Sordid Lives: The Series

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Airdate: 10-10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 23

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After three years, Logo, the MTV cable channel targeting an LGBT audience, reaches just 33 million homes, a relatively low profile. Its newest original series, however, may give it the jolt of recognition it needs.

"Sordid Lives: The Series," a sort of "Mama's Family" meets "Will and Grace," boasts a cast that even the broadcast networks would be happy to assemble, including Rue McClanahan, Caroline Rhea, Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, Olivia Newton-John and Leslie Jordan. Margaret Cho is a guest star in the premiere.

Not since "Soap" ended 27 years ago, with an ensemble that included Katherine Helmond, Robert Guillaume and Billy Crystal, has there been a show quite like this one. But where "Soap" ridiculed the the well-to-do, "Sordid Lives" plays out like a white trash daytime drama on steroids. In each episode, outrageous things happen to outrageous characters, often producing outrageous laughs.

For the most part "Sordid Lives," written, directed and exec produced by Del Shores, takes place in and around a small Texas town. In the opener, Latrelle (Bedelia) can't find family matriarch Peggy (McClanahan), who has just offered Bitsy Mae (Newton-John), the town bar singer, a place to stay after she finished serving her sentence.

Peggy's family tree has a nut hanging from just about every branch. Her brother, Brother Boy (Jordan), dresses in drag, resides in a state mental hospital and idolizes and impersonates Tammy Wynette. Peggy's son, Ty (Jason Dottley), an aspiring actor in Los Angeles, can't fathom that he is gay and is being stalked by an ex-girlfriend.

Cast members are enthusiastic. Even the budget sets are as convincing as they need to be. Shores has created a funny, loopy, off-kilter comedy that, truth be told, probably would play just as well on other cable channels, including Comedy Central and TV Land.

Cast: Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, Rue McClanahan; Olivia Newton-John; Caroline Rhea; Newell Alexander; Ann Walker, Margaret Cho
Production: Del Shores Prods. and Once Upon a Time Films.
Executive producers: Damian Ganczewski, Del Shores, Stanley M. Brooks.
Co-executive producers: Rob Eric, Michael Williams.
Co-producer: Emerson Collins.
Director-writer: Del Shores.
Director of photography: David Sanderson.
Production designer: Paul Avery.
Set director: Hannah Beachler.

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