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September 25, 2001 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-25

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Defective adults...
Author John Fulton visits
Shaman Drum to read from his
new book "Retribution." Sign-
ing to follow. 8 p.m.
michigandaily.com/arts

ARTS

r

TUESDAY
SEPTEMBER 25, 2001

5

'Undeclared' pans
trite college dreck

Cast of'Emeril'
overshadows cook

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Editor
As most of us know, Hollywood
would like us to believe that it can
capture the college experience and
regurgitate it back out glamorized
and inspired, awaiting our viewer-

ship. Of course,
Undeclared
FOX
Tonight at 8:30 p.m.
"

rarely does this
filmed reality
come close to
grasping the
truth, a la
"Felicity" (Does
anyone actually
fall for their
Resident Advi-
sor?). We have
learned, and
quite quickly,
that college
isn't "Animal
House," nor is it
"Revenge of the
Nerds." Instead,

produced an extremely intelligent
comedy about the best four years of
one's life.
The father of this brainchild is
Judd Apatow, whose crowning glory
was the critically acclaimed, but
now defunct "Freaks and Geeks."
"Freaks and Geeks" presented high
school life in a fresh perspective,
presenting teen angst with intelli-
gence instead of just for comedic
laughs. Apatow now dares to depict
the life of a college freshman with
the same feelings of rebellion and
rejection that garnered him acclaim
in the beginning.
"Undeclared" stars Jay Baruchel
("Almost Famous") as Steve Karp, a
geeky and naive freshman at the
University of North Eastern Califor-
nia. Looking forward to starting
anew and away from his awkward
high school identity, Steve is ready,
willing and able to kick start his
college career-- without a major of
course. After the goodbye lecture
from dear old dad, Steve jumps into
the mass that is affectionately called
"move-in" full of overzealous par-
ents with video cameras and stu-
dents overridden with anxieties.
Entering his room, Steve encoun-
ters suitemates Ron (Seth Rogan, a
"Freaks and Geeks" alum and
"Undeclared" writer) and Marshall
(Timm Sharp) playing a drinking
game probably developed to break
up the.monotony of "Hi, my name is
so and so, what's your major?"-type
conversation. Before Steve can even

By Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer
The King of Creole food, Emeril
Lagasse, is back with a different
kind of cooking show. Well it's not
quite a cooking show at all. Actual-
ly it's a comedy based on the Food
Network's most prized series,
"Emeril Live."
Emeril stars in this kooky
behind-the-scenes look at how a
nationally tele-
vised cooking
show is run.
"Emeril" is
Emeril set in New York
City and show-

Courtesy of FOX
The cast of "Undeclared" begin their college experience before the camera.

F our college experiences are as var-
ied as the genres of movies and tele-
vision shows that would like us to
believe that it is our "life" that they
are depicting.
A shining light through the dark
has finally appeared on the small
screen, and although it cannot be
classified as the absolute truth,
"Undeclared" captures the college
"experience" that most'other shows
have been missing. Finally, FOX
has parted the waves of teen dreck
that have enveloped our senses
(thanks in large part to the WB) and

unpack, his roommate Lloyd, a
suave Brit, informs him about the
party they are having that night. Of
course, party can mean only one
thing ... women.
What ensues is one mishap after
another on the adventure to finding
women for the party. While Lloyd.
douses the ladies with his uncanny
charm, the other three are basically
inept when it comes to the opposite
sex. Pretty soon Steve is just asking
anyone, including cute frat boys. (In
an interesting twist, the frat boy
Steve asks to the party is, in fact,
Tom Welling, the new Superman on
the WB's "Smallville.")
While the boys play, the new girls
arc situating themselves into their
new freedom. Lizzie (Carla Gallo)
obsessively adorns her dorm walls
with pictures of her boyfriend Eric
(Jason Segel, another "Freaks and
Geeks" alum), but secretly yearns
for a life without restraint.
Her roommate Rachel (Monica

Keena, "Dawson's Creek"), is given
to panic attacks, but eventually
learns to deal with her new situa-
tion.
Not only is the writing effective
and intelligent, but also each char-
acter seems to be made for the
respective actor. This is in part due
to the fact that "Undeclared" was
cast before Apatow wrote the pilot.
Each actor convincingly portrays
his counterpart, and actually seems
to be having fun. Apatow doesn't
allow any of his characters to fall by
the wayside, unlike many of the
television shows today, and revels in
each character's quirks.
Don't expect "Undeclared" to
follow the conventional, because
based on the first episode's surprise
ending, this show is anything but
usual. Do expect a fun and intelli-
gent show, one that truly makes the
grade.

