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March 24, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A ngry Vi
By Brian Cohen
Daily Music Editor
Every once in a while, a television show comes
along with just enough spontaneity and creativity
to capture the attention of Generation X-ers every-
where.
Housed in an intriguing informative-meets-
teractive environment, MTV's "12 Angry
Viewers" certainly has the potential to fill your
late afternoon TV time. With a different panel of
1,2 people between the ages of 16-26 each week,
the show has its guests critique music videos and
decide which ones merit enough attention to be
stted into MTV's prestigious regular rotation.
I But like all juries, diversity is a necessary ingre-
dient for a truly unbiased verdict. In most cases,
this would normally prevent two friends from the
-,me school from being chosen as angry viewers
1 the same episode.
-But thanks to some enterprising determination
and a slight twist of fate, two University students,
USA seniors Jordan Berke and Eric Patin, found
themselves sitting in MTV's New York studio as
jurors on episodes two weeks ago. Suddenly, two
seemingly ordinary students were thrown into the
media spotlight of one of MTV's newest creations.
But the working environment of their fame was-
n't quite what Berke and Patin were expecting.
"I've had miserable experiences with employers
ifore, but this takes the cake," Berke said. "They
make working in a Nike factory look like a picnic
in the park," Patin said.
While fame may have some drawbacks, Patin
and Berke's MTV experience was not completely
disastrous. Berke's original plan to get on the show
and eventual audition were packed with some
rather hilarious moments.
"Two months ago, I watched the show for the
first time and there was a great race going on
between Daft Punk and Peter Gunz for the 'Video
the Week,"' Berke said. "The concept of the
ow and the competition between two classic
videos was so great that I thought to myself, 'I
NB C's new'

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 24, 1998 - 9

ewers' take on MTV

could get jiggy wit dis!"'
But instead of simply hopping on a plane to
New York and enduring the ills of all subsequent
travel expenses, Berke turned to a friend of Patin
for help.
"I was planning on going to New York for
spring break," Patin said. "My friend Dave told me
that Jordan was looking for a ride because he
wanted to try out for the show. I thought 'Hmm,
that's not a bad idea' So I offered him a ride."
But a ride was not the only thing these soon-to-
be friends were going to share by the week's end.
There were many more antics.
"We knew that after watching the show, they
weren't going to put two people who were both
somewhat intelligent, let alone both U of M stu-
dents, on the same episode, so we created a new
identity for Eric," Berke said. "As far as MTV is
concerned, I am actually a writer of fiction who
lives on a farm in Western Michigan," Patin said.
So, with a little white lie and a boat load full of
verve, nerve and guile, Berke and Patin continued
in their pursuit of fame and fortune - MTV-
angry-viewer style.
"We split up as soon as we got to New York;"
Patin said. "We went separately to the auditions."
"The auditions themselves were a little crazy,"
Berke said. "Every aspiring actor, actress and Puff
Daddy wannabe in the Tri-State area was there to
showcase their 'talent."'
Careful to preserve their innocent midwestern
exteriors, both students took the audition process
with a grain of salt. "I walked in just as Jordan was
walking out," Patin said. "He threw me a look that
said, 'Don't blow our cover.' I sat down in the wait-
ing room, which was crawlin' with more New
Yorkers than Hill Street during rush week."
As a result of their well-practiced posturings,
Berke and Patin found themselves side-by-side
with hostess Ananda Lewis, as well as 10 other
lucky juror selectees.
So how about some behind-the-scenes dirt?
How did MTV treat its precious viewers-turned-

