The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia on December 23, 1999 · Page 44
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia · Page 44

Publication:
Location:
Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 23, 1999
Page:
Page 44
Start Free Trial
Cancel

Living in the 70s with comedic flare Prognosis: funny with poignant moments WORD of warning don't get too attached to all of the new series that have debuted on TV in the first two weeks of this silly season. Most of them will not be around after January, liven one or two of the better ones, like Nine's new David Caruso series, Michael Hayes (Thursday, 8.:i()pm), have a limited life because the American networks that commissioned them have already given them the flick. Heaven knows why. The good news is that some, albeit a minority, have survived their first season on US TV and will be back in 2000. Providence (Wednesday, 9.30pm on Seven) looks like staying around even longer. And That '70s Show ( Thursday, 8pm on Seven) is a definite stayer. It debuted on Rupert Murdoch's Hox Network in the US last year. Thirty-three episodes have gone to air there so far, sometimes out rating The Simpsons. We have seen only the first two episodes. And Fox has just signed it up for another two years, another 44 episodes. It might take me that long to figure out why I like this show so much. It's not the cast. There are probably thousands of young American actors who could have played the six teenagers around whom this series revolves, and while you might recognise some of the adults in it, they're not superstars. It's not the plot, because there is precious little of it. The first episode was about the lead character, Hric, getting his first car. The second was about his 17th birthday party. And while some of the characters are very funny, especially Fez, the young Venezuelan exchange student who mangles the linglish language like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, and Kelso, the dim-witted Lothario, some of them are overbaked to the point of being incinerated. No, my current theory is that That '70s Show succeeds because it reminds we baby boomers of the good old days when we were teenagers or young adults struggling to understand our lives, our parents and our world. OK, this show occasionally is as hokey and cheerily mid-suburban as that ode to the '50s, Happy Days. But it's better because it s more honest. There is Eric Forman, a 17-year-old longing for independence from his fuddy-duddy parents, Red and Kitty. There is Donna, the girl next door, with whom Eric is fumbling towards some kind of relationship; Kelso, the dim-wit who imagines that every attractive girl lusts for his body; Jackie, who does; Hyde, who has a healthy contempt for just about everything, and Fez. Together, they do what teenagers have always done. Twenty years on, community standards have changed to the point where we can admit in a TV show like this one that sex was on our minds 24 hours of every day, that a party was not a party unless there was at least one bottle of Southern Comfort to mix with the Coke, that while we respected our parents, we resented their constant interference in our lives and their attempts to thrust their values down our throats. That's not to say that That '70s Show is all about sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and rebellion. Anything but. Nor is it the best US sitcom of the '90s, although its imaginative use of dream sequences and voice exchanges, where one character imagines what another is saying behind his back, is very clever. But it is one of the freshest and most innovative, and has enough hilarious moments to keep you watching. Having said all that, however, I'm no closer to knowing why I won't miss an episode of this show. But there has to be something. Bowel cancer is no joke unless you're Alan Lovell. By Anne Crawford CTOH Alan Lovell is sharing an account of his latest colonoscopy with me. He is lying spreadeagled in the doctor's surgery, he says, watching aghast as the doctor unpacks a huge, black tube. The device will make a voyage through his body to show what's going on in his, well, bowels. Ever