle when participants cross the line into lawlessness or just really poor taste, this show sticks with the action. Series bow bogs down, however, when it provides the requisite background on how the cast members were selected, and shows samplings of their audition tapes. But viewers are likely to find inspiration in guide Michael, a former gang member who got “beat out”– a sort of reverse initiation process — and is now trying to redeem himself with aspirations of college and more. On the other hand , guide Matt never clearly articulates his aspirations, but wants viewers (between bong hits) to think he’s a mogul in the making.
Tues (1), 10-11 p.m., PBS
Taped in Denver by Road Trip Prods. for the Independent Television Service and PBS. Executive producer, Shauna Garr; supervising producer, Bruce Nachbar.
Camera, Victor Nelli Jr.; sound, William F. Rainey; music, The Pharcyde, Robert Durham.
With: Jose Baltadano, Ramona Catalanello, Derris Crooks, Paula Patton, Zachary Levy, Alex Garcia, Michael Poorbear, Matt Sheroutes.
Data provided by:Nielsen Media Research (Preliminary Results)