Guy-oriented Spike doesn’t have much of a track record in scripted programming, but it appears to possess a clear idea what men are supposed to like — a tawdry combination of babes, violence and near-death experiences. So its latest foray into scripted comedy, “Blue Mountain State,” is ostensibly about a fictitious college football powerhouse, but more closely resembles the frat-boy hijinks of “Animal House.” If only there were even a trace of that film’s wit, as opposed to a mindless torrent of homophobic taunts, bouncing boobs and (count ‘em) two sequences involving masturbation in this first knuckle-dragging half-hour.The surprising part is that there’s actually an interesting crumb hidden within “BMS” that’s sadly overshadowed by its thudding excess. That would be the character of Alex (Darin Brooks), a backup quarterback who — fearing his dad’s humdrum existence — doesn’t really want to play; instead, he’s content to screw coeds and drink with his nerdy roommate Sammy (played by series co-creator Romanski, who goes by one name), sucking all he can out of the college experience before disappearing into anonymous middle age. Alas, Alex is just a small part of a squad otherwise drawn from an utterly familiar playbook. They include freshman running back Craig and hazer-in-chief Thad (played by Sam Jones III and Alan Ritchson, respectively, both alums of “Smallville”); readily available coeds; sexually adventurous cougars; and stunts like a race involving cookies wedged in butt cheeks. FX has enjoyed some recent success with crude comedy, but “Blue Mountain” embraces that aspect of Spike’s mandate over all else — putting the bodily function/semi-nudity cart before the sitcom horse. (The uniforms, by the way, bear a strong resemblance to Boise St., a relatively new NCAA power.) One-time college star Ed Marinaro has been cast as the team’s hard-driving coach, but despite the participation of “Varsity Blues” director Brian Robbins, any inspiration casting-wise pretty well ends there — and not incidentally, most of the college underclassmen look about 35. While it’s nice that Spike is seeking to widen its narrow unscripted profile, by hewing so closely to its formula, the net has simply made this too-blue “Mountain” into a comedic molehill.
Spike, Tues. Jan. 12, 10 p.m.
Filmed in Quebec by Falconer/Romanski in association with Varsity Pictures and Lionsgate. Executive producers, Brian Robbins, Sharla Sumpter Bridgett, Romanski, Eric Falconer; producer, Madeleine Henry; director, Robbins; writers, Falconer, Romanski.
Camera, Bruce Chun; production designer, Jean Francois-Campeau; editor, Ned Bastille; music, Mark Mothersbaugh; casting, Juel Bestrop, Seth Yanklewitz. 30 MIN.
Alex - Darin Brooks Craig - Sam Jones III Sammy - Romanski Thad - Alan Ritchson Denise - Gabrielle Dennis Coach - Ed Marinaro
Data provided by:Nielsen Media Research (Preliminary Results)