Picks and Pans Review: Alive from Off Center

UPDATED 07/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Mon., July 11, 10 p.m. ET)

C+

In its fourth season, Alive returns to its roots, getting rid of the snoot and becoming, once more, a hoot. Or, to say that in English: Alive regains its sense of humor. In the first half of this season opener, the creative folks from Pee-wee's Playhouse lampoon business, advertising and dancing fruit with a wonderfully kicky little flick. They show us a wacky, too-too-New-Wave special-effects studio where potatoes are animated to advertise a combination cookie-cracker. When the guy from the cookie company arrives, the receptionist announces that "the suit" is here and, for a second, we see a suit and a hanger, not a head. The adman wants nicer, more colorful potatoes. The potatoes growl about "advertising pinheads." In these experimental shows, all I expect is lots of imagination and wry humor. This film delivers both. Grade: B+ The second half of the show is a long clip from the small, current movie Aria, in which operas are set to skits. Here we hear Verdi's "La donna é mobile" as we watch Buck Henry and Anita Morris, a married couple, both sneak off to California's Madonna Inn for affairs. Odd. It does have imagination and sly humor, but I guess I also want these experimental doo-dahs to make sense.

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