Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Happy’ humor, hold the cruelty

August 22, 2002

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Fans of whimsical hidden-camera comedy might enjoy "Trigger Happy TV" (9:30 p.m., Comedy Central), a new import from the United Kingdom. While its humor is irreverent and occasionally scatological, "Trigger" never descends to the cruelty and crudity of "The Tom Green Show." In one segment, shocked pedestrians watch as a "baby" is lifted out of her carriage by a bunch of Happy Birthday balloons. In another sketch, a sneaky snowman (actually a comic in a costume) beans unsuspecting passersby with snowballs. My favorite bits involve a rude man in a crowded restaurant screaming into a fake over-sized cell phone, oblivious to the fact that he is disturbing everyone within earshot. The best thing about these sketches are their extreme brevity. Think of "Trigger" as "Monty Python" for viewers with very short attention spans.

l Some failed movies are so odd that you wonder how they ever got made. Imagine a group of Hollywood executives sitting around a boardroom and committing tens of millions of dollars to produce a slapstick comedy about college funding politics and cultural anthropology. Richard Dreyfuss stars in the 1998 film "Krippendorf's Tribe" (7 p.m., ABC). He plays a professor who has nothing to show for his research grant, so he tries to pass off his own kids as exotic Pacific Island natives. Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg") co-stars as a rival professor. Do you wonder why this movie never found an audience?

l The foreign affairs news magazine "Wide Angle" (8 p.m., PBS) presents the film "Bitter Harvest," examining a dangerous, unintended consequence of the war on terrorism the rise in heroin traffic. Apparently, many of the warlords associated with America's Afghan allies, the Northern Alliance, are heavily involved in the production of opium poppies and heroin production. With the departure of the Taliban, the current opium crop in Afghanistan is among the largest ever. Producer Chris Hilton's film includes stunning photography of Afghanistan and its drug-ravaged neighbors.

Tonight's other highlights

Jonathan Frakes is host of "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction" (7 p.m., Fox).

Shepard Smith is host of "The Pulse" (8 p.m., Fox).

St. Louis meets San Diego in pre-season NFL action (8 p.m., CBS).

Greene and Corday continue to spat on a repeat of "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).

Scheduled on "Primetime" (9 p.m., ABC): An update report on embryo adoptions; a CIA master of disguise who helps burn victims cope with disfigurement.

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