Not everyone who enjoys guns is a pathetic, three-named loner who shoots up a school or workplace. Once coastal elites get past that revelation, “Lock ‘n Load” is a reality show lacking a point of view that fires one big blank. Actor Josh T. Ryan helped conceive the show, which casts him as a gun salesman interacting with a wide variety of people who come into the shop, documented via hidden camera. Perhaps if Ryan was less conspicuously stagy there’d be a series here; as is, it’s at best a time-killer.
Ryan bills himself as a “gunslinger” — that is, somebody who peddles guns at a store located above a shooting range outside of Denver. Given the venue, it’s difficult not to think about the proximity to Littleton, Col., the scene of the Columbine High School shootings, though there’s no reference to that geography in the four episodes I viewed.
Then again, “Lock ‘n Load” is politically neutered, almost to a fault. People come in to buy a gun for all kinds of reasons, but other than the cutesiness of grannies, kids and (inevitably) a postal worker, the show mostly avoids topical references, other than a gnarled old dude who refers to dialing 911 as “a mop-up crew to take pictures of your dead body laying in your house.” Um, maybe not the best neighbor to send the kids trick-or-treating to on Halloween.
Given the edginess generally associated with pay TV’s forays into reality — focusing on things like whorehouses and bail bondsmen — this is a surprisingly toothless affair, as if Showtime bought a concept, wound up with nothing to show for it and figured what the hell, let’s take a shot, as it were, by airing the episodes. Mostly, it’s a whole lot of Ryan doing plenty of mugging for the camera.
Other than likely qualifying as the National Rifle Assn.’s favorite program, it’s hard to see the point. Whatever the idea, “Lock ‘n Load’s” execution is way off-target.