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December 10, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-10

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41

Friday
December 10, 2004
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

ART s

8

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i

Marilyn Monroe, version 2.0.

Stefani gives fans
a reason to doubt

I'll tell you what I'd do, man. Two chicks at the same time, man.

FINDING NIELSEN
DESPERATE NETWORKS SEARCHED FOR WINNERS THIS FALL

By Kat Bawden
Daily Arts Writer

It's been nearly four months since the 2004 fall
television season began, which is plenty of time
to see what new shows are worth watching for
the duration of their seasons. Some have found the
audience and status they deserve, and the worst have
been weeded out. With the midseason replacements
just weeks away, The Daily TV staff takes a look at
the best and worst of fall 2004 so far:
Must See TV
"Kevin Hill"
Wednesdays at 9 p.m., UPN
Although UPN has the reputation for missing the
mark with its programs, "Kevin Hill" is the excep-
tion. Taye Diggs is comfortable in his role as a
suave lawyer who finds out he has a baby. Diggs
is also able to find balance between being a ladies'
man and a father. Now, with the custody of his
baby at stake, it will be interesting to see how the
show evolves.
"Lost"
Wednesdays at 8 p.m., ABC
No other TV drama has as deep a cast of char-
acters as "Lost," and that's due to the survivors'
enthralling backstories that are revealed each
week. Instead of being merely a show about sur-
viving on a deserted island, "Lost" delivers plenty
of conflict to satisfy the viewer. And the castaways
have learned that the island isn't deserted after all,
leading to another heart-stopping chapter in what
has already been a wild ride.
"House"
Tuesdays at 9 p.m., FOX
Watching the medical drama "House" is like being
treated to an extremely sensual back massage, except
with more witty banter. It feels good to see the cam-
era swoop in stylistically, revealing the inner-work-
ings of the human body, and the dynamic camera
angles are like the soft hands of a skilled practitio-
ner easing away the tension from sore muscles. Dr.
House's witty commentary in his interactions with
his patients is beyond hilarious. Every episode, while
chock-full of thrills and twists, is also gut-wrench-

ingly funny and depicts the eccentric and anti-social
doctor as a unique physician.
"Desperate Housewives"
Sundays at 9 p.m., ABC
Scandalous primetime soap operas have moved to
the suburbs - Wisteria Lane, specifically - and
America couldn't be more hooked. The biggest phe-
nomenon of the fall, "Desperate Housewives," has
helped resurrect ABC by giving viewers attractive,
half-dressed women and deadly blenders. The humor
- outlandish at times, subtle at others - comple-
ments the show perfectly. The suburbs have never
looked this good.
Average Joes
"Joey"
Thursdays at 8 p.m., NBC
Despite the hype, when Joey Tribbiani moved to
Los Angeles, not all "Friends" fans followed. The
plotlines have been hit-or-miss, and Joey's new pals
lack the chemistry of the New York gang. It still
seems hard to believe that the goofiest member of
the "Friends" cast could carry his own show. The
jury is still out, but a spin-off was a better career
move for Matt LeBlanc than making another movie
with a baseball-playing monkey.
"C.S.I.: New York"
Wednesdays at 10 p.m., CBS
The endless corpse parade continues as the "C.S.I."
franchise trucks on. This time, the ever-popular Gary
Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes hold the magnifying
glasses in this successful drama series. The New York
edition was not given the fanfare of the Miami spin-
off and, due to its already dark surroundings and tone,
lacks the more glamorous atmosphere of its glitzier
relatives
Biggest Losers
"Dr. Vegas"
Fridays at 10 p.m., CBS
"Dr. Vegas" tanked so hard that its existence has