the comedian, he asks the physician whether they'll be watching pay TV or free-to-air on the attached screen. "We're on cable," says the doctor. Bowels, and the jokes associated with them, are often used as comic devices. Bowel cancer isn't. Yet Lovell has made a whole show about the topic. Six Months to Live, screening on the ABC's Smallest Room in the House (Monday 10pm), is his story of how he was diagnosed with cancer and, 10 days later, faced an operation that would reveal how long he'd live if it didn't kill him. "I thought it would be a great way of dealing with it," he says. "Therapeutic. We deal with things through laughter." It wasn't funny at the time. Lovell, a big guy with a broad, radiant smile, had a lot to live for when he was called in to "have a chat" with the specialist. He had a richly varied career in theatre, television and film behind him. He'd played Constable Evans in Channel 7's Rafferty's Rules, Constable Davies in the ABC's Swap Shop, appeared in TV comedy series, including The Comedy Company, in guest roles in drama series, including Miami Vice and A Country 11 J, Therapeutic laughter Alan Lovell, Practice, and consolidated his credentials as a soapie actor as Gordon Amadio in fcio Point. He had lived wildly, then settled down with a woman with whom he wanted to grow old. He had a three-week-old baby and a son aged three. The prognosis was four years or six months; the operation threw up a frightening set of percentages. "1 was just scared, so scared of the operation and what was going to happen, what they were going to find," he says. "It was so painful, so shocking and it took so long to get over I'd never really heard anyone talk about what it's like to have your stomach cut open." Let alone in stand-up comedy. That was three years ago and Lovell, while he decided against finding God, found a new lease of life. "When life's looking you in the face, you want to grab everything with both hands. You want to be excited by it. My life has taken a lot of changes of direction." Lovell has since turned his hand to directing short films, creating the outfit Great Southern Shorts with a business partner, Darryl Robinson. His six-minute film, The Kiss, featuring Hugo Weaving and Gia Carides, won the Best Comedy award at Sydney's Tropfest last year. "I've also been putting myself out there more for (acting) work," he says. Roles in the movies Siam Sunset and Mission Impossible, (yes, he was in a scene with Tom Cruise), and television, including O'Loghlin and Water Rats, have kept him busy. Six Months to Live has poignant moments, but mostly it's funny. Lovell has made good use of the available material from scatological jokes to a take-off of stereotypical "I'm right" Australian blokeyness and word-play on medical jargon. He warns delicate viewers about the unpleasant content matter first, then lets loose. "I pretty much went for it," he says. "It wouldn't have been good if I hadn't bared my soul. I felt very vulnerable about doing it. I don't think I'll be able to watch it when it goes to air." This is the third stand-up routine Lovell has created about his life. A monologue performed live by the US actor Spalding Gray in 1986 initially inspired him, but it took five years to muster the courage to try it. Tales of a Transient Alien was written about his time in New York, where he almost got a job on a big soapie, but was deported when his tourist visa expired. Material from Al of Africa was drawn from Lovell's time working as a lighting electrician on the African set of .the movie Gorillas in the Mist. Lovell wrote Six Months to Live when he was convalescing from the operation and trialled it at Sydney's Harold Park Hotel. That was almost two years ago. If you want to find out his prognosis, you'll just have to watch the show. Pick of the day page 20 SPECIALISING IN QUALITY P.C'S FOR OVER 10 YEARS. 73FHElDEtBETCTnrACPHINGTON3l PH: 9499 6243 FAX: S4OQ.7B30 IBM 333 S74S AMOK6-2 400 $795 Cel 433 S830 Cel 500 $960 Pen! III 450 email BRComDulonOblaDond.coi 45 Cel 433 l30 tiGb TiDO S1S0 UOOMOOO S730S209S COI 466 $1210 S-Z1U0UDMUU 3ZWIZ mturbllhtd LlHr ftOffl 1150 Pent III 450 $1445 UOQ50GBHDD (2454250 Stylus 460 S2I5 Stylus 660 Pent III 533 lun&ihinn kmi i7rvi AMUAinion S13ZU 7.7J.1 AT1 J..7 ' dcut u iiwm 3&HXMoum fluh virion PENT M 533600 U PU HADE OPTIONS: 7. . M'ManlromSSO.OVDSSS. 