The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Simply Irresis-T-ible

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 13, 2006 4:28PM

It’s been an unusually active week for Chicago-related TV: first there was the announcement of an alliance between NBC and Second City, then the premiere of “30 Rock,” and now the new reality show from Mr. T “I Pity the Fool” which premiered on TV Land Wednesday night. He sure has come a long way from Robert Taylor.

All right, snicker all you want to about gold chains, Mohawks, and superduper black vans. Perhaps we’re sentimental, but as cheesy as it looks to our older and wiser selves we still have a soft spot for “The A-Team” and Mr. T was always our favorite. Last Christmas in fact our SigOth gifted us with a Mr. T keychain (which plays six of his catchphrases, including “Shut up, fool!” and “Quit your jibber jabber!”)

That same no-nonsense demeanor is coupled with plenty of tough love in the debut episode “Motivation.” Mr. T takes on the Nemet Motors car dealership, helping the employees get along better and increase sales in the bargain. Reality-style footage of Mr. T getting everyone pumped up or moderating Dr. Phil-style bonding moments are punctuated by linking segments with the Big T standing in some warehouse-looking space and reeling off rhymes like “Now that they did some learning, they were ready to do some earning.” One particularly hilarious moment has Mr. T castigating one of the car salesmen over his stubbornness to lower a car’s price by $35. “35!?” he barks. “That’s chump change! $35, that’s my lunch!”

By the end, everyone’s learned some lessons, gets along better, and gotten a big hug. Mr. T is so honest and genuine that we hope someone in Patrick Fitzgerald’s office is watching. That’d be a real A-Team!

“I Pity the Fool” airs on TV Land; the first episode is also viewable online.