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June 10, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



The Mihigan "ailv"-"Mndav. ine'"0. 2002-9


"Dry wit heightens 'Fawlty' stateside appeal

By Sonya Sutherland
DailyArts Writer
We have elevators, they have lifts.
We have lines, they have cues. We
have restrooms, they have water
closets. And while the English have
kept busy maintaining a certain
sophistication and a rather dry sense
of humor, not everything they do
seems pompous and aloof. With
BBC programming ranking high in
national popularity, their sense of
wit has slowly trickled in to the
mainstream, perhaps undetected.
Certain staples, like "A Fish Called
Wanda" or "Monty Python and the
Holy Grail," are staples of a cult
comedy diet are directly imported
from those funny talking, tea-sip-
Pping, crumpet munchers.
Unfortunately for the average tel-
evision conusumer, British comedy
takes a backseat to the overbearing
and often not funny products of the
major network machine. In a
"Celebrity Deathmatch" I would
take the smart-talking-"Weakest-

Link"-bitch over "Greg the Bunny"
any day.
But alas, consumer driven Ameri-
ca has yet to import anything
beyond "Whose Line Is It Anyway,"
which ABC took the liberty of sub-
tly changing for the worse. Fortu-
nately the modern
technology that 1
brought us the boob
tube is bringing anoth- FAWLTY
er modern advantage THE C
into our lives -- the COLLI
DVD collectors set. D
And with the populari-
ty of re-releasing hard Picture/Sou
to find television Series: ***
shows a la digital video Features: *-A
disk, the future is now
- behold the comic BBC
genius of John Cleese,
now with a place to shine from
beneath the shadows of "Friends"
and "Baywatch."
You may recognize his name from
the ground-breaking Monty Python,
or you may have no idea who this
John Cleese fellow is, since his lack


of chiseled good looks and sex
appeal excludes him from regular
media coverage. But what can be
guaranteed is his status as a comedic
wonder. The proof is in "Fawlty
Towers," in which he plays Mr. Fawl-
ty, the un-coordinated, scatter-
brained, sharp tongued
and short-tempered
owner of the hotel
TowERS: Fawtly Towers. The cir-
)MPLETE cumstances of the sto-
CTION ryline are simple: Mr.
/D Fawlty, accompanied by
his nagging wife,
d * Cyball, barely fluent in
** English bellhop,
* Manuel, and airhead
maid Polly, pulls him-
Video self out of one predica-
ment and into another,
of course with humorous conse-
quences. From health inspectors and
corpses to visiting Germans and
concussions, nothing compares to
the trouble Basil Fawlty finds him-
self in when trying to cover his own
ass and keep the facade of a success-

fully run hotel afloat. "Fawlty Tow-
ers" is now not only preserved in
more than tolerable quality and but
comes packaged in a convenient
three disk, 12 episode complete col-
lection set loaded with bonus fea-
tures. Check out the true couple the
story line is based on, some of the
funnier outtakes or simply have a
marathon of giggles. A true classic
in slapstick and wit, there is no won-
der the series is considered the Sis-
tine Chapel of sitcoms.
4 # :.. .....

.Incest is best for new
Dennis Cooper tome

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor

ates monsters) by making introspec-
tion as evil as brainless consumerism.
Larry is in a constant state of flux

High schooler Larry has been between blind emotion and quite
enlisted to kill a classmate because he introspection. Cooper asserts that he
had sex with an insecure neo-nazi and is dangerous in both cases. He may
wrote about it in his prolific journal. violently rape Tran on the spur of the
This is the second per- moment, but his incestu-
son to die at Larry's ous longings are poured
hands, the first was a over and carefully exe-
friend who tried to stop * cuted. He has a system.
Larry from having sex Cooper does not write
with his own brother, MY LOOSE for the feint of heart,
who is in middle school. THREAD and the nearly complete
This is all vaugely dis- lack of humor makes his
turbing to Larry. but not By Dennis Cooper novel even less accessi-
enough to stop him from Cannongate Pub. Ltd. ble. In a society where
raping his friend Tran. satire and irony are com-
The plot of Dennis monplace, "My Loose
Cooper's latest novel "My Loose Thread" offers no answers. The novel
Thread" lacks the dark humor of his is a horrifying funhouse mirror, show-
earlier work (noteably his five-part ing a society worse than our own, but
George Miles cycle), yet brings sparse not so much worse that it can be easi-
intensity and almost no emotion to his ly shrugged off.
colorless world. The utter emptiness
of his style is violently off-set by the
absurd number of "events" Cooper AA.'i
infuses into his 125-page novella. The ic igan
Like Gertrude Stein, Cooper end- ahj bisnau Staff
lessly returns to the same several
b phrases. proving how inadequate is proud to " O
words are at expressing pain and
insanity. It's hard to read Larry's first- announce
person, disjointed prose without feel- 0 e th
ing confused and squeamish. He is
only sympathetic insofar that he can-
not seem to control himself. His mur-
derous temper and seemingly
unquenchable thirst for the ongoing
sexual relationship with his brother
are a product of Cooper's society, and
school shootings occur with commas,
not punctuation marks.
Yet Cooper eschews the easy expla-
nations (that is, society is bad and cre- Sponsored by: b, Irato's

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