RadioBDC Logo
Spinners | The Hold Steady Listen Live
 
 
< Back to front page Text size +

Is This the Best You Can Do, NBC? Really?

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  January 8, 2009 04:47 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

howie.jpg

When you’re on your deathbed, and the TV angel comes to soothe your fevered brow, and she tenderly asks if you have any regrets, and your first thought is, “I should have watched more Howie Mandel,” then have I got a show for you.

It’s called “Howie Do It,” and it’s a new, second NBC vehicle for the host of “Deal or No Deal.” Premiering Friday night at 8, “Howie Do It” is strictly for those who consider themselves to be Mandel-ophiles and who proudly worship at his soul-patched shrine. It’s for viewers who don’t mind co-dependently feeding Mandel’s flagrant love of attention. For the rest of us, though, this “Candid Camera” rip-off series is a boring bummer.

It‘s sad, really, how unimaginative “Howie Do It” is. Given all the resources at NBC’s disposal, and given the fact that NBC is desperate to regain ratings footing, this is the best the executives could come up with? “Howie Do It” is about as ingenious as Pin the Tail on the Donkey. It's about as alluring as a nightly hour of Jay Leno. Standing before an adoring audience, Mandel introduces clips of old-fashioned hidden-camera pranks that make Ashton Kutcher’s “Punk’d” sketches look like FBI sting operations. Wow.

CONTINUED AFTER JUMP

In the first clip, a disguised Mandel tells two men that they’re auditioning to be on a weather channel. He then has them read lines while being sprayed with a hose, as if they’re outside in a storm. It’s not funny the first time, or the tenth time, either. Another prank has a man auditioning for a job as a bunny who sings telegrams. But guess what: Howie and Co. send him to a fake funeral, where the fake widow asks him to sing to her fake husband’s dead body -- and then the body steps out of the fake coffin.

Oddly, when Mandel wears a wig so that the mark won’t recognize him, and his face is framed by stringy locks of dark hair, he looks a lot like Tommy Lee. But still, I found it hard to believe that the marks didn’t recognize Mandel while he was punking them. I also kept wondering if some of the marks were aware they were being filmed for a reality show, since they don’t seem entirely shocked.

Not that the audience doesn’t love-love-love watching these clips. The hour is peppered with shots of audience members busting their guts because the pranks are so darn hysterical. And if “Howie Do It” does become a hit, I guess there’s a silver lining after all. Beginning next week, the show will be the lead-in for the return of “Friday Night Lights.” Mandel could be a questionable means to a valuable end.

Are you a Mandel-ophile?

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

11 comments so far...
  1. Howie has always been a great stand-up comedian and he once in a while pranks on Leno are fun but to base an entire show on it, I don't know if it will work.

    Posted by Patrick January 8, 09 08:40 AM
  1. If NBC had any brains at all , they would try to get Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David to develop another series for them.

    Posted by n January 8, 09 08:48 AM
  1. I've always liked Howie Mandel, but this sounds pretty bad

    Posted by Johnny January 8, 09 08:54 AM
  1. This show won't last a month. It will take its place in history aside Rosie Live!

    Posted by Joe January 8, 09 10:29 AM
  1. If any of the "Reality" shows that are on MTV can succeed, then this show totally has a chance. We seem to underestimate the lack of taste in the TV viewing public. I bet this thing will be a hit.

    Posted by Tom January 8, 09 11:14 AM
  1. If any of the "Reality" shows that are on MTV can succeed, then this show totally has a chance. We seem to underestimate the lack of taste in the TV viewing public. I bet this thing will be a hit.

    Posted by Tom January 8, 09 11:14 AM
  1. I'd MUCH prefer re-runs (remember those?) of scripted comedy/drama series (e.g. 'Chuck', 'Life') to yet another month-long spate of reality throw-the-pasta-and-see-if-it-sticks-to-the-wall shows. Especially if they're starring Howie.

    Posted by What ever happened to 'Journey Man'? January 8, 09 11:17 AM
  1. I am so afraid for Friday Night Lights with this garbage as a lead-in.

    Posted by Chris January 8, 09 02:09 PM
  1. The creators, actors, and fans of "Friday Night Lights" should all exhale. I mean, were we not all holding our breath's in hopes of a green light for a new season? I was! That was, however, when I thought NBC might be able to pull in some more viewers. I really don't know that much about Howie Mandel or this show that he is hosting, but I think we can all say with quite a bit of certainty that the same people that would enjoy "Howie Do It", would never understand nor care about "Friday Night Lights".

    Posted by Alyssa January 8, 09 10:55 PM
  1. I thought 8pm was family viewing time. Glad my Grandchildren were not
    here watching with me...............this is adult material not fit for 8pm time slot.

    Posted by teatime January 9, 09 09:37 PM
  1. If you want this show to stay on the air, Howie, you're going to have to come up with some new segments. It's getting boring watching a lot of the same old ones. I really wish you could be on the air more with Deal or No Deal. Now, there's a WINNER!

    Posted by Ann Kimble February 6, 09 08:09 PM
 

About Viewer Discretion

What we're watching on TV.

Contributors

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.

Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.

archives