Screensavors: TV's low-rent district

Every so often a show comes along that's so bad, we wonder what possessed us to take this gig.

hot properties 88 (photo credit: )
hot properties 88
(photo credit: )
Every so often, we're stopped in the street by people who tell us how lucky we are. "Wow," they marvel, "what a great job you have - watching TV all day and getting paid for it...." But every so often a show comes along that's so bad, we wonder what possessed us to take this gig. Our dear editor begs us to "find something good to write about once in a while," but lately the pickings have been less than meager. In fact, meager would be much too positive an adjective for the latest addition to the much-ballyhooed Xtra HOT fall show Hot Properties (Thursday nights, 10:30). We had hopes for the program, if only because it features one of our old favorites, Gail O'Grady, who played gum-popping, heart-stopping Donna in the early days of NYPD Blue, completely devastating poor Detective Medaboy before she went off to pursue other options. O'Grady's decision may one day be remembered as being as bad a one - at least initially - as that taken by series star David Caruso before he returned to TV fame in CSI: Miami. Cuz frankly, Gail, the new series just stinks. There aren't too many shows out there that can combine gay-bashing, T&A and a totally laughless script, but Hot Properties pulls off this rare trifecta. The series, which was mercifully yanked after just half a season, revolves around a New York real estate company run by three women; but any attempt at comparing this effort to a similar "three women running a business" show, such as Designing Women, would be like comparing a Park Avenue penthouse to a Bowery flophouse. Given a DVD with three episodes on it, we managed to survive 1.3 before we rushed to the screen and shut it off. It was just too awful to bear, like discovering that the great new flat on the upper West Side you moved into has rats and windows that don't shut all the way. O'Grady plays Eva, the almost sane one, who keeps reminding us that she's married to a much younger man. Then there's the obnoxious, screechy Chloe (Nicole Sullivan of MADTV and King of Queens), whose idea of self-improvement is to "get bigger boobs" - just one of a flood of T&A lines that are simply embarrassing. The third member of the trio is Lola (Sofia Vergara), the bosomy, dopey Latin member just divorced from her husband of 10 years, who she finally discovered was gay. That leads to a raft of anti-gay lines, including an obnoxious reference to how women should properly use their "gaydar" to avoid falling for homosexual men. The first episode also introduced Emerson (Christina Moore), an airhead trust-fund ditz who joins the team after the girls help her determine that her fianc is cheating on her. Unfortunately, Jewish actor Evan Handler, who had a good part in Sex and the City, is also caught in this mess, playing a shrink with an office down the hall. Going from Sex and the City to this godawful disaster is like moving from a co-op with a doorman to a sixth-floor walk-up over an all-night bodega. As for those T&A lines, they're scattered all over the script, as when Lola, wearing a very low-cut blouse, tells her associates, "Our first client will be here soon, so I put everything out." "I'll say!" cracks Chloe. Cue laugh track. The rest pretty much focuses on Ava's being married to a younger man (Ava: "Those jokes are getting old." Lola: "Unlike your husband") to references to erections. What can we tell you? Vulgarity runs wild on this ABC loser. In fact, we were so appalled, we wondered how anyone could think this stinker would be suitable for filling any TV schedule hole. So we picked up the phone to Jasmine, which purchases movies and TV programs for HOT. The fax machine was on. So we tried sending an e-mail, hoping someone in program purchasing would explain that this was just something they were forced at gunpoint to take in order to bring us the wonderful Bleak House. We're still waiting for an answer... As the credits rolled, we noticed that this was a Warner Bros. production, with a banner proclaiming "50 Years of Quality." Jack Warner must be spinning in his grave. For his sake, spare yourselves a visit to this lowest of TV's low-rent districts.