Picks and Pans Review: Funny People
NBC (Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET)
Leeza (Entertainment Tonight) Gibbons, comic Rita Rudner and their two co-hosts on this new summertime series gab onstage for a bit—supposedly ad-libbing and unaware that the camera is on—and then their executive producer, George (Laugh-In) Schlatter, turns to the camera and says, "We just want to show you how serious the writers' strike really is." Amen. For if this strike goes on too long, we will have more shows just like this. We will have airwaves clogged with Reality TV. Funny People is basically a remake of Schlatter's own prototype for all Reality TV: Real People, with hosts showing off their dental work as they introduce a bunch of cutesy, taped segments. Some of the segments are terminally twinkie—a report on a convention for people with eyes in their foreheads (put there by a video trick). Some segments are old and stale—a report on the ladies who test deodorants by smelling armpits. But some are cute—like a report on one of those wild and crazy Japanese game shows and a profile of John (A Fish Called Wanda) Cleese. An hour a week of this is already a bit of an overdose. If the continuing strike causes us to have more of the same, that would be torture.
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