been wiped from the network's online records,
which, considering the quality of the program, is
probably a good thing. Mixing Rob Lowe in the
ultra-hip stylings of Las Vegas with the ultra-
square stylings of medical jargon and business
management, "Dr. Vegas" was bound to be a com-
plete flop. Not even the recent gambling craze could
have saved Lowe's latest effort. And, as the worst
scripted show of the season, it simply isn't worth
the effort to continue writing about this debacle of
a show.
"Clubhouse"
Tuesdays at 9 p.m., CBS
"Clubhouse," a trite series focusing on the most
boring teenager alive (Jeremy Sumpter) and his
job as batboy for a fictional baseball team, wound
up cheesier then a Hallmark TV movie. Christo-
pher Lloyd and that guy who used to be Superman
(Dean Cain) couldn't even help in their limited
supporting roles. Thankfully, CBS benched "Club-
house" for good.
"Father of the Pride"
Tuesdays at 9 p.m., NBC
Riding the wave of CGI success on the big screen,
NBC brought "Father of the Pride" to help revive a
demolished lineup. The cliche jokes fell even flatter
as a result of the injuries of Roy Horn because no
matter how much you really dislike Siegfried and
Roy, it seemed slightly wrong. The adult-oriented
plotlines didn't help induce laughter either.
"Laguna Beach"
Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m., MTV
"Laguna Beach" showed viewers why rich, pretty
high school kids were really nothing more than
that. Billed as "The Real O.C.," the show delivered
on a visual level, but dull conversation replaced any
substantial drama. The Spring Break episode saved
the show from being a complete disappointment by
giving what the viewers expected: drunken yelling
and random hookups. The rest of season was noth-
ing but a letdown.
- Compiled by the Daily TV/New Media staff

Not everything gets better with
age. At 35, punk princess Gwen
Stefani has finally allowed herself
to indulge in the glorious kingdom
that is pop music. Her first solo
album, Love, Angel, Music, Baby,
is disappointing, but certainly not
surprising (especially after Rock
Steady).
Watching her recent career is
like watching someone addicted to
partying indulge
themselves inG
unhealthy plea- Gwen Stefani
sures as they Love, Angel,
slowly destroy Music, Baby
their life. One Interscope
might comment,
"Wow, Gwen's
really let herself/her talent go." The
counter-argument, is, of course,
"Well, she's been in the music biz
for so long, she's allowed to kick
back and make something shallow
and have a good time."
The songs are catchy and playful,
but musically vapid - pure fluff.
It would be possible to feel bad for
Stefani and her new career path
if it didn't look like she was hav-
ing so much fun. As such, it's just
embarrassing. The subject matter
- complete with descriptions of a
lavish lifestyle, break-up songs and
making fun of the poorly-dressed
- is pathetically immature for a
35 year-old woman,.and, when aug-
mented by sing-song pop rhythms,
the album sounds like the product
of 13-year-old girls who watch too
much MTV.
Need proof? Listen to "Hollaback
Girl,".in which Stefani yells, "This
shit is bananas / B-A-N-A-N-A-
S" Shouldn't she be talking about
marriage - considering her recent

betrothal to Bush's mouth-watering
frontman, Gavin Rossdale - chil-
dren, politics, the societal impacts
of something or anything even
remotely mature? She had more
depth when she was 24 with blue
hair, making progressive statements
about womanhood in America, writ-
ing songs with a backup band and
being able to say more about soci-
ety than "this shit is bananas."
In her early Tragic Kingdom
days, her uniquely whiney voice
was showcased as art, but now
her vocals sound as mechanic as
the electro-pop background. It
all blends together in a busy and
amorphous musical blob. Songs
like "Cool" or "Luxurious" are
reminiscent of elevator music. The
album probably would have been
huge 10 or 20 years ago when light
dance-pop songs were revered. But
today it just sounds outdated with
lyrics about catfights, breaking up,
making fun of rich girls and hook-
ing up in cars ... typical teenage
girl stuff.
For all those grown ska kids still
pining for another Tragic Kingdom,
prepare to feel abandoned once
again. Even a cameo from Andre
3000 can't salvage this album. It's
understandable that Stefani has to
compete in the cutthroat world of
pop princesses and aging divas, but
can't she find a balance between
fluff and substance?

I
I

Plan's latest 'Getting
Any' simply resistible

Dolls play in the rain on heartful 'Live'

By Jacob Nathan
Daily Arts Writer

The precocious poster children of
horrible punk-pop have struck again. A
Simple Plan, in perhaps their first stroke

of genius, has titled
their new album
Still Not Getting
Any. Despite their
major-label money
and painfully
over-coiffed hair-
cuts, the reason A

