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November 19, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-19

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 19, 1997
NBC proves it's not hip to be 'Square'

By Melanie Cohen
Daily Arts Writer
When is NBC going to realize that strategically
placing a new show in between "Friends" and
"Seinfeld" does not work?
So far, management at NBC has thrown shows like
"Boston Common" and "The
Single Guy" at "Friends" and
"Seinfeld" fans. Obviously, the R
technique did not work; instead of
being the lazy television junkiesL
that NBC had anticipated, we
jumped right off our couches dur-
ing the half hour between our
favorite sitcoms.
Some of us caught up on our foreign language
work, phoned our parents or took power naps. With
the help of a VCR, some of us skip the terrible "in-
between" and fast forward the commercials as well.
Since NBC never fooled us in the first place with
their "in-between" show, it is not surprising that most,
f us have already realized we should be getting off
the couch during "Union Square."
But, new laws allow NBC to own studios and TV
shows. NBC owns "Union Square," and thus, can tor-
iue us by keeping it on.the air for an extended period
ot me.
The theme of the new sitcom is typical. It takes
place in a New York City diner. There are no new


twists. The show has jumped on the bandwagon of
wannabe"Friends," "Seinfeld" or "Cheers" type
shows. "Union Square" is cute, however, it is not
funny or exceptional.
The premiere of"Union Square" was mildly charm-
ing. We were not sure whether we liked it or not.
In fact, many of us taped it
along with "Friends" and
E V I E W "Seinfeld" the last week. Unless
something drastic is done to
nion Square improve the new show, that prob-
NBC ably won't happen again.
For the past few weeks, it has
Thursdays at 8:sanp.m. become apparent that the seem-
ingly multi-cultural cast was
stereotypical and slightly ridiculous.
There's the cook, Jack Pappas, a sexy, tight-shirted,
tight jeaned, Latin ex-convict.
Played by Jim Pirri, Jack, who is somewhat of a
gigolo, had an affair with his parole officer's cheesy
daughter. Vince, the owner of the restaurant, is an
archetypal rasta man, played by Jeffrey Anderson-
It is, however, very difficult to understand Vince's
overly affected accent. The show also features an
annoying aspiring actress named Gabby (Constance
Although the variety of characters sound like good
ideas, they simply do nog mesh well. It is evident that

there is no chemistry whatsoever between the stars of
the show.
There was no plot to even remotely draw viewers
into the show. The little things in the show that were
supposed to be funny were completely blown out of
Last week, we were all re-assured that the plot does
not thicken. Vince's diner is supposed to be a haven
for struggling artists and students who live downtown.
In reality, the diner set is filled with stupid, terrible
Thus far, the most exciting storylines have been
whether or not Albie (Jonathan Slavin), the waiter,
will sneeze in the cuisine or how many fake-breasted
women can Jack sleep with in one episode. In desper-
ately attempting to create a reality-based atmosphere,
the show actually features ludicrous, brainless unreal-
istic storylines.
If "Union Square" is not completely revamped, it
will soon join the ranks of "Boston Common," which
lasted only one horrible season.
Just six weeks into its horrible debut season, there's
already a "Union Square" casualty: struggling play-
wright/leading man Michael Landes, who is most
likely not sitting at home in front of the TV on
Thursdays at 8:30.
Maybe, NBC will learn that in order to keep us in
front of the TV for the "in-between" they have to come
up with a show that is good enough for us.

The cast of "Union Square" serves up mediocrity for one painful half hour every
Thursday between "Friends" and "Seinfeld."

Loomer play spotlights three ladies in 'Waiting''

By Laura Layfer sion follows soon becomes serious as
For The Daily they challenge each other to answer this
Have you ever thought that the per- question.
son sitting next to you in the doctor's Victoria is told by her domineering
office was from another era? Lisa husband that her ovaries are the prob-
Loomer's play lem behind the
"The Waiting psychological
Room," proves that PR E V I E W breakdowns she
you were right, and \..e xitin Room experiences,
then some. e Waiting Room although her
The comedy Thursday through Saturday research on
opens with three ti p.m., sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. Freudian theories
women sitting in Performance Network, $12 for students has forced her to
the waiting room of differ in opinion.
a doctor's office: Victoria, a tightly Forgiveness had her feet bound from
corseted, hysterical Victorian woman, the time she was a young girl because in
waiting to have her ovaries removed in her culture it is considered a symbol of
hopes of curing her hysteria; beauty. For the benefit of her husband's
Forgiveness, a wealthy 18th century pleasure, she wants to have her toe
Chinese woman with bound feet, hop- replaced and endure the pain that bind-
ing to have her toe re-implanted; and ing brings just to make him happy at the
Wanda, a contemporary New Jersey expense of her misery.
bachelorette, having problems with the Wanda, a single woman, is continu-
latest of her breast augmentations. ously improving her looks in hopes of
As they make small talk while wait- finding that someone special. What she
ing to see the doctor, light waiting room finds instead is breast cancer that has
conversation turns into a deeper exami- spread wildly enough to require the ulti-
nation of, as Loomer says, "who is in mate threat: a mastectomy.
control of what happens to whose bod- The contrasting consequences that
ies?" The humorous path their discus- have brought these women to the doctor

