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September 07, 2004 - Image 56

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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10D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004

ART4
ARTS

Fans show 'The O.C.' a little California love

ADAM
ROTTENBERG

Bringing bac
April 2, 2004 -
T he Super Bowl - before being
overshadowed by "wardrobe mal-
functions" - served as the
launchpad for special episodes or series
premieres. Back in '99,I was more anx-
ious than ever for the debuting show,
especially considering the lackluster
Broncos-Falcons game that preceded it.
This new animated series, paired with a
special episode of "The Simpsons," was
going to be the perfect companion piece.
"Family Guy" not only met my expecta-
tions, but its raucous, pop-culture-laden
segu6s offered a completely unrelenting
approach to comedy.
The series followed the exploits of the
Griffin family, their dog Brian and the
residents of Quahog, R.I.
Three uproariously humorous seasons
later - after complete mismanagement
by the network - "Family Guy" van-
ished from the schedule. FOX had the
opportunity to create a night filled with
animated classics with "King of the
Hill," "Futurama" and "The Simpsons'
but inexplicably removed "Family Guy."
With the boom of TV on DVD, all I
could do was hope that the show would
be released. Last year, the error of the
network's ways finally came to light
with a successful run of the episodes on
Cartoon Network and on DVD.
Few shows dared to cover the topics
that "Family Guy" would. Creator Seth
MacFarlane pulled no punches, best
shown by the unaired episode "When
You Wish Upon a Weinsten' first seen
on the DVD, in which Peter decides to
have his son Chris convert to Judaism to
become smarter.
Strong DVD sales and incredible
cable ratings have resuscitated my fond-
ly remembered cartoon. No longer rele-
gated to rerun limbo, Peter, Stewie and
the gang will return in January 2005 in a
completely unprecedented move.
But will it be the same show that
shocked viewers with unabashed jokes
about race, religion and sex? I hate to
think that MacFarlane would agree to

I the 'Family'
release a watered-down version of his
brainchild, but who knows? The net-
works have been browbeaten by adver-
tisers into changing content, shying
away from things deemed obscene.
FOX, while often unabashed in its
disturbing and disgusting reality pro-
gramming - look at the upcoming
"The Swan," for example - may fear
backlash for an animated show as it
appears to be innocent.
FOX may be too afraid to let "Family
Guy" be as free as it once was. The
show constantly plays off of things that
shouldn't be funny. Stewie often
attempts to murder his mother, neighbor
Quagmire constantly tries to sexually
assault women and Peter treats people
like stereotypes. If a return of the series
means that the show has to change, then
don't bring it back. I have the DVDs,
and I can watch it on cable, but I don't
want an FCC-friendly "Family Guy."
"South Park," a similarly foul-
mouthed and R-rated cartoon, doesn't
have to deal with the constraints of net-
work TV Cable is a different beast than
the networks, which is why more risque
series can get around censors. If "Family
Guy" comes back to FOX, as opposed
to Cartoon Network, the integrity of the
show would surely suffer.
Even with the fear of a post-"nipple-
gate" TV landscape, I still have high
hopes for the Griffins. FOX missed the
boat the first time and now sees the
potential profits in its return. Additional-
ly, the precedent is now set that passion-
ate fans who rally around prematurely
cancelled favorites (just look at what is
going on with the fan campaigns for the
WB's "Angel") actually can have an
effect. But why worry about the poten-
tial pitfalls? Welcome back, "Family
Guy." I'll be watching.
-Adam is personally leading a campaign
to get "Angel" back on the air Mock him
relentlessly for that and other things at
amtten@umich.edu

September 9, 2003
By Adam Rottenb~rg
and Jason Pesick
Daily Staff Writers
Filling the void left by such seminal series
as "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose
Place,' "The O.C." is the story of a young
man, Ryan (Benjamin
McKenzie), from a des- I i
titute part of town. He The O.C.
becomes embroiled inF FOX
trouble with the law and
is invited to live with his lawyer Sandy
Cohen's (Peter Gallagher) rich family. With a
soundtrack that heightens the feel of the
show, "The O.C." provides salacious and
campy entertainment in an otherwise mun-
dane television landscape. This new trashy
melodrama, which takes place in ritzy New-
port Beach, Calif., has become a sensation
with horny teenagers and young adults alike.
To be sure, "The O.C." is not winning its
time slot as a result of the quality of its
scripts, but rather the beautiful people who
inhabit the scenic California setting. A show
filled with kids who look like they came
straight off the pages of an Abercrombie and
Fitch catalog provides plenty of eye candy
for both sexes.
College kids enjoy watching the tawdry
exploits and sexual escapades of the pretty
boys and prima donnas of Newport Beach.
Since "90210" ended in 2000, there has been
a noticeable absence of inane plots on the air.
Last week's episode featured a scene in
which a boy from the valley partied in New-
port and shot someone because of a verbal

