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November 14, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-14

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November 14, 2003




Courtesy of
FOX gives family
values new meaning

By Jaya Soni
Daily Arts Writer
With a family as eccentric as the
(Royal) Tenenbaums, FOX'S new sit-
com "Arrested Development" is a sur-
prising success for primetime
television. The story follows the Bluths,

a wealthy South-
ern California
family in a down-
ward spiral of
As the owners

Sundays at 9:30 p.m.

of Bluth Development Co., George
Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor, "The Larry
Sanders Show") has been arrested for
fraudulent acts by the Securities and
Exchange Commission and his family
could care less, except for dedicated
son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman,
"The Hogan Family"). And though
Michael Bluth was invited to work for
a top competing firm in Arizona, he
and his son George Michael (Michael
Cera, "I Was a Sixth Grade Alien")
remained in Orange County to help
repair familial relations while rebuild-
ing the family model home business.
"Arrested Development" plays with
superficiality and uses it as a guide to
the Bluth family dynamics. During
their turbulent times, the Bluths live in

a new "model home" and "suffer" the
consequences of unemployment togeth-
er. George Bluth Sr.'s daughter Lindsay
Bluth Funke (Portia de Rossi, "Ally
McBeal") is married to Tobias Funke
(David Cross, "Mr. Show"), a former
doctor turned wannabe actor. And
though Tobias is already a has-been
before reaching any sort of success, he
takes his new career very seriously.
The show relies upon the idiosyn-
crasies of the Bluth family that are
emphasized through side plots.
Michael's son George Michael is an
adolescent tempted and scared by his
raging hormones. Not afraid to take
risks, "Arrested Development" pushes
the envelope through George
Michael's sexual attraction to his new
roommate and recently reunited
cousin, Maebe Funke.
George Bluth Sr., the eccentric patri-
arch of the family, actually enjoys the
rigors of jail time and swears that there
is money in the "profitable" family
owned Banana Stand. He may either
truly be crazy or have a speck of truth
behind his anecdotes.
"Arrested Development" leaves
the audience with a twisted sense of
family values with humor along the
way. The audience will be left laugh-
ing from the absurdity realness of
the mock documentary style or from
the sheer shock value of character

Mackey on drums!
By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer
With a resume that boasts the co-creation of
New York's downtown music scene, not to men-
tion gigs with Paul Simon, Trey Anastasio and
Sting, it's a wonder that
Brazilian percussionist Cyro Beat the
Baptista isn't a superstar. D
Baptista is not in it for the Donkey
glory, though. He merely andMdayat
and Monday at
wants to have fun and get his 7 p.m.
listeners moving. At the Blind Pig
His band, Beat the Donkey,
weds dance and percussion through a variety of
worldly influences. The melange of styles that
emerge are best viewed as an embodiment of
Baptista himself. "I've had the opportunity to
travel the world," said Baptista, still groggy
from jetlag after a show with Yo Yo Ma in

Tokyo. "I went to Bali and got a gamelan there
and I ended up making Brazilian music for
Balinese instruments. For sure I'm Brazilian,
but I'm also this mixture."
The versatility that Baptista has displayed by
incorporating so many styles has led him to
become an effective sideman for a diverse mix
of musicians. With Beat the Donkey, however,
he is in control. His carefree attitude is reflected
in the atmosphere on stage as he dances, yells
and creates strange and exciting noises with an
endless supply of instruments.
His collection of exotic and unlikely tools,
which ranges from a woodblock to a washboard
to a matchbox, is just as impressive as his
musical ability. If an object makes any sort of
noise, chances are Baptista has utilized it. It's
his way of capturing the essence of the environ-
ments that we live in. "I try to imitate the
nature of where I come from: Brazil, where we

have the rainforests, and also New York City,
where we have the sounds of the subway and
the supermarket. Percussion gives you this
Baptista and Beat the Donkey will be coming
to the Blind Pig on Sunday. The visit to Ann
Arbor is the cause of much excitement for Bap-
tista, whose father came to teach at the Univer-
sity of Michigan in the late '60s. "They came
back and started to tell all of these stories. 'Man
these people are crazy! They came to the class-
room with all of these crazy, colorful clothes!'
And I got so excited. Ann Arbor was always in
my mind like a dream."
Unfortunately, his only Ann Arbor perform-
ance to date has been with an opera singer, not
the crowd that he had been looking forward to.
He is prepared for a different experience with
the Beat the Donkey performance on Sunday
and Monday's rhythm workshop in town.