cast members?
The two claim that interacting with the other
viewers was indeed exciting and stimulating, but
other than Lewis, the entire staff was "overbear-
ing, incapable and totally classless."
"I expected the royal treatment - personal
dressing rooms, make-up artists, and wardrobe
consultants," Berke said. "We got one dressing
room for all 12 of us (male and female) and the
only make-up I got was a little lip balm!"
Yet even despite the lackluster breakfast of
green bananas and stale bagels, and what they said
were bare bones accommodations, Berke and
Patin enjoyed every minute. But the stars said they
didn't get any professional advice from the show's
director before their debut.
"Fortunately, I'd seen the show;" Patin said,
"because they gave us absolutely no direction as to
how the show works. They just sat us down (strate-
gically) on the set, miked us up and started rolling.
The first episode seemed like a practice run, but
after we cut, I realized we weren't practicing and
we'd actually filmed Monday's show."
Adam Freeman, the producer of "12 Angry
Viewers;' said this minimal direction tactic is to
ensure that the show keeps its fresh improvisation-
al feel. "The most frustrating thing is that we shoot
five shows in one day," Freeman said. "The first
show or two are usually rocky, because the jurors
are getting the hang of it - they're learning when
to speak up and when to not. The jury has to now
when to vote, how to vote, how long their com-
ments should be, when to stop for commercial
breaks, and things like that.'
But instead of cramming these instructions and
commands down the jurors' throats, MTV prefers
that the cast members learn by experience on the
live set, as part of a more hands-off directing
approach.
"We want the kids to relax and have a good
time," Freeman said, "but at the same time, there
are technical aspects of making a television show
that need to be recognized. We try and put as little

ADRIANA YUGOVICH/Daily

LSA seniors Jordan Berke and Eric Patin aren't as angry as they seemed on MTV.

restraints on them (the cast) as possible. We really
just want them to have a good time, and realize
that the show is all them - it's the video they pick
that is going to go into rotation"
And the videos themselves were what excited
Berke and Patin the most before they actually
started taping. "I went there expecting to see The
Beasties, The Verve and Radiohead, and all I got
was Sylkk the Shocker, Hanson and Joey
Lawrence;' Berke said. "I haven't seen that much
crap since I fell in my Uncle Jimmy's manurer pit,"
Patin joked.
Although the selection of videos might not have
been the greatest, the dirty dozen did get to see one
great video. The group chose U2's "If God Would
Send His Angels" as their "Pick of the Week."
Both Berke and Patin claim to have chosen U2's

video solely on its artistic merit, though they may
have been slightly biased. As it turns out, a third
University student, LSA senior Dave Valazzi, the
same aforementioned friend who originally intro-
duced the two, was an extra in the video, provid-
ing yet another University-MTV connection.
After being filmed for eight hours under the
glowing hot studio lights, MTV didn't let the
jurors walk away empty handed. "They get break-
fast, they get lunch, they get a T-shirt and a hat, and
we usually pay about ten dollars, which should
cover their travelling expenses," Freeman said.
Although they did not receive a T-shirt, Berke
and Patin's payment for their time did include a
baseball cap, a crisp $10 bill and a brisk 10 min-
utes to pack up and leave the studio for good.
Fifteen minutes ... and counting.

Love' is

Swervedriver veers into Motown

" Q+ n A'er'

By Erin Podolsky
For the Daily
Sometimes I forget why mid-season
replacement shows are, well, mid-season
replacement shows. A big thank you and a
dead trout for NBC are in order for refresh-
ing my memory with their abysmally
cliched sitcom "For Your Love."
Just imagine the pitch to the NBC pro-
gamming heads now. "Uh, Mr.
h lefield, how about a sitcom with a
racially heteroge-
' nous cast that
exploits every
For Your mildly amusing
marriage stereo-
Love type until the joke

01 % . V AJ1 %,
Moffett) Winston. The Winstons are the
old married couple, relatively speaking,
who have been living in superficial mar-
ital bliss for four years. Lastly, there are
Reggie Ellis (Edafe Blackmon), Mel's
brother, and Bobbi Seawright (Tamala
Jones) as a commitment-phobic couple.
Naturally, much of the humor in their
relationship is derived from neither
knowing the other's fear ofcommitment.
The remainder of the comic relief
comes from the two married couples.
Dean often gives Mel sage advice and
information about the imminent death of
his domestic autonomy, like how all of
his "stuff" (the Barcolounger, the free
weights, etc.) will one day mysteriously
be relocated from the house to the
garage, where it will remain forever after.
Several running gags were introduced in
the first episode, including an ongoing
temperature feud between Sheri and
Dean. One enters the bathroom and read-
justs the thermostat on the way. The other
changes it back when nobody is looking.
Funny, huh? No? Exactly my point.
Of course, "For Your Love" must
make an effort to be relevant, so the first
episode featured a pregnancy scare for
the Ellises. The plot thread was woven
around faulty information given and
withheld by the spouses and their
friends. As with every other aspect of
this sitcom, all of the dialogue can be
found in any number of other sitcoms or

