Dr. Steve-O



11:05 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1
USA Network

It isn't often that I'm full-on ashamed of my gender -- actually, wait, that isn't quite true, because I often am -- but "Dr. Steve-O" filled me with utter contempt for me and my male kind. It's like, no wonder women can barely tolerate us. Everything they say about us is tragically true. If even one guy above the age of 14 tunes to this colossal abomination and feels semi-entertained, there truly is no hope for our gender.

This weekly half-hour achieves the near-impossible by making us pine for the comparatively intellectual agenda of "Jackass" and "The Man Show." It stars the jolly sociopathic dolt known as Steve-O, who was featured on "Jackass" (both TV and film) as the guy who would go further than anyone else in his attempts at masochism and self-mutilation. He's kind of like a surfer dude crossed with a brain-damage victim, and in this "reality show" he purports to seek out the nerdy and lily-livered among us and "de-wussify" them by forcing each to face his fears in the most traumatic and humiliating fashion imaginable. However, if this is what you need to do to get on television, it could well be God's way of saying that you shouldn't be.

The idea here, I imagine, is to capture all of those young males who are still so wound up by USA's "Raw" WWE wrestling extravaganza that they can't even think of going to sleep. So here is Dr. Steve-O to sing them a nightmarish lullaby just after 11 p.m., his scantily clad blond-bombshell nurse by his side as he rides to the rescue of lame dudes everywhere in his tricked-out ambulance. In the opener, our sadistic hero "helps" one guy overcome his fear of bees by making him stand unprotected amid hundreds of them, a second to attack his public-speaking phobia by doing a stand-up comedy stint and a third to get past his fear of eating meat off the bone by, well, by putting a raw gutted turkey over his head and having a woman pummel his body. (I think that's pretty much the standard psychotherapy protocol.)

Throughout, the demented doc struts around with hyperkinetic hubris, slurring his words and showing himself to be devoid of anything that might be mistaken for charisma. To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, there is nothing to fear but Steve-O himself. But of him, we should be very fearful indeed.