Break 'Em Off Some



He may not be Master P, but Party of Five mädchen Jennifer Love Hewitt's MTV Movie Awards dress makes the author say "Uhhhhh!"

First of all, I want to give a big shout to Margaret for going on vacation and letting a broke-ass college student take over her column this week and next. This is a much better way to come up on loot than donating plasma or being poked and prodded over at Pharmaco. So thanks, Margaret, even if you know how much I hate being called Weezer and yet persist in doing so. Personally, I think Big Baby Jesus sounds much better, but Shawn Colvin's buddy Ol' Dirty Bastard beat me to it. Oh well...

I've had this past Monday(6/8) circled on my calendar for months, ever since I heard that, as of this day, they were cutting all the fights out of The Jerry Springer Show (10am, FOX-7/KTBC; 1am, KVC-13). At first I was in pieces, because every time I'd watch, all these warm childhood memories of the WWF and Houston Wrestling (LIVE from the Sam Houston Coliseum!) would come flooding back and I'd have to take a moment to find a Kleenex while all the onscreen chair-tossing, hair-pulling, and bitch-slapping was going on.

But after watching the Jerry Springer: Too Hot for TV video until my eyeballs bled, I felt much better. The fights are just window dressing anyway; if you've seen one brawl, you've seen 'em all. Jerry's guests all have basically the same problem — they can't keep their clothes on to save their lives — and still they're like snowflakes: Each one is fucked up in his or her own special way. If God is in the details, he's having a field day on Springer. After all, how are we supposed to love one another unless we understand the depths to which each one of us — not just those with bad weaves and horse teeth — can sink?

Okay, okay, I'll admit, most of the time the show isn't that spiritual. But so what? It's still hysterical. I've doubled over I don't know how many times listening to "bitch" this and "ho" that, and at this point I can probably read lips better than Marlee Matlin. Let Ricki Lake get jiggy 'til her head spins around; if you can navigate through all the bleeps, Springer is the best place there is to keep abreast of contemporary slang — even if the other day Jerry had to ask an audience member what a "hoochie" was. Like he doesn't know. Please.

So fights or not, Jerry's still with us. At least he didn't get canceled like Charles Grodin (CNBC said Chuck spent too much time "staring off into space," as if that's a bad thing for a talk-show host to do), and I doubt he'll ever have Babyface on his show like Magic Johnson. (At least Sinbad is still kickin' it on VIBE.) Besides, a quick glimpse at Springer's topics in Show World this week reveals "Lovers' unfaithful tendencies," "Cross-dressing men," "One-night-stand lovers," and "An overweight adult-film actress/An obese stripper." True fans have nothing to worry about.

Elsewhere across the dial this week, there's... well, not much. Reruns suck; South Park is already getting old (What the ^$#%@ is the big #$%@* deal about this &#^@% show? Oh wait, that's it.), and there's still a few weeks until newMelrose Place episodes start. (Yeah, I still watch. I don't know why.) Watching sports is such a cliché, but I'm still going to watch Mark McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals visit my beloved 'Stros (6/16 & 6/17, 7pm, Fox Sports). The U.S. World Cup team plays its first tournament match this week, too, against 1990 WC champs Germany (6/15, 1:45pm, KVUE-24). Good luck, mates.

Sports are an afterthought this week anyway, because there are enough good movies on to make me start skipping classes again. First and foremost is Sprung (6/16, 1:40am, MAX), starring Rusty Cundieff (who also directed), Tisha Campbell, Joe Torry, and Paula Jai Parker. A sweet, down-home little love story disguised as a hysterical hip-hop comedy of sexual manners, it's light years ahead of Booty Call. So, for that matter, is A Night at the Opera(also on this week -6/15, 9pm, TCM). But I'm happiest that one of my all-time favorites, Oklahoma! (6/11, 2:30pm, AMC) is on this afternoon. Much to my brother's chagrin, I fell in love with that cheesy Broadway/MGM shit when I played in the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers pit orchestra in high school and never looked back. Rodgers & Hammerstein, Agnes de Mille, Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, and Rod Steiger as pore Jud - what more could you ask for? How aboutSouth Pacific (6/16, 2pm, AMC); On the Town (6/16, 7pm, TCM); and Easter Parade (6/17, 3am, TCM)? Damn.

Continuingourtheme (well, sort of), MTV airs The 1998 MTV Movie Awards for the umpteenth time, even though they just taped them last week, Friday at 7pm. Despite her guitarist's horrible intonation, Natalie Imbruglia does a fine job performing "Torn," hands down the 1998 Song of the Year so far (sorry, Fastball fans). But why does the Wallflowers' version of David Bowie's "Heroes" sound more like Sixteen Deluxe's "Sniffy Woe" than Bowie's original? Oh, well. Best to just gawk at the outfits - especially Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Lopez - and not think too much. But if you absolutely must, TV Guide's website (http://www.tvgen.com) has a contest where you can win $500 if Jewel likes your poem the best. I'm not lying. Best put those rhyming dictionaries where I can see them, and nobody'll get hurt...

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