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January 15, 1998 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-15

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4B - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday, January 15, 1998
ITV 1997
1997 TV features drama, cartoons

The A

* Entertainment News
Comedian Farley dies;
Pearl Jam to release CD

By Stephanie Jo Klein
Daily TV/New Media Editor
I refuse to call this the year of Diana.
Though it was one of 1997's biggest
television "happenings," the coverage
of the death of England's Princess
Diana was also the most disgusting.
Rather than tastefully noting the
untimely passing of a popular interna-
tional figure, the amount of excess air
time given to ludicrous theories on
how Diana and Dodi Al Fayed died
should have been used to do what tele-
vision is supposed to do best: enter-
tain.
Though it was heartening to see the
rise of more hourlong dramas, the enter-
taining moments were few and far
between this year. Popularity increased
daily for shows like "E.R.," "Law &
Order" and "The X-Files," but the
downward spiral of formerly noteworthy
shows such as "Party of Five," "Beverly
Hills 90210" and oops-a-sexy-siren-got-

pregnant. "Melrose Place," almost took
the good shows with them. In 1997, the
wholesome family goodness of "Party
of Five" went the way of the typewriter
and with it, its dignity.
"Party of Five" was also part of one
of the creepier trends in television this
year - when ratings are failing, take to
ailing. In mid-season sweeps, those
clever writers gave big brother Charlie
Salinger Parkinson's disease. For the
final season of "Murphy Brown,"
Murphy got breast cancer - a far cry
from comedy, which should be half of
"sit-com," no? Television producers
should leave the strange illnesses where
they belong: being cured on "E.R." or
seen as part of a larger supernatural
phenomenon on "The X-Files."
Chris Carter's creation seemed to hit
its stride this year, with legions of fans
shutting off their phones and locking
their doors when "The X-Files" started
the new season in November and

assured viewers that Agents Scully and
Mulder (Gillian Anderson and David
Duchovny) were not dead. And grouped
with "The Simpsons" and "King of the
Hill," Sunday night's Fox lineup gave
the best competition for NBC's
Thursday night "Must See TV"
1997 also showed the drooling
masses that big cleavage does not
insure a hit. To get closer to a hit show,
add squeaky voices and draw the char-
acters with a marker. Although Jenny
McCarthy couldn't engage even a mar-
ginal audience to watch her stick out
her chest and trip herself on "Jenny," a
bunch of clumsy, foul-mouthed car-
toons were able to grab our attention
quicker than you can say "anal probe."
Yes, The Michigan Daily's illustrious
TV staff chose Comedy Central's
"South Park" as the No. I show of the
year. It was and will continue to be one
of the most needed jolts of silliness in
this college reporter's homework-laden
week. Hearing Chef (Isaac Hayes) belt
out sexy love tunes to the cafeteria
meatloaf, heading over to Big Gay Al's
Big Gay Animal Sanctuary, and watch-
ing Kenny die every week were defi-
nitely signs that the year of the cartoon
had arrived. Move over, Homer, "South
Park" can kick your ass.
Animation veteran Mike Judge also
gave us two lovely gifts. First he created
"King of the Hill." The Texan drawls of
Hank and Peggy Hill bring an added
zing to Judge's delightfully sarcastic
take on religion, gun-toting zealots and
children's fashion shows. With the
antics of Bobby, the youngest, pudgiest
Hill, Judge provided the perfect anti-
dote to his two most famous and idiotic
characters, "Beavis and Butthead." His
second-best gift of 1997 was ending the

Sparky and Stan, of Comedy Central's "South Park," talk to Big Gay Al.

overdone cartoon. What a shame the
title of the episode "Beavis and Butthead
Are Dead" didn't really come true.
"Beavis and Butthead" weren't even
among the most played-out of stars this
past year. Among
the fallen: Tony
Danza, Gregory 10 Be
Hines, Ted Danson,f
Danny Aiello, Bob
Newhart, Judd
Hirsch, David 1. "South Park"
Caruso and Bill 2. wE.R.-
Cosby. Did anyone 3. King of the
actually watch 4. "Ally McBea
"Ink," "Dellaventu- . "Schnnel"
Ha,"s "Michael 7. Ellen's comi
Hayes or The 8. The Rose Bo
Tony Danza 9 "Pop Up Vid
Show?" Gee, I hope 10. "The X-File
not.
It was a sad - Compiled b:
recipe for disaster:
stick tired old actor
into patented sit-com or action show, stir
and wait. And keep waiting. Instead of

coming back for seconds, viewers'
patience boiled over. Scott Baio's new
show didn't even have the pilot aired and
even Fred Savage, albeit a Wonder-boy,
couldn't make "Working" work.

