Former music producer Todd Ray and his family run the Venice Beach Freakshow, a collection of two-headed animals, strange artifacts, eccentric performers and human wonders on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. The series, and Ray, tell viewers that feeling abnormal should be celebrated. In Thursday's premiere of "Freakshow" (8:30 p.m. CT Feb. 14, AMC; 2.5 stars out of 4), Ray searches for a bearded lady and tries to hire America's second tallest man, George Bell, who doesn't like the term "freak." Ray explains that "freak isn't a bad word at all" and shares his philosophy with the 7-foot-8-inch giant. "It's a realization that wonder is still alive on planet Earth," Ray says. "That's a great feeling." His passion for the peculiar is praiseworthy, and erases any misgivings that the venture is exploitation at its most blatant. Still it's not that easy to watch a guy called Morgue stick a hook in his nose until it comes out his mouth. That's freaky--and, well, ew. "Freakshow" is preceded at 8 p.m. by AMC's other new bizarre reality show, "Immortalized," a competition to find the most creative taxidermist. Curt Wagner, RedEye's Show Patrol Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page.
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