REASON TO WATCH
8 p.m. Wednesday on Showtime
Josh T. Ryan is a gun shop owner in Colorado who got a curious idea - why not set up some cameras around the ol' shop to film customers as they come in to purchase weapons of mass destruction, then sell the whole shebang to Showtime? Josh is a hail-fellow-well-met type. His hair is so carefully coifed and his pancake makeup so expertly applied that he may remind you of "The Bachelor's" Chris Harrison. They could be brothers - except one guy sells love, the other death. In any event, people do come to his shop - dads with ample bellies, moms with kids, even a pastor, who explains, "I think there's a biblical principal that's very sound" in support of blowing someone away who threatens your life or limb. Most of the people seem like your average middle-class white suburbanites; no one even slightly resembles any of the cast of "Sons of Anarchy," at least in the pilot. A pity.
BOTTOM LINE: Yeah, the first thought that comes to mind is "Bowling for Columbine." Right state, same general idea - a sort of candid look into the heart and mind of people who like the feel of hard, cold steel in their hands. Michael Moore, of course, wanted to expose the horrors of gun ownership. Ryan apparently wants to expose the bores. And dull these heat-packers are - rattling on about their favorite Glock, or piece with the best kick, or weaponry that might scare off intruders by sight or sound alone. Oh, for just one wild-eyed, heavily inked, badly scarred, deeply disturbed maniac to wander in off the street, and thereby instantly confirm all our worst fears. Instead, we get some slightly bent soccer moms and dads debriefed by an impossibly cheery, cheesy, chummy game-show host. Showtime must have thought there would be great humor and irony in the mundane exchanges recorded here. But it miscalculated. Badly.