The ingenuities
won out this year.

s
H
i"
ei
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wF'd

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In ABC's much-anticipated episode of "Ellen," Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) talks to her
therapist (Oprah Winfrey) about coming out.

t Shows The quirkiness of
"Ally McBeal,"
whose every odd
thought is visual-
ized on-screen in a
"Herman's Head"-
ill" with-class sort of
way: the vampire
runs slashing of "Buffy
out the Vampire
ou Slayer" led by for-
)s" mer soap opera
/"Frasier" (tie) princess Sarah
Michelle Gellar;
the Daily TV Staff the loopy factoids
on VHI 's "Pop Up
Videos"; and the
invasion of niceness on the "The Rosie
O'Donnell Show" - these will be
remembered from 1997, not the same
old stuff stars from yesteryear.
Another uplifting tidbit of 1997 was
tolerance on television, shown surpris-
ingly by ABC and Disney.
First, after hinting for about year
about her character being "Lebanese"
and left-handed, "Ellen" came out of
the closet. ABC didn't take the show
off the air. Some sponsors balked, but
in the end, audiences and the network
realized that Ellen DeGeneres' lesbian
character could enhance the show and
bring new ideas to television. And
"Ellen" has proven that she is still a
very funny woman, even if she is left-
handed.
Then Disney aired "Cinderella,"
with a cast including Whitney
Houston, Brandy and a host of other
stars. Instead of remaining the "all
Angela Lansbury, all the time" net-
work, Disney came into the '90s and
moved outside the norm for some non-
traditional casting. Making television
more of a mirror of society was defi-
nitely a needed change.
There are too many shows to list
them all, but suffice it to say that 1997
needed a little bit of work. When net-
work producers start giving as much
effort to their normal programming as
they do to their obituary entertainment
on Sonny Bono and Princess Diana,
then, and only then, will we be able to
sit, back, relax and truly enjoy the show.

Film
V On Dec. 18, the world of comedy
lost one of its largest and most hilarious
members. Chris Farley (pictured
below) was found in his apartment,
having died of a multiple drug over-
dose. The former "Saturday Night
Live" star's latest effort, "Beverly Hills
Ninja," flopped, but along with David
Spade, we have him to thank for a
number of recent comedy classics,
most notably "Tommy Boy" and "Black
Sheep." Scheduled for release in May is
Farley's "Almost Heroes," with
Matthew Perry.
V Well, now it's
"Seinfeld" will not
be back next fall.
NBC is worried, as
expected. For nine
years, "Seinfeld,"
touted as the sit-
com about noth-
ing, has anchored
the network's
blockbuster "Must
See TV" Thursday r
night. Star Jerry
Seinfeld is plan-
ning on returning
to his roots in
stand-up comedy.
The futures of
"Seinfeld"'s other
stars are less cer-
tain, though. The sitcom's departure
leaves us with two questions. First of
all, what is going to happen to the
ambiguously interchangeable before-
"Seinfeld"-and-after-"Friends" classic
that NBC tries to pass off as comedy
each week? Second, "Seinfeld" derives
much of its fame from being about
nothing. If one takes nothing from the
Thursday lineup, what's the real loss?
V Attempting to capitalize upon the
recent success of the syndicated series
"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys"
and "Xena: Warrior Princess," stars
Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless have
provided the voices for an animated
movie teaming up the hero and heroine.
Not surprisingly, it's going straight to
video, probably to avoid the fame and
pressure that would come with such an
obvious critical success. Look for
"Hercules and Xena the Animated
Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus"
in video stores. You know, Xena, the
Greek goddess of women scantily clad
in leather. Straight out of Homer. I kid
you not.
V John Calley, the president of Sony
Pictures, has a licence to kill. Well, not
really. But if he has his way, Sony
Pictures will have a licence to make its
own James Bond movies. MGM,
presently responsible for the majority of
the classic series, wants that license
revoked. Calley made the announcement
that Sony had gained the rights to make
movies featuring the tuxedo-clad hero in
October, and the legal battle has been
broiling ever since. Sony's planned
changes? The new James Bond theme

