Sometimes networks make the job of a television critic pretty darn easy. Like now, when UPN has its latest unwatchable show "As If."

So it's just so simple to write something like . . . UPN's latest half hour marks a high point in TV comedy — "As If."

Or . . . "As If" anybody is going to watch this.

"As If" is an American adaptation of a British show, and maybe something was lost in the translation. It's awful.

Actually, it's beyond awful. What with the weird camera angles and effects — an attempt, apparently, to be hip and happenin' — viewers would be well advised to take a Dramamine before tuning in.

"The show moves at a pace that I've never seen in an American show except for a cartoon," said executive producer John Collier. And he said it like that's a good thing.

"As If" follows the lives of six young adults. And I use the term adult loosely. Basically, they're all obsessed with personal relationships. Well, they're all obsessed with sex.

In the pilot (Tuesday, 8 p.m., Ch. 24), Jamie (Derek Hughes), who's sort of a geek, relentlessly pursues Nicki (Adrienne Wilkinson), despite the fact that she's "out of his league." That according to Sooz (Emily Corrie), the dreadlocked, pierced, tattooed, sarcastic one who's secretly in love with Jamie herself.

Yes, Nicki does seem like quite the prize — she uses Jamie so that she can have meaningless sex with a guy who's already got a girlfriend. And then she's upset when the guy doesn't leave his girlfriend for her.

The rest of the cast includes Alex (Robin Dunne), the gay one; Sasha (Tracie Thoms), the drama queen; and Rob (Chris Engen) the hipster with attitude.

Basically, if your idea of funny is watching a guy shuffle through his condoms looking for the perfect one for his upcoming date, then "As If" is the show for you.

THE RANDOM YEARS: Yet another comedy about twentysomethings who often seem to have sex on their minds, but this one is about as different from "As If" as it could possibly be.

It's good-natured and goofy. Certainly not award-winning material, but likeable.

"Random" (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., Ch. 24) follows the lives of three roommates who've been friends since grade school. Alex (Will Friedle of "Boy Meets World") is the most successful of the trio — he's a magazine researcher trying to work his way up to music critic. Wiseman (Joshua Ackerman) is a dental technician who's sort of an oddball.

And Todd (Sean Murray) is seemingly glued to the couch. He's going to get a job and a life — someday — but for now he's content to just hang out.

Thrown into the mix is the new neighbor down the hall, the highly motivated Casey (Natali Cigliuti), a young woman who knows what she wants in life and is busy going after it.

According to creator/supervising producer Nate Reger, it's based on the time he and his writing partner, Mike Lisbe, spent in New York after graduating from college.

"It's sort of that time in your life pre-any responsibilities," he said. "You can get involved in any sort of adventure that happens. Your work life hasn't become that important to you yet. It's sort of just about your relationships with your friends and the people you meet out in the city."

Which isn't a whole lot to hang a series on, but at least "Random Years" has cast appealing actors.


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