9

,

NBC
Tonight at 8 p.m.

cases many
actors that help
the real Emeril
Lagasse learn
the ropes of act-
ing. His three
assistants all
play a key role
in playing off
each other so

gance and disregard for most of the
cast makes her the adversary for the
entire show, especially the three
central women. Jerry (Robert Urich,
"Spencer: For Hire"), the agent,
engages Emeril with conversation
the most and showcases his humor-
ous side by giving a convincing
impersonation of Emeril's Food
Network colleague Wolfgang Puck.
"Emeril" begins on the set of
Emeril the cooking show. An
impromptu meeting ensues.with
Trish telling the entire cast they
need to lose weight fora contest
among other Food Network shows.
No one does well in the beginning
and they all sneak food on the side
until they realize the winners will
win almost $5000 each. This revela-
tion breathes new life into the group
and they become exercise machines.
The entire cast rides exercise bikes
in wet suits to sweat off more
weight. Cass remarks they look like
sperm being punished for being too
slow. During the last weigh-in Jerry
and Emeril are late and so the rest
must stall to win. In the end, they
show up without a hair of time to
spare.
Even though the show is titled,
"Emeril," the focus on the support-
ing cast demonstrates the show uses
Emeril Lagasse merely for his name
to gain viewers. Fortunately for
loyal viewers they won't be disap-
pointed when they turn on "Emeril."
The repartee among the characters
is witty and refreshing. Emeril him-
self does exhibit potential for acting
and his stage presence can be felt
even though he has little dialogue.
"Emeril" kicks the new sit-com
season up a notch and puts his own
essence on humor - with a BAM
of course!

Emeril doesn't work too hard to be
funny. Cass (Lisa Ann Walker, "The
Parent Trap") is Emeril's stage man-
ager and B.D. (Carrie Preston, "My
Best Friend's Wedding") helps him
set up the kitchen. These two char-
acters along with Melva (Sherri
Shephard, "Everybody Loves Ray-
mond") make up the three most
comedic personas in the cast and
the central part of the plot.
The other remaining cast mem-
bers play smaller roles that just
seem to initiate the action and help
move it along. Trish (Tricia O'Kel-
ley, the Heartstrings Greeting card
creator at Target) represents the
Food Network and is always trying
to improve Emeril's show. Her arro-

'Guardian' mixes cute Brit, kids with
snappy dialogue as CBS season begins

By Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer
What happens when a spoiled rich lawyer gets
arrested for drug possession? He's forced to do
15,000 hours of community service for the child
advocacy agency. That doesn't really sound so
bad, after all he could be in jail.
But for corporate attorney
Nick Fallin (Simon Baker,
"Felicity") serving the com-
munity doesn't work well
The with his schedule. Little does
Guardian he know his journey will
make him "The Guardian."
Nick is an associate in his
Tonight at 9 p.m. father's firm and seems to
" care only about himself. On
his first day at the court-
house, he meets a social
worker and his first client, a
boy named Hunter.
As the day progresses,

petent lawyer and has another job outside his
community service. It is important to know he
has a day job so Nick will ultimately have to
decide the type of work he wants to do in the end.
But as he spends more time with Hunter, his heart
will soften and one can guess that his days as a
corporate lawyer are numbered.
The series is ongoing; Hunter's story will con-
tinue for multiple episodes and more cases should
begin to pile on Nick. "The Guardian" focuses on
Nick with others as minimal supporting cast to
help him find out information and give him
access to what he needs. He uses the social work-
er to gain entrance into Hunter's home to search it
and uses his secretary Amanda (Erica Leehsen,

"The Sopranos") for background checks.
The show moves quickly through the action so
it's never boring or repetitive. At times it was
hard to pinpoint the direction Nick's thoughts
were taking, especially in the scenes with
Hunter's father.
"The Guardian" mixes a cute guy with snappy
dialogue and cute kids. The combination appeals
to many groups of people. The fact it is a quality
show does not hurt either. The internal and exter-
nal conflicts that will arise within Nick are surely
worth watching for. A successful attorney learn-
ing to make a difference in children's lives is a
wonderful concept to watch and inspire you to do
the same.

