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October 02, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-02

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michigandaily.comlarts
mae@michigandaily.com

RTS

0

5

Author of 'Trainspotting' returns
to grand form with 'Porno'

By Neal Pais
Daily Books Editor
Irvine Welsh is up to the same old tricks in his "Porno,"
the highly anticipated follow-up to "Trainspotting." And
this is precisely why we still love him. The frenetic, drug-
fueled hijinks of his collection of individually flawed, but
lovable characters never seem to get old. Chronicled in
Welsh's latest tale, are the latest schemes and scams of one
Simon David Williamson, a.k.a "Sick Boy." Ten years after
he, Renton, Spud and Begbie parted ways in London, Sick
Boy has grown weary of pimping and petty rip-off jobs.
Coming into a bit of money, he heads back
home to Leith to organize an assortment of
entrepreneurial scams that will propel him-
self to porn-king status. IRVINE
Intricately interwoven into the primary plot
line are the "catch-up" stories of a still hero- At Bc
in-addicted Spud, the sociopathic, revenge- Tonight
driven Begbie and a cleaner, wiser Renton.
Fans of last year's "Glue" will also delight in
the appearances of charismatic "Juice" Terry Lawson, cool
Rab Birrell and a host of other cameos from Welsh's other
fine works. The introduction of Nikki Fuller-Smith, a calcu-
lating but insecure university student with porn star ambi-
tion a la "Boogie Nights," is welcome because of the
prominence of a feminine voice in an Irvine Welsh creation.
This motley crew of scheming "punters" unflinchingly
bounces to and fro, from the sophistry of metro-London to
the seedy bars of developing Edinburgh to the 24-hour party
of Amsterdam.
The voice of "Porno" should not be unfamiliar to anyone
who has previously consumed the Scotsman's prior novels.
Dialects and locales change, but the voice conceived in the
schemes (projects) of Edinburgh is maintained throughout.
Short, choppy chapters serve the work well, keeping the
story moving as rapidly as the cocaine that drives its players
from one misadventure to another.
After 10 years, most of the protagonists who appeared in
both "Glue" and "Trainspotting" have matured, if not grown
up. Perhaps Welsh has, as well. His eagerness to probe emo-
tions more deeply is more apparent in his sequel. Where
"Trainspotting" was somewhat disjointed when it came to
the mental gears of its characters, "Porno" is far more pene-
trating, delving far into the pasts of each addict, sex fiend,
hustler and street thug. Psychotic Begbie re-emerges as a
much more cerebral character, surprisingly tinged with
some type of conscious this time around; Nikki's character
exposes some of the issues young women everywhere con-
front because of our media-driven society. It is easy to see
the literary progression of Scotland's man of the hour. Every
ounce of profanity has come to be matched by an equal
helping of insight.
Although unavailable for comment, Welsh has consistent-
ly downplayed his current hero status. He has been hailed as

"the poet laureate of the chemical generation" and offered
invitations to the Queen's birthday parties. Yet the man
remains steadfast to his roots in urban Scotland. His spunky
style perseveres, unyielding in its ferocity but ultimately in
its empathy, as well. Welsh is truly the pub-crawling work-
ingman's idol; born and raised in the streets, he remains true
to his beginnings ind unpatronizing in his writing. Saying
"life in the schemes goes on pretty much the same as
always," he represents his city and its people almost loving-
ly. Each hard knock his characters receive is meaningful,
indicative of sadly misspent youth and lost potential.
Welsh's visit to Borders tonight will hopefully allow

WELSH
orders
t, 7 p.m.

readers not familiar with his background and
style to view more of the writer's influences.
The complexity of each story he crafts, cou-
pled with a markedly different cultural set-
ting, can inspire insatiable curiosity; more
often than not, Welsh's writing often func-
tions like one the drugs he talks about -
addictive, overpowering and awe-inspiring
when experienced.

Members of the worldwide "Trainspotting" cult will cer-
tainly appreciate "Porno." Filled with wicked twists and
black humor, "Porno" is classic Welsh yet again. Renton
and the boys have grown older, but they haven't lost their
flair for trouble. Nor has Irvine Welsh lost his keen sense of
realism, either.

Courtesy of CBS
The cast of "Presidio Med" in medical garb.
resido Med' avoi ds becoming
a redundant medical drama

'Good Morning, Mlam' is a fine
wake-up for NBC.Thursdays

By Jim Schiff
Daily Arts Writer
Medical dramas are in full bloom
this season, and CBS is all too eager
to plant some seeds. With "ER,"
"Scrubs," "MDs" and now "Presidio
Med," viewers can easily get their
fix of white lab coats and disgrun-
tled doctors. But aren't all these
shows the same? Thankfully, no.
While at first glance "Presidio
Med" looks like just another hospi-
tal program, it introduces enough
fresh elements to make it worth
watching.
The first thing
you'll notice about
"Presidio Med" is that
it doesn't take place in PRESIL
a hospital; rather, its
focus is a medium- Wedne
sized clinic adjacent to 10,
a hospital. Featuring
seven physicians fromC
various specialties, the
Presidio Medical Group offers both
emergency and long-term care. Dr.
Harriet Lanning (Blythe Danner,
"Meet the Parents"), a veteran
OB/GYN, heads the team, which is
comprised of young hot-heads and
cerebral, reserved types. The clinic
is also largely operated by women, a
refreshing distinction from the male
leads of "MDs" and "Scrubs."
The combination of female doc-
tors and laid-back atmosphere
makes "Presidio Med" more inti-
mate than its peers. It plays like
"ER" on tranquilizers: Doctors butt
heads, conflicts arise, but most of
the show's situations are not life and
death. Instead, "Presidio Med"
stresses the relationships that doc-
tors form with patients. In the pilot,
for example, Dr. Slingerland (Paul
Blackthorne) discovers that his bas-
ketball buddy is having chest pains.
He coaxes the reluctant man into
treatment at Presidio, and after dis-
covering high amounts of crystal
meth in his system, he encourages
him to stop taking drugs.
Storylines like these make the
doctors of "Presidio Med" seem
sympathetic to the viewer: Curing
the patient becomes the doctor's
personal mission. Knowing this, the
show's writers are wise to show acts
of heroism, rather than heroic fig-
ures. The physicians are flawed, just
like the rest of us, and sometimes
they cross the line with patients.
The younger doctors, particularly

