‘Testees’ hits below the belt

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Times Television Critic

“Testees” is a new situation comedy from FX. Its title is a pun. It debuts tonight.

Kenny Hotz created it. He is the Kenny of “Kenny vs. Spenny,” a Comedy Central reality show in which Hotz and his friend Spencer Rice compete with each other to see, for instance, Who Can Sit on a Cow the Longest, Who Makes the Most Convincing Woman, Who Can Smoke More Weed and Who Can Lift the Most Weight with His Genitals. The loser might have to eat cat food, or be covered in manure, or sniff the winner’s armpit.

Like that series, “Testees” specializes in what might be called developmentally arrested genito-urinary/rectal buddy humor, with a minor in underwear. One might also call it “guy stuff.” The fact that I don’t find this kind of thing all that funny some will take as a sign of my shameful lack of guyness, but I’m just trying to be honest about my prejudices. There are people in this world who find flatulence mightily entertaining, and they should be happy here.

Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel) work as test subjects at a research center called Testico -- it sounds like testicle, see -- and live together in a state of moderate disarray. In the pilot episode, having quit and reclaimed their jobs (by licking the naked feet of a supervisor), they are administered enormous suppositories. Ron gets a placebo, while Peter apparently becomes pregnant, which fills the pair with joy. They enlist their enormous neighbor Nugget (Joe Pingue) to dress as a baby so they can practice being parents.


Peter is not, as it turns out, really pregnant, but develops a hormonal glow that attracts women.

And he lactates.

Arriving post-pilot will be Kate (Kim Schraner), a good-looking blond friend, to balance them out. The press book describes her thus: “She’s like one of the boys, but with boobs.” Creator Hotz plays senior testee Larry, who in the pilot is testing a penis enlargement spray, which works so well that an erection causes him to lose consciousness.

I will possibly never watch another episode of “Testees,” but I am not totally opposed to its existence. I liked the disheveled, hangdog Markle quite a bit. I chuckled at this social-networking joke: “Please stop tagging me . . . because I look goth in every picture you take of me.” I liked the classical-music soundtrack. I would not deny for a second that the show is handsomely produced and well played and basically good-hearted.

It comes from Canada.




Where: FX

When: 10:32 tonight

Rating: TV-MA-LS (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17, with advisories for coarse language and sex.)