Ellen Gray: 'Girls Who Like Boys' debuts on Sundance

Fox's "Raising Hope" has an especially funny Christmas episode tonight.
Fox's "Raising Hope" has an especially funny Christmas episode tonight.
Posted: December 07, 2010

GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS. 10 tonight, Sundance.

RAISING HOPE. 9 tonight, Channel 29.

SUNDANCE CHANNEL hype aside, there's nothing "groundbreaking" in the subject matter of its new series, "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys."

I mean "Will & Grace" ran for eight seasons on NBC - do we really need an unscripted version focused on New York women and the men who probably won't be leaving them for other women?

And yet there was something a little bit different about the two episodes I've seen, which featured four friendships whose inherent complications were apparently considered just complicated enough for the show's producers to avoid manufacturing the kind of drama that's become a mainstay of docu-soaps.

No one seems to be stirring these pots, which may or may not come to a boil at some point.

Other than a brief montage of the participants weighing in on the shorter, ruder phrase sometimes used to describe the woman in such relationships - spoiler: they don't like it - most of "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys" is just snippets of interactions, followed by the usual confessional-style analysis.

I'm not sure why there's so much play-by-play - most of the snippets seem to advance whatever story there is just fine - but at least much of what people say behind their friends' backs isn't wildly different from what they say to their faces.

Which, again, makes for a nice change.

'Hope' for the holidays

The holiday-themed episodes continue tonight, with the first new installments of "Eureka" (9 p.m., Syfy) and "Warehouse 13" (10 p.m., Syfy) anyone's seen in months.

I'm too far behind on "Warehouse 13" to even be able to tell some of the players without a scorecard, so as a fan of "Eureka," I'd give the nod to its clever-but-sweet "O Little Town," with guest star Chris Parnell playing a scientist who's trying to spirit a project out of the top-secret town during a holiday party.

Naturally, he has a secret of his own.

But the funniest (and maybe even the sweetest) Christmas episode I've seen this year is on Fox tonight, where "Raising Hope" takes on greed, crass commercialism, live Nativity scenes and even elder abuse in the zany "Toy Story."

It's the kind of mashup normally reserved for Fox animation, which tends to get away with more, and though it has instant classic written all over it, I suppose it's bound to offend someone, assuming there's anyone watching who hasn't yet figured out that "Raising Hope" isn't a show for the easily offended.

Me? I'm afraid I loved every sick minute.

And I'm not just saying that because Jonathan Slavin, of the late, lamented "Better Off Ted" has a nice little turn as a friend who offers Burt (Garret Dillahunt) some advice about Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman).

Or because Martha Plimpton sings again.

Or even because the babies playing Hope Chance are smiling in nearly every scene she's in.

Maybe it's just that the sight of an entire half-hour of Christmas-themed TV that rips off neither Charles Dickens nor Clement Moore gives me reason to, well, hope.

R.I.P., 'Terriers'

FX yesterday announced it wouldn't be renewing "Terriers," its critically acclaimed but otherwise barely watched series starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James as an alcoholic ex-cop and an ex-criminal working as unlicensed private investigators.

And while the temptation to write that the show was "put down" is nearly overwhelming, the sad truth is that the mysteriously named drama from Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") that wrapped up its Season 1 last week with just 784,000 viewers in attendance - up from a season average of 545,000 - was anything but a dog.

Nor was it really about dogs, much less terriers, which is just one reason I expect its small but fervent fan base to spend the next few years on Twitter debating whether it was the title that did it in or a lack of promotion.

In defense of FX, it takes more than good reviews and a high profile on Twitter to stay in business, a point it made abundantly clear when the network sold off the next two seasons of "Damages" to DirecTV.

And there's something to be said for a network actually admitting it's canceled something rather than just letting viewers figure out on their own that it's never coming back.

(Or, worse, telling them it's been sent to live on a farm.)

Still, after seeing the numbers for Sunday' Season 1 finale of AMC's "The Walking Dead" - it drew more than 6 million total viewers and was the most-watched drama among 18- to 49-year-olds in basic cable history - I can't help but wonder if FX might not have done better if it had called its offbeat little P.I. drama something else:

"Zombies." *

Send e-mail to graye@phillynews.com.

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