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November 19, 1998 - Image 21

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-19

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1OB .- Thie .M ih' airl y We ekAd M g e ┬░Tt ursdaS, November 11998

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The Michigan Daily eeken Magazine

TV writers pick faves for sweeps

Children's Theatre packs lessons in e

y
s t
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
omer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Mge represent everything good about TV today.
Author of: Down These Mean Streets
1:30-2:30 Dialogue Ostifun Room West Quad
3prm5pm Keynote Address Wedge Room West Quad
Sponsored by:

By Michael Galloway
Daily TV/New Media Editor
November means football and turkey
to some, but to network executives, it
means high stress and Pepto Bismol.
During sweeps month, networks run the
newest and best episodes of this season's
programming to pull in Nielsen ratings
and commercial dollars.
But where does that leave the poor
innocent viewer, as the networks
tempt him or her with hype and false
promises of something good on TV?
To determine what is truly worthy of
the viewer's time, each member of the
TV/New Media staff picked five favorite
shows. The votes were counted, and the
results represent the staff's general con-
sensus of the best shows out this season.
EComing in at number five is
"South Park" (Wednesdays, 10 p.m.,
Comedy Central). If crude language
was an art form, episodes of this show
would be on display in the Louvre. Of
course, no one's watching "South
Park" for aesthetic reasons anyway.
What is its secret for success? Is it
Stan retching around his girlfriend,
Wendy? Is it Kenny, who can't say
anything because his words are muf-
fled through his red hood? No, "South
Park" owes it all to Eric Cartman, that
fat little, cheesy poof-ingesting boy
whose indescribable voice has cap-

tured the heart of the nation ... and is
holding it for ransom. While "South
Park" has had some strikeouts, such as
the April Fool's debacle, recent
episodes have been the highest grade
of lowbrow humor.
USpeaking of capturing hearts,
Keri Russell is the talk of tinsel town
and touted by "TV Guide" as tomor-
row's titan of the silver and small
screens. But even leaving the predic-
tions to the Psychic Friends Network,
she's enjoying a modicum of success
as the title character on the WB net-
work's "Felicity" (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.)
Strong acting and good dialogue work
well with the show's melodrama,
depending on how much you relate to
Felicity Porter's emotional predica-
ments in college. "Dawson's Creek"
and "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" have
been ratings winners for the WB, but
"Felicity"'s critical acclaim has begun
to justify its existence .to the general
public. Its quality and popularity earns
it the number four spot.
EAt number three, law dramas
"Law & Order" (Wednesdays, 10
p.m., NBC) and "The Practice"
(Sundays, 10 p.m., ABC) tie. "L & 0"
is consistently good, never straying far
from its simple formulaic workout
that is really a stroke of genius. The
first half of the show follows the
police in their investigation of a crime,
and the rest of the show tracks the
state's prosecution. Mix in lies, poli-
tics, corruption, human error, legal
(and extralegal) dealing and tough guy
bravado, plus good acting, great writ-
ing and a who-done-it air with the nor-
mal tension of courtroom drams to
produce an entertaining hour.
"The Practice" is much more of a soap
opera drama than "L & 0." It moves to
the other side of the courtroom, criminal
defense and follows a small but growing

Boston firm that plays the dirty tricks
expected from defense lawyers, pushing
the line without crossing it. Its average
between excellent and mediocre
episodes makes "The Practice" about as
good as "L & O," but its potential is
much greater.
EAt number two, and after a some-
what disappointing big-screen film ver-
sion this summer, "The X-Files"
(Sundays, 9 p.m., FOX) is still a favorite
blend of science fiction and horror.
"The truth is out there," alright, but
Scully and Mulder are no longer on the
X-Files. They're doing (gasp) actual FBI
cases, at least between episodes. The
show is now based on the strange things
that these two somehow still encounter.
While this show has always been fun,
suspenseful and scary, the best episodes
are the tongue-in-cheek jabs that the
show takes at itself, such as "Jose
Chung in Outer Space," "Humbug" and
last season's "Bad Blood."
EAnd at number one, the reigning
champ of television is not even a live-
action show. "The Simpsons"
(Sundays, 8 p.m., FOX) has brought its
blend of cartoon slapstick and intelli-
gent political satire to millions of view-
ers for nine seasons and it continues
putting out quality comedy in its 10th
season. Who doesn't know that 6 p.m.
is the time to gather round the television
for a recommended daily dose of
"Simpsons" reruns? Who hasn't given a
"D'oh" or a "Woohoo!" in defeat or tri-
umph, respectively, or a "Mmmmm ...
(something edible)" or a "Ooooohhh ...
(something edible)?" Homer Simpson
is a national treasure.
So ends the Daily TV staff's rec-
ommendations for tried-and-true
television, just in time for sweeps
month and the most attention-grab-
bing, tear-jerking, heart-stopping
episodes.

