8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 23, 1998
to seal deal
By Michael Galloway
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Tom Selleck is one of the executive producers of a new
CBS comedy series, "The Closer," along with Ed Decter and
John Strauss. Together, these three have shown that as execu-
tive producers, they make good actors. What could, and
should, have been three episodes has been squeezed together
into one hackneyed half-hour of mostly worn-out jokes and
tired character roles.
But Selleck does act well in his first starring role in a com-
edy series. His role as Monica's boyfriend in six episodes of
NBC's "Friends" demonstrated his ability to do comedy, and
as Jack McLaren i
Mondays at 9 p.m.
personal life. Hise
in "The Closer," he's the best thing about
The title, "The Closer," comes from
McLaren's famous ability to make
advertising deals. The egotistical, quick-
witted McLaren always comes at his
clients with the approach they're least
expecting. But his competitive nature
gets him fired after beating the President
of the United States in golf. Although he
quickly finds a new job in a rival ad
agency, this new firm won't allow him
to hire his old creative team. Care for his
team's fate in the job market drives
McLaren to take a chance and open a
McLaren faces some problems in his
obsession with his job leads to his wife
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Tom Selleck stars in "The Closer," which premieres tonight.
in 30 minutes, nor is there a reason. Patient development of
character and plot are hallmarks of good stories, and "The
Closer" runs at a gallop in these aspects.
The show does have some funny lines, but most of the
humor comes out sterile because the dialogue serves merely
to inform the audience. The audience more often is tolg
what's happening rather than shown. The one-liners ar4
overused with hopes to conceal this, but jokes - even it
they're great - can't hide poor content. If the meat's rotten,
no spice in the world is going to make it edible.
Only Selleck's character gets any development. The rest of
the members of his creative team come across as dull stereo-
types. His mentor, Carl "Dobbs" Dobson (Ed Asner), is a
crotchety creative director who knows everything about the
business. The new worker. Erica Hewitt (Penelope Ann Miller),
a well-educated accountant, wishes to have a more active job
in advertising. Mc Laren's apathetic secretary, Beverly Andolini
(Suzy Nakamura), constantly spouts sarcastic one-liners. Som
of these are funny, but Bruno Verma (Dav id Krumholtz), th4
wishy-washy copywriter, becomes very tired, very quickly
w ith his sycophantic praises of McLaren.
If you ever take a creative writing class or read a book
about writing, you will inevitably hear that it's better to show
rather than tell. The same holds true for TV, and "The Closer"
asking for a divorce. McLaren's daughter, Alex (Hedy
Burress), wants to join a professional snow boarding team
in Italy instead of going to college. His refusal to consent to
this causes a schism between the two, and he later feels
badly about "crushing every dream of her life."
The quote is a tad overly dramatic, but everything in the
show is overdone. The plot is a lot to cover in an hour-long
show, and premiere episodes also have the added burden of
character introduction. There's no way to deal with all of this
A2 author fuses emotions in prose.
By Erin Schwartz
,Daily Arts Writer
Author Tom Andrews is no stranger
to the streets of Ann Arbor. This award-
winning author of two poetry books,
titled, "Hemophiliac's Motorcycle" and
"The Brother's Country," jumps from
poetry to prose in his creation of
"Codeine Diary" to relate his story as
The novel is divided into three sec-
tions, "Slouching Towards Codeine,"
"Codeine Diary" and "On Being a Bad
Insurance Risk." In "Slouching
Towards Codeine," Andrews sets up the
medical information and personal
information necessary to jump into
In "Slouching Towards Codeine,"
Andrews establishes the fear that
hemophiliacs had of developing HIV in
the late '70s and early '80s. Andrews
writes, "Some 90 percent of hemophil-
iacs who had repeated transfusions
between 1978 and
Tonight at 8 p.m.
early 1985 carry
to have evaded
HIV, feared for
years that it sim-
ply had not yet
A n d r e w s
the sense of time
in a hospital.
