In the romantic comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman play best friends—one's brilliant, the other's beautiful. They team up, in a plot device lifted from Cyrano de Bergerac, to woo the smart one's love interest. "I not only play the Plain Jane, I live it," sighs Garofalo, 31. "I'm not the most secure person about my looks, so working with Uma—there's nothing wrong with that girl—got to me a little bit. At the end of the day I'd think, 'I have been genetically shafted.' " But with featured stints on The Larry Sanders Show and Saturday Night Live and a part in Reality Bites, she has obviously done well with what she's got. "This is a business that caters to size 3 women, and we live in a size 12 world," says Garofalo. "It hasn't broken me down, but I did lose weight after I kept hearing the wardrobe lady saying, 'Honey, have you thought about dark colors?' "
Marlo Thomas, who will reprise her role as mother of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on NBC's Friends May 2, says sex on sitcoms sure has changed since her days as Ann Marie on That Girl (1966-71). "[Boyfriend] Donald [Ted Bessell] wasn't even allowed to come too far into my apartment. We always kissed goodnight standing at the door," says Thomas, 57. The man who Thomas kisses goodnight in real life is, of course, Phil Donahue. How does she feel about him putting aside his microphone at the end of May after 29 years as a talk show host? "I'm just excited that I'm going to have a ready and willing playmate," she says. "After 6,500 hours on TV, he's entitled to sit down for 10 minutes. It's going to be interesting to see how much he likes it, but I have a feeling that he's going to play a lot of golf."
On Monday (April 29), some two years after Arsenio left the air, former talk show gabber Arsenio Hall will make his first appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. What has Hall been up to lately? Chilling out, reading movie scripts and playing hoops. "I learned to kick back," he says. "And I was able to just sit down and watch a soap opera with my girlfriend." Hall, 39, who has a movie development deal with Sony Pictures, says, "Life for me has been reading 20 scripts a month. I want to get back to that Coming to America [in which he costarred with Eddie Murphy in 1988] level of my career." He also played basketball with NBA pals like Magic Johnson. "Now I'm much better able to execute the arguments about how I was fouled."
Marg Helgenberger, best known as the prostitute K.C. on TV's China Beach, turns up as George Clooney's latest lust interest on the season's final four episodes of NBC's ER. "The smell of testosterone is very heavy on that set," says Helgenberger, 37. "There's a lot of one-upmanship and that put-each-other-down thing that guys do, but it's fun. George likes to have a good time. I think that's his MO in life." Helgenberger, who is married to Cybill's Alan Rosenberg, has yet to meet George's housemate, a 150-lb. pig named Max. "He got him when he was living with Kelly Preston," she says. "When we lived next door to Jason Patric, he and [then gal pal] Julia Roberts got a pig, too. When they broke up, Jason kept the pig. When George and Kelly broke up, he kept the pig. The guy always ends up with the pig. I wonder what that means?"