The purge hardly comes as a surprise. The only reason for tuning in was masochistic fascination in watching these desperate clowns die a thousand deaths every night.
USA (Wed., Aug. 7, 9 P.M. ET)
A shy grade school teacher (Jennifer Rubin) becomes an overnight sensation as a model. But everyone who gets near her meets a violent end.
Sally Kellerman and Peter Outer-bridge costar in this relentlessly voyeuristic (in a PG-rated way) and creepy thriller in which everyone but Rubin is made to seem repulsively reptilian. Ah, well, this is the fashion biz we're talking about.
Don't think too hard about the twist ending or everything else makes even less sense than it did before.
Comedy Central (Fridays, 9:30 P.M. ET)
Like The Simpsons, Sports Monster is basically filler that got spun off into a series. The spoof of television's ubiquitous sports wrap-up shows began as sketches seen between programs on the Comedy Channel.
The setup is perfect. The studio hosts are Nick Bakay, appropriately smug as the glib anchor, Joe Bolster, a name-dropping former National League MVP, and Jon Hayman, as a dyspeptic journeyman catcher.
They deliver chewing-tobacco-in-cheek news items, such as announcing that the New York Giants have appointed Leo Buscaglia to replace coach Bill Parcells. But athletics is just a jumping-off point. The show aims to be nothing short of SCTV permeated with the smell of Ben-Gay.
While some skits are funny—for instance, the exhumed "lost" footage from Bolster's disastrous screen test for the lead in Raging Bull—on the whole, the writing tends to be thin.
That's why this is a good week to check out the show, with its best bits collected for "The First Annual Sports Monster All-Star Hall-of-Fame All-American Super Special."
Be sure to catch the segment where Bob Costas joins the trio for a smorgasbord of sportscasting clichés. It sounds like the guys on Monday Night Football in midseason form.
>THE UTTER GAUL
HE MAY NEVER CONQUER AMERICA, but in France, Gérard Depardieu is an acting Colossus. You can see why in Jean de Florette, which PBS is showing (Fri., Aug. 9, 9 P.M. ET) with subtitles. Depardieu plays a hunchback in the 1920s whose plan to turn inherited land into a working farm is doomed by the base treachery of his neighbors (Yves Montand and Daniel Autieul). Director Claude Berri's 1986 film is exquisitely beautiful and moving. Manon of the Spring, the second half of this pastoral epic set in Provence, involves the efforts of Depardieu's beautiful but feral daughter (Emmanuelle Beart) to avenge her father's tragic death. It airs the following week at the same time.
These are parlous times for radio personalities trying to make the transition to late-night TV hosts. Kick Dees has been deposed by ABC, and Jonathon Brandmeier's syndicated show, Johnny B...On the Loose, got a quick hook. (Taped episodes will run until early next month.) If our luck holds, Howard Stern and his puerile syndicated peep show will get the ax next.