10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 25, 1998
'FANTASY ISLAND' SHOULD BE DESERTED
potent load in
new ABC sitcom
By Michael Galloway
TV/New Media Editor
At least, Tatoo isn't in it.
Barry Sonnenfeld has hit a lot of
homers in recent years: "Men in
Black," "Get Shorty," and "The
Addams Family." But even
McGwire and Sosa have to strike
"Fantasy Island" promises a lot.
Actually, it promises too much,
like Babe Ruth calling a homer out
in left field. Babe delivered, but
hey, that was the Great Bambino.
This show not only has Sonnenfeld
as the executive producer, but
Malcolm McDowell is the new Mr.
Roarch, a much more mysterious
and dangerous version than the
character Ricardo Montalban made
famous. The new "Fantasy Island"
also has better special effects and-a
better location than before (Oahu,
Hawaii rather than the L.A. area).
Furthermore, the show opens with
a great scene in a mysterious travel
office where everything looks a little
too mundane and dreary to be ordi-
nary. Fyvush Finkel, best known as
lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on
"Picket Fences," plays the aptly
named Fisher, the travel agent who
interests people into taking a vacation
to Fantasy Island. He does a great job
with the role. You're not sure whether
he has benign
intentions or is
the devil him-
Fantasy does a superb
Island job as an aged
* and apathetic
ABC secretary who
Saturdays at 9 p.m. must average 15
typed words per
minute, if that.
that. For those
remember the original show, guests
to the Island get their deepest
desire made into reality in order to
teach them, usually, that they
Courtesy of ABC, Inco
Jeremy Piven stars as "Cupid" tomorrow on ABC.
By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Against my better judgment of the
ludicrous premise that is at the heart
of "Cupid," I was smitten as if the dia-
pered god himself had shot me
through the heart.
"Cupid"'s plot is this: Cupid, a.k.a.
Trevor Hale, has been exiled from
Mt. Olympus for bad behavior. In
order to return home, he must unite
no fewer than 100 couples in true
love. He must do this sans bow and
arrow, i.e. sans magic. Sounds almost
as crazy as a teenager who kills vam-
pires in order to save the world, does-
Jeremy Piven ("Ellen." "The Larry
Courtesy of ABC, Inc.
Malcom McDowell and Madchen Amick may become lovers in the new "Fantasy Island."
shouldn't want their deepest desire.
Now, the show works in the begin-
ning because everything is so mys-
terious. You don't know what the
guests are there for. and you don't
know what the resort's employees
are there for, except to pay off
some debt, likely incurred sins
done in life, or some such hack-
neyed stuff. But the mystery wears
out quick as you slowly realize
everything is going to work out.
Everyone will learn their lesson
and be a better person, and Mr.
Roark will have a 100 percent suc-
Without the possibility of fail-
ure, there's nothing at stake, so
boredom ensues. The mystery
around the resort's employees -
Cal the bellhop (Tatoo's replace-
ment, Louis Lombardi), Harry
(Edward Hibbert) and Clia
(Madchen Amick), who can
change into any woman - really
isn't much of a mystery. So all
that's left is how things will
resolve themselves. Using this
strategy unfortunately requires
much greater levels of plot and
character development than this
show offers. The guests are only
around for one show, and the
resort employees only get enough
air time to be mysterious or comi-
cal. Mr. Roark is not really meant
to change, although there's hints of
a possible relationship between
him and Clia. Still, this is thrown
in at the end and comes out of the
Sonnenfeld probably saw a lot
of potential in the idea of a new
"Fantasy Island," and he may even
get a success out of this show. The
magical and mysterious are big
right now, and there's certainly lit-
te competition on Saturday nights
to face from other networks. If
audiences don't want much, then
they'll be satisfied.
stars as the sar-
castic Cupid who
santly about how
sucks (and how
rules) and is on a
to kill the nasty
around Earth that
Cupid was mar-
ried to Psyche.
The pilot episode also feaitEW
Cupid's first attempt at bringin twe
lonely people together; whether oi
not he succeeds is another story
entirely. It looks as if the show is set
to have guest stars each week as fod-
der for Cupid's matchmaking skills.
a device that is not only smart but
could potentially bring in viewers
who are fans of a particular guest.
Finally given a chance to holh*
own in a show after playing support
to countless other stars, Piven stands
out as the heart and soul of "Cupid."
He smirks his way through the role
as if dealing with knaves who don't
understand him. It's impossible not
to like him with his vaguely
Clooney-esque smirk and endless
patience with us mere mortals.
Marshall is a little weaker
although that may just be the imp s-
sion she gives as the straight gi c
Piven 's sarcasm-wielding Cupid. Her
Claire is, if not a man-hater, at thc
very least a dream-hater who prefers
to shatter the fantasies of her sin-
gles' group members rather than let
them believe that relationships basec
on true love actually can exist.
All of this is to say that just
because a TV show sounds insanely
stupid doesn't mean that iq
"Cupid" is actually well-written,
well-acted, and well-produced
ABC's placement of the show in the
Saturday night death knell is* not
only typical of the cowardly 'net-
work's inability to support worth-
while, quirky shows, but gruesomely
This basically means that "Cupid'
will die a critically acclaimed dpatt
sometime in the next few months
after the ABC execs jeyk the *
around as they have done with"y
So-Called Life" and "Relativity' to
name a few.
It shouldn't be this way. If you can't
stay home on Saturday nights, tape it
If you can't tape it, write ABC a nasty
letter. "Cupid" is far too good to be
insulted like this while ABC fills their
weekday primetime schedule witi
more and more iterations of "20 .'
It just isn't right.
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Par any last minute changes.
happened. No matter what the books
say. And that silly little diaper he
wears on all of the Valentine's Day
propaganda? Completely inaccurate.
After being freed from the loony
bin in the, first half of the pilot,
Cupid gets a job as a bartender - or
is that matchmaker? - and spends
time creating havoc at the singles'
meetings run by his shrink, Dr.
Claire Allen (Paula Marshall).
Typical Cupid advice: "Treadmill.
Clearasil. Happy pill."
Claire does not take well to being
upstaged at her own group but is
ultimately unable to give Cupid the
boot, perhaps because she sees him
as the basis for her next book, "The
Search for Cupid." She also ques-
tions Cupid's endless array of pop
culture references. "Cable?" she
asks. "Omniscience," Cupid replies.
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