A Simple Plan
Still Not
Getting Any
Lava

pose of reminding the listener that A
Simple Plan's members are sensitive.
The song then quickly descends into the
over-distorted, underwritten medioc-
rity A Simple Plan have become so well
known for. Despite the emo-inflection
of the lyrics, the band fails to convince
the listener that there is any reason to
feel bad for them.
A pronounced lack of energy bogs
down the album. The lyrics and music
are shallow and self-indulgent, but A
Simple Plan could have put up a fight by
injecting some excitement into Getting
Any. The song "Thank You" is a perfect
example: It is bad from the get-go, but
once the bridge kicks in and A Simple
Plan decide to make it a ballad, the song
becomes laughably bad.
The real problem with this album
becomes crystal clear on "Me Against
the World." By replacing the word
"music" with the word "world," A Sim-

Simple Plan aren't getting any is clear
after listening to this dreary, uninspired
album.
As for the content, there is nothing
even remotely enjoyable or worthwhile
on this album. "Welcome to My Life"
features acoustic guitar for the sole pur-

ple Plan has cleverly avoided any Brit-
ney Spears comparisons. After a quick
listen, however, the similarities between
this song and the pop-diva's hit are
strong. They are poorly constructed and
formulaic, with repetitive verses and
unoriginal instrumentation. The feigned
anger is not believable, as their pop pre-
sentation and upbeat tones make it a
hard sell. Because A Simple Plan cannot
be convincingly pissed off, the album,
and especially this song, flounder.
"One," the official closer, is complete-
ly incomprehensible both in its structure
and sheer existence as a song. "We're the
pain you feel / We're the scars that don't
heal / We're the tear in your eyes." This
convoluted language and lack of clar-
ity are prevalent throughout, moving it
from really bad to historically terrible.
The untitled bonus track is intriguing.
It sounds as if it is a tongue-in-cheek
parody of '80s power ballads, except it

By Jerry Gordinier
Daily Arts Writer
Music REVi E
There is a torrential downpour in
Buffalo, New York. It's that kind of
oppressive rain: cold and relentless. It
comes down in sheets, soaking the worn

crowd in Buffalo's
Niagara Square. A
few umbrellas pop
up, but most of the
fans raise their
arms to the sky.
They are there for
one reason.
No one is more

The Goo
Goo Dolls
Live in Buffalo
Warner Bros.
aware of this than

Watching the Goo Goo Dolls home-
coming performance on the DVD
included with "Live in Buffalo," there
is something magical in the air. Even
absent the rain, which doesn't fall until
the last third of the show, the songs
fill the night. The raw instrumentation
is the most notable aspect, evident in
"Black Balloon" which beautifully jux-
taposes delicate acoustic picks against
evocative piano. The album gives no
hint as to when the storm starts, a cred-
it to the band's professionalism. During
the show, however, the shower gives the
show an epic, almost religious, quality.
The slow, precise, acoustic work of
"Iris" plays against painful mandolin,
and gives way to quick, distorted, elec-
tric lines. "Iris," a song of longing and
heartbreak, pours like the rain from the
storm.
Sadly, absent the atmosphere of the
performance, the songs lose a little
something in comparison to their orig-
inal recordings. The most appealing

Johnny Rzeznik, lead singer of the Goo
Goo Dolls. Soaked to the bone, staring
out from the stage with a sly smile on
his face, Rzeznik stops and takes it all
in. The soft acoustics of "Here Is Gone"
begin to fill the night. Johnny plaintive-
ly asks, "It feels good, don't it?"

aspect of a ballad are the vocals, and
Rzeznik can't match his production
values. This is especially noticeable in
songs such as "Big Machine," when it
feels as though Rzeznik is talking more
than singing. There is a unity, a differ-
ent kind of intimacy, in the live produc-
tion. This comes from Rzeznik's harsh,
plaintive voice. It comes, however, at
the expense of vocal range.
Some critics may say this album,
like many live releases, is only for the
die hard fans. To some extent they are
right, as simply hearing the album is
not justification to purchase it. Yet,
there is something special about this
Independence Day concert. There is
a love of music in that band, playing
against nature, playing for its fans.
There is something in those fans with
their arms raised to the sky. Live in
Buffalo has heart.

DVD: ***
CD: **

'Rover' combines sexual tension and humor

on0

By Emily Maletic
For the Daily

The play tells the story of a group
of English soldiers, vacationing in the
West Indies, on a quest to have some
fun. During their trip, the soldiers

ing story, but it is unique in that
it was written by one of the first
female playwrights of English his-
tory, Aphra Behn. Behn's plays were

I

FIE ~ARTS UMLWAIW

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