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Armed and Famous

(CBS) 8 p.m. Wednesday

Calling all cars! The Surreal House residents have escaped and run off to join the police department in Muncie, Ind. That sums up CBS' "Armed and Famous," in which five B-list celebrities are trained for three weeks, then made reserve police officers in the blue-collar town. If this doesn't amputate the long arm of the law, nothing will.

The police cadets are Erik Estrada of "CHiPs," singer La Toya Jackson, wrestler Trish Stratus, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna of "Jackass" and Ozzy Osbourne's son, Jack. In a splendid moment of TV irony, they go from being unable to get arrested to being empowered to do just that.

In academic circles, Muncie is famous for being "Middletown, USA," the home of several groundbreaking studies in sociology. In this Tom Forman and Good TV production, though, the most surprising result from this experiment in celebrity law enforcement is the expressions on the faces of Muncie cops when these Hollywood refugees earn passing scores.

Yes, this show really belongs on VH1 or Fox Reality and, yes, that whirring sound you hear might be coming from Frank Stanton's newly dug grave. Remember, though, that the midseason now belongs to Fox and "American Idol." That gives rise to a "what-have-we-got-to-lose" mentality that in turn makes shows like "Armed and Famous" possible.

Barry Garron



Tease

(Oxygen) 9 p.m. Wednesday

Somebody actually had to greenlight this, shocking though that might be. "Tease" is a reality show in which famed "master stylists" (there's an oxymoron for ya) compete via a "mane event" with lesser-knowns before a disturbingly enthusiastic studio audience in a "hair-a-torium" for scissors supremacy. Armageddon truly must be right around the corner.

When you're Oxygen, "Tease" evidently qualifies as high cultural art, though it simply isn't possible for original programming to be less consequential than this. Actress Lisa Rinna — she of the layered hair and glimmering teeth — hosts, managing somehow to keep a straight face throughout an exercise that has the uncanny capacity to actively destroy the brain cells of those who dare view it. Bye-bye neurons. Bye-bye synapses. It's been nice knowin' you. Talk about bringing stale new meaning to the term "cutting remarks."

The opener matches Laura and Roger, a couple of unknowns (are there actual "knowns" in this world?) who run their own salons in Texas and Tennessee, respectively. I think they unfortunately call the competition a "cut-off," but I'm not sure. I tried not to pay close enough attention. My active consciousness shut off after hearing this voice-over diatribe from Rinna: "Roger mixes his color using level-10 bleach and 20-volume developer to match the root color to the base color." Oh yes, of course, and thanks for speaking Swahili. We later learn from the three judges (yes, there are those, too) that the key to blow-drying hair is to "make sure it's really dry." I don't know about them, but I prefer my dried hair a little on the mildewy side.

A second cut competition obliges the stylists to make their women resemble Heather Locklear and, in a mind-numbing coincidence, Rinna. If I ever go on "Tease," I'll ask them to try to turn me into Geraldo Rivera, but I'm not anticipating an invite before the ax falls. After all, you know what they say: to hair is human; to cancel, divine.
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