Archive for Monday, October 22, 2001

Raymond’ is a must-see

October 22, 2001

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Once again, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS) raises the bar for television comedy. In an uproariously funny episode, Marie surprises Ray and Debra with an abstract creation from her sculpture class. They don't have the heart to tell Marie that it bears a striking resemblance to a part of the female anatomy.

As days pass, Ray and Debra become increasingly disturbed by the sculpture's presence and mystified by Marie's inability to see what they see in her artwork. The episode unfolds in a series of subtle reaction shots and clever understatement, proving that words unsaid and things unseen can often be far more amusing than blatant vulgarity. This humor is adult in every way.

Television has an insatiable appetite for tales of fallen stars, forgotten celebrities and "where-are-they-now" specials. TNN joins the fray with "Fame for 15" (6 p.m., TNN), a glance back at recent celebrities who quickly burned out, disappeared or grew too annoying in the media's white-hot glare.

It's fitting that "Fame" should begin with the story of Donato Dalrymple, the "fisherman" who helped rescue Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez on Thanksgiving Day of 1999. He managed to stay in the spotlight right up until the night federal agents seized the boy on Good Friday of 2000. Dalrymple morphed from hero to punch line in five short months. We're repeatedly shown clips of Jay Leno asking, "Just what was that creepy fisherman doing in the closet with that boy at 5 in the morning?" Dalrymple appears here in repeated interviews, claiming that he never profited from his Elian experience.

In an oblique way, "Fame" demonstrates that instant-celebrity status attainment is possible in an age when viewers get most of their news and ideas from TV. Future episodes look at John Wayne Bobbitt; Darva Conger; George Holliday, the man who shot the video of police beating of Rodney King; and Divine Brown, the prostitute arrested with actor Hugh Grant.

Tonight's other highlights

If necessary, the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners will meet in game 5 of the American League Championship Series (7 p.m., Fox). Otherwise, Fox will air the repeats listed below.

"Biography Close-Up: After the Game" (7 p.m., A&E;) examines how athletes cope after they hang up their uniforms for the last time.

A new baby arrives in the "Blues Clues" special "Blues Big News" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon). Lisa Kudrow ("Friends") is the voice of the baby doctor.

Sullivan attends his Atlantic City bachelor party on the eve of the World Trade Center attacks on the "Third Watch" (8 p.m., NBC). This is the first episodic drama to work the recent tragedy into its plot.

The New York Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles on "Monday Night Football" (8 p.m., ABC).

Rex sues a publisher of a book containing an explosive formula on "Family Law" (9 p.m., CBS).

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