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September 23, 1998 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-23

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

mild fim
By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
In a television season filled
with actors intent on redefining
small screen personae, ="Jesse"
stands out as it presents former
"Married ... With Children" mall-
rat Christina Applegate as a work-
ing single mom trying to balance
her son, her dad, her brothers and
er love life into a nominally nor-
mal existence.
NBC is giving "Jesse" the
added cushion of a post-
Seinfeldian "Must See TV"
timeslot on Thursdays after
"Friends." That position should
give "Jesse" some much needed
support - it has the potential for
greatness, but it isn't quite there
Most of the problems stem
from Jesse's irritating family
members. Father John Sr. (George
Dzundza) is a restaurant
owner/manager who, along with
Jesse, must contend with wearing
at the bar.
The first
JeSSe implies that
John Sr. is a
bit of a
NBC, Thursdays bigot (he
at 8:30 p.m. expresses
surprise that
Shatner is
Jewish - "I
didn't real-
ize they let
those peo- t
le up there!"), but it's OK
because it's funny. Isn't it? On
second thought, using John Sr. as
a laugh-getter through mildlyr
prejudicial comments is a sure
way to offend viewers. The
"Jesse" writers would be wise to
drop that aspect of his otherwise
amusingly acerbic personality.
Jesse's brothers, John "Junior"
Jr. (David DeLuise) and Darren
*ohn Lehr), hang around her
house an awful lot for grown men.
Just one look at them explains
why, though: Junior is a mute by
choice, citing philosophical rea-
sons and communicating entirely
through facial expressions
(which, when directed at Jesse,
tend to come off more as lecher-
ous stares unbecoming of a girl's
&other); and Darren has entre-
reneurial aspirations that inclqde
selling ceramic gnomes to HoTe
Depot at a gigantic profit of $1
per gnome - he buys 8,000 of
the little buggers only to discover
they are "unfinished" gnomes
that require painting. Neither
brother appears to have an actual
job (unlike Jesse, who waitresses
at her father's bar, while Junior
and Darren just hang out there)

eyond mooching off of their sis-
No sitcom would be complete
without a romantic storyline, so
the writers have given Jesse the
problem of an extremely hand-
some, extremely nice, extremely
irresistible new neighbor, ;Diego
(Bruno Campos), who is from
Chile (cue the ethnic jokes from
John Sr.). Diego works wel in the
*lot episode, but howl it is
planned to stretch the tenuous
romance between him anj1 Jesse
throughout an entire season is
unclear. At least he appears to be
gainfully employed - and even if
he isn't, he could have a brilliant
future with the Chippendales.
Which brings us to the star of
the show, Applegate's Jesse. For
some completely unknown rea-
son, the otherwise bright and
Wtty Jesse is slaving away in a
hideous green barmaid outfit, a
job totally incongruous with both
her personality and possessions -
she has a lovely house all bought
on her own that seems to exceed
her yearly income. Jesse seems
far too smart to be serving
brewskis and taking mild-man-
nered harassment from cus-
Omers, to the point where she
actually employs her 10-year-old
son ("Little John," blandly played
by Eric Lloyd) as a man-deter-
rent. A woman this smart could
surely have a successful career
elsewhere; why she continues to
work for dear old dad is a mystery

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 23, 1998 - 11

Stellar Streep
is 'True Thing
The Hartford Courant
NEW YORK - Is Meryl Streep the mother of us all?
Looking at her Hollywood career - can it be more than 20
years and nearly 30 films already? - Streep shows that an
actress doesn't have to play just hookers, girlfriends or hang-
ers-on to make it in the movies.
Many of Streep's stellar performances come from her real
women/real mother roles: as the low-esteem mom in
"Kramer vs. Kramer," the cool-but-caring mom in "A Cry in
the Dark," the warrior mom in "The River Wild," the lonely
mom in "The Bridges of Madison County," and the sacrificial
mom in "Sophie's Choice."
Now in "One True Thing," Streep inhabits what might be
seen as one of her most exotic roles: a seemingly ordinary,
middle-class wife and mother who loves her family and her
hearts-and-crafts life.
She plays Kate Gulden in the film, based on Anna
Quindlen's semi-autobiographical novel. Renee Zellweger
("Jerry Maguire") plays her young daughter, an ambitious
journalist in New York who returns to her suburban home to
tend to her homebody mother, who has cancer.
"(Hollywood) doesn't make movies about women like her,"
Streep says during an interview in her hotel suite in New
York, where the two-time Oscar winner was promoting the
Dressed in Talbot's classy-casual, Streep reminds you of a
soccer mom out on the town for an afternoon spree, more
Myrna Loy than Greer Garson, two movie stars from anoth-
er, more mother-friendly, Hollywood era.
"They make movies now about women who are neurotic,
or in some kind of extremity, or who are disagreeable, or dif-
ferent, or scary, or as, you know, sex objects and girlfriends.
But they don't make movies about what many women do,
which is make homes, which is a big achievement."
But don't look too closely for insights into her own per-
sonal life. Streep, who was born Mary Louise Streep (Meryl
was her mother's nickname), grew up in Summit, N.J., not far
from where the film is set, with two younger brothers. She
says she didn't draw from her own relationship with her
mother for the role.
"I don't have any problems with my mother," she says, nip-
ping any line of questioning in the bud. No family angst here

