Picks and Pans Review: Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular

updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FX (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

To go with its raunchy game show starring wild-man comic Bobcat Goldthwait, FX now has a splashy, Las Vegas variety series starring the gross-out kings of magic, Penn & Teller. Get the idea? This cable network is not after the same audience as The Learning Channel. On their second show (Aug. 17), Penn Jillette—bombastic partner of silent Teller—extolled "the geek act" as America's chief contribution to world culture. If you agree (or like pretending to), be sure to tune in. Todd Robbins, who drove a four-inch nail up his nose Aug. 17, returns Sept. 7 to eat a light bulb. Speaking of geek acts, Jerry Springer appeared on Aug. 24. The hosts deserve credit for presenting variety artists in the Ed Sullivan tradition—acrobats, animal acts—but the mainstream celebrities are mostly window dressing. When Teller topped off a card trick by cutting Dylan McDermott's throat, the fake blood wasn't worth the bother.

Bottom Line: For P&T fans, a spectacular; for others, an oddity

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