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September 14, 2012 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-14

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8A - Friday, September 14 2012AM aa

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Second City to bring
sketches to The Ark


troupe celebrates
50th anniversary
Daily Arts Writer
When talking about Chicago,
there are two distinct epochs:
the crime, corruption and pizza
that marked
its pre-The Second C4
Second City
days; and the Tonight and
crime, corrup- tomorrow
tion, pizza and at 8 p.m.-
comedy thatThAr
defines it today. Ter
The Set- $25
ond City, an
improvisation group that not
only put Chicago on the come-
dic map, but also launched too
many stars to name, turns 5O
this year. In celebration of their
golden anniversary they've put
together "Laughing Matters," a
special best-of-the-best sketch
show that will open tonight at
The Ark.
"It's an understatement to say
it's been hard to look back on the
decades and decades of mate-
rial and pare that down to only
a two-hour show," said Jessica
Mitolo, Second City member and
director of "Laughing Matters."
"Imagine combing through and
having to choose between a
sketch by Stephen Colbert and
one by Steve Carell - difficult."
However, this dauntingly
large catalog of sketches repre-
sents exactly what The Second
City is known for: unbridled
creativity and a proclivity for
tackling every topic swirling
around their actors and audi-
ences heads. And that, Mitolo
explained, comes from the pro-
cess of improv.
"All the sketches (the audi-
ence) will see are generated
from ideas submitted by the
actors, which are improvised in
front of live audiences again and
again until they become solidi-

Dead eyes, still hearts, will lose.
'Doctor' is offer to refuse

The show will feature historic skits from Second City alums, like Stephen Colbert.

fied enough to be considered a
script," Mitolo said.
For those worried that a
scripted, "best of" show doesn't
have the same immediacy and
punch that improv might bring,
Mitolo explained that there's
still the same audience interac-
tion and spontaneity driving the
"There's a beautiful part of
improv where you mightnever see
it again and that's still true in this
show," Mitolo said. "Not to over-
state it, but the audience is vital to
the set. The actors are stillfeeding
off the audience, reacting to what
they find funny and adapting to
make the show as humorous for
them as possible."
As for the show's material,
Mitolo explained they tried
to bring a little of everything
together while writing.
"You'll see material by big
names from their early days, but
you're also going to see some
of the most current pieces still
being preformed on our main
stages," Mitolo said. "But on a
level of material too, it ranges
from politics and race, to mur-
der mysteries and even more
The Second City has always
been defined by its topical imme-

diacy, and even in "Laughing
Matters," where source material
can at times be decades old, the
humor hopes to come through.
"You'd be, surprised at how
muchsomethings don't change,"
Mitolo said. "Especially during
an election year, the issues of
race, news outlets, politics are
very cyclical. And even if some
of the topical pieces aren't as
immediate anymore, the way
we've approached that mate-
rial - by focusing on timeless
relationships - keeps it present,
keeps it funny."
To emphasize this, one might
consider that though "hanging
chad" jokes aren't totally rel-
evant anymore, the issues and
relationship of voter fraud and
voting regulation is still as per-
tinent now as it was 12 years ago.
It's these broader social strokes
that the show captures, Mitolo
"In the end, we're comedi-
ans and the show is there to be
funny," Mitolo said. "Maybe
audience members don't agree
always with the material, but
hopefully the show encourages
an arena where everything is at
play, everything is on the table
and everything can become part
of the humor."

Television is nothing if not
oversaturated with medical
dramas, right? So how about a
hospital drama
with a twist: a g _ #e
series about a
doctor ...for the The Mob
So must have Doctor
went the initial pilot
pitch for FOX's
freshman Mondays at 9 p.m.
series "The FOX
Mob Doctor,"
as the pilot
reflects little more thought than
"She's a doctor! A mob doctor!"
Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro,
"My Boys") is an ordinary Chi-
cago doctor by day and a dis-
creet, ask-no-questions Mafia
mender by ... other parts of the
day. Her younger brother pissed
off Southside boss Paul Moretti
(Michael Rapaport, "Prison
Break") somehow, and Grace
is stuck tending to the bullet,
knife and screwdriver wounds
of Moretti's men to pay off her
family's debts. She's peachy
keen with this less-than-legal
arrangement ... that is, until
she's delivered a picture of one
of her patients with instructions
to off him. Suddenly, the pilot is
entangled in a structural mess
that weighs it down like a pair of
cement shoes.
The episode reveals that
Moretti's sphere of influence
runs deep, even in the hospital,
where a shadowy mobster is
able to sneak a special syringe to
Grace so she can off the witness
discreetly. But if the mob is so
embedded in the hospital, why

