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Impractical Jokers gives truTV another "manly" pursuit

The Four Stooges of Impractical Jokers. truTV photo

Premiering: Thursday, Dec. 15th at 9 p.m. (central) on truTV
Starring: Brian Quinn, James Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano
Produced by: Charlie DeBevoise, Mark Hickman

Us douche bag, testosterone-pumped bags of maledom don't need a lot of encouragement to act like idiots.

Impractical Jokers further seals the deal anyway with "scenes of graphic stupidity" from four bosom buddies who have been double-dog daring each other since childhood. Or at least that's the premise of a half-hour's worth of stupid human tricks from Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano, who for inexplicable reasons isn't nicknamed Sal "The Volcano" Vulcano.

The show premieres Wednesday (Dec. 15th) with back-to-back episodes on truTV. Only the first dose was sent for review. And it goes down fairly easy is you're a fan of Jackass or those vintage Rupert Jee segments on Late Show with David Letterman, in which the host used to give him silly things to do via remote commands from afar.

Impractical Jokers is affixed with the tagline "Actual friends. Actual dares. Actually funny." Which sort of implies that truTV is surprised that the last boast actually could be true once or twice.

All of the dares are variations on the following: one of the guys is instructed to debase himself while the other three cackle themselves sick while remaining out of sight.

Joe is first up at a White Castle hamburger joint, where he poses as a counter guy. His pals instruct him to say and do stupid things, such as not looking at a customer or yelling at him. Joe wins the dare if he still manages to cajole someone into tipping him. Then it's someone else's turn until all four pals have passed or failed.

The other two dares involve a petition drive for various fake causes ("Allow whites in the military") and a stint as ribald Manhattan tour guides. Amazingly -- and predictably -- there's a "four-loser pileup in last place" after these three challenges.

A climactic "Do What You're Told" sequence at a Costco results in the loser receiving "the punishment of his pathetic, pointless life." In this case, that requires picking up a dollop of dog poop (with a protective glove at least) and holding it for a full 20 seconds.

The four pals are very likely to do way much more laughing than the average viewer. But truTV also is the home of Hardcore Pawn, Lizard Lick Towing, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura and World's Dumbest . . . So its core viewers already are well-schooled in expecting the least. And succumbing to it.

In that respect, Impractical Jokers manages to clear the dumb fun bar a time or two before redundancy starts lowering the boom. It's also perfectly capable of falling on its face into a pile of dog doo -- figuratively if not yet literally.

GRADE: C-minus