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What's On

10/06/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

I Pity the Fool

TV Land - Wednesday, Oct. 11 (10 p.m.)

The 1980s icon Mr. T is back on the small screen with a new reality series on TV Land, aptly titled I Pity the Fool. Much like the series title, based on of one of the charismatic actor’s famous catchphrases, the series itself is a parody of the rugged, no-nonsense persona that made Mr. T famous over the past two decades through such theatrical movies as Rocky III and television shows like The A-Team.

In the first episode of I Pity the Fool, Mr. T takes on the challenge of motivating the staff of a struggling New York City car dealership to sell 20 cars in 48 hours. At one point, he dons a business suit and high-top sneakers to sell a car himself on the dealership’s show floor. An amusing confrontation soon occurs between Mr. T and Vince, the dealer’s financial closer, who initially refused to budge on a car’s price tag to help complete the car deal for Mr. T’s customer.

At the same time, he attempts to heal the fractured relationship between Scott, the dealership’s president, and his crabby father-in-law boss, Tom, through a one-on-one intervention, Mr. T-style.

The show exploits every bit of Mr. T’s cartoon-like but affable personality to create a show that’s more entertaining and comical in nature than motivational.

Going to Pieces

Starz - Friday, Oct. 13 (10 p.m.)

Starz’s original documentary Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of The Slasher Film recounts the history of the slasher genre of horror films that emerged in the 1980s — and the influence that movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th have had on Hollywood and popular culture. Criticized for their gore and violence, particularly toward women, these films nevertheless made millions of dollars for movie studios and laid the groundwork for the horror films of today.

Through interviews and cameos from famed directors such as Wes Craven (the Nightmare films) and John Carpenter (Halloween), the documentary traces mankind’s fascination with the macabre on film and stage beginning in the 1890s, when the horror-based Grand Guignol theater opened in Paris.

For horror fans, there are also scenes from nearly early every horror movie made during the ’80s and ’90s.

But the documentary’s interesting and insightful take on how the genre was a reflection of the times makes it a good watch for non-horror fans as well.

Going to Pieces also documents the genre’s decline in the mid-1990s and its eventual resurrection with movies such as Scream and The Blair Witch Project.

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