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TV Reviews : ‘Mark and Brian’ Proves Prime Time Isn’t Drive Time

“The Adventures of Mark and Brian” is mostly an adventure in absurdity. The NBC series starring local radio personalities Brian Phelps and Mark Thompson premieres tonight.

Watch them clown. Watch them mug. Watch them make faces at the camera. Hey, you wild, zany kooks, you. Enough already!

It’s questionable just how much anyone can take of KLOS-FM (95.5) morning personalities Phelps and Thompson as overbearing stars of their own television series on NBC. They prove that drive time doesn’t necessarily transfer to prime time, trying for belly laughs on the premiere of “The Adventures of Mark & Brian,” but getting only belly.

The half-hour reality series arrives at 8:30 tonight on Channels 4, 36 and 39, then returns at 8:30 p.m. Thursday before settling into its regular 7 p.m. Sunday time slot.

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It’s hard to imagine viewers in West Covina, let alone Peoria, rushing to their sets to see Mark and Brian live out what we’re told are their personal fantasies. Tonight, they perform as back-up singers for the famed Temptations at the Palace in Hollywood, preparing for their big moment by getting lessons in singing, dancing and working a crowd. The work comes in watching them.

When Mark and Brian hit the stage, you share some of the fun. But these few vicarious thrills don’t compensate for their forced gags or grating hamminess.

Thursday’s episode is much worse, still, as Mark and Brian abandon the smart-alecky, attack style that marks their radio work and pour on the earnestness while filling in for a young father-to-be who is unable to be with his wife in the last stages of her pregnancy. Mark and Brian become his surrogate, accompanying his wife to the doctor, helping her pick out baby furniture and helping her girlfriends celebrate. Oh, please!

Finally, they even assist in the natural childbirth, afterward getting all teary and hugging each other, proving that at least someone loves them.

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