By Cortney Dueweke
Daily Arts Writer
How do you successfully teach
kids a lesson and entertain them at
the same time?
The University's Children's
Theatre troupe seems to think the
most effective way is through act-
ing.
Children's Theatre began in 1990
with four students, but the cast now
fluctuates between 10 and 15 people
per semester. Currently there are 10
actors, including co-directors Jen
Bodzin and Scott Randall, who are
the only non-rookie troupe mem-
bers.
When Children's Theatre began,
the actors used scripts that had
already been published in order to
create a play. Now, the students cre-
ate their own shows.
"We take something important
like truth or heroes and write a
script around it to prove a point,"
Bodzin said.
"We sneak some lessons in there
at the same time," said troupe mem-
ber and LSA junior Brian Hacker.
"It's a great way to get a message

mance focuses more on entertain-
ment than teaching a lesson.
"The main purpose is to create
quality drama for disadvantaged
kids in the area," Bodzin said.
Currently, the troupe has four
scheduled children's performances
and two more in the works. The per-
formances begin at the end of
November.
The troupe also puts on an annual
show for University students. As
they rehearse the actors come up
with humorous twists that are
unsuitable for children's ears,
Randall said. They save this "R-
rated" version for the college audi-
ence,
"The student show is the same
show with hidden innuendoes ...
stuff you would never do in front of
kids," Bodzin said.
"The humor level kind of escalates
to a more adult version,"said Randall.
The public student show is free,
and is scheduled to take place Dec.
4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. in 126 East
Quad.
Children's Theatre usually holds
auditions once a semester depend-

J Bo n (left), Brien Hacker, and Juffe stz, metes oft *Lu li sity Child
re r earsaL group peros at local elemary schools and cominumlty c

Alianza
English Department
History Department
Housing Administration
Latino Law Association

MSA Michigan Student Assembly
PRA Puerto Rican Association
Rackham Student Government
School of Education
Student Affairs Programming Council

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across with-
out preaching
... it's really
effective."
According
to Randall,
the members
have a brain-
storming ses-
sion at the
beginning of
the semester

"It's more improv
than scripted,
obviously, since we
don 't have a srp.
- Sarah Walker
Children's Theatre troupe member

ing on how
many actors
are returning
and how many
are needed for
the upcoming
show. Bodzin
and Randall
both said the
troupe is un-
sure if it will
need more
semester. If nec-

fact, we don't have any."
When asked about the best part of
Children's Theatre, the response
was immediate and enthusiastic.
"It's all about the little kids,"
Randall said. The kids often rush up
to the actors after the play, eager to
talk about themselves and the per-
formance, Randall said.
"I really love working with the
kids," said Hacker. "It's amazing
because the kids love it ... the look
in their eyes is incredible."
Any questions regarding the
University's Children's Theatre
troupe can be sent via e-mail to
childrenstheatre@umich. edu.

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in which they determine a main idea
and a general plot line of a show
with a moral and a theme. They then
spend a month rehearsing and creat-
ing the 20 to 30-minute perfor-
mance from scratch. Since there is
never a writtenscript, the actor's
lines may vary as rehearsals
progress.
"It's more improv than scripted,
obviously, since we don't have a
script," said SNRE first-year stu-
dent Sarah Walker.
Because the shows are performed
during the day when many students
have classes, it is necessary for the
actors to learn not only their own
part, but someone else's.
In the past, thestroupe has per-
formed Mott Children's Hospital, the
Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, Peace
Neighborhood, Parkridge Community
Center, Northwood Housing,
Arrowwood Elementary, Holmes
Elementary and various other commu-
nity centers in the Ann
Arbor/Ypsilanti area.
"Working with the children is a
great way of helping the community
as a whole," said Walker.
Past performances include "Have
a Hero, Be a Hero," "Imagination
Station and the Truth About Lies,"
and a Dr. Seuss show.
This semester's theme is
"Fractured Fairytales," and the show
is titled "Once Upon a Time..
Happily Ever After?" Every show
has a moral, but this year's perfor-

essary, it will recruit at Winterfest
and also will advertise.
"We don't necessarily need per-
formance majors," said Randall. "In

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