10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 12, 2000
'Girlfriends' a 'Sex
'Big Brother' runs.
into big problems
and the City
for UPN audiences
The Los Angeles 'imes
HOLLYWOOD -- New prime-time
season, old standards.
"Girlfriends" affirms that Democratic
vice-presidential candidate Joseph 1.
Lieberman is right about much of televi-
sion being exceptionally raunchy. In fact,
Monday night that bar was raised even
higher (or lowered, depending on your
view). The eye of the beholder will deter-
mine whether UPN's new comedy is as
funny as it is raw.
This beholder says no.
"Girlfriends" is about four good-look-
ing, skinny women in Los Angeles, all of
them single and black. The obvious com-
parison is HBO's "Sex and the City," a
much more graphically libidinous come-
dy about a swell-looking female four-
'some with roving eyes for men in New
York City. Besides locale. a difference is
-hat "Sex and the City" is as white as
"Girlfriends" is black.
It's also infinitely more sophisticated
and wittier than the intrusively laugh-
tracked UPN series, whose characters
haggle noisily and crack juvenile sexual
jokes, one after the other. Next week, the
ribald one-liners become sight gags.
As for sexual content, you won't watch
cable's "Sex and the City" without paying
a monthly fee to receive 11130. but "Girl-
friends" is available to anyone, including
kids, with access to a TV set. It airs at
9:30 p.m. on the West Coast, 8:30 in
some areas of the United States.
If' you don't want it. though, you have
permission to turn it off. That's the U.S.
way. Or if your set is equipped with a V-
chip. you can veto it electronically. This
gentle reminder is necessary because of
an ongoing crusade by Lieberman and
others against TV they deem inappropri-
ate, but which millions upon millions of
Americans enjoy watchin.
It remains to be seen how many of
them find fun in "Girlfriends:' whose hub
is Joan Clayton (Tracee Llis Ross). a ris-
ing attorney about to become a junior
partner in her firm. She frequently reveals
her inner thoughts to the camera.
A flap ensued Monday night whMen
.Joan's giiifriend. real-estate agent Toni
Childs (Jill Marie Jones), brought loan's
former lover to a birthday party Joan
threw for herself. The show\ signaled its
age attitude when Joan Eas embarrassed
to admit she's a moldy 21).
The men in this series are caricatur-
ish appendages whose task is to appear
as wooden as possible. at which they
The Los Angeles Times
HOLLY WOOD - A bizarre dynamic
has developed on the "reality" series "Big
Brother," which has finally found a villain
for its most devoted audience to jeer: The '
producers and CBS network.
Internet chat has grown increasingly I
hostile toward the network and production
company Endemol Entertainment, with
many postings referring to the program as<
a "train wreck."
In essence, the six remaining contes-
tants sequestered in Studio City have unit- l
ed against the producers, on Wednesday I
rejecting an offer that would have paid one f
of them S50,000 to leave the "Big Broth- 1
er" house, where their every move is
filmed. The producers were hoping to ;
introduce a new young woman named i
Beth to create additional tension on the
program, but the stunt appeared to back-
fire awkwardly .1
While the "Big Brother" winner is des- I
tined to earn S500,000, only the second-
and third-place finishers will receive any
cash, earning S100,000 and S50,000,
Those hooked on "Big Brother" seem
increasingly irate about the manner in
which "the game" is being played, begin- 1
ning with a campaign by the wife of one
"house guest," George, to banish another,;
Brittany. because she was considered his 4
main competition for the grand prize. A
radio station in George's hometown of
Rockford, "ll., sponsored phone calls j?
oust Brittany, spurring her fans to launch a
Web site called it-ithanishgeolge.comn.
On Thursday, one online fan cited the
"naked unadulterated fear, nay panic,y
could smell from the CBS/Endemo
(jerks) who pulled the crackpot Beth"
gambit" in Wednesday's episode.
Some fans complain the producers'
appear to be amending the rules as theygol
along, seeking to manipulate the action in
a desperate attempt to boost ratings ::The
provision "No outside contact" has been.
broken on several occasions, with produc-
ers allowing interaction with family and
Despite - or perhaps because of 9
all the acrimony, "Big Brother's"jat-
ings have stayed reasonably high. by
summer standards, albeit dwindling'
since the similarly themed "Survivor"
finished its run. More than 11 million#
people viewed Wednesday's live:
episode, while fewer people watch the'
show (which plays six times a week).ont
other nights. On Thursday, CBS'
announced plans to expand the Sept.
finale to two hours.
In addition to their ratings worries,
the producers and network are being
sued by the estate of George Orwell,'
author of the novel "1984," which ir1tro-,
duced the concept of "Big Brother" as a.
malevolent force in a futuristic society.
I like my women like I like my coffee: hot,I
succeed. The other girlfiriends in Joan's
life are her mouthv assistant. Maya
Wilkes ((Golden Brooks). and Lynn
Searcy (Persia White). who is \workin0g
on her third master's deiree. It' she's so
briuht, what is she doini w'v ith this gic-
slv crowd. none of whom appears smart
or matnre. least of all Joan. despite her
The second episode finds her admitnic
she hasn't had sex in a ycar, which
launches talk of condoms and the o cr-
black, and from the McDonald's drive-thru.
si ied ' mx th of the black-male penis,"
which is illustrated in fantasy send-ups
show ig a pair of black men clutchi nc
themisel es You Know Where.
Says one: "I gat e up smoking. I had to
do someth in h itIimy hands." Another:
"If you had a pocket fiull of gold. you'd
touch it once in a while."
It 'only that gold extended to the
show 's t ritine. Is "Girlfriends" a
lowercase "Sex and the City"? .Much,
beca use life doesn't stand still...
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