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February 11, 1979 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-11
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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, F

Page 2--Sunday, February 11, 1979--The Michigan Paily

R APIRLINGS/r.j. smith

TEL EVISION/ tom o'connell
Cashing in on 'Animal Hoi

G IMME SHIT. Lay it on the table-
I want three helpings.
A lot of my friends don't understand
my zest for junk, which is alright,
because I don't understand my craving
for crap myself. And if I did, it would
takesome of the fun out of it.
Gimme Hostess Snowballs. Let me
read reams of Marvel comics (at least
until the bastards upped their prices to
the ridiculous 40 cents an issue). Pour
Hawaiian punch into my veins, flash
reruns of Gilligan's Island before my
eyes, and then set me free in a shopping
mall!
I have a lot of grand trashy dreams.
"If I had my way," I say to myself, "I'd
live out of my car, or with whoever I
found that night. And I'd eat Big Macs
all days, play miniature' golf, air
hockey and watch Richard Dawson on
Family Feud in the afternoon, and
drink and throw up on everybody all
night."
That really sounds like the life to me.
I mean, I saw the moyie Woodstock for
the first time a few weeks ago, and the
people were like aliens to me-what
was all that stuff they were saying? It
was a colossal pig-pen, an assembly of
people who got together when it was
cool to be empty-headed, "change the
world" derelicts. They'll never stack up

to Monty Hall or Charles Nelson Reilly.
I want to have some fun, and it seems
like that's hard to do nowadays. And for
anyone brought up in the seventies,
there seems absolutely no way to be
cool.
The kids in the sixties really had it
made. I don't want to go into the whole
boring- story that's been smugly
regurgitated so often before, but a few
things need to be said: they were buried
under a load of repressions so long, they
were over ready to explode. And when
the war, and civil rights, and acid came'
along, well, Hell, how could we of the
seventies ever have a movement like
that?
And, of course, we don't. We've got a
bunch of smug geeks on the one hand
sweeping their- arms across a
generation and claiming that self-
determination, at least for. us, is a lost
cause, and proclaiming us lobotomy
cases. And on the other hand, what else
is there but creeping drek: suburbs and
People Magazine and A&W rootbeer
stands and, of course, the shopping cen-
ters.
Yeah, the repression today is harder
to suss. Parents supply dope to their
children, and they take disco lessons so
they can understand "the kids." But I'll
tell you one thing: if ever there was a

supreme model worth rebelling against
these days, it must be has-beens that
spout off derogatory statements with
the phrase "me generation" in them.
WHAT A TRAP: owing it to society
-and it is certainly of the Ann
Arbor society-to put yourself on the
line, a sort of self-sacrifice not unlike
what the church lays down on youth.
And that's what roots my pop
dreams, I think. What could be
cooler-what could be more
liberating-than embracing so much of
what those has-beens disown: if they
put down television and drinking and
Big Macs, it must have seemed to me,
then I am going to love all those things.
And there is violence too, because all
those hippies hated violence. Never, I
believe, have high school vandalism
reports been so frequent; in my
hometown, some kids ran over a
woman because "they didn't fell like
honking the horn." Back home, my
friend Bill tried to take his mother's
house apart with a sledge hammer (the
police stopped him), and another time,
in the middle of a conversation on his
front porch, he walked over to his
garage and picked up a bag of golf
clubs. He invited me to help him
destroy his car with him, a task which
took us all afternoon.

The last time I went home, I heard
what was new with Bill. Driving a car
on which he had just paid a first in-
stallment, with no license or title, he
wrapped it around a tree while driving
drunk with a car full of under age frien-
ds.
Of course Bill is an asshole. But so is
everyone who has fought for anything
and lost their life in the process, and so
is anyone who is growing up now
thinking that working to save the
whales, or turning off unnecessary
lights and pushing solar energy is the
only path to self-liberation.
And, all things considered, I think I'd
rather be like Bill. Or something like
him. When I go home and see him, I'm
always shocked. I forget how gaunt he
is, how he lives in an apartment by
himself which he couldn't afford before
his roommate left him. He left M.S.U. a
year ago, and now works afternoons at
Arnold's Drugstore, and nights at
Burger King, from which he gets his
meals.
But dammit, he's taken some action.
He's made a choice, and now lets a
crazy, violent energy push him around
in his daily life. I, however, go to
college. I reject the notion of most
every vocation I can think of (recently I
See RAMBLINGS, Page 8

