Every bit as juvenile as its title would suggest, “Testees” lives several rungs down the evolutionary ladder from FX’s once-promising and now increasingly disappointing “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Focusing on two human guinea pigs exploited by a big company called Testico, it’s about as narrow as comedy gets, aimed only at those who will guffaw over streams of urine and gusts of flatulence. Both FX and Comedy Central seem relatively content to fish out of this shallow pond, but the putrid water is murky for all the wrong reasons.
Created by “South Park” writer Kenny Hotz (whose credits include the grossout competition “Kenny vs. Spenny”), “Testees” features Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel) as two hapless losers who keep subjecting themselves to insane experiments to pay the bills. Their circle includes test-subject extraordinaire Larry (played by Hotz), who in the premiere samples a penis-enlargement spray so effective that he passes out from blood loss every time he’s aroused.
As for Peter and Ron, they argue over who gets to take the placebo because the other is apt to experience a disgusting assortment of symptoms and side effects.
It’s hard to imagine how the show could be made much more offensive on an ad-supported tier, though that hardly qualifies as progress. Mostly, this is poor man’s Farrelly brothers material, without the explosive wit or glee that would make the raunch irresistible, if not palatable to watch while eating.
Inasmuch as the show looks like it cost about $1.89, it’s not difficult to ascertain why FX would take a shot with it. (The mix of optimism/brass ones required to send screeners to critics is perhaps another matter.) Still, given the ambitiousness of the channel’s dramas, it’s puzzling why its comedies aim so relentlessly low.After all, there nothing that says dirty comedy has to be stupid — though bridging that gap is one experiment that remains well beyond “Testees’ ” fully descended reach.