S.O.B. (Socially Offensive Behavior)
Empty10 p.m. Wednesday, July 25
The production could be sharper, but "S.O.B." gets gold stars for elevating the hidden-camera format. Subjects are caught off guard, of course, but not with mindless pranks intended just to make them look silly. Instead, we get their entertaining, embarrassed but thought-provoking reactions to highly charged social situations. Every episode is guaranteed to spark a discussion.
In the premiere, customers at a restaurant are seated in sections according to their ethnicity. In another segment, women getting pedicures are seemingly insulted by employees speaking in a foreign language. A third segment catches women's reactions to men dressed as priests who drink and ogle pictures of nudes.
Host D.L. Hughley has several good lines during his wraparounds and introductions, though his occasional popups during the actual episodes are extraneous. The talented repertory cast of actors remains mostly anonymous in this BET co-production with Franzke and 3 Arts Entertainment.
There are problems with "S.O.B." Segments run on too long and there are too few subjects in each of them. That makes it hard to tell how typical the reactions are. Also, there is no footage of the marks when they discover it was all a prank, only their edited reactions afterward, which are fairly dull. Still, this unusual blend of truth and humor is worth checking out.