THE MAJOR networks have each
delivered a show designed to cash
in on the success of the movie Animal
House, and all are sufficiently bad, I
suppose, to insure their survival in the
situation comedy wasteland. Having
been assigned to watch and write about
all three by a pair of unusually sadistic
editors to whom I shall never speak
again, r have had to endure a total of an
hour-and-a-half, of numbing boredom,
broken only by the anguished pleas of
housemates begging for a change of
channel.
The series officially derived from
Animal House-ABC's Delta House-is
the best of the lot, being merely dull,
while the enormous pit currently being
dug next to the Law Library is the only
accurate metaphor to use in describing
just how abysmal NBC's Brothers and
Sisters and CBS' Coed Fever really are.
The main problem with these last two
is that they don't take advantage of the
fact that they are set at colleges. Take
away the characters' student IDs and
you could stick them, along with the
shows' plots, into any other series on
television. College life is a fertile field
for satire, but neither Brothers and
Sisters nor Coed Fever make much of
an attempt to exploit it. Instead they
rely on well-worn situations left over
from Three's Company and third-rate
slapstick that was a bit too inventive for
Laverne and Shirley.
Both shows contain too many charac-
ters laboring to be cute; there are no
objects of true derision and hence there
is none of the vicious comedy which
made Animal House so entertaining. If
nothing else, colleges contain an ex-
cessive number of assholes, and
assholes invariably make excellent
centerpieces for satire. You say you
have never seen an asshole? Then walk
past the fraternities on Washtenaw
some Saturday night. Brothers and
Sisters and Coed Fever, however, try to
tell us there are no true assholes .at
colleges. At worst there are persons of
moderate assholishness who
nonetheless have a good heart. With
just one or two assholes-targets for
jokes whom we could truly
despise-these shows might have a
chance of succeeding.
Former Daily Magazine editor
Tom O'Connell believes he is not
an asshole.

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2 162 144 12 60

B. One of the four sub-units
of RNA strand
C. Cripple a sailing vessel
D. Spherical or rod-shaped
granules occuring in the
cytoplasm of certain cells
E. Russian biochemist who first
postulated absence of
free oxygen in early stages
of Earth's history
F. Trails againĀ°
G. Cell with a nucleus
H. Protein found in the aoons
of the nerve cells
J. Batters
J. Inner relatively fluid part
of the cytoplasm
K. Anxieties; worries

80 118 1 54 61 52
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27 59 63 79 68 87 124 36
3 83 104 9 74 53 95 145 154
18 112 157 137 7 44 62
19 50 82 161 67 101 108
24 45 58 123 151 71 140 119 90
46160 113 117 21

L. Thin, hollow connection
between the head and body
of a horse (Comp)
M. Israeli language
(2 words)
N. One of the four sub-units
of the DNA strand
0. Disparaging or abusive
words or phrases
P. Perches; settles
Q. Applies too much make-up
R. Extremely conspicuous
S. Solicitors; barristers
T. Abnormality; anomalousness
U. Trolls; costs
V. Facial ridges with hair
growing on them

13 8 85 155 97 169135
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- - - - - - - - - -
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BY
STEPHEN J.
POZSGA I
Copyright 1979
INSTRUCTIONS
Guess the words defined at the
left and write them in over
their numbered dashes. Then,
transfer each letter to the cor-
responding numbered square
in the grid above. The letters
printed in the upper-right-hand
corners of the squares indi-
cate from what clue-word a
particular square's letter.
comes from. The grid, when
filled in, should read as a
quotation from a published
work. The darkened squares
are the spaces between words.
Some words may carry over
to the next line. Meanwhile,
the first letter of each guessed
word at the leftreadingdown.
forms an acrostic, giving they
author's name and the title of
the work from which the quote
is extracted. As words and
phrases begin to form in the
grid, you can work back and
forth from clues to grid until
the puzzle is complete.
Answer to Previous Puzzle
All the vegetable seda-
tives and narcotis, all the
euphorics that grow on
trees, the hallucinogens that
ripen in berries or can be
squeezed from foots; all
without exception have
been known and
systematically used by
human beings from time
immemorial.
Aldous Huxley,
The Doors of Perception
Due to a mix-up in
scheduling, last week's
Acrostic also ran in a Novem-
ber issue.

