Titans Article #24

`Titans' Emerge As a Giant Race of Idiots


I believe the preferred manner of doing business is to induce members of the audience to laugh until they cry.

``Titans'' works it backward.

You can only weep for so long about how awful this show is, and then you give it up to the giggles.

Yes, it's time for the ritual crucifixion of Aaron Spelling, on the occasion of one of his new television programs.

With ``Titans,'' Spelling's apparent objective is to dumb down ``Dynasty.'' Sort of like adding caffeine tablets to espresso.

Nominally, ``Titans'' is a serial drama, about the filthy rich and regrettably tacky Williams clan of Beverly Hills.

They were aviation-rich in the original pilot. Someone decided that wasn't enough. Now they are Williams Global Enterprises.

Perry King, who is destined for an early exit from the series, is Richard Williams, who built the conglomerate and divorced his good wife, Gwen (Victoria Principal). She still lives just across the street.

Elder son Chandler (Casper Van Dien of ``Starship Troopers'') is a Navy flier who returns home to join the family business. His younger brother Peter (John Barrowman) is the snaky schemer of the family.

Their sister Laurie (Josie Davis) manages a chic nightclub owned by her mother. Another sister, Jenny (Elizabeth Bogush), is a slut.

The stick that stirs the kettle is Yasmine Bleeth -- I don't suppose she's often likened to a stick -- as the show's reigning vixen, Heather.

Heather gets around. She'd been Chandler's lover in Hawaii, and now she's about to become his stepmother.

Dad is so nuts about his foxy bride that he tears up the prenuptial agreement, while Bleeth practically makes smacking noises at the camera.

You can count on certain things in an Aaron Spelling production. One is that any actor or actress with a case of the uglies had better look for work on another show.

It's hard to tell who's prettiest in ``Titans,'' but it's probably Van Dien as Chandler. He's got that square- jawed look that'll make the girls, and some of the boys, go woof woof.

Pity that Van Dien is very possibly the worst actor to grace the small screen in at least two decades. But, first things first.

You can also be assured that you won't have to fry precious brain cells to figure out the characters.

To say that characters in a Spelling show are one-dimensional is to squeeze too hard on the word ``dimensional.'' Spelling characters are way too narrow to occupy an entire dimension.

Peter, for example. He makes his entrance slurping booze from a martini glass. That's it. Peter is a bad boy! Say no more.

For her part, Bleeth is first glimpsed -- opening scene of the show -- in a white bikini that you could stash in a bottle cap and still have extra space for character development. That space won't be used.

And you can rely on bad writing. In a topsy-turvy world, it's almost a relief to be able to depend on it.

The first words of the show are poor Chandler, deeply smitten by Heather, cooing, ``I don't know how to say this.''

Maybe five minutes later, Chandler returns to Beverly Hills and visits his mother, who says, ``Oh, Chandler, you've always known just the right thing to say.''

The irony doesn't seem intentional. Come to think of it, though, for Van Dien, not knowing how to say something is just the right thing.

NBC figured it was an opportune time for a soppy serial, now that ``Melrose Place'' and ``Beverly Hills, 90210'' are gone, and the network apparently put some thought into how to market ``Titans.''

They quickly ruled out ``prestigious new drama.'' I mean, the main drama for the next several weeks is whether King's character will die with a smile on his face.

The network brain trust settled on ``guilty pleasure.'' You heard it all through the Olympics: ``Titans'' is this season's guilty pleasure.

They certainly got the ``guilty'' part right.