Picks and Pans Review: Public Enemy #2

updated 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Showtime (Sun., Nov. 10, 10 P.M. ET)

B+

Spoofing itself is something TV doesn't do often enough. But in this funny special, SCTV's Dave Thomas plays a struggling actor ("I'm on a beeper now. I can be rejected 24 hours a day") who finally lands a job on one of those you-catch-the-criminal reality shows, here called All Points Bulletin. The director of the show (played by Moonlighting's Curtis Armstrong) sees Thomas as the perfect guy to portray "Dwayne Gary Steckler, Public Enemy No. 2, responsible for 47 coldblooded murders—you know, our Christmas show."

It's a perfect lampoon of these crime-reenactment programs, right down to Mike (Mannix) Connors as the trenchcoat-garbed host.

When APB broadcasts its Steckler segment, the genuine article (also Thomas) tracks down the actor. And boy is he steamed. "My luck," he gripes. "Ted Bundy got Mark Harmon. The Onion Field killer got James Woods. Who do I get? The King of Dinner Theater!" Eventually the satire exhausts its premise and fizzles out, but it's a great setup.

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