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Son of the Beach

Reviewed by Beth Hannan Rimmels

Considering that it comes from Howard Stern Productions, itís no surprise that Son of the Beach (10:30 p.m. Tuesdays on FX) , like Howardís radio show, features big-chested women in skimpy outfits, juvenile sex jokes and tacky situations. Also like the radio show, itís very funny.

Tim Stack

The title refers to Notch Johnson (Tim Stack), head lifeguard of Malibu-Adjacent in this Baywatch spoof. Notch is earnest, well-intentioned, caring and flabby. Stackís deadpan style, honed on E!ís satiric Nightstand with Dick Dietrick, delivers the double entendre jokes perfectly. Too much tongue in cheek would have made it smarmy. Instead, itís childish humor in a good natured way.

Since no man, even a lifeguard, is an island, Notch has an able and hard-bodied staff to back him up. B.J. Cummings (Jaime Bergman) is a part time model who got her name from the menís volleyball team. Jamaica St. Croix (Leila Arcieri) is a former gang member from the inner city who became a lifeguard in tribute to her brother, who was killed in a "swim-by shooting." Kimberly Clark (Kim Oja) is the newest team member who tries to provide a rational perspective (though no one usually pays attention). And for the ladies in the audience, thereís Chip Rommel (Roland Kickinger), a German exchange student in the mold of a comedic Arnold Schwarzenegger with the pecs to prove it.

Kickinger, Bergman, Stack, Arcieri and Oja (l-r)

But all is not sunny on the beach. Anita Massengil (Lisa Banes), mayor of Malibu-Adjacent, hates Notch with a passion (and she regularly tries to express that passion with Chip). Determined to knock Notch down to size, she stoops to anything to hurt his reputation.

The show itself is a paradox. Itís amazing how it consistently manages to be clever in finding setups for stupid jokes. Or new ways to get the characters to not only strip down on the rare occasions they wear more than a swimsuit, but then suggestively rub oil over themselves. It takes smart people to create a show this silly, and it works. Howard may have waited a long time to try his hand at a sitcom, but it paid off. The only disappointment is that it canít be paired with Comedy Centralís South Park. The two shows were made for each other.

Rating: A minus


Review © 2000 Beth Hannan Rimmels. Accompanying photographs  © 2000 FX Networks, LLC. Photos: Blake Little.






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