Acceptable TV



Web site:

Television was once for the lazy, the slouchers and the ploppers, the exhausted folk who found catharsis in a change of channels. Then "American Idol," then YouTube, and suddenly TV is all about participating. It's about voting has-beens off dance floors and would-bes onward to pop stardom. America has fallen in love with voting, and now you can't watch TV without actually, like, doing something.

And so it goes with "Acceptable TV," a new VH1 series that brings suffrage to comedy. The premise: Each 30-minute broadcast contains five three-minute skits, each a proposed TV series, and viewers are asked to vote for your favorite on The three skits with the fewest votes are canceled and replaced with new skits the following week.

Stentorian goofball Jack Black is the executive producer. Producers Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, creators of the short-film competition Channel 101 and original producers on the "The Sarah Silverman Program," are comedians pro temporecq of the 10-person cast.

The comedy is "Saturday Night Live" fast and loose. And better. There's "Joke Chasers," a "Mythbusters" spoof that follows two detectives looking for the origin of a Pollack joke. "Homeless James Bond" features 007 as a bum. His secret Q weapon: a clean shirt.

Then there's "Who Farted," which parodies "Deal or No Deal." ("Who do you want to eliminate? Wheelchair guy. Why? It would have been muffled.") Only the last of four skits, "The Teensies," was forgettable. Although that skit's premise -- a tiny family lives in a mouse door in a stoner's apartment -- will surely appeal to the target demo. Also: Giant spliffs are funny.

The show also has a bonus round: Each broadcast will feature an amateur skit that received the most votes on the Web site. That skit doesn't compete with the professional skits and doesn't return to television again, but the creators are encouraged to produce additional episodes, which will compete with other skits uploaded to .

The bifurcated Web and TV approach could work well for both VH1 -- which will drive a lot of comic talent to its site -- and the viewers-creators, who have a chance at television and Web stardom. The Web component, after all, has worked well for Channel 101's Web site, where several films that were "canceled" at the monthly forum -- like "Kicked in the Nuts!" -- have achieved wide visibility online.

In a market jonesing for ever more interactivity, this sped-up, hip show should do well.