WB's 'Grounded for Life' is same old grind

The summer repeat season is coming to an end. Fox already kicked off its fall season with episodes of the new soap "The O.C.," and tonight the former Fox comedy "Grounded for Life" (8 p.m., WB) begins its second season on The WB with an hourlong episode.

For the uninitiated, "Grounded" stars Donal Logue and Megyn Price as Sean and Claudia, working-class parents in Staten Island, N.Y., trying to raise three kids while still striving to stay as frisky and "cool" as they were in high school way back in the 1980s. It's not a pretty sight. Claudia, Sean's high school sweetheart, endures her hubby's shenanigans with bemused affection. In other words, she plays Alice to his Ralph -- if you can imagine the cast of "The Honeymooners" spending their time at a Ramones concert. Yes, "Grounded" follows in television's long tradition of depicting working-class dads as boorish, clueless dolts, prone to violence and self-delusion.

In tonight's predictable season opener, Sean flips out when he discovers that his eldest daughter, Lily, has had sex with the boy next door. Sean reacts with much sputtering and spends some free time destroying Christmas decorations.

  • It's an easy transition from "Grounded for Life" to "Trash to Cash with John DiResta" (10 p.m., FX). DiResta is host of "Trash" with his brother Jimmy. Together, they offer a low-budget, lowbrow take on home improvement. In tonight's episode, they redecorate a basement for a Las Vegas-themed bachelor party and only spend $96 in the process. Clearly aimed at fans of "The Man Show" and other Neanderthal fare, "Trash" manages to be both predictably vulgar and surprisingly inventive.
  • On tonight's "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC), Barbara Walters interviews actor Macaulay Culkin, the former "Home Alone" child star who will soon appear on the big screen in the role of convicted murderer Michael Alig in the drama "Party Monster," set in New York's druggy nightclub demimonde. In a separate story, correspondent Bill Ritter will look back at the sordid story that inspired the film.
  • "NOW with Bill Moyers" (8 p.m., PBS) examines the exploitation of female workers in developing countries, including Thailand and Senegal, and how corporations move their factories from one low-wage market to another in order to sell shoes, sneakers and clothes at lower prices in the United States.


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