NBC
'iisdays at 8:30 p.m.

has long since
ceased to be
funny?" Toss in
Holly (wife of for-
mer Detroit Lion
Rodney) Peete,
nee Robinson and
Michelle Pfeiffer's
underachieving

Courtesy of NBC
The people of NBC's "For Your Love"
would do anything.
films. It was probably delivered more
effectively on those other shows, too.
NBC recently announced that Jill, the
dog from "As Good as it Gets," will be
joining the "For Your Love" cast as a
force in the Reggie/Bobbi relationship.
Her help was probably enlisted because
dog humor is, in this case, more enter-
taining than marriage humor. This does
not bode well for the show's renewal.
Acting in shows such as this is gener-
ally only as good as the dialogue, so it
probably wouldn't be fair to comment on
the ineptitude of the "For Your Love"
players. Let's just say that Robinson
Peete probably wishes she was back
hangin' with Mr. Cooper.
I wish she was, too. "For Your Love"
should disappear into the Nielsen nether-
world not a moment soon, where its
pedestrian humor will commiserate with
other canceled divorcees. If NBC was
smart, they'd get the show's creators to
pay alimony for turning in a sitcom with
irreconcilable mediocrity.

By Michael Kegler
For the Daily
This past Thursday night, Swervedriver swung by St.
Andrew's Hall in Detroit to promote its outstanding new LP,
"99th Dream" The band, which could very well be the most
underrated act in rock, once again proved it deserves to be con-
sidered among the genre's elite.
The set began with "For Seeking Heat," the opening
scorcher from 1993's "Mezcal Head." The band members
were visually tired, no doubt due to their exhaustive touring
schedule of late. But when lead singer Adam Franklin began
singing, one could sense that Swervedriver would not disap-
point. Despite the band being in town to promote a new CD,
the playlist included a variety of songs from all four of the
group's albums. Included were great renditions of "Rave
Down;' "Never Lose That Feelin" and "These Times" But it
was when the group played "Duel" that the show really took
off. This classic song, which with proper promotion could have
easily been a hit in the United States, reinforced just how good
this band is. The band's thick sound never gets in the way of
the traditional songwriting that exists at the core of its songs.
Surprisingly enough, the band only played three songs off
of "99th Dream:" the aforementioned "These Times," the
title track and "Wrong Treats.' The live rendition of the title
track began with the same "Pulp Fiction"-esque intro found

on the album, but was extended an extra minute or so in the
live version. At this point, the band seemed to have sum-
moned the energy that it lacked at the initiation of the show.
"Wrong Treats" retained all of its emotion when done live,
with guitarist Jimmy Hartidge soulfully strumming the
melancholy riff that lies at the center of the song. As any

Swervedriver will probably remain in the shadows, a tragic
case of near-misses. Fortunately, it will probably continue to do,
what it has always done: provide a soundtrack for the lives of
fans of great rock music.

Swerve.-'
driver
St. Andrew's Hall;
March 19, 1998
J1

Swervedriver fan will concede, the'
song "Duress" is not to be missed live.
This was reiterated Thursday night.
Clocking in at 8 minutes plus, "Duress"
seemed to work the crowd into a trance.
To close the night, Swervedriver played
a two-song encore consisting of "Son"
of Mustang Ford" and "Kill the
Superheroes." The performance of
"Ford," one of the band's most popular
tunes, was by far the night's high wate
mark.
While other British acts like The
Verve are climbing up the charts and'
receiving airplay on VH 1 and MTV

M Il

younger sister DeDee and you've got a
marriage destined for divorce court.
The show looks at the institution of
marriage from the different perspectives
of three couples. Malena and Mel Ellis
(Robinson Peete and James Lesure) are
'newlyweds who have just moved next
*or, to Sheri (Malena's best friend
played by Pfeiffer) and Dean (D.W.

HIGH MARKS FROM
MORNINGSTAR, S&P, MOODY'S,
MONEY MAGAZINE AND BILL.

Friday, March 27
Kuenzet Room, Michigan Union
KEYNOTE Brian Lamb Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, C-SPAN

4-5:30 pm

Reception follows

Saturday, March 28
Anderson Room C&D, Michigan Union

We take a lot of pride in gaining high marks
from the major rating services. But the fact
is, we're equally proud of the ratings we get every
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