does G
deed 1
it's ob
the stE
what f
mas ar
both g
had m
they a
her pre
given a
free pa
a serew"
mess in
is nosy
ship w
they c

race even need to do the total lack of substance behind
herself? The entire pilot the character. The wonderful
on Grace's decision, but character actor Zeljko Ivanek
vious what she'll do from ("Damages") - who's prolific
art. Plot holes are some- to the point that it's confus-
orgivable in hospital dra- ing when he doesn't appear on
nd Mafia tales alike, but a any given show - plays one of
plot without any sense of Grace's superiors, but like Gil-
cy is a death sentence for ford, Ivanek's skills are eclipsed
enres. by the lifeless script. William
Forsythe ("The Untouchables")
so brilliantly plays "reformed"
ery character mob mastermind Alexander
Constantine that you'll wish the
i this show show was about him coolly kick-
ing serious ass.
deserves It'sa shame we can't be both-
ered to care about the actual
.o be offed. mob doctor, considering Spiro,
too, is wasted. Right away, the
show insists that Grace is an
anti-hero. TV trends show that
saps if "Mob Doctor" viewers love a good morally
anaged to rustle up some imperfect protagonist - see:
ful emotions by way of its any show on Showtime - and
ters, the actionless plot doctors not so loyal to the Hip-
n't matter so much, but pocratic Oath can be fun if not
ne in Grace's life is so pain- overdone, but Grace isn't com-
straight-from-stock that pelling in either side of her dual-
ren't deserving of love or natured life. Sure, she runs with
Grace is supposedly too big-time bosses, but she's hardly
ed to ever consider leaving written as an Ava Crowder-type
ecious city, even when she's badass. And the "tough" choices
Get The Hell Out Of Here she makes in her regular job
ss, but why?Brother Nate is aren't so much tough as predict-
'up, the reason she's in this able and uninteresting. But wait,
n the first place. Her mother she's a doctor! For the mob!
and needy, and Grace hasa Even though the characters
ssly antagonistic relation- spend plenty of time carefully
ith her colleagues, who are spelling out exactly what they
e, horrible people because are thinking and the writing
are about evil things like similarly lacks any sense of
and rules. subtlety, in the end, it's actually
h Gilford ("Friday Night pretty unclear what "The Mob
") puts his best foot for- Doctor" is about - if anything.
as Grace's OB/GYN boy- One thing that is made clear
Brett, but even seeing by its pilot is that this show defi-
Saracen in a white coat nitely deserves to sleep with the
enough to obscure the fishes.

To request an application, e-mail arts@michigandaily.com.

Be'lm ""n" " t
! 3E

E-mail kaylau@umich.edu for an application.
Presidential Election Forum The public is cordially invited to attend this
A Ross Thought in Action Eventy
free event sponsored by the Office of Tax Policy
M H A . Research at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business,
ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS l MIEN. University of Michigan.

WHAT'S AT STAKE in the Tax Policy Debate?

This event features commentary
and discussion on tax policy issues
in the presidential campaign
by University of Michigan faculty
and outside experts whose views
span both sides of the political aisle.

Barack Obama

Mitt Romney


September 18, 2012

Featured Speakers
Bruce Bartlett: writer, New York Times Economix blog
Leonard E. Burman: Professor, Maxwell School of Syracuse University
Kevin A. Hassett: Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Studies,
American Enterprise Institute
Joel Slemrod: Professor, University of Michigan

Time: 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Place: Blau Auditorium
Ross School of Business
University of Michigan

Light refreshments immediately following ]
4 41414


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