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There'll Be No Quirky, Classy New Me In '03, 01.01.03 ...


Well thank heavens that's over. All that shopping, eating, drinking and general sloth isn't good for a person. It addles and softens the brain. A person is unduly open to strange suggestions and influences.

For the past few days as I've tramped around Toronto, going about my business, I've been going slightly mad. There are these billboards around the city sending me a message. On them, a woman with an alarming grin peers down and the text of the billboard declares "A New Me in 2003."

I thought about it -- a new me in 2003. I thought long and hard. Yes, I said to myself, I resolve to watch this Gilmore Girls thing that some people insist on enjoying. I gather it's about a mother-and-daughter and everybody is very cute.

It doesn't sound like my kind of thing, but how bad can it be?

Further, I resolve to try much harder to pay attention to ER. I mean, according to the head of NBC, the show has undergone a "creative renaissance" this season. The head of a network wouldn't lie, would he? Also, I think I will attempt to appreciate American Dreams,that popular show about an American family in the 1960s. The last time I looked at it, I was getting nauseous, so I stopped. But, if it is to be a new me in 2003, that's not going to happen.

On second thought -- no, no, no! The foregoing resolutions are nonsense. A new me in 2003 would seriously overestimate my tolerance for wimpy, soporific, smarmy TV drama. Worse, I think I've overestimated your tolerance for that stuff. That way lays madness for all of us.

The real resolution is this -- the words "quirky" and "classy" will never be used in this column in the coming year. Actually, I don't think they've ever been used. Still, after reading a certain amount of idiotic entertainment coverage in various publications over the holidays I've become aware that these adjectives are overused and downright meaningless.

"Quirky" is used to describe TV shows and movies when the writer can't figure out what to say and vocabulary is beggared by the production. Often, it's used to describe everything that isn't formulaic and forgettable. I don't believe that any thinking reader gains any reliable impression of anything from the word "quirky."

"Classy" is invariably used to describe some talentless hack actor, producer or director who happens to have a small gift for buttering up the press.

I've heard many people in the TV racket, whom I know to be insincere and incompetent, described as "classy." Enough already.

Tonight's menu is a tad dismaying, to be honest with you. If I had succumbed to unnatural urges and decided to be a new me in 2003, I'd be telling you that they're quirky and feature classy performers.

The Wedding Dress (CBS, Chum local stations, 8 p.m.) is a repeat and was described as "light and lovely" when it aired a few months ago. Oh dear.

It's about a wedding dress that changes hands and changes the lives of five couples. (This is one of the oldest storytelling formats and if you want a much superior variation on the theme, you can watch the great Canadian movie The Red Violin on Bravo! tonight at 8:30 p.m.) I'm told that Vera Wang designed the dress, by the way.

It all starts during the Second World War when bride-to-be Hannah (Lauren Lee Smith) is trying on her fabulous wedding dress. Then she's informed that her fiancÚ had been killed in action. The dress is put away and Hannah prays that it will someday be used in happier circumstances. Indeed it is, eventually. First it ends up in the possession of Travis (Neil Patrick Harris), a photographer who is about to marry an airhead model when, right before his eyes, his beautiful and bright assistant Zoey (Kathryne Dara Brown) is madly in love with him.

One thing leads to another and the dress ends up in the hands of an artist named Joan (Tyne Daly), who happens to be Zoey's mother. There's a happy ending which we are meant to enjoy even more because -- wait for it -- the actress who plays Zoey is actually Tyne Daly's daughter. Pretend You Don't See Her (Global, 9 p.m.) is a dreary, Canadian-made adaptation of a novel by Mary Higgins Clark. It's about a woman (Emma Samms) in New York, who witnesses a murder and must enter the Witness Protection Program in order to survive and help nail the bad guys. She is relocated to Minnesota. Ontario plays Minnesota and does it rather well. Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (Showcase, 9 p.m.) is the must-see business tonight. This is where the Trailer Park Boys phenomenon began and we get to know Ricky, Julian, Bubbles and the assorted hosers who inhabit that trailer park somewhere in Nova Scotia.

At 90 minutes, the movie isn't as strong as many of the 30-minute episodes, but its good laugh. Trailer Park Boys is on its way to becoming a classic of Canadian TV because it is cheap, cheerful, rude, raucous and devoted to celebrating idiocy. I like it a lot.

See -- no new me in 2003.
Credit: The Globe and Mail


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