Airdate: 10-10:30 p.m. Sunday, June 29 (Spike). 

In its hunt for young-adult male viewers, Spike has a new weapon. Its new improvised sitcom, “Factory,” which would almost certainly land with a thud on any of the broadcast networks, might turn out to be just right for the Spike crowd.

The show’s good-guy vibe and unpretentious blue-collar humor makes it a welcome addition to the summer landscape. And yes, it lacks killer lines and huge belly laughs, but a lot of men -- young and old -- will relate to the characters played by this accomplished if mostly unknown cast of improv veterans.

Credit for the series primarily goes to Mitch Rouse, creator, director and an executive producer. He came up with the idea of a comedy based on four friends since childhood. Their dreams have mostly evaporated, and now their ambition is just to make it to the end of the work day at the factory.

Rouse plays Gary, who would end his marriage if he could just catch his wife doing something that would give him a reason. The others in the group are Smitty (David Pasquesi), who can’t afford a divorce; Chase (Michael Coleman), who isn’t capable of sustaining a relationship; and Gus (Jay Leggett), who has been working up the courage to propose for 12 years.

Like Laverne and Shirley or Ralph and Ed, there’s nothing in these lives to envy except the friendship, which is the glue that holds this show together.

In the opening scene, the factory foreman dies after his tie gets caught in a machine. The four friends are somewhat improbably asked to choose a new foreman among themselves. An initial flash of ambition is quickly followed by a mutual realization that the promotion would bring unwelcome responsibility.

The camaraderie of the cast transcends the screen, and each makes improv look effortless, particularly Pasquesi, whose Smitty is laughably filled with ego and self-delusion.

Praiseworthy, too, at least from Spike’s point of view, is the ability of Rouse and the others to turn out a better-than-respectable comedy on the barest whisper of a budget.


Production: Screamin’ Chicken in association with 3 Arts Entertainment and Devlin Entertainment. Cast: Mitch Rouse, David Pasquesi, Michael Coleman, Jay Leggett, Renee Albert, Mark Beltzman, Shulie Cowen, Eliza Coyle, Tracey Foley. Executive producers: Mitch Rouse, John O’Lynch, Dave Becky, Michael Rotenberg. Producers: Michael Coleman, Jay Leggett, David Pasquesi. Director-creator: Mitch Rouse.

Supervising producer: Ken Lipman; Line producer: Lucy Huang; Director of photography: Brad Lipson; Production designer: Donna Willinsky; Editor: Leandro Marini; Set decorator: Mel Cooper; Casting consultant: Patricia Noland.