Titans Article #32

'Titans': An Epic Clash of Cliches

(By Megan Rosenfeld, altavista.com)

The best way to watch "Titans," the bubblesome new prime-time soap debuting tonight at 8 on Channel 4, is to make a game of it. One possible game is Guess the Next Line, which will test your knowledge of television formulas of the Aaron Spelling school and amuse you far more than the actual show.

For example: The opening shot is of Yasmine Bleeth in a white bikini in Hawaii. The next shot shows her and Casper Van Dien, a Navy pilot, kissing passionately. What is the next line?

"My leave ends tomorrow," pants the chisel-chinned Van Dien.

You could also try a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, only call it Pin the Cliche on the Actor. For five points each, pick the performer who plays: 1) The alcoholic. 2) The jealous, manipulative brother. 3) The jealous, manipulative sister. 4) The stoic, long-suffering spouse. 5) The conniving, manipulative Yasmine Bleeth. Oops! I let the cat out of the bag. And I mean that literally.

The show features a lot of very tiny women in very skimpy clothes who live in great big McMansions in Beverly Hills.

"Your father's getting married, and he needs your support," coos Victoria Principal, as first wife Gwen Williams, to her two grown daughters, who are about to trip across Beverly Hills Drive in their high heels to their dad's mansion for his engagement party. One (Elizabeth Bogush) is wearing a halter top barely worthy of the name, and the other (Josie Davis) is zipped into a sheath that will split if she even thinks of sitting down. "You look very nice, very appropriate," says Mom. This is Beverly Hills 90210 Redux. Or Beverly Hills 32-18-30.

There's an antique quality to the whole thing, as though fellow creators Charles Pratt Jr. and Charles Correll, like Spelling, started their careers sometime in the 1960s and never left, marooned in a time zone where airline passengers walk directly onto the tarmac, people still get telegrams, and the women are all conniving bimbos. The only modern touch is that the bad boyfriend's boat is named Monica. Very nice! Very appropriate!

But let's talk about the "plot."

Later in the first episode, Navy Pilot Chandler Williams (Van Dien) arrives home to find that his magnate Dad (Perry King) is about to marry . . . guess who? Heather Lane, the girl in the white bikini! He decides not to spoil his father's happiness by spilling the beans. That's really about it for tonight, aside from all the clumsy character-development information, most of which you can add to your cliche quiz:

Which character's parents died in a car wreck on an icy road in Cleveland when she was 7?

Which character was adopted?

Who developed the family business from a small aviation company to a global conglomerate?

And fill in this blank for the show's cliffhanger: "Congratulations, [name here], I'm pregnant, and the baby is yours. . . ."

I can hardly wait to find out what happens. In future installments, Dad's brother comes back to make eyes at Gwen, and she takes in her "street-smart nephew" in order to draw in younger audiences. I predict there will also be a car accident, a major illness and a financial crisis. And someone or something will die. Probably this show.