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'BEACH' PARODY FIGHTS THE TIDE OF GOOD TASTE

Acombination of the sophomoric humor of "Police Squad!" and "Baywatch" titillation, FX's "Son of the Beach" (10:30 tonight, basic cable) is everything you'd expect from a series from Howard Stern Productions.

Tasteless, irreverent and more than occasionally funny enough to make you feel just a little bit guilty about laughing.

How tasteless you ask?

There are jokes at the expense of sick children, characters named after sex acts, slang words for sexual organs, stereotypical depiction of minorities and the usual number of lesbian references in a Stern program.

In other words, John Rocker could be the show's biggest fan.

But one expects that enough people will realize that the humor isn't mean-spirited or intended to make waves, resulting in this "Son of the Beach" sailing to uncharted ratings waters for FX.

In the Leslie Nielsen role as a lovable dimwit with unfathomable power is Tim Stack ("Nightstand With Dick Dietrick"). With a rather hairless, flabby chest that lacks a tan and the muscles you'd expect, Stack is Notch Johnson, supposedly the world's greatest lifeguard. The joke is that he's saved almost as many lives as MacDonald's has served hamburgers.

How much of a lightweight is he?

He can't even accurately pronounce the name of a social disease.

His lifeguard crew on the shores of Malibu Adjacent wear yellow swimsuits instead of the red ones made famous on "Baywatch."

Although his company produced the show, Stern does not appear. The crew includes:

B.J. Cummings, a shapely airhead played by a January 1999 playmate of the month, Jaime Bergman.

Jamaica St. Croix, a lifeguard played by Leila Arcieri, whose previous credits include Nickelodeon's "Cousin Skeeter" and serving as the Coors Lite Beer 2000 Spokesmodel.

Kimberlee Clark, a wholesome type who is an undercover agent for the mayor, played by Kim Oja, whose credits include a few Aaron Spelling series and "Touched by an Angel." Go figure.

Chip Rommel, an Austrian lifeguard with Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscles, played by Roland Kickinger.

Mayor Anita Massengil (Lina Banes pretending to be Glenn Close), who hates Notch and tries to embarrass him. But she can't outsmart him, even with the help of her gay son.

In tonight's episode, Notch goes undercover to save some Cambodian boat women from a life of prostitution. There are more bad plays on words than there are broken shells on the beach. And since most of them have sexual connotations, none will be repeated here.

But my favorite part of this silly half hour doesn't have any dialogue anyway -- it is the amusing use of the music from the old series, "Twin Peaks."

Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 4

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