'Newsradio' keeps
the laughs alive

By Michael Galloway
TV/New Media Editor
Maybe, just maybe, "Newsradio" is
simply cursed to remain in TV anonymi-
ty. There hasn't been any other way to
explain how for four years this show
about the wacky hi-jinx inside a newsra-
dio station has never achieved the view-
er ratings it deserves, especially when
you consider that piss-poor shows such
as "Suddenly Susan" and "Veronica's
Closet" have somehow been successes.
So maybe "Newsradio" needs to get
Brooke Shields or move its setting from
a newsradio station to where they to do
lingerie photo shoots. Nothing beats
models if want your show to be a sure-
fire winner. Note: "Just Shoot Me" is

Two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep has become one of the
finest actress of this generation.
to spill into the papers. "I adore my mother and always have."
But she certainly understands mothers like Kate.
"They were postwar women," she says. "Even if they
worked during the war, when everyone came home, they
stopped working. Their expectation was not to have a career.
But many went forward and broke through a lot of barriers
to have a career. But it was not the same expectation as it is
for their daughters, and certainly for my daughters. I think
my daughters should be educated so they can do something
in the world and for the world. I think this film is about how
(the daughter) is educated by this experience (with her moth-
er) and that a certain level of selflessness. is a valuable
Streep has been a rare voice that is critical of her own
industry, whether she is talking about pay inequities, violence
in movies or the manner it portrays women. She most recent-
ly spoke out regarding the American Film Institute's list of the
100 all-time best American films.
See STREEP, Page 12

excluded from thi
Tonight at 9:30
Paul Simms, both

s sarcastic chastise-
ment because it's
actually good.
never sunk down
to this level, but
maybe, since
"Just Shoot Me"
and "Newsradio"
are good, it isn't a
mere coincidence
that Bernie
Brillstein was an
executive produc-
er for both.
teamed up with
of whom also were

And the show's regular writers should
be ciedited as well for coming up with
some of the most original comic situa-
tions to be on televisions since "I Love
Lucy" (which actually originated most
of the stories).
For instance. one time "Newsradio"
teamed up with VH-I to bring "Pop-Up
Newsradio:' airing an older episodes
with fact balloons popping up every
three seconds and relaying interesting
tidbits like how actor Stephen Root was
hired the day before the show started
shooting, and how actress Maura
Tierney (Lisa on the show) was hired 15
minutes before shooting.
With the tragic loss of Phil Hartman,
who played news anchor Bill McNeal,
the first episode of the new season will
start with a special episode devoted to
him where the show's characters remi-
nisce about Bill. The second episode will
introduce his replacement (although he
can never be replaced), SNL alum Jon
Lovitz, who actually was a guest star on
the episode that was made into a "Pop-
Up" version.
Expect tears and poignant moments
tonight, especially froi Matthew (Andy
Dick) who had a sycophantic relation-
ship with Bill that rivals that of Burns
and Smithers on "The Simpsons."
TV Guide rated "Newsradio" No. 13
(maybe it is a curse) of the top 25 shows
returning this season, beating out
"Friends," "Buffy," "The Simpsons,"
"NYPD Blue" and "Drew Carey."
That, along with old episodes now in
syndication, may be enough to finally
put "Newsradio" on everybody's to
watch list.

executive producers of "The Larry
Sanders Show," and created the great
comic characters of "Newsradio"'s
owner Jimmy James (Stephen Root) and
Beth the secretary (Vicki Lewis).

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