'Whisker Wars' misses the mark

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'Whisker Wars'
  • When: 11 p.m. Friday, IFC.

"Whisker Wars" (11 p.m. Friday) may be the nadir of IFC's ironic, hipster-targeted programming. Perhaps it would work as a one-shot movie if executive producer Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch") brought a lighthearted tone to "Whisker Wars" similar to IFC's superior "Commercial Kings." Instead, Mr. Beers treats the "sport" of competitive beard growing with the utmost seriousness. Friday's premiere episode concludes with the U.S. Nationals in Bend, Ore., as men compete in categories such as moustache, partial beard, full beard groomed, freestyle and full beard natural.

The show's focus is almost entirely on the whisker warriors and their petty, bitter rivalries -- Jack Passion vs. Alex LaRoche --- but these are competitors you've never heard of in a sport most viewers probably don't know exists.

"Whisker Wars" gives a few glimpses into the care regimen of these mens' beards but fails to ask or answer an essential question: Why do they bother?


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