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September 05, 1997 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-05

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 5, 1997

Fall TV lineup promises variety

old favorites

The Associated Press
Bottom line: This could turn out to be a pretty good season.
Some solid new dramas. A handful of promising comedies.
Plus ABC's resurrection of "The Wonderful World of
Disney" and the arrival of Bryant Gumbel on CBS with his
new magazine.
There's a lot to sift through as the 1997-98 season kicks off-
which it does officially Sept. 22, although some programs have
premiered already, and some won't be seen until November.
.1y.our count there are 35 new series, though your mileage
may vary. After all, "new" becomes a relative term when
shows are vaulting like jackrabbits from one network to

another (ABC's veteran "Family Matters" is new on CBS),
and when other shows are renewing themselves with
revamped concepts (NBC's "The Naked Truth" will be
unveiling its third variation in as many seasons).
As for sitcoms, we count 20. A big number like that may
seem a comfort. We could use some cheering up.
On the other hand, some of the "humor" may come across
as less funny than eerily ripped from the headlines. For
instance, the title character of ABC's "Teen Angel" dies after
eating a hamburger. And in its first episode, the chauffeur on
NBC's "Veronica's Closet" is drunk when he arrives to pick
up Veronica.

Meanwhile, the new dramas, even sight unseen, have some
viewers riled up. They protest that CBS' "Brooklyn South" is
too violent, and that ABC's "Nothing Sacred" is too - well,
un-sacred.
And did we mention (warning, warning!) that Andrew Dice
Clay is back on TV in "Hitz," a UPN sitcom?
As the new season begins, the broadcast networks know their
mission. They want to entertain you. They want to please you.
Mostly, they want to keep you from flipping over to cable chan-
nels, which in recent years you've been doing more and more.
Mostly, dear viewer, this is your year. What kind of year
will it be for TV? That's your call, and nobody else's.

Kirstle Alley will star in "Veronica's Closet" this fall,

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Leave it alone: Beaver' can't match onginal
New kiddie film doesn't do justice to America's most innocent family I

By Julia Shih
Daily Film Editor
Sometimes, things are better left
alone.
With this new movement to take
vintage television shows and not only
derive feature films out of them but
also set them in
the '90s, it seems R
that nothing is
sacred anymore. O

m

Not even the l
Beaver.
This new piece At Ei
of sacrilege from
director Andy Cadiff ("Home
Improvement") has the bright-eyed
Cleavers in a not-so-innocent world.
Gone is wholesome, candy-coated
America, eaten away by societal decay;
and this nuclear family is just starting to
realize this.
Ihe vintage cars, '50s clothing and
soda shops are still around, but now the
Cleavers have to deal with learning dis-

Brie

orders, teenage hoodlums and child-
hood complexes.
This version of "Leave It to Beaver"
involves an 8-year-old Beaver
(Cameron Finley) attempting to "suck
up" to his father in order to obtain a
bicycle.
He joins the
VIE W Mayfield Mighty
Mites football
Leave It to team to please his
Beaver ex-jock dad, who
** is so ecstatic that
arwood and Showcase he fails, to realize
just how much his
son hates the game. But shortly after
receiving his dream bike, the much-
too-trusting Beaver has it stolen from
him.
Meanwhile, nice-guy Wally (after a
long scene in which he doles out a
severe beating to the Beav), encounters
some problems ... of the boy-girl kind.
He learns the pangs of love along with
the bonds of friendship with the help of
his conniving and obnoxious friend,
Eddie Haskell.
Ward (Christopher McDonald)
appears to be more tyrannical and
demanding of his family than Hugh
Beaumont's version ever seemed to
be.
Ward has to come to terms with his
"issues" that arose from his relationship
with an oppressive father while prevent-
ing himself from going off on his mur-
derous rage in response to Beaver's
mishaps.
June remains the loyal and loving

housewife but carries it to extremes. So
lacking in personality and thought is
Janine Turner's June that she eerily
resembles one of the rubberized robotic
females from the Duracell commer-
cials.
"Leave It to Beaver" targets young
audiences who are probably not
familiar with the original series.
Perhaps this is the reason why the
movie and its characters seem so dif-
ferent from the television show.
Beaver is more like Dennis the
Menace in that it's not his wild imag-
ination and big plans that get him into
trouble; rather it's his haplessness and
the fact that he is a fairly normal
(though in need of psycho-analysis)
curious young boy.
The Cleavers even hint at being a
strangely dysfunc-
tional family with
despot dad, zombie ltgy u I'a
mom and guilt-rid-
den, highly emo- Cleavers
tional big brother
thrown into the the old n
mix.
While scenes of
Beaver running
the wrong way on a football field or
Wally and the Beav desperately trying
to save a computer from crashing out
of a window will surely amuse chil-
dren, there is not much else that this
film has to offer.
Older viewers looking for a pleas-
ant time warp into fuzzy, childhood
memories will definitely be disap-

pointed.
Cardiff does try to compensate for
the movie's lack of grown-up stimula-
tion. Occasionally, adult humnor is
interjected into the dialogue, such as
one scene involving Ward coming
home to June all dolled up and vacu-
uming the living room.
Ward grabs June in a " I L
embrace and murmurs, "June, you're
vacuuming in pearls; you know what
that does to me ...." But thishumor
seems more bizarre than funny, and
it is yet another way that this film
blasphemes America's favorite fami-
ly.
By far, the most interesting aspect of
this film are the cameos made by the
original cast members. Barbara
Billingsley (the original June -eav
appears.Az
Beaver's ..Aunt
,ed theMartha, and Ken
Osmond (the orig-
stiCK TO inal Eddie
Haskell) shows up
b runs. as a misogynistic
Eddie Sr.
But these walk-
on appearances
take up only a few moments of the a
and don't create enough enthusiasm'o
keep the it engaging.
"Leave It to Beaver" is probably a
more entertaining alternative if you are
dutifully taking a young child to see a
kiddie-flick. If you loved theCleavers,
stick to the old re-runs. Doni'let this
film ruin it for you.

'Ar

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