spat. Entertainment such as this is
unmatched anywhere except on FOX's bea-
con of trash.
However, a flaw does exist: Many of the
"high schoolers" appear to be in their late
20s. Eventually, the cast will face a "Daw-
son's Creek" situation where the actors are
laughably older than their characters -
specifically McKenzie, who plays a charac-
ter eight years younger than his actual age.
While many would consider "The O.C."
simply low-brow entertainment, it allows a
weekly escape from the rigors of life into a
world even more messed up than reality. In
contrast to the crap often shown in reality
television, especially FOX's own garbage
like "Paradise Hotel," "The O.C." still has a
moral center and a message to send to its
viewers.
In a few years, the toughest challenge for
"The O.C." will come when its characters
are faced with the inevitable growth beyond
their high school environment which has
crippled earlier shows like "90210" and
"Saved by the Bell." The major test for the
writers will be keeping the plot lines fresh,
but not veering too far off the deep end.
After tonight's episode, FOX is putting the
show on a six-week hiatus before moving it
to Thursdays at the end of October. This
move places it against much more formida-
ble competition than the reality programs
and reruns found during its summer run. The
cult following is slowly growing but might
lose some momentum with all of the sched-
uling changes. Nevertheless, for fans of
teenage melodrama, there is nothing better
than a trip to "The O.C."

4

Courtesy of FOX

Fuck me, your majesty.

4

'U' student takes shot at 'Fear Factor' fame

October 6, 2003
By Forest Casey
Daily Staff Writer
Graduate student Joshua Schwadron is spreading his
15 minutes as far as they will go. With the recent win
of the GQ Man on Campus award, Schwadron felt that
he was easily qualified for NBC's "Fear Factor" when
auditions for the show came to Ann Arbor.
After several stages of interviews, Schwadron
was the only contestant selected from the Uni-
versity. He was booked for the season premiere
of "Fear Factor" - a special two-night contest
in Las Vegas. Schwadron, unafraid of his fleet-
ing fame, spoke with The Michigan Daily.
The Michigan Daily: Was "Fear Factor" like
boot camp - very hard but not regrettable?

Joshua Schwadron: I think that being on "Fear
Factor" was the best experience of my life. It was good
to experience Hollywood with all of the publicity, the
make-up artists and the cameras. It's especially signifi-
cant to me because there were 20 cameras recording
my experience and sending it out to 20 million people.
I'll always be able to have that.
TMD: The competitors on "Fear Factor"
always seem like they are trying to degrade their
opponents, but Joe Rogan (the host) always
seems so supportive.
JS: Both Joe and I have ... strong personali-
ties, and they seemed to clash, so he didn't real-
ly support me.
TMD: What were your feelings after the first stunt?
JS: After I made it through the first stunt, I
was really reassured. I was told that the biggest

fear is failing the first stunt and having to go
home. After that, I was pretty confident and
ready to win.
TMD: The spider trick that you did (tossing a
spider into your mouth) - did you plan that to
intimidate your opponents?
JS: I did it because there was a crowd behind me
of a thousand people. It was the first live stunt that
"Fear Factor" has ever had for their "gross stunt."
Eating it normally would've been boring; not to
intimidate, but more to please the crowd
The spiders tasted like tree bark and were
huge. They actually bit, and my mouth was
bleeding by the end e stunt.
TMD: How did yob watching yourself on TV?
JS: Weird. I thdu 'that I made a fool of
myself a lot of times.

4

episodes have been written for
them. "We had a recent episode
where Stan Lee was a guest voice,
but that part was written for
George Lucas, who begged to be
on the show, but pulled out at the
last minute."
Although considered a failure
based on its disappointing ratings
in its two-year run, "The Critic,"
Reiss said, is a "show that appealed
to too few people and I'll take the
blame. It was created by doing the
opposite of what 'The Simpsons'
did." Reiss admits that the show
was initially a Krusty spin-off, but
Matt Groening nixed the idea.
"The Critic" was written for Jon
Lovitz as a live action show before
he was even signed. The biggest
conflict over "The Critic" occurred
with the Jay Sherman crossover on
an episode of "The Simpsons,"
Reiss said.
"The staff took such a high
moral ground and refused to work
FILM on it but were contractually obli-
gated to get paid for it," he said.
Only Groening ended up remov-
ing his name from the credits while others did
nothing but keep their names in the credits and
cash their checks anyway.
Even after 15 years on the air, Reiss believes
"The Simpsons" can go on forever unless "the
network makes a stupid mistake and kills it.
"The key to 'The Simpsons' is that every-
thing is right about it; I don't see any end in
sight," he said. He revealed that the oft-dis-
cussed movie is in development and that he is
working on the script.
Reiss offered an explanation on why quality
has slid in recent years: "The only reason that
'The Simpsons' has declined is that it's just
not new." Reiss has played an integral role in
the creation of one of television's few remain-
ing bright spots, so "Simpsons" fans should be
saying "D'oh" if they miss his appearance on
campus.