present a search for more answers about
the balance of power between men and
women, between Eastern and Western
cultures, and between orthodox and
unorthodox medicine.
The director Susan Regan asked,
"what is beauty and who has defined
it?" While corsets nearly killed women
in eaier times, today we have breast
implants that offer just as much risk.
And all for the price of looking terrific
in the eyes of whom?
Lisa Loomer's play offers one further
issue that lurks beyond that of self-
mutilation in the pursuit of beauty, and
that is the medical business in and of
itself. The doctor himself begins to
wonder the value of his craft; he won-
ders if it is a healing art, a moneymak-
ing business, or manipulation of one
person's body to satisfy the desires of
The play, which won the 1994 Jane
Chambers Playwriting Award, has a les-
son for all of us. As the Jamaican nurse
who attends to the doctor best puts it:
"Mother nature has a cure for every-
thing except human nature.' It becomes
clear that it is a treatment only we as
individuals car discover.

Christine Huddle stars In "Waiting."
The next time you're in the doctor's
waiting room, listening for your name
to be called, pay a little more attention
to that stranger sitting next to you.
The play will feature an American
Sign Language interpreter at the m
nee performances on Sunday, Nov.3.

Boyz II Men's sound
evolves on latest CD

Boyz Ii Men
The name Boyz II Men has become
synonymous with good music. Ever
since its 1991 debut album
"Cooleyhighharmony," the group has
been on a non-stop rise to the top. With
Boyz 11 Men's debut came the rebirth
of the quartet and a capella
sound, which has come to
be the group's signature.
During this time we
have watched the
group make and
break records with
songs like "End of
The Road" and "One
Sweet Day" (a collabo-
ration with Mariah Carey),
grab every music award imag-
inable and sing for the likes of every-
one from the audience at the Atlanta
Olympic Games to Pope John Paul II.
For most groups, living up to this type
of reputation would be almost impossi-

ble, but for Boyz I1 Men it's all in a
day's work.
The group's current CD, "Evolution,"
is a testimony of its ascension to the
next level. On it, the group enters a new
realm and embraces manhood and
maturity wholeheartedly. From the very
title of the CD you know that a change
has taken place. "Evolution" is almost a
total departure from what audiences
have become accustomed to hearing
from Boyz I1 Men.
On the very first song
"Doin' Just Fine," the
* group steps away from
that woe-is-me type of
song and confidently
lets old flames know
that life without them
is all right.
"4 Seasons of
Loneliness," the first
single off the CD, is much
more in keeping with the Boyz
11 Men persona. The group blends
beautifully harmonious vocals together
to sing of the heart break and loneliness
which stems from ended relationships.
Since the group has long been known

< m
Wanya Morris, Nate Morris, Shawn Stockman and Michael S. McCary have
matured from boys to men since their 1991 debut.
for its squeaky clean, good-boy image, One of the more surprisingagson
it would seem highly unlikely that it the CD is "Human II (Don't tMi Your
would team up with "bad boy" Sean Back On Me)." As its name' ggests,
"Puffy" Combs, right? Well, indeed the the song is some what of an exension
group does, for three songs, in fact. The . of "Human" by the Human League. In
most impressive of the three being "To keeping with the theme of its preheces-
The Limit" where the group sensuously sor, the group begs forgiveness for the
sings of the limits it will go to to keep a crime of infidelity.
woman happily satisfied. This Boyz II "Evolution" will, no doubt, keep
Men/Puff Daddy collaboration is noth- Boyz 11 Men on that road of stccess
ing short of impressive. that its been cruising for the pt
Nowadays, what is any CD without a years. With stellar vocal performances,
remake? In keeping with this current skillfully crafted musical arrangements
trend, Boyz I Men chose one near and and the influence of such producrs as
dear to its heart "Can You Stand The Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface,
Rain," first sung by New Edition. The this CD is bound to become a fdiorite
group does this one a Capella style amongst fans.
snowing that its greatest asset is simply The group's attempt to tes new
the power of pure voice. waters is successful; Boyz 11 Men
The Boyz have also included a few breaks new ground without alienating
songs on this CD which were definitely loyal, long-time fans. "Evolution"
meant to make you dance. Songs like expresses how Boyz II Men has evolv*
"Can't Let Her Go," "Baby C'mon" and both personally and musically ovr the
"All Night Long," with their mid-to up- years. But some things, like the up's
tempo beats and energetic sounds will ability to keep producing good usic,
most likely have your shakin' your hips, never change.

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