"The Full Nelson" will have you crying mercy long before its hour is up. 

Down for the Count

You're young. Say in your 20s. It's Saturday night. You're home alone, looking for something to watch on TV, to kill time. Or maybe you just want the tube on so you can hear the sound of another voice in the night.

Wait a minute.

There's something wrong with this whole premise.

Do people in their 20s ever stay home alone on a Saturday night?

Isn't that against the rules?

OK, so maybe one Gen-Xer in 10 may find him or herself alone at home on a Saturday night.

It could happen.

If it happens to you, Rob Nelson wants you to watch his show on the Fox News Channel. It's called "The Full Nelson."

Resist the temptation to succumb.

That's my best advice.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with Rob Nelson. He's a clever guy. He's young. He's bright. He's attractive. He's liberal. He's a political activist. He's even written a book.

But his show sucks.

It's the wrong show with the right guy as the host. Or maybe it's the other way around. Whatever.

"The Full Nelson" takes all the worst elements of TV talk shows and puts them together in one 60-minute lump. Guests you never heard of — or wish you'd never heard of. Guests who are booked because of their T&A appeal. Guests that you can count on to say something outrageous just to pretend they're cool. Guests that no other show wants. And then there's the audience — 50 people whose seats must be wired with cattle prods to make them squeal nonstop. Fifty people who applaud anything any guest says anytime. Fifty people who'd maybe be able to summon up one coherent opinion among them — if you gave them 24 hours to work on it.

Then there are the inane topics. One recent hour featured a Penthouse Pet, a Perfect-10 model and a stand-up comic on the make. Their topic was "Why Do Guys Ogle Girls?" Duh? For this we need a panel of experts? Men ogle women for the same reason Edmund Hillary climbed mountains.

Then there was Cory Feldman — "Gremlins" fans are sure to recognize that name — who's undergone treatment for heroin addiction three times. The topic: How many chances should a celebrity get to screw up? Feldman, in case you can't figure this one out on your own, thinks the answer should be "four."

Nelson's talents, and they are considerable, are wasted on "The Full Nelson." Here's a guy who was the co-founder of "Lead … or Leave," a political advocacy group focusing on the rights of young Americans. As something of an expert on intergenerational politics, he's appeared on the cover of U.S. News & World Report and in Time, Newsweek, USA Today and the New York Times.

This is obviously a guy with a working mind.

Surely he — and you — can do better than this on a Saturday

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