FAR FROM AVERAGE'

4

WRITER TELLS OF JEWISH CLOWNS, POSSIBLE

October 29, 2003
By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Staff Writer

With its place firmly entrenched in Ameri-
can popular culture, "The Simpsons" contin-
ues its satirical reign weekly on televisions
across the nation. Behind the yellow-skinned
clan's antics is writer/producer Mike Reiss, a
comedy veteran who is also responsible for
co-creating the vastly underrated "The Critic."
Approachable and affable, Reiss wants stu-
dents to come to the Michigan League Ball-
room to hear him speak about "'The
Simpsons' and gossip about. 'The Simpsons,'
but also talk about my life and the Jewish
themes that keep popping up in my work."
He considers Krusty the Clown to be "one
of the most pronounced Jewish characters on

television." The growth of that character can
be attributed to the Reiss-penned show, also
his favorite, "Like Father, Like Clown," in
which Krusty reconciles with his disapproving
rabbi father a la "The Jazz Singer."
"The episode ends in a scholarly debate
about Judaism and humor ... the most scholar-
ly discussion you will ever see can be found in
this random episode of 'The Simpsons,' "
Reiss said.
Celebrity visits are commonplace, and Reiss
fondly recalls the guests who have come and gone.
"A little white guy was used to be Michael
Jackson's singing voice in 'Stark Raving Dad.'
He recorded it in front of Michael Jackson, but
for some odd reason, Jackson only wanted to
do the speaking voice."
Even though many stars claim they want to
join in the hilarity, some have backed out after

November 10, 2003
By Nianib levin
Daily Staff Writer
Arriving on the set of what he thought to
be "Life of the Party" a faux-reality series
centering on former fraternity brothers,
Brad Holcman was stunned to learn he had
been duped. Rather than a frat-based show,
he discovered he'd set foot onto one of
NBC's dating shows. With a cast of 15
other men and one woman, he said it didn't
sound much like a party show anymore. "It
sounds like a sausage show," he laughed.
After a glance at his competitors, he
quickly called his family and chuckled,
"I'm on the 'Revenge of the Nerds' set."
"Average Joe" follows the dating fiascos
of Melana Scantlin, a former NFL cheer-
leader, as she searches for love among an
unusual slew of guys. While there are no
Brad Pitt look-alikes in the bunch, each
man hopes to win her heart with his out-
standing personality.
But in the eyes of many needy Detroit-
area families, this latest recruit to NBC's
reality empire is far from an "Average Joe."
Holcman graduated from the University

Courtesy of NBC
Did I mention
I have a
really good
personality?
in 1999, two years after co-founding
Dance Marathon, a charity group dedicat-
ed to funding pediatric programs through
C.S. Mott Hospital and William Beaumont
Hospital. Though the organization hosts
charity events throughout the year, the
largest sponsorship occurs at the annual
30-hour dance marathon.
Serving as the morale chair for the first
two years of the group's existence, Hol-
cman was always interested in hosting fun
projects to capture attention for its cause.
With the help of the current Dance
Marathon staff and the Blue Martini Bar in
Birmingham, Holcman discovered a way
to mesh his network fame with his dedica-
tion to pediatric charities.
On Monday, Holcman will appear at the
Blue Martini as part of a charity viewing
party for the show's second episode. The
proceeds will go toward Dance Marathon.
As a fan of reality TV in general, Hol-
cman is thrilled for the opportunities the
show will afford him, both on and off the
set. "In a non-pompous way, I think I'm a
good catch. I have a good time. I'm laid-
back, and it's time for the groomsman to
be the groom."

U

University Musical Society
Half-Price Student Ticket

Sat, Sept10
9 am -12 noon

For one day only at the beginning of each semester, UMS offers HALF-PRICE TICKETS to
students. This extremely popular event draws hundreds ofstudents every year - last year,
students saved over $104,000 by purchasing tickets at the Half-Price Student Ticket Sales.
Some perfomances have a limited number of tickets available, so get there early!

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