*Ad%

will be written and performed by Hootie
and the Blowfish. Pierce Brosnan's
BMW will be replaced by a 1973 Chevy
Nova with detachable wheels. And final-
ly, James Bond, in drag, will be played
by Dennis Rodman.
Music
V Oasis' Noel Gallagher has gotten
himself into a spot of trouble once
again. During a live interview with
Radio Milan just before Christmas, the
guitarist voiced some choice ideas
about the royal family: "I don't like the
Queen. I don't
believe in the
monarchy or the
royal family ... I
think they should
all be shot."
When asked
what he would
most like to give
the Queen for
Christmas, Noel
replied, "A kick
up the arse!"
After being
reminded that
Christmas was a
time for peace,
Noel quipped,
"Oh all right, I'll
just give her a
slap in the face"
Oasis is cur-
rently embarking on a North American
tour and will play Chicago's Rosemont
Horizon this Saturday night. The Queen
is not expected to attend.
V New Music Express has revealed
that Red Hot Chili Peppers' Dave
Navarro and Chad Smith have teamed
up under the moniker Spread to pro-
duce an audio-visual album, tentatively
titled "Pelican," which deals with the
murder of Navarro's mother as well as
his nagging battles with drug addiction.
The project will be available as a video
and also on the new DVD (digital video
disc) format; however, it will not be
released as an audio CD. Both Navarro
and Smith are currently searching for
labels to release the project, which they
hope to have out by early spring.
V Addicted to Noise reports that
Pearl Jam and label Epic Records will
not release a video for the band's latest
single "Given to Fly," as Rolling Stone
had reported. The video would have
been Pearl Jam's first since 1992's
"Jeremy." It was rumored that the video
would be directed by the band's longtime
friend, director Cameron Crowe. Pearl
Jam's new album, "Yield," will be
released Feb. 3 and combines a sprawl-
ing collection of harder-edged guitar
songs, like "Faithful" and "MFC," with
more subtle, expansive experiments
such as "Lowlight" and the album clos-
er, "All The Yesterdays."
- Compiled by Daily Film Editor
Joshua Pederson and Daily Music
Editor Brian Cohen, from reports in
Entertainment Weekly and The
Associated Press.

Capricom (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The window of opportunity is now
open wide. Avoid hasty decisions,
lazy decisions and ignorant deci-
sions; otherwise, your chances may
close before you know it.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
The significant person in your life is=
planning to make some changes,
and, unfortunately for you, the only
way you can keep up will be if you
change too.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20).
A temporary ailment will set you
back a small bit. You'll find the
best relief, however, In your home
video collection and the "friend"
who joins you in the screening.
Arles (March 21-April 19)
A series of stellar events has gotten
you looking far into the future. Just
remember that what you do today,

Top 10 movies
(for the weekend of Jan. 9 to
Jan. 11) 4
1. "Titanic," $28.7 million (4 weeks
in theaters)
2. "Good Will Hunting," $10.3
million (2)
3. "As Good as It Gets," $9
million (3)
4. "Wag the Dog," $7.8 million (2)
5. "Tomorrow Never Dies," $7.5 mil-
lion (4)
6. "Mouse Hunt," $4.6 million (4)
7. "Firestorm," $3.8 million (1)
8. "Jackie Brown," $3.7 million (3)
9. "Scream 2," $3.6 million (5)
10. "Amistad," $2.7 million (4)
Source: USA Today
Billboard Top 10
(top albums for the week ending-
Jan. 17, 1998) .
1. Celine Dion, "Let's Talk About
Love" (seven weeks on chart)
2. Garth Brooks, "Sevens" (6)
3. Chumbawamba, "Tub-
thumper" (15)
4. Mase, "Harlem World" (10)
5. Leann Rimes, "You Light Up My
Life - Inspirational Songs" (17)
6. Shania Twain, "Come on
Over" (9)
7. Matchbox 20, "Yourself or
Someone Like You" (44)
8. Puff Daddy and the Family, "No
Way Out" (24)
9. Backstreet Boys, "Backstreet
Boys" (21)
10. Aqua. "Aquarium" (17)
Source: Billboard Magazine

-t

Dear Unsure,
You could tell yoi
rent roommate she's
pig who can't be t
Only this approach w
her from the lease, be
life too.
If you're this conce
a financial responsibi
bad idea to sign a coni
equal partner. One i
financial worry is to
potential roommate gi
onto the lease. There
mate bails on the 1
should be financially
As for her hygiene,
girl who isn't likely t
overnight. It's a gooc
meeting with your po
In the kindest words,
expect today in order
ed problems when y
row.
A great way of d
making sure things

Michigan Daily Weeks
kenddMaga
good or bad, may ha
impact on what happ
Taunus (April 20-Ma}
Don't let the cabin I
old man winter get I
Your sanity is best r
when you are active
perhaps, to beat the
Gemini (May 21-Jun
When was the last'I
to the dance floor fc
wild fun? Ample sur
if you dare to boogi(
Cancer (June 21-Jul
Some things this we
you beyond frustratl
laughter is the best
Leo (July 23- Aug. 2
Alternative ways to
free time will open
new experiences th,
viously ignored.
*HelpM
Dear Harlan,
Next year, I'm mc
I'll be renting. The thi
find three roomma
roommate is my best f
living there with me.
I have living with her
lazy, messy and her :
bility is sometimes qi
The other friend I
unlike my current
mate. In fact, she's
fun and takes care
financial responsibili
all comes down to try
to lose a friend, but
responsible roommat<
How do I go abou
ing this whole mess?

*3years ago in IESdIt
"The Information Technology Division will begin to charge fo
ning March 1, officials said yesterday.... Undergraduates r(
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