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'Happy Town': Mayberry was never like this

In Our Town, Thornton Wilder peeked behind the facade of small American towns and found them undergirded Happytown by unfulfilled passions and thwarted ambitions. Then, in Peyton Place, Grace Metalious revealed they were chock-full of drunks and whores. After that, in Salem's Lot, Stephen King exposed them as nests of vampires. And now comes ABC's Happy Town, in which they're populated mainly by pedophile kidnappers and psycho serial killers.

Am I the only one who think small-town America needs a better publicist? Man, Kate Gosselin, the Octomom and hemorrhagic fever all have higher approval ratings. I wouldn't be surprised if George Romero's next movie is about the travails of a bucolic, mild-mannered family of zombies suddenly set up by rampaging Small Town Americans. Read my full review of Happy Town in Wednesday's Miami Herald.

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