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The TV Column

Grown-ups get four new titillating shows to test

By Michael Storey

This article was published July 17, 2014 at 2:08 a.m.

judy-greer-and-nat-faxon-star-as-a-couple-struggling-to-control-the-family-chaos-in-fxs-new-comedy-married-the-series-debuts-at-9-pm-today

Judy Greer and Nat Faxon star as a couple struggling to control the family chaos in FX’s new comedy Married. The series debuts at 9 p.m. today.

A quadruple whammy of adult-oriented entertainment debuts this evening. They'll either be welcomed as refreshing, envelope-pushing new series, or condemned as further evidence that TV has descended into the soul-sucking abyss of trash, crudity and degradation.

Let's start with the new half-hour comedies on FX.

COMEDY

Married, 9 p.m. It's the weary demands of modern married life -- a 21st-century take on Married ... With Children.

Nat Faxon (Ben and Kate) and Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) star as freelance designer Russ and stay-at-home mom Lina Bowman, a "miserably in love" couple with three demanding daughters, a pile of debt, a messy home in the suburbs and (much to Russ' frustration) a non-existent sex life.

Despite being, superficially, a depressing glimpse into marital relationships, Russ and Lina are always eventually reminded that they're best friends. We feel that somehow they'll make it through the small stuff.

Also on hand are their best friends AJ (Brett Gelman), who is recently divorced, and Jess (Jenny Slate), who is married to a much older man who can't keep up.

Married is the latest FX sitcom to draw its humor from the darker, more depressing side of comedy as does Louie.

Stick with it past the pilot and the scenes where Russ gets banned to the couch and Lina buries herself in vampire novels for fulfillment. It's worth it for the wit and glimmer of hope that comes after she gives him permission to have sex outside of marriage.

You're the Worst, 9:30 p.m. FX would have a sweet little broader appealing romantic comedy on its hands if it were not for the steamy sex scenes. Serious steam. Soft-core porn steam.

No actual naughty parts are shown, but FX comes very close. I haven't seen this much skin on FX since Nip/Tuck. Let there be no doubt, series stars Chris Geere and Aya Cash are not shy. You have been warned. Don't go there if you will be offended.

Geere and Cash star as narcissistic, brash and self-destructive Jimmy Shive-Overly, and cynical, stubborn, self-destructive Gretchen Cutler.

Both believe all relationships are doomed so, naturally, when they meet at a wedding, they end up in bed. Against the odds, they begin to fall for each other.

Also in the cast are Desmin Borges (The Good Wife), who portrays Edgar Quintero, Jimmy's once homeless, war veteran roommate, and Kether Donohue (The Carrie Diaries) as Lindsay Jillian, Gretchen's best friend and former wingman who's now struggling with married life.

On the surface, Jimmy and Gretchen are not very nice people. Once they get together, you tend to root for them and hope they cancel out their individual toxicity to bring out the best in each other. Along the way, witty, intelligent comedy ensues.

DRAMA

And now, tonight's two new dramas on USA. Both are also for adults, but USA is nowhere near as bold and daring as bad boy FX.

Rush, 8 p.m. Think of this as the medical version of Ray Donovan. Both involve "fixers" in Los Angeles.

In this case, Welsh actor Tom Ellis (Life on Mars) stars as rogue physician William Rush, a hard-partying freelance medical fixer to L.A.'s rich and famous.

Rush's discretion, however, comes with a hefty price. Rush will do almost anything for the money, but when former lover Sarah Peterson (Odette Annable, House) re-enters his life, she might just make him want to change.

Why'd Rush go rogue? A few years prior, he was a top surgeon on a promising track working alongside his father (Harry Hamlin), and his best friend, Alex (Larenz Tate), and he was in love.

Bad things happened. His career crashed and he turned to being a fixer.

Jump ahead six years and his business is thriving when Sarah returns. USA says, "It's challenging to pursue an ex while on a strict regimen of substance abuse and navigating the medical needs of actors, gangsters, musicians and other troubled inhabitants of Los Angeles."

Satisfaction, 9 p.m. Fan favorite Matt Passmore (The Glades) returns to TV as Neil Truman, an investment banker who discovers his seemingly happy wife Grace (Stephanie Szostak, The Devil Wears Prada) is having an affair with a male escort.

Using the escort's cellphone contact list, Neil pretends to be the escort and meets with women to try to understand what it is that leads them to stray from their marriages.

Meanwhile, Grace begins to examine her life and whether the marriage is worth saving.

USA labels the series "a provocative drama that explores modern marriage at its midpoint" and says it answers the question, "What do you do when having it all is not enough?"

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 07/17/2014

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