"Time in a hospi-
tal is elastic, tem-
Courtesy of Little Brown and Company
Tom Andrews will read from "Codine
Diary" tonight at Shaman Drum.
philia, how individuals get it, and how
Andrews defied it.
"One of the goals of 'Codeine Diary'
is to show what being in a hospital is
really like," Andrews said, "the agoniz-
ing moments and the comic moments.
I've never found it adequately repre-
sented in a book. There is intense
comic joy as well as great anguish and
boredom," Andrews said.
The irony of the need to bleed ver-
sus the need to clot, which exists in
Andrews' family, shaped his memoir.
His older brother, John, suffered
from kidney disease and died in
"In our household there were two
chronically ill children. One on a dial-
ysis machine and one with hemophil-
ia," Andrews said. "I was considered
the healthy one. I had to keep the dial-
ysis machine clean when my parents
were out ,.. so that John's blood would-
The importance of Andrews' rela-
tionship with his brother has an impor-
tant role in the novel. The flashbacks
to his childhood repeatedly convey
what John says to Andrews during
their youth. While John resigned him-
self to kidney disease by obeying his
doctors and believing what they told
him, Andrews refused to become, as
he said, "a professional hemophiliac.
John did not question his doctors;
Andrews needed his brother's struggle
as motivation to overcome the obsta-
cles shoved in his path and fight his
disease in order to have a "normal"
Writing is not necessarily therapeu-
tic for Andrews, but the formation of
his words into art, whether poetry or
prose, becomes therapeutic. "lt is (ther
apeutic) in the sense that working lon;
hours in a garden or making a sculpture
Many ideas about being a hemophil-
iac converged in the creation of
"Codeine Diary." "I remember, after
leaving Ann Arbor, going through note-
books and finding patterns. There was
a 20-page prose poem and five years
later it expanded into 'Codeine Diary."'
In the novel, Andrews questions how
his disease shaped his novel and hi
identity. "This book, by its very natur,
flirts with a way of thinking about ill-
ness that I believe is dangerous and
seductive to the ill. The battle is over
identity. Every day the question arises:
Am I a hemophiliac who happens to be
a writer ... or am I a writer who hap-
pens to be a hemophiliac?"
This former Ann Arborite looks for-
ward to returning to the place where
the "Codeine Diary" began, and i
sure to win over readers with his
painful honesty combined with his
sense of humor, which fosters a realis-
tic and alluring element to his novel.
peramental. It rarely intersects with
chronological time. The jumps in time
and space are trying to show the influ-
ence of codeine."
The third section is more essayistic.
It show how Andrews acquired hemo-
'Borrowers' lends worthy entertainment
By Laura Flyer
Daily Arts Writer
What is it about those youthful, appealing movies that defy
kids' attention spans? Surely the slapstick humor can set off
their giggling, but why do they care about the characters'
lives, and their fates?
Usually, kids love kid movies because they can relate to
the central characters. Either the plot is centered on the con-
flicts among youths, or, in the case of the latest fun-for-the-
whole-family film, "The Borrowers," miniature people
scampering through the walls of normal-sized human
Remember those adorable creatures from "The Borrowers"
novels by Mary Norton? Not to be confused with the tail-
possessing miniatures of "The Littles" stories, whose morals
were less idealistic than the former. After all, "The
Borrowers" strictly abide by one universal rule that has been
passed down from generation to generation: Never steal -
always put back what you borrow.
A series of further complications arise as the Borrowers
cope with their size and the constant danger of being seer
Eventually they prove they are stiff competition in any battle,
even though they are barely an inch tall.
This is precisely why kids will love this movie; their lives
often coincide with that of the Borrowers. Adults, in a child's
view, sometimes regard them as annoying pests that can be
put in a position of lesser status just
because of their size. Kids, like the
Borrowers, wish to escape from the big
mean adults for fear of being unjustly
The trampled. Furthermore, the hero of
Borrowers "The Borrowers" is Pete, a perfec
choice because he is a kid.
A noteworthy scene occurs at the
At Showcase Borrowers' final triumph, when they
are reunited with the entire population
of miniature people in the village.
Hundreds and hundreds of Borrowers