Documentary loaded for bore; comedy team has terrible aim
Ready… aim… snooze: Josh T. Ryan does his best to make Lock ‘N’ Load entertaining, but he’s fighting a losing battle.
By: Brad Oswald / Watching TV
21/10/2009 1:00 AM
Guns. Ammunition. Americans.
One might think — especially up hereabouts, where our more benign attitude toward firearms makes us believe we’re more evolved than our southern neighbours — that these three elements are all that’s required to create big, wild, out-of-control gun-toting craziness.
If the new reality series Lock ‘N Load is any indication, that might not be the case. The six-part documentary project, produced for U.S. cable’s Showtime network (and premiering in Canada tonight at midnight on Movie Central), offers viewers an inside look at American gun culture through the eyes of the staff and customers at a suburban-Denver gun shop called The Shootist.
The series’ description suggests we’ll be offered a fascinating look at a perhaps-troubling aspect of U.S. society. The truth is that Lock ‘N Load doesn’t deliver much of anything at all.
Obviously inspired by hidden-camera-reality shows like HBO’s intensely cheeky Taxicab Confessions, the producers of this new unscripted offering set up a handful of cameras in The Shootist’s showroom and downstairs firing range, conscripted salesman Josh T. Ryan to act as host/inquisitor, and then just waited for the real, gun-lovin’ folks to walk through the front door.
Unfortunately, what Lock ‘N Load reveals is that shopping for armaments is a rather ordinary American pastime carried out, mostly, by very ordinarily uninteresting people. Ryan does his level best to turn each sales opportunity into a fascinating, funny conversation, but almost everyone he encounters has very little to say.
Sure, there are occasional oddballs, like a church minister who makes regular visits to the firing range (“I love shooting… I think there’s a biblical principle that’s very sound — the notion of defending your family, your possession, your own life”), or the alarmingly uptight collector who turns up to collect his (legally) modified assault rifle (“I bought it because I love shooting guns; I love blowing s–t up”), or the numerous people for whom gun shopping is a family — toddlers and all — affair.
Mostly, it’s just ordinary folks looking to make a fairly commonplace purchase. Canucks hoping to find ammunition for their more-civilized-than-thou argument will be disappointed.
Lock ‘N Load fires blanks.