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October 06, 2008 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-06

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8A -Monday, October 6, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Emergin from
the shadows

When Fleetwood and Necto meet.

A comedy couplet

HBO hits and misses
with new fall shows
Daily Arts Writer
What do a British sketch comedy and
an animated short titled
"Angry Unpaid Hooker"
have in common? Not
much. They both dis- Ltle
regard boundaries, but
only one succeeds in its Britain USA
execution. Sundays at
In HBO's most recent 10:30 p.m.
endeavor, the network 13p
premiered two offbeat HBO
comedies different from
the usual crop of sitcoms. "The Life &
Times of Tim" is a cartoon created for the
fans of "South Park" and
"Family Guy," while "Lit- *
tle Britain USA" explores
the differences between The Life
Brits and Americans. &limes
"Little Britain USA"
is a spin-off of the BBC's Of Tim
successful "Little Brit- Sundays at
ain," and is rumored to
have Paul Rudd, Vivi- 11p.m.
ca A. Fox and Sting as HBO
guests later in' the sea-
son. Original "Little Britain" case mem-
bers Matt Lucas and David Walliams

bring their British characters to experi-
ence American traditions. Through their
colorful characters, Lucas and Walliams
comment on how Americans and Brits are
different while poking fun at American
culture. With critically acclaimed guest
stars and a unique concept, you'd think
"Little Britain USA" could be smart and
hilarious, but something definitely gets
lost in translation.
In 25 minutes, the show failed to elicit
even a half smile; the only laughs heard
were from the show's laugh track. The Eng-
lish are known to have a dry sense of humor,
but after seeing a police sergeantget a boner
from his gun collection, that assumption is
no longer valid. The sketches are far from
dry and witty - they're just crude. "Little
Britain USA" is unimpressive.
Part of the show's concept is to mock
iconic American practices and stereotypes,
but it does a poor job executing that. Pick-
ing the most popular American stereotypes
(everyone is fat and Americans love guns),
Lucas and Walliams take the easy way out
by relying on innuendo and profanity. Even
Tom Green - the master of infantile humor
- could come up with wittier material.
Prostitution and rape aren't laughing
matters, but the politically incorrect cartoon
"The Life & Times of Tim" touches on both
taboos in a humorous light. Creator Steve
Dildarian -the brain behind the Budweiser
lizards campaign - doesn't think anyone or
anything is off limits.

The show has a similar premise to CBS's
sitcom "Worst Week," except it's original
and actually funny. Tim (voiced by Dildar-
ian) is a young professional who always
manages to get involved with people who
put him in compromising situations that
either make him look pitiful or demented.
Unlike the lead on "Worst Week," you feel
somewhat bad for Tim when he's rumored
to have been raped by a bum because he's
the innocent victim to a joke that went
awry. However, when it's revealed that a
bum didn't rape Tim, the show crosses the
line when the cops force him to do just that.
"Life & Times of Tim" has potential, but
needs to know when enough is enough.
Unlike many other comedies, the show
takes some risks. Though it lacks the intelli-
gence of "South Park," its brazen attemptto
push the envelope deserves praise in a time
when countless sitcoms rely on fart jokes
and name-calling.
HBO halfway succeeds in its attempt to
premiere two new shows. "Little Britain
USA" has the potential to set itself apart
from other comedies, but fails at every level.
The show's humor is so immature that even
a 10-year-old wouldn't find it funny. On a
brighter note, "The Life & Times of Tim" at
least has a few funny moments, eventhough
it takes some subject matter too far. HBO's
new comedies don't exceed rival programs
like Showtime's "Weeds" and "Californica-
tion," but "Life & Times of Tim" is putting it
on the righttrack.

For the Daily
One step into Lane Hall and the eye
is drawn to the photograph of a small
child standing on the beach, then to
the dead horse in the
middle of the deserted Haiti
road and finally to the
crippled woman peer- Through
ing around the cor- Dec.15
ner with her crutch. At Lane Hall
Each scene preserves Free
an image of daily life
in Haiti. The photo-
graphs continue around the lobby, each
one going deeper into the reality of the
Haitians and exploring the shadows
they live within.
"Haiti"has allowed audiences to exam-
ine the humanity depicted in the works
of photojournalist Jane Evelyn Atwood.
The photographs are on display through
December 15.
Atwood is a prominent artist in her
field and tends to connect with a demo-
graphic that is often left under the radar.
"When I started making pictures in
1976, I began with a group of street pros-
titutes who were workingina building on
the Rue des Lombards in Paris," Atwood
told the Women's Studies program host-
ing the exhibit. "I wanted to know them,
and photographing them became a way
to do that. I ended up spending every
night, all night, in that building for one
This method of complete immersion
into her subject's surroundings allowed
Atwood to gain insight into the lives of
those forgotten by society. She shares this
knowledge in photographs that cause
instant reactions from viewers. From
prostitutes to blind children, landmine
victims to women in prison, Atwood's
photographs address socialissues and the
people affected by them.
Her latest subject, Haiti, provides
an opportunity to see the country's
ordinary, everyday occurrences. In
Atwood's artist's statement for the
exhibit, she writes: "In this climate
of insecurity and strife, I wanted to
concentrate on the daily lives of the
people living on the island. Because, as
is always the case, the majority of the

population doesn't participate in these
tragic events."
Her Haiti photographs show the strug-
gle of workers, the growing-up process of
children, the love found in marriage and
the mourning of death, experiences that
every person can relate to in one way or
"Although I've always photographed
people who might seem a little strange to
the rest of us, I try not to highlight this
strangeness in my photos," Atwood said.
"Rather, I try to show my subjects as the
human beings they are. I photograph
them in order to approach and under-
stand them."
Through deep colors and contrasting
shadows, Atwood displays a profound
understanding of her subjects. Numer-
ous faces in the photographs are hidden
in shadows, turning their dark skin even
darker. The concealment of their faces
allows the audience to question what
factors are forcing them to be placed
beneath the shadows. These dark figures
are surrounded by bright colors in many
of the images creating a stark contrast
between the people and their environ-
Capturing people as subjects is
always challenging as a photographer,
but Atwood's obsessive method reveals
her true skill as an artist. Each image is
thoughtfully composed to bring out the
inner struggles of the Haitians' daily
lives. In this exhibit, Atwood steps out-
In Haiti, everyday
struggles often
remain invisible.
side her usual use of black and white film
and proficiently introduces color to boldly
represent Haiti.
In her artist's statement, Atwood
wrote: "I wanted to do a storythat would
have journalistic merit of revealing the
ordinary in an exciting way, through
color and form and light." With just one
glance aroundthe lobby of Lane Hall, this
goal is accomplished.

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