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Soiling Mark Cuban's HDNet with The Super

Real-life slumlord Dave Paladino stars in The Super. HDNet photo

At last comes a series that makes even Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin' seem like the Metropolitan Opera.

It's HDNet's The Super, which owner Mark Cuban proudly touts as more evidence that "I make every program decision knowing what our viewers tune in to HDNet to watch -- shows other networks are too scared to air."

Or perhaps too embarrassed. Although with Hillbilly Handfishin' a ratings hit by Animal Planet's standards, there's really no telling what the traffic will bear these days. How about a show in which human excrement repeatedly is shown splattered on the walls and concrete floor of a sub-dump. Actually, The Super already offers that in an episode charmingly sub-titled "He Done Got Me In a Bad Mood."

That's the one sent for review in a packet of DVDs heralding HDNet's "most aggressive fall slate of original programming in our 10-year history," according to Cuban. It all starts on Monday, Oct. 17th with the returning Inside MMA followed at 8 p.m. (central) by The Super. The umbrella title is "Tough Guy Mondays."

Those who think they've developed cast iron stomachs watching the Dallas Cowboys find inventive ways to lose will still be wholly unprepared for The Super. It might be, it could be, it is the lowest-rent half hour TV series ever presented for consumption by humankind. If the NBA season ever gets started, Cuban should have it running on a continuous loop in opponents' locker rooms. They'll emerge with more dead brain cells than zombies from The Walking Dead. And have dysentery, too.

Prolonged exposure to The Super -- about five minutes should be enough -- also could be used to resolve the NBA lockout. Just put all parties in the same room with no way to escape. Then fire 'er up. Presto. Play ball.

While I try to regain my motor skills, let it be noted that the episode of The Super sent to TV critics isn't the one that will launch the series, according to HDNet's programming schedule. Instead the opener will be sub-titled "Good Luck with Your Cancer."

Same difference. In that one, "Super" Dave Paladino and his Omaha, Neb. crew discover "a family of hoarders living in absolutely filthy conditions." In the "He Done Got Me in a Bad Mood" episode, Super Dave and company strive to evict a knuckle-dragging, pot-bellied racist a-hole with bad teeth who's been leeching off a pathetic enabling woman who's consequently fallen behind in her rent payments.

Jimmy and Monica also have turned their residence into a horrid, bug-invested rathole that Cuban wouldn't even wish upon Phil Jackson. But in publicity materials, Cuban encourages the HDNet faithful to "follow Dave as he and his tenants show a side of life that few of us would ever want to experience."

Let alone watch. The Super's ridiculous drumbeats and other slam-over-the-head sound effects further soil a show that's instantly dirty to the touch. It makes sport of the truly destitute among us while almost lionizing the manager of properties that should be condemned without a further moment's hesitation.

If this thing is a hit, then get ready for urine-filled balloon toss competitions and tobacco-spitting for kindergarteners. Hell, they're probably already in development for some network somewhere. Memo to self: HDNet also should be applauded for continuing to invest in one of TV's best news series, Dan Rather Reports. It's still a night removed on Tuesdays, so let's grade The Super on the curve.