15" Monitor Ntm S200 m iO760 I26SS47S innn-jnn tcatxicn iuotiw wrrfnrTi BJC240 1130 $350475 nrWLrf. tiwi 16204900 rMff?.. SB FDD. AMD K7 ATHLON 500 tW MJap H Sound Bl. Iter Uw 112! 4 IS FWfurblthtd ISM 120 vuao unlllctl H05S1M CD flOM S7! irnrNEWIIortkS24i$370 CTn FB330P S1S0 W10 DVD $155119! ISTir WtehubttM SZ7VM60 Agti 1212U I2S0 Sonf DVD Ktt 15" Sony $485 EWSra Zip Dl.fct 120 UQ'C M6J ; 32mb (Sraran6KlnrelSS$95 npDrlwiWMt 11201185 Dlimond Vlp 770 $2 USRobottc56K $190 0Rfl D1(k( SltfeWlndir Joystick 123i Nrtrxn56K $200 TiMStor 1200 S290 760 Wan Spaikv S8! liiiIIMIMOlMlliMM:iM We look forward to seeing you at our first Swap Meet next year on 2nd January 2000 in The Malvern Town Hall Cnr. High St. & Glenferrie Rd. J a3snfoj& asm JOIN WAVENET FOR $14 PER MONTH!' Conditions Apply BRING YOUR PC FOR A FREE CHECK-UP rrfO I ' Are you prepared for Y2K? Last chance to be SURE! ITT. ,,,, JAMUIT 4T1 TOM - CALL NAVBCT FW HE! Wavenet provides INTERNET ACCESS with a unique DIFFERENCE 56k Access We give FREE Hardware support JOIN NOW! Wavenet win solve your problems! Immediate setup to the INTERNET by PHONE Hardware & software technical support fJ I IIAWI Support for all your computing needs UlU II VII J EMAIL, WEB Space, WEB Design, E-comrnerce, 171 A GLENFERRIE ROAD MALVERN 3144 www.wavenstnet.au OPEN g.orjui TO 7.rjc 6 DAYS I "Nl BJC2MSP t1M BJC2000SP I1U UC4U0 $421 bjcmoo $iu BJCMOO $42 BJC7100 $908 LBPMO MM FBUOP $142 FB430P $210 FBCMU $210 FM20S $J7 PC TV Tumi nil mrniM $m PC TV tru Tuner wh ramoU 11 M itr l1N 4GB $203 BAOB $223 13.0OB $277 17 JOS $307 MK PC4 Internal $04 S4K ISA tntamaj $103 64K PCMCIA $1S1 MK External $11 Memory and hard daeka to suN IBW, DELL HP, COMPAQ, DKHTAL, TOSH ISA PCa Netebooka, AMD CPUa Oraprilc eafria, DVD, CDROM 1300 721 021 170 Ctarandon 81 8th Mato ran mm Business Power System Intel Celeron 466MHz CPU BX Chipset Motherboard 64MB PC-100 SDRAM 6 4GB ATA66 Hard Dnve 8MB AGP Video Adapter 15' Oigrtal Control Monitor 40x CD-ROM Onve 16-Brl Sound Adapter 120 Watt Speakers 56K V 90 Internal Modem tOIOOwep Network Adapter Keyboard and Mouse Medium System Case Uttra Power Professional System Intel PertrumW6rj0jii CPU ATA66 PC-133 BX-Pentnim ' Motherboard 64MB PC-100 SDRAM 13GB ATA66 Hard Drive 6x DVD ROM Dnve 32MB TNT2 AGP Video tr Digital Control Monitor 1 28-Brt Sound Blaster PCI 600 Wan Subwoof er Spkrs S6K V 90 Internal Modem PS2 107-Key Keyboard PS2 Mouse and Mouse Pad Deluxe ATX System Case Windows 95 Pull Version CD OfAknyl Ccrnpoowrtt: tUMflPC100 80RAM ttlW . Yamaha 16x4x4 conw $400 Ricoh 24x6x4 CDRW $3W Sony 24x4x4 CDRW $338 Panasonic 8x4 SCSI $268 RealMagtc DVD Card $160 lOx DVD Dnve St 88 6x Pioneer DVD Drive SI 55 48x CD-ROM $75 170 25 DMPKflMon. $450 irOigrtal Monitor $368 15" Digital Monrlor $235 ASUS TNT2 ULTRA $380 32MB Creative TNT 2 $196 16MB TNT Video $M VoodooS 2000 PCI $188 1000W Subwoofer Sys$68 56K Exit Acer Modem $90 S6K Intl. KTX Modem $50 Notebook Pnrner $88 4 x 5' Drawing Tablet $118 DEMO ST0 C0MPM WtHUU 1791 pn-366, 14.1" TFT. Were tSOT, Now S3MS-. T0SMU aT CEL 366. 64mb. 4gb. CO. FDD. modem. 12.1" passive. I WIN98.12moiimswairanty$23Sr.DCOWMUIU1snn ' C0MPM KOMU0I from 11995'. COMPAQ M700 P1 1-400, DVD. 14.1 Superslim JS50ir.DaiMf0 mitm 168511-400, 64mb. TFT, lax, 98, software $Zr95aT05MeTeVlbMIIUIBUCai.l C0MPM hcimm) u-300. 64mb. 17" XGA Compaq monitor etc, tins. CO Malt lor noltboote tt20. UserPBrnuM liUluulj Irom ttSO', mm CO mm Iran 91195. All accessories available including moMe phone connections, aaicarai. 6 rights FBg accomodation withany system purchased. , TRK.YNX SYSTEMS, , 759-761 HEIDELBERG ROAD. ALPHINGTON 3079. f mmn telephone 9499 use. facsimile 9499 1566. OVER 20 NOTEBOOKS ON DISPLAY. 0M.Y 10 MNUTES FROM CITY. ALIFHICES INCLUDE SALES TAX

Clipped articles people have found on this page

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 21,900+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Age
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free