Picks and Pans Review: Faking the Video

UPDATED 05/31/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/31/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

MTV (Mondays, 10:30 p.m. ET)

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You'll enjoy this exercise in "gotcha" TV only if you buy the dubious idea that deception is entertaining in itself.

Six showbiz hopefuls are put to work as production assistants on a big music video. What the tyros don't know is that the whole shoot is a scam designed to give them maximum stress and embarrassment. The director and producer are impostors, and the performers—Nick Lachey and Michelle Branch among them—are in on the gag. Each week one P.A. is fired but given lovely parting gifts. The survivor gets a chance to work on a real video—assuming he or she would want to after this experience.

Almost nothing in the May 24 premiere is remotely funny. A flustered female P.A. has to measure the inseam of B2K's Omarion, and a male rookie is caught mildly flirting with the R&B singer's pretend girlfriend. "I wanted to laugh so bad," Omarion says. Me too—just give me a reason.

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