Courtesy of NBC
Emeril Lagasse lends his name to a show that only uses him as a pretty face.
There is always the Food Network. Baml

.J

Nick admits. he has never

actually been before a judge - a real comforting
thought for Hunter. The boy refuses to speak in
their first interview so Nick goes into the court-
room without any information. When it turns out
the boy witnessed his father stabbing his mother
to death, Nick turns and runs out of the court-
house. This seems to be the first time he really
gets a sense of what child advocacy is all about.
Hunter reveals he wants to live with his father, if
possible, in the future. Nick visits Hunter's father
in prison and realizes he can help reunite father
and son.
While Nick tries to help Hunter, he also has a
deal to close for his law firm. A large corpora-
tion'wants to buy a dot-com business. This seems
to be thrown into the plot to show Nick is a com-

LIVE AND LEARN
JAPANESE!
The Waseda Oregon Programs take North American and international students to
the prestigious Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan for academic programs of Japanese
language and comparative US-Japan Societies study:
" Waseda Oregon Transnational Program
January 15 - June 21, 2002
. Waseda Oregon Summer Japanese Program
July 4 - August 16, 2002
Scholarships of up to $1000 are available for the Transnational Program.
For more information, contact:
Waseda Oregon Office
Portland State University

Courtesy of CBS

"Cloak and Dagger" star Dabney Coleman fathers Brit Simon Baker in the art of "The Guardian."

'Burn' popularizes
'ballroom dance art

By Charity Atchison
Daily Arts Writer
Ballroom isn't just for your
grandparents anymore. "Burn The
Floor" is proving just that. Speeding
r up and expanding the traditional
ballroom and Latin dance is what
this show is about.
The idea for "Burn the Floor"
came to producer Harvey Medcalf
after attending Elton John's birth-

tion and explore a new artistry with
their steps. Every number showcas-
es unique costumes to fit the mood
the choreographers were looking
for.
The U.S. productions have been a
little different for "Burn the Floor"
than those performed overseas. The
majot difference being venue.
Unlike other shows, the U.S. shows
play in theaters rather than in large
stadium-style venues, giving the
show a more theatrical side.
"Burn the Floor" is giving
dancers another way to supplement
their incomes. Most professional
ballroom dancers teach, including
those who have won major titles.
"Burn" is -giving these champi-

Attention
CHORAL SINGERS
You are invited to join the
University Musical Society
CHORAL UNION
Thomas Sheets, conductor
2001-2002 Season
Handel: Messiah Ann Arbor SO
Ives: Symphony No. 4 San Francisco SO
Brahms: German Requiem Ann Arbor SO
Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Detroit SO
The UMS Choral Union does it all!
Under the leadership of Thomas Sheels,
the 135-voice Choral Union appears
regularly in Ann Arbor with major
orchestras and conductors in critically
acclaimed performances of choral
masterworks. The 72-voice Concert Choir
.nrfrm msi o rf cnthe-r agenres.fand our

STUDENTS WITH
CROH N'S
DISEASE
OR
ULCERATIVE
COLITIS
Please join
Dr. Ellen Zimmermann
Assistant Professor of
Gastroenterology,
U of M
For an informal
discussion of
topics including:
eNutrition
*New Therapies

(800) 823-7938

www.wasedaoregon.org

Q

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And when I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?"
Hillel
M'itzvah a
Fall 2001
A Day of
Community Service
Sunday, October 7,

3 t
Burn the
Floor

day party.
Where after
seeing a ball-
room show he
thought it need-
ed a little spice.
And spice he's

I

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