Courtesy of Verex Entertainment


Once golden TV loses momentum

Dead rapper resurrected
yet again on new album

By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer

Welcome to the toilet that is net-
work TV With the abundance of new
programming flops this season, it
seems obvious, barring a few rare
exceptions, that originality levels have
plummeted so far that any pilot set to
air is cursed to fail from day one. But,
this season in particular, even former-
ly critically acclaimed series have not
been spared from this lapse in creative
judgment. From the likes of "Friends"
to "Boston Public," our favorite shows
are draining the bottom of the content
barrel week after week, losing viewers
steadily as they sink.
Alas, the David E. Kelley syndrome
has now officially infected FOX's
prized melodrama "Boston Public."
The concepts for all of his shows thus
far begin as cunning or cute ideas but
suddenly become so outlandish that
they eventually fizzle out of existence.
While critics once praised the bold
portrayals of teen violence, drug bat-
tles and sexual indiscretions within one
inner city school, the series recently
adopted the very same overly compli-
cated, bizarre style as the other previ-

ous Kelley letdowns, such as "The
Practice" and "Ally McBeal."
The plotline is rifled with unbear-
able implausibility and incomprehen-
sible twists. Within one episode, a
convicted criminal (a man charged
with security fraud) is court ordered
to become a math teacher, an under-
cover police officer tracks a porn
star/drug dealer who also happens to
be his sister's only legal guardian and
a teacher finds herself competing
with a 15-year-old student for a man's
attentions. Sound confusing? Unfor-
tunately, the show doesn't offer much
more explanation.
When "ER" lost the majority of its
original cast to contract battles and just
plain boredom, the producers should
have known the end was near. The
series, which started as a drama about
doctors and patients, has assumed a
laughingly soap opera-ish quality in
recent years. The show focuses less on
patient heartbreak and disease and
more on who's dating whom and
which character should appear insane
next. Thanks to the plethora of guest
appearances lately, big name stars like
Sally Field and Alan Alda can join the
ranks of crazed problem children on

the show.
Undoubtedly, "The Simpsons,"
America's favorite dysfunctional fami-
ly, has passed its prime. Recycled char-
acters and overused plots can't make
up for a distinct lack of decent jokes
any longer. Though it has now entered
its 14th season, it is extremely atypical
to find anything later than season nine
gracing the viewers' top-10 lists.
Even "Friends," which held one of
the top-rated shows since it began, is
losing momentum in its last season.
While the actors gripe over contract
issues and money demands, their act-
ing talent wanes, providing the audi-
ence with lackluster punch lines and
uninspired stories. For God's sake, how
many of the "Friends" can Rachel pos-
sibly consider sleeping with before the
show's end?
Though the basic story is certainly
lacking, the show itself hardly captures
the audience's attention anymore. After
only two new episodes, NBC aired its
first rerun of the season, a phenome-
non which will become more frequent
since the "Friends" stars can't handle
filming the complete 24 episodes.
Although these are but a few exam-
ples, this trend is spreading to many of

Courtesy of FOX
Fyvush Finkel is still alive.
today's popular series. "The Practice"
and "NYPD Blue" also experience the
wrath of contract quibbles and lagging
writing quality. Hit shows like "Law &
Order" and "CSI" became so egocen-
tric in the last few seasons that they
convinced themselves their replicas
would double their popularity. Instead,
the excess of these crime dramas mar
the innovativeness of the real McCoy.
Hopefully, sweeps season will lend
some much needed inspiration to an
otherwise dying breed of programs.

catalogue follows
for the first offi-
cial documentary
of his brief and
tumultuous life.
Much like his
life, the focus of
Tupac's music
was scattershot.
His shift between


his self-proclaimed thug life and his
often conscious politically lyrics all
helped to create the legend that
exists today.
Nowhere is this more apparent
than on Tupac: Resurrection. The
material here is culled from every
point of his career along with a few
unreleased tracks that have new pro-
duction and lyrics from Eminem.
These fresh tracks include the stand
outs "Ghost" and "One Day At A
Time" leading the pack.
The rest of the tracks span from

Tupac's militant Black Panther
phase, to his Digital Underground
days and finish up with material
from his first few solo albums. The
result is a mishmash of old songs;
some which feel dated. While the
lost cuts and soundtrack singles
don't always flow, any Pac fan
wouldn't mind to have them all
assembled in one place.
Although it's good to see the pro-
duction on this project given such
priority, only a sliver of the songs
are new and allow for original pro-
duction. While the remaining mate-
rial is quality, it has a familiar feel
that anyone who listened to Tupac at
any point during the '90s has
already heard.


Flattery will get you everything including a cushy job,
a rich bride, and lots of trouble!

P ax


5 t f
\ '
4 6
A 4

A satire by Alexander Ostrovsky
Translated by Stephen Mulrine
Directed by Malcolm Tulip

How would you react to losing a
LARGE inheritance?


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