Coed Fever is the worst of the lot. The
timing of its debut indicates that even
CBS realized it had a dog on its hands:
10:30 on a Sunday night is the morgue
slot of TV scheduling, and is often the"
kiss of death for a new show. The net-
work's apparent forebodings were
justified. Coed Fever is terribly scrip-
ted and screechily overacted, with a
laugh track that is intrusive even by
sitcom standards.
The names of the principle actors
shall be posted here in case they attem-
pt to sneak onto other shows and catch
unwary viewiers by surprise: David
Keith, Alexa Kenin, Cathy O'Neill, and
Chris Nelson. The Detroit Free Press's
"TV Book" description of the show's
premise-"a women's college becomes
a coeducational institution with
hilarious results"-is so deceptive that
it constitutes sufficient grounds for a
subscription cancellation. The show is
as "hilarious" as a death camp.
F Brothers and Sisters is not quite
as bad as Coed Fever, it's not for

lack of trying. The show centers around
a group of horny frat rats and their
sorority sisters next door. The mem-
bers of the cast were apparently sup-
plied with amphetamines in order to
compensate for their poor timing and
delivery, and they zip randomly across
the screen at a manic pace, seemingly
without purpose. The show has an over-
generous sprinkling of sterotypica sit-
com characters, among them the
inevitably overweight black cook whose
sole purpose in the show is to waddle
out of the kitchen and scream "honky"
and "sucker" at the fraternity brothers
whenever the'action slows down. These
lines consistently bring down thun-
derous peals of canned laughter. Most
of the other attempts at jokes involve
brassieres, a comedic topic exhausted
by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope 30 years
ago. If the show has a saving grace, it's
that the cast doesn't seem as self-
consciously aware of its lack of talent
as the principles in Coed Fever are.
Delta House, though a poor show, is
still a masterpiece by comparison.

Unlike the 1
high school
troop acros
and Brothe
actually do
formers wi
the scripts,
whole thing
over from
switch to te
on (portra:
McGill ("I
(Flounder)
Delta Ho
storyline
degenerate
their stand
face of op
Omegas a:
Wormer. T
another re
superior t
Omegas an
assholes,
exaggerati
real life a
Omegas t
business s<
real Worm
ministrati(
them as N
pathize w
directed ag
However
too mild
Belushi's
House. De
weak sigh
only some
the part of
bers bring
tability. An
its comedi
Lampoon'.,
bad taste.
House mus
nocuous, b
no attem
medium's
much less f
There's
They're pr

king

(continued from Page 3)
time at all you'll be-strangled by
the walking dead."
It takes a writer of King's caliber to
offer New York as a city silent with
death, and make it real.
King's capacious gift for character is
at its best here: he creates Harold
Lauder, a fat, pimpled boy of sixteen
shunned by his peers who turns instead
to books and affects the speech of an
English gentleman; and Lloyd
Heinreid, a dull-witted killer who blew
away a liquor store owner and who is
left to starve in prison, lone survivor of
the superflu, until he is rescued by the
Black Man just as he contemplates
eating a dead cellmate. Perhaps best of
all is the Trashcan Man, a pyromaniac
so dubbed because of the garbage cans
he set on fire during his childhood, who

in the aftermath of the superflu, runs
from city to city setting oil tanks on
fire, gleefully watching the explosions,
until the Walking Dude calls him to his
side to serve.
The secondary evil, Flagg and his
followers, is vanquished in an exquisite
scene fraught with social comment, but
at the cost of several leading members
of the Free Zone. But the primaryevil,
civilization, begins to make a
comeback: An armed police force is
created inthe Free Zone, more and
more people come in, and finally some
of the first settlers of the Zone decide to
leave. King makes a sweeping social
statement in the following exchange:
"Frannie," he said, and turned
her around so he could look into her
eyes.
"'What, Stuart?"

"Do you think. . . do you think
people ever learn anything?"
She opened her mouth to speak,
hesitated, fell silent. The kerosene
lamp flickered.
"I don 't know, "she said at last.
She seemed unpleased with her an-
swer; she struggled to say something
more; to illuminate her first respon-
se; and could only say it again:
"I don't know."
Without ever coming close to sound-
ing pedantic, King says that external
evils may be vanquished, but the inter-
nal evils of human beings which cause
man to create and destroy can be th-
warted only momentarily. The great
cycle goes on and on. And perhaps that
is the most terrifying evil of all.

..I

I

N4L lUUMV"

J

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