The days are strange, sure, but A&E’s latest celebrity-driven vehicle, featuring Bob Saget, readily fits into a genre that might also be called “Strange Career Choices.” For Saget, the one-time “Full House” star with an offbeat comedic sensibility, venturing into unusual settings — a bikers club, Bigfoot enthusiasts, pledging an Ivy League fraternity, pro wrestling — offers plenty of fodder for wry asides. That’s about all you get, though, from the half-hour episodes, which the network will air two at a time. As TV viewing goes, the exercise yields “Mediocre Nights With Bob Saget.”
Part of the problem is the half-hour format, which at best affords Saget the chance for a once-over-lightly introduction to his newfound pals. As a consequence, the episodes end up being mostly about him, without providing much enlightenment about these “strange” subcultures he’s there to temporarily explore.
Not surprisingly, Saget is a bit less sharp-tongued when joshing with the motorcycle club than he is the Sasquatch seekers, who he not-so-subtly mocks while expressing apprehensions (assuming all myths apply to Bigfoot) about “getting raped” by the mythical beast.
Saget heavily narrates each installment, delivering little quips like this one on the bikers’ debauchery: “This party would rage on until dawn, just like my bar mitzvah.”
For many, Saget is an acquired taste, but he’s had an interesting career — widely known as a family-friendly sitcom dad and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host, but notoriously filthy in his stand-up act. Perhaps that’s why he appears to revel in playing a sleazy version of himself in “Entourage” or in unleashing his blue side via cable specials and in the movie “The Aristocrats.”
The main drawback to “Strange Days” is that the show attempts to toe a pretty fine line: provide a sardonic glimpse of these groups’ excesses, without appearing completely snide or condescending.
Next time around, the producers could save on their travel budget and simply send Saget to Comic-Con. If you want to explore a variety of unorthodox subcultures, that’s one-stop shopping.