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October 06, 2000 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-06

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I'm not a Communist!
SAcclained C(Xi-%m pianist Gont--alo
Rubacara plays the Bird of Paradise
tonight and tomorrow. 7 and 11 p.m.
michigandaily.com/arts

ARTS

FRIDAY
OCTOBER 6, 2000

IDIOT-BOX BONANZA

CBS may score Sunday night
hit with new drama 'That's Life'

By Katie Den Bleyker
For the Daily
"That's Life" is CBS's new drama
airing on Sundays from 8 to 9 p.m.
"That's Life" stars Heather Paige Kent
as thirtysomething New Jersey bar-
tender Lydia De Lucca who decides to
go back to college after dumping her
overbearing fiance. Along the way,
Lydia has to deal with her unsupportive
family, including
her cop brother,
Paul (Kevin
That's Life Dillon) and her
CBS old-fashioned par-
ents, Frank and
Sundays at 8 p.m. Dolly, played by

to find her first class on the campus
map while surrounded by students tot-
ing cell phones and riding bikes.;
Another scene that students will relate
to shows Lydia in the bookstore finding
out exactly how much her textbooks
will set her back. People from New
Jersey, in particular, will enjoy the
scenes of Frank talking to his daughter
while on the job, oblivious to the traffic
backup that he is causing.
The only problem in this winning
new comedy/drama is the lack of sup-
port Lydia's family and friends show for
her decision to educate herself. It is
hard to believe that in this day and age,
Lydia's friends and family would rather
see her married with children than
working towards a college education.
While this attitude may have been typi-
cal in the 1950s, it is a bit of a flimsy
plot device today.
The "working-girl trying to show up
her book-smart peers" plotline may
seem a bit familiar (think "Working
Girl") and the resistance to Lydia's plan
to educate herself may seem a tad arti-
ficial, but the show has enough charm,
humor, and originality to make watch-
ing it worthwhile.

Girls, girls girls: Debi Mazar, Heather Paige Kent and Kristen Bauer star in "That's Life."

! _ _ _ 1

c r i t i c a l 1 y Lydia's desire for a college education.
acclaimed actors Borrowing a page from TV's other
Paul Sorvino and New Jersey based hit, HBO'S "The
Ellen Burstyn. Sopranos," "That's Life" has a strong
Fortunately, Lydia Italian-American flavor which influ-
has her two best ences the characters' dialogue and caus-
friends, beauty es Paul to exclaim "Hey, I speak
e O'Grady (Debi Godfather too!" The show's soundtrack
Miss New Jersey, is also influenced by the Italian theme,
ten Bauer) to help featuring songs like Rosemary
two working class Clooney's "Mambo Italiano."
ssarily understand The New Jersey setting is evidenced

by Frank De Lucca's job as a tollbooth
operator and the De Lucca's obsession
with the New York Giants football
team.
Despite its billing as a drama, "That's
Life" is full of comedic moments, like
when Lydia's psychology professor
(Peter Firth) turns out to be the same
drunk guy she throws out of her bar at
the beginning of the episode. Comedic
moments that will hit close to home
include shots of Lydia frantically trying

Courtesy of FOX
Wanna hear something really freaky? The "Freakylinks" cast are all aliens - Illegal aliens.
Fox' FSreakyln S 1s.
freakishly derivative

By Matt Manser
For the Daily

parlor owner Jacki
Mazar) and former
Candy Cooper (Kris
her out, even if these
women do not nece

NBC banks on Letterman, comedy in 'Ed'

Ever since Fox moved "The X-Files"
from Friday nights to Sunday, they have
been looking for another show to capture
the sci-fi nerd audience that stays home
on Friday. First there was "Millennium,"
then last year was "Harsh Realm." This
year Fox tries again with "Freakylinks."
Co-created by "Blair Witch Project"
producer Gregg Hale, "Freakylinks" fol-
lows the adventures of Derek Barnes

By Ryan Blay
For the Daily
NBC's new hour-long comedy "Ed" (8 p.m.
Sundays) has several things going for it, foremost
among them that it is actually laugh out loud
funny. Unlike some of TV's recent attempts at
comedy, "Ed" benefits from
such obvious strengths as a
strong supporting cast, a flex-
ible plot and the lack of a
Ed laugh track. The creators may
have taken notes from "Will
and Grace's" success.
NBC The premise is quirky, and
Sundays at 8 p.m. will probably have to adapt to
survive among the numerous
comedies premiering this
year. Tom Cavanagh, former-
ly of "Providence," plays titu-
lar Ed Stevens, a workaholic
New York attorney whose

