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In season two, 'Stacked' ogles openly

There's never any question what ''Stacked" is really about. And we're not talking books, or a deck of cards, or the odds against winning a bet.

This Fox sitcom is a bright prime-time tribute to Pamela Anderson's bosom, plain and simple. It's the same bosom we've seen on countless glossy magazine covers and in one grainy sex tape costarring Tommy Lee, and it's the same bosom that has provided Howard Stern with hours of verbal adoration. ''Stacked," which returns for its second season tonight at 8:30 on Channel 25, is so openly monomaniacal about its star's mammaries, it's fairly awesome.

Next week, for example, Anderson and guest Jenny McCarthy spend a few long minutes tactilely assessing each other's breasts. There's nothing covert about the intention of the scene, as the blond bombshells stand center stage, titillatingly grabbing at each other with open admiration. It's a bold silicone-on-silicone extravaganza, with no pretenses to look like anything else.

When ''Stacked" premiered late last season, it was a slapdash affair. The script was a chaotic series of unrelated clunkers, and for a few weeks, it had the distinction of being the worst sitcom on TV. Of course, it went on to become a small hit for Fox, and it returns tonight as one of the network's ratings hopefuls since ''Arrested Development" and ''Kitchen Confidential" have failed to catch on. It has been given a little more direction and clarity of vision (directly onto Anderson's upper torso), although it's still fully awful.

OK, there is a putative plot. Anderson's Skyler is a recovering bimbo who works among the intellectuals of Stacked Books. She's trying to change from party girl into a woman of substance, but her three co-workers, including the two brothers who own the store, persist in viewing her as vacuous. They see her as a sex object, especially Stuart (Brian Scolaro), who is so smitten with her he continually makes a fool of himself.

After one embarrassing moment with Skyler, he says, ''How am I going to look her in the eye?" ''Shouldn't be a problem," brother Gavin (Elon Gold) snaps back. ''It's not where you usually look."

The oddest thing about ''Stacked" is Anderson herself, who doesn't quite know how to play comedy. When she delivers her punch lines, she accompanies them with nonsensical facial and body tics as if to signal that they're funny. While history has given us dumb blondes who seem a beat behind everyone, Anderson appears to be in a bit of a hurry, as if she isn't sure how to appear natural at the snappy sitcom pace. Watch her try to ''accidentally" fumble her blueberry muffin tonight; it doesn't even qualify as amateurish. But then her acting skills are beside the point on ''Stacked," where it's either the jiggle factor or bust.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at

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