Warning Sign No. 1 that a TV series isn't going to stick around long: It gets dumped in the summer, when 58 people are watching television shows not named Survivor. Warning Sign No. 2: Said series debut gets shelved at the last minute, meaning every TV critic in the country has already reviewed the show before it ever airs. Fox was scheduled to debut Opposite Sex--written by Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein, the duo responsible for the Drew Barrymore no-brainer Never Been Kissed--June 28, only to yank the show from its Wednesday-night schedule after Survivor proved to be invincible competition. Not that anyone would confuse the two shows--one features a gay corporate consultant given to nude spear-fishing, the other deals with a teenage boy sent to a formerly all-girls' private school in Northern California--but Fox was rightly terrified about debuting a new series against a surprise ratings behemoth and opted to move it to Monday nights beginning July 17. So, who's the network going to blame when no one watches the show this time?
Opposite Sex is hardly the worst show on television--or Fox, for that matter, as long as Family Guy stays on the air--but it never transcends its High Concept. It might as well posit itself as science fiction: Three guys--including 15-year-old Jed Perry (Milo Ventimiglia), a recently dumped East Coast boy moved by his single dad out West--find themselves the lone possessors of penises on a pastoral campus populated by would-be supermodels who might be in their mid-30s...and end up hating every second of it. They hate their pink gym clothes, the salad bar in the cafeteria, the janitor's closet they're forced to use as a dressing room; surprisingly, they're not forced to urinate sitting down. Worse, the girls hate having boys sully their school's pristine rep as a chick feeder for the Ivy League schools. Must have something to do with cooties.
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What makes Opposite Sex hard to stomach is that it feels compelled to admit it's just a dumb-ass TV show. Before the credits roll, Jed and his soon-to-be-ex are rolling around in a candle-lit bedroom; they're doin' it, man. Only they're not: It's a fantasy sequence. Then, just when you're suckered in, Jed wanders into the girls' locker room, only to find himself face-to-face with an angry coach. "Sorry," he mutters. "I thought this was a fantasy sequence." Hard to believe Freaks and Geeks, the best show ever made about high school, gets the death sentence, while something as puerile and silly as Opposite Sex gets a second chance.