You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Blue Mountain State

More closely resembles the frat-boy hijinks of "Animal House."

Alex - Darin Brooks Craig - Sam Jones III Sammy - Romanski Thad - Alan Ritchson Denise - Gabrielle Dennis Coach - Ed Marinaro

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.

Blue Mountain State

Spike, Tues. Jan. 12, 10 p.m.

Production: 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.

Crew: Camera, Bruce Chun; production designer, Jean Francois-Campeau; editor, Ned Bastille; music, Mark Mothersbaugh; casting, Juel Bestrop, Seth Yanklewitz. 30 MIN.

Cast: Alex - Darin Brooks Craig - Sam Jones III Sammy - Romanski Thad - Alan Ritchson Denise - Gabrielle Dennis Coach - Ed Marinaro

More Scene

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

  • Donald Trump Chucky Childs Play

    'Child's Play' Stars on New Chucky's 'Creepy' Resemblance to Donald Trump

    At Wednesday night’s world premiere of the “Child’s Play” remake, it was obvious that evil doll Chucky — the star of seven films over three decades — had a little work done. And now he bears a striking resemblance to Donald Trump. “Oh, you caught that?” Aubrey Plaza asked Variety on the black carpet outside [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content