"Forty Deuce" is a completely unnecessary reality entry that features an L.A. burlesque club and its dumbbell fringe folk. Bravo indeed is the right place for this -- cabler has become a metrosexual haven that pays way too much attention to its own hipmeter -- but just because it's on a once hot "arts" network doesn't mean it's very good.

Neither sexy nor significant “Forty Deuce” is a completely unnecessary reality entry that features an L.A. burlesque club and its dumbbell fringe folk. Bravo indeed is the right place for this — cabler has become a metrosexual haven that pays way too much attention to its own hipmeter — but just because it’s on a once hot “arts” network doesn’t mean it’s very good.

Show centers on the Melrose Avenue club and its bombastic owner Ivan Kane. Kudos to the man for having a vision and seeing it through, but if I want a documentary about business leadership, I’ll take Bob Wright or Rupert Murdoch, not a guy who has to deal with dancers who feel bloated. Even on the kitsch scale, this rates lukewarm.

At Kane’s venue, beautiful, talented women tease a close-to-the-stage crowd while strutting and slow-stripping to live jazz. No nudity, plenty of pasties and a lot of celebrities (so Kane says) are on the menu, and, in a town blanketed by porn, there is something to be said for a more sensible approach to skin.

In hour one, Kane and wife Champagne Suzy (real name) balance two big headaches: opening a franchise in Las Vegas and psycho Jade, a dancer whom Kane adores but who is so unreliable that she bails on his showcase night in front of the Mandalay Bay execs who will make the decision as to whether this will fly in Sin City.

You can dress up a hobo, and they’ll still be a hobo, and that’s pretty much what this show aims to do with strippers. Argentina-born Carolina and the granddaughter of football legend Bum Phillips might be very nice people, but they’re not pre-school teachers or surgeons. There’s only so much praise I’m willing to give anyone who “signs a contract” to shimmy for a living in a nightclub.

As obnoxious as he is, anyone would want Kane on their side during a business meeting. He has plenty of passion and a love of for what he does, and there’s something endearing about his selling abilities. But none of that automatically makes for great television, and the end goal is so superficial that nothing he says can create much empathy.

“Forty Deuce” also highlights a problem some men probably have with the venue itself: If bare bodies are what they’re after, go somewhere else. Otherwise, this will just get them frustrated.

Forty Deuce

Bravo, Thurs. April 7, 11 p.m.

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas by the Zalman King Co.; producers, Zalman King, Ivan Kane, David Saunders; producer, Patrick Davenport.

Crew

Camera, Ethan Phillips ; editor, David Golding; music, Ezra Gould. Running time: 60 MIN.
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