Nada About Yadda

TV Eye

That show is over to-night (5/14, 8pm NBC). See? I don't even have to say the name and you know what show it is.

To that end, you have many options to say goodbye. 96.7 KHFI and the Copper Tank are holding a big-screen watching party hosted by morning show deejays Allen Price and Karen Clauss. The evening starts at 7pm with an hour-long behind-the-scenes show, followed by the finale at 8pm. Lookalike contests, a special food menu, and ales named for various characters will be available. KLBJ-AM is having a play-by-play party for select listeners; tune into to 590 on the AM dial for that one. And the Austin Music Hall, figuring that although Ben Folds Five appeared on The Larry Sanders Show(Sundays, 9pm HBO), their fans are also fans of that show, have brought in a theatre screen to show it. Music begins at 9:30pm.

Me? I'll be waiting for it all to be over so I can watch the lastER (5/14, 9pm NBC) of the season.

It's also a farewell to Murphy Brown (5/18, 8pm CBS) this week. I feel about Murphy Brown much the same as I felt about Roseanne and Designing Women. I had watched the show religiously for years but it lost me about halfway through its lifespan. The success of the comedy show had been a turning point for actress Candice Bergen, who had made a career of looking lovely in dreadfully acted and inconsequential roles (Getting Straight, The Adventurers, Soldier Blue) beginning in the late Sixties. But in between those stinkers were suggestions of something more substantial – Carnal Knowledge, The Wind and the Lion, and even her film debut as lesbian Eleanor Eastlake in 1966's The Group.

By the time Murphy Brown debuted in November of 1988, Bergen had matured into an actress comfortable with her own comic flair, first demonstrated in the Seventies on Saturday Night Live. Murphy Brown gave her the chance to ply the cranky telejournalist with obvious delight. It was a match made in Emmy heaven.

I'd quit watching it by the time Murphy got knocked up but found Dan Quayle's lame attack on her to be an amusing comment on the priorities of the Bush administration. "It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown... mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice," the vice-president said. "If he believes a woman cannot adequately raise a child without a father, then he'd better make sure abortion remains safe and legal," retorted show producer Diane English.

The last episode of Murphy Brown will be a one-hour special with lots of guest stars. This is becoming the norm for season finales: make a half-hour comedy a full hour and lure a bunch of celebs to appear. Murphy Brown does not disappoint. Saying bye-bye to the FYI gang will be Julia Roberts, 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace, Alan King, George Clooney, and Frances Bergen, Candice's real-life mother. Reprising old roles will be Robert Pastorelli as the perenially overall-clad Eldin Bernecky and Pat Corley back as the bar owner Phil. Continuing one of the show's longest-running gags, Bette Midler will appear as secretary #93. In TV Heaven, Murphy Brown will be rerun alongside The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Fox is sending its '97-98 shows off with a bang too, especially the Sunday night lineup. In the last show of their ninth season is The Simpsons (5/17, 7pm FOX) in "Margie, May I Sleep With Danger?" The name of this segment has been making me laugh since I first read it – it's a parody of a gawd-awful Tori Spelling made-for-TV movie called "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?" Will he become King of the Hollywood Hills? In King of the Hill (5/17, 7:30pm FOX), unemployed Hank is reduced to working at the Megalo Mart in the propane department, where his boss is Luanne's grungy boyfriend and life is looking grim. Hank rebels when the company schedules a Chuck Mangione concert. Wouldn't you?

The much-anticipated closer to The X-Files (5/17, 8pm FOX) is the conclusion of last week's creepy episode which suggests monsters may or may not walk among us. I, for one, am grateful for an X-Finale that doesn't drag on into next season but I also think this season has had some of its best shows yet. That Stephen King one during the February sweeps was a real dud but the William Gibson-scripted "Kill Switch" was a brilliant stroke of cyber-genius on the writer's part – watch for it in reruns.

The angst-filled Party of Five ended so predictably last week that Party of Five Weenies might be a better name for the show. Over in Beverly Hills 90210 (5/20, 7pm FOX) however, trouble lies at the altar for Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Kelly (Jennie Garth) in the two-hour finale. How much you wanna bet that trouble comes disguised as Titsy (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), who's just been dumped by David (Brian Austin Green)? It might be enough to force me to turn to Law & Order (5/20, 9pm NBC) for its season ender. Thanks to one of this column's readers, I got hooked on Law & Order in reruns (weeknights, 10pm A&E), where I caught up with the series. It's also end of the season for Mad About You (5/19, 7:30pm NBC) – look for Ellen DeGeneres, applying for a nanny position, and director James Cameron.

All right, enough of this yadda. The finale that really matters couldn't care less about ratings, isn't on this week, and that's why it is the best show on television. The Larry Sanders Show wraps up its fifth and final season on HBO May 31. Its wicked insider Hollywood humor is as sharp now as the first season, more so for having upped the ante on writing and acting. Please, HBO, please, please do not sell this to Comedy Central for bowdlerization the way Dream Onsuffered. That once-hysterical show has been neutered beyond recognition. Thank you.

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More TV Eye
TV Eye: That's What She Said
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After 10 years in print, 'TV Eye' has its series finale

Belinda Acosta, July 8, 2011

TV Eye: Go LoCo
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Awards, and a word about what's on the horizon for 'TV Eye'

Belinda Acosta, July 1, 2011

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