Titans Article #3

Soapy `Titans' is Spelling camp for NBC

By Marisa Guthrie

PASADENA, Calif. - It's not high art, but a highlight reel of Aaron Spelling's campy new prime-time soap ``Titans'' drew whoops of glee from critics Monday during NBC's portion of the press tour.

The libidinous sudser, which will air Wednesday nights at 8 this fall, stars Perry King and Victoria Principal as the divorced parents of four grown children. Favorite son Casper Van Dien (``Starship Troopers'') is a hotshot fighter pilot. John Barrowman (who had a part in Spelling's ``Central Park West'') is his jealous younger brother. Jenny Williams and Josie Davis (another Spelling regular) play the sisters with baggage. Williams is an alcoholic and Davis is a control freak. And Yasmine Bleeth (who, amazingly, never has been in a Spelling series) plays King's conniving new bride.

The show features plenty of flesh, mostly Bleeth's, and the best cheesy dialogue this side of ``Dynasty.''

``The passion and the fashion,'' intones the clip's voice-over as Bleeth and Van Dien (yes, she had an affair with the son and now she's marrying the father) tumble around in bed. Cut to the wedding. Van Dien is walking Bleeth down the aisle. ``I'm pregnant,'' she tells him, ``and it's yours.''

``That you're laughing is good news,'' Spelling told critics. ``I think shows today have to have a sense of humor, even a little sense of camp.''

Bleeth's character has it in spades.

``I didn't know they were related,'' said Bleeth referring to her character's relationship with her new husband and his son. ``You sleep with one or two hundred men and everybody, you know, judges you.''

``Titans'' isn't NBC's only licentious series. But ``Tucker,'' starring Katey Sagal, is more problematic than ``Titans'' because it centers on the coming of age of a 14-year-old boy. When Tucker (Eli Marienthal) and his newly divorced mother move in with her acerbic older sister (Sagal) and her moronic son, hilarity is supposed to ensue. However, the pilot includes several minutes of Tucker holding his skateboard in front of his crotch in order to hide his excitement.

``It was just an example of something he has had absolutely no control over,'' said producer Ron Milbauer.