“The Big 4-0” concludes with a football game between a group of older guys and current Georgia Tech players, and for the record, nobody will ever convince me that the amateurishly shot results were not as scripted as an episode of “Friday Night Lights.” So much for reality in a series about turning 40 that, at least initially, looks a whole lot like a title in search of an actual program.
The good news about “4-0” is that it’s only a half-hour, so the inanity ends relatively quickly. On the down side, the format requires introducing the participant, his family, deep-seated feelings about getting older and some stunt brought on by the milestone all within that framework, as if on speed.
As much as can be discerned from the premiere and press notes, each episode will involve people tackling some arbitrary challenge as they face the prospect of hitting 40. In the first (two of the six will air back to back to kick things off), former NFL running back Derrick Moore decides he wants to test himself by playing against college kids at Georgia Tech, where he’s the team chaplain.
Of course, the producers (whose credits include “Beauty and the Geek”) don’t mention this is going to be flag football, which makes the contest only slightly less ridiculous. During the build-up, the audience meets Derrick’s wife, some of his former buddies and his kids.
As for the big game, other than the cheerleaders’ pompoms and updated score, it’s difficult to tell what the hell’s happening, and the slow-motion finish merely adds to the sense that it’s all a big setup.
The second threshold-crosser, Lisa, is a former model who “wonders if she can still be sexy at 40.” You know, like those hags Salma Hayek and Halle Berry.
TV Land has sought to augment its rerun-heavy lineup with original series that cater to its baby-boomer demo, which explains “The Big 4-0’s” premise — except that the “Is there life after 40?” notion sounds conceived more as a marketing hook than a desire to genuinely grapple with issues pertaining to (gasp) aging.
Chalk it up as proof that in TV, getting older really doesn’t mean growing any wiser.