IC
sd
tp.
'Bt

plastic surgeon Jackie Colette
(Sasha Alexander), take more risks
than their older counterparts, and
often get in trouble with their supe-
riors. This creates an interesting
dynamic among the cast: Team lead-
ers like Dr. Rae Brennan (Dana
Delany, "China Beach"), try to reel
in the cockiness of the novices,
while the young doctors are quick to
suggest new medical techniques to
the veterans.
As an ensemble, the cast works
remarkably well together. The earth-
ly sensibility of Danner's and
Delany's characters is a
nice contrast to flashier
personalities like
* Blackthorne's Dr.
O MED Slingerland. Viewers
will wish the uptight
lays at Dr. Jules Keating
m. (Julianne Nicholson)
was given less screen
S time, but other, more
likable doctors make
up for her annoyingness. Sasha
Alexander steals every scene she's
in as the brazen plastic surgeon.
Loudly singing along to Bob Marley
while performing liposuction,
Alexander plays the dual role of
dedicated doctor and office goofball
to great effect.
Occasionally "Presidio Med"
teeters on soap opera territory.
Since the show explores the physi-
cians' professional and personal
lives, we sometimes get an
unhealthy dose of relationship the-
atrics. Oded Fehr's role as Delany's
coworker and love interest feels
forced - the two don't have any
appreciable chemistry..Hopefully,

future episodes will bring the show's
focus back to the clinic, where it
belongs.
For all its strengths, it is unlikely
"Presidio Med" will last long. Up
against the far funnier "MDs" and
ratings juggernaut "Law and Order,"
the show could struggle to find an
audience. But with any luck, CBS
will give this promising medical
drama a more suitable time slot.

By Douglas Wernert
Daily Arts Writer

Jake Silver has no idea what he's

gotten himself into. He's c
ing taking on the role of
producer for a daytime
talk show. He has a pan-
icky station manager, a
pompous host and a nun
for a meteorologist. Try-1
ing to maintain some
sense of balance will be
a challenge. Luckily,
NBC didn't have this
problem, as "Good
Morning, Miami" is a
fine mix of comedy and
heart-felt substance.
Jake (Matt Feuerstein)

ontemplat-

GOOD Mc
MIA
Thursd
9:301
NB

this problem? Well, have Jake fall for
someone, of course. That "someone"
is the show's hairdresser, Dylan (Ash-
ley Williams), an attractive, funny,
energetic gal that can read Jake like a
book. Jake now must
choose between a love-
at-first sight, or a suc-
cessful job, which takes
a predictable yet inter-
ORNING, esting turn at the end of
kMI the first episode.
Jake's frisky grand-
lays at mother, Claire
p.m. (Suzanne Pleshette,
3C "The Bob Newhart
Show") and Sister
Brenda, a hilarious
religiously-motivated weather-nun
(Brooke Dillman) give the women a
chance to also shine in this comedy.
The writing is fast and funny, and the
possible romance seems like an
afterthought at times, but it always
comes back at just the right time to
keep you intrigued.
The characters are all given ample
time to make their presence known,
and each has a unique personality.
There's at least one character that
everyone can call their favorite, and
they will only get better as the show

develops from week to week.
With a great time slot (9:30, as a
lead-in to "ER") and a strong cast,
"Good Morning, Miami" can develop
into being something more than just a
blip on the new-series radar. A good
evening's worth of entertainment is
what you expect, and NBC delivers.

Courtesy of CBS

JOHN t CHRISTIAN
DESIGNERS & CRAFTSMEN SINCE 1850
: u....../ich an
COLLEGE MONOGRAM
RING
.YEAR DATE
-OEGREE
GREEK LETTERS
-YOUSR MONOGRAM
Free Brochure 14K GOLD $450
RINGBOX.COM 1-888-646-6466

Dr. Detroit.

rOD r ~TLL** JG*T
THE VIETNAM PROTESTORS
Truong Nhu Tang, a
founder of the National
Liberation Front (Viet
Cong), writes in A Viet
Cong Memoir, "The West-
ern anti-war movements
had contributed much
to our victory." Did
the protestors save or
cost lives?
GARY LILLIE & ASSOC. EALUQtS
WW.GAXt LELLtE , CM

is a big-

time, yet down-to-earth, producer
who sees this new endeavor as a work
in progress. His desperate, worried
station manager, Frank (Jere Burns),
will stop at no lengths to persuade
him to take the job. Jake isn't really
sure if a conceited host, Gavin (Matt
Letscher), and his beautiful, yet easily
bored Hispanic co-host, Lucia (Tessie
Santiago) is the type of person he
wants to work with.
What could be the only solution to

Courtesy of NBC
A lost photo from "Nuns on the Run."

am ---MME

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