“Complete Savages” is the latest addition to
ABC’s Friday night line-up of mediocre sitcoms, and it fits
right in. The show follows the antics of five teenage boys raised
by their single firefighter father who has the voice and parenting
style of a drill sergeant.

Beth Dykstra
Sex or weightlifting? (Courtesy of ABC)

The Savage men spend the pilot in a tug-of-war over whether to
hire a new housekeeper, since the last one quit and made a bonfire
of their clothes in the backyard. The father, Nick Savage (Keith
Carradine, “Deadwood”), has finally realized what pigs
his sons are and declares that they are going to learn to clean up
after themselves. These boys, obviously the only modern teenagers
never to have heard the word “chores,” do their very
best to revolt, establishing the show’s main premise that
these guys are really gross. They stoop as low as to bring in the
neighbors’ trash and throw it about the home. No dorm room
could dream of being so vile. Still, Nick prevails, tricking the
boys into cleaning because he is the by far the smartest person in
the house.

One of the main problems with “Complete Savages” is
the Savage boys themselves. Each fits neatly into a teenage male
stereotype, the kind that populates every high school, and winds up
being wholly uninteresting. There’s Chris (Erik Von Detten)
the jock who weight-trains in the living room, and Jack (Shaun
Sipos) the sensitive boy who strums his acoustic guitar constantly.
There’s also Sam (Andrew Eiden), the nerdy one who harbors a
crush on the cute neighbor girl across the street.

The few bright spots in “Complete Savages” are
Carradine as the all-knowing Nick Savage and some good one-liners.
While the boys themselves are annoying, some of their lines are
pretty funny. As the garbage piles up higher and higher in the
kitchen, Sam tries to sneak out some trash and tells Jack that
it’s because he saw the garbage move. “Even maggots
need exercise,” Jack replies.

Unless the Savage boys can manage to flesh out their
one-dimensional roles, the future for “Complete
Savages” looks bleak. ABC could use a break-out sitcom right
now, but this sure isn’t it.

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