world falls apart the day he is fired. He returns to
his home, only to see his wife in bed with the
mailman (ouch!). He decides to move back to his
hometown of Stuckeyville, move in with his mar-
ried friends and try his luck with his high school
crush. On a whim, he buys the bowling alley he
worked for in high school and then is convinced
to open a law firm inside. "The Practice" this
isn't.
Obstacles are placed in front of Ed, both the
character and the show. First, Ed's dream girl,
high school teacher Carol, is married. Her jerk of
a husband (shades of "Nurse Betty") was Ed's
high school English teacher and is now doing a
combination of writing and ignoring Carol.
The show is going to have bigger troubles.
however. Going up against "The Simpsons" in its
rookie year is not going to be easy. The show
should be paired with "Will and Grace" to com-
plement each other's acerbic wit.
And the show has to deal with standard prob-
lems before it can be a smash. Nobody in the cast

is a star - the most recognizable name is
Executive Producer David Letterman. Also, what
to do with the love combo of Ed and Carol is dif-
ficult. They must balance the romance and sexu-
al tension without making it a tired story (i.e.
Daphne and Niles on "Frasier").
Tom Cavanagh, as the lead actor, has the pres-
sure of leading the cast, but the smart writing and
the supporting cast are very promising. Phil
(Michael tan Black) is the Michael Richards of
the cast, producing many of the bowling alley/law
office laughs. Shy Shirley is a character that
needs to be developed, but high school student
Warren, Ed's rival for Carol's attention (a clever
reference to "Rushmore," as long as it's not made
a standard part of the show) can hold his own
when school scenes are needed. Even the con-
stantly changing nannies for the token adorable
baby (if the show lasts, more than Murphy
Brown's secretaries) lend their knowledge of
Peter Paul & Mary. What's most amazing,
See ED, Page 9

Freakylinks
FOX
Fridays at 9 p.m.
1

(Ethan Embry,
"Can't Hardly
Wait"). But first,
the backstorv: It
seems two years
before the show
starts, Derek's
twin brother
Adam started - a
Website called
"OccultResearch"
to investigate
supernatural phe-
nomena. Derek is
not really interest-
ed in the occult,

freaky-ness occurs two years later.
Derek gets an e-mail containing video
footage of Adam at an ATM.The video
was shot just two days ago. Freaky!
Now Derek has a new quest: Find out
exactly what happened to his brot*
(Wow! It's just like Fox Mulder's searc
for his abducted sister! Freaky. coinci-
dence!) He gets help from Adam's ex-
fiancee Chloe (Lisa Sheridan). She tells
Derek about the case Adam was working
on before he "died," which involved the
strange disappearance of some early
American settlers. Chloe also reveals
that she too received an urgent phone
call the day ofAdam's death and she also
had a spooky vision. Did somebody
"freaky'?"
Fox is hyping the connection between
"Freakylinks" and "The Blair Witch
Project," so if you're looking for Blair-
Witch-esque moments, you'll find them.
Does "Freakylinks" have several min-
utes of home-movie type footage ?Yes, it
does. How about spooky footageshot in
the woods? Yep, got that too. Whtat about
someone breathlessly remarking, "I'm
so sorry, I'm so sorry?" Why *
"Freakylinks" has that as well. I've never
even seen "Blair Witch," and 1 still
caught these similarities. There are also
some X-Files-esque moments on
"Freakylinks." They don't have a
Tobacco-Chewing Man or a Coffee-
Drinking Man, but they do' have an
Insane-Man-with-Tattoos named Vince
Elsing (Dennis Christopher). Vince is a
psychiatric patient who seems to know
exactly what happened to Adam, but he
is reluctant to give details because, w
then there wouldn't be a show. Of cour
there's the whole searching-for-a-sibling
plot of the show. At least'"Freakylinks"
refrains from using Mulder-and-Scully
sexual tension between Derek and Jason.
But maybe I shouldn't speak so 'soon.
"Freakylinks" did have some scary
moments, but mostly it borrowed
moments or moments too implausible to
suspend disbelief. In a couple of months
"Freakylinks" will probably end upj
like Adam. However, unlike Adam, there
won't be much mystery as to shy
"Freakylinks" disappeared.

F I

L n
Color & Design Group

$/o

but he agrees to work for Adam because
Derek is "a surfer trying to keep Corn
Flakes on the table" (Derek's a surfer.
Adam's a web-surfer. Get it'?) One night
Derek is talking to a hot girl at a- strip
club while investigating a case involving
exploding lap-dancers (I kid you not).
He gets a call from Adam, who is in need
of help. Derek blows him off because,
well, he's talking to a hot girl at a strip
club. Derek then.looks in a mirror, has a
strange vision and later finds Adam dead
in bathtub filled with pinkish-colored
water Freaky.
Derek feels somewhat responsible for
his brother's death, so he decides to carry
on with Adam's work. He keeps the
Website going, but changes its name to
"freakylinks." Derek, for whatever rea-
son, thinks the new name is much cool-
er and not cheesy at all. He gets help
from his suave new partner Jason
(Karim Prince) and the geeky
Webmaster Lan (Lizette Carrion}.
Everything is going smoothly until more

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Pulitzer Prize Winner.
A funny and irreverent
satire about scandal in
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Immoppl- I

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