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'Hidden Palms': Welcome to the neighborhood

May 31, 2007 | 10:52 am

Hiddenpalms All right, fellow "Hidden Palms" viewers - let's get the rules straight up front. We know that this show is trash. We accept this. We embrace it. Because, deep down, we understand that there's nothing wrong with that. In the season opener, half of the actors from "The O.C.," and, oddly, "NYPD Blue," meet up in Palm Springs. In an homage to "Beverly Hills: 90210" -- they all work/hang out at a snooty country club and knife each other in the back. (Perhaps literally, it is hinted.) Supporting all this goofiness is pretty great soundtrack, and a little too much talky talky talky cringe-inducing dialogue.

As Times critic Robert Lloyd noted in his review Wednesday, Kevin Williamson, the creator of "Hidden Palms," also is the mastermind behind "Dawson's Creek" and the "Scream" movie franchise - and this show is a patchwork of both. Johnny, played by Taylor Handley, who was irritating Oliver on "The O.C.," moves to Palm Springs with his rebound-wedded mom, attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day, and is still reeling from seeing his drunk father commit suicide. He's the normal one of the cast of characters unfurled in the next hour. (He also continues the trend elucidated by Tobey Maguire in "Spider-Man" this summer - neatly swept aside hair = studious nice guy; brushed forward emo bangs = baaaaad.)

In the course of his first few days in town, he runs into a weepy babe who sprints through the sprinklers on the local golf course at night (in a white dress, of course), a prankster who likes to stage shadowbox murders and throw bloody rubber hands through windows, a pug that senses disturbences in the Force, and a chemistry-obsessed girl next door who likes to make things go boom and hides her shameful addiction to lip gloss. Oh, and a bingo-obsessed transvestite. It's a dishy mix, and sets the stage for some so-bad-its good fun for the weeks to come.

Hey, it's summer. Like you were going to settle down by the pool with "War and Peace"?

-- Ann Donahue

(Photo courtesy The CW)