Archive for Friday, May 5, 2006

Mickey opens new ‘Clubhouse’

May 5, 2006


Corporations with long histories revive old logos, models and nameplates with varying results. Ford has reintroduced Thunderbird and Mustang cars over the years. Volkswagen offered us a new Beetle.

So is it surprising that Disney has dusted off one of the most venerable TV brands of all, "The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (6:30 p.m., Disney)?

This educational computer-animated series has little in common with the old black-and-white "Mickey Mouse Club." For starters, there is no earnest host named Jimmy and no child stars named Annette or Cubby. There are no people at all. In fact, this new "Clubhouse" has the shiny, brittle feel of a video game. It seems untouched by human hands.

Aimed at a preschool audience and scheduled to air in the early-morning hours (beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday), this "Clubhouse" and its CGI rodent host take a gentle, soothing approach. Mickey talks slowly, softly and directly to the audience when not trading a few barbs with Disney regulars including Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Minnie.

The old "Club" was crowded with personalities and invited viewers to join a gang of fellow Mouseketeers. It was a little frightening for Eisenhower-era parents to see their kids seduced by the collective consciousness of the new medium called television. This latest "Clubhouse" is more one-on-one, more Mano-a-Mouse-o.

¢ The documentary special "Bruce Springsteen: The Seeger Sessions" (8 p.m., CMT) follows the New Jersey-born singer to the studio as he was recording "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," his 21st album and a tribute to folk legend and activist Pete Seeger.

¢ Van Morrison appears in his first televised concert in more than 20 years on "One Night in Nashville" (9 p.m., CMT). Morrison will also grant an interview with CMT's Chet Flippo.

¢ On a more whimsical musical note, Jack Black hosts the World Broadcast Premiere of the sweet 2003 musical comedy "School of Rock" (7 p.m., Fox).

Tonight's other highlights

¢ An innocent (Paul Reubens) sets off on a cross-country trek to retrieve his stolen bicycle in the inspired 1985 comedy "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" (6 p.m., Bravo), directed by Tim Burton.

¢ Troubled spirits deplane from both coach and first class on "Ghost Whisperer" (7 p.m., CBS).

¢ The voices of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres animate the 2003 cartoon "Finding Nemo" (7 p.m., Disney).

¢ Director Robert Altman brings the stories of Raymond Carver to the screen in his sprawling 1993 effort "Short Cuts" (7 p.m., IFC), featuring a memorable performