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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2003

Show explores teenage girls in pain

March 27, 2003

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After years of "Survivor" and "The Mole" episodes, you'd be forgiven if you never wanted to watch another "video diary." But the hackneyed "reality TV" staple is put to powerful use in the documentary "Cutters: Self Abuse" (7 p.m., Discovery Health).

Tracey Gold is host of this look at a painful and secret affliction that affects adolescent girls. Overwhelmed by their emotions, they feel compelled to mutilate themselves with sharp objects, often several times a day. As several cutters and their therapists explain, this painful act helps them relieve tension. And once they resort to self-abuse, they often feel driven to cut themselves repeatedly. Compulsive hair pulling, eating disorders and skin burning are often related symptoms.

The makers of "Cutters" gained access to a treatment center where girls receive therapeutic treatment and learn to reach out to others rather than hurting themselves. Therapists interviewed here report that their self-injury caseloads have doubled in the past few years. Some contend that 10 percent of all adolescent girls turn to cutting.

  • The Sci Fi Channel has gone sand-worm crazy. After a three-night "Dune" extravaganza last week, the basic cable outlet launches "Tremors: The Series" tomorrow night. Michael Gross returns as Burt Gummer, the monster-hunting paranoid made famous in the "Tremors" movies. The original 1989 "Tremors" starred Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, and it featured the movie-acting debut of Reba McEntire.

To soften the ground for the new thriller spoof, Sci Fi offers back-to-back sequels "Tremors 2: Aftershocks" (6 p.m.) and "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection" (8 p.m.). Don't look for Kevin Bacon in these direct-to-video efforts.

  • Catch J. Lo before she was over exposed in director Steven Soderbergh's 1998 adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel "Out of Sight" (8 p.m., USA). Jennifer Lopez plays a federal officer who becomes entangled with a smooth bank robber (George Clooney) with a knack for movie trivia.

Tonight's other highlights

  • The NCAA Basketball Tournament (6 p.m., CBS) continues.
  • After their impetuous wedding, Grace and Leo try to have a real ceremony on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • Scheduled on "The Pulse" (8 p.m., Fox): war updates.
  • Evgeny Plushenko, Alexander Abt and Timothy Goebel compete in World Championship Figure Skating (8 p.m., ABC). Sarah Hughes, Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen and Ann Patrice McDonough will also participate in the competition that concludes Saturday.
  • "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience" (8 p.m., PBS) concludes.
  • Corday returns to chaos on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • Romance fizzles on the documentary series "True Life: I'm Breaking Up" (9 p.m., MTV)

Late night

Jay Leno welcomes James Woods on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Matthew McConaughey, Jon Gruden and The Roots appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Robert Duvall, Wanda Sykes and Sum 41 appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC).

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