The close-knit fellas of Spike TV’s “Factory” run “The Office” through a blue-collar filter, twisting nuts and bolts rather than pushing paper. The humor is testosterone heavy and connects about a third of the time, like a good singles hitter. While it’s unlikely this “Factory” will mass-produce anytime soon, sticking with these Cro-Magnons could pay dividends down the line.
The show is unscripted, and therefore can feel similar to HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” But there’s no Larry David here to bring the uncomfortableness to cringe-inducing levels. At least not yet.
The pilot episode, titled “Lemon,” has the boss getting killed off after his tie gets caught in a pneumatic bender machine — series creator and director Mitch Rouse must love the term, because he lets his actors use it a number of times — and now four guys must figure out who’ll take his place. One will be promoted, and the scheming and backstabbing ensues immediately.
The humor is sexist, racy and often falls flat, but when it does work, it connects in a way a male-centric audience — and that’s Spike’s bread and butter — will appreciate. Protags are preoccupied with sex — generally complaining they’re not getting any — and that’s an age-old premise could become tiresome.
Some of the show’s best moments arrive when the guys’ minds are out of the gutter; a scene that offends the senses rather than the sexes, in which the gang is attending a funeral and the mortician pimps his funeral home in the midst of a tribute to the deceased, is decidedly funny stuff.
Rouse will have to make sure his female characters have a chance to be as offensive as the guys, and don’t come off as just shrill and always on the receiving end of the ribald jokes. A Ritalin-pushing wife who’s not about to play by society’s rules (Eliza Coyle) is a good start.
The cast does a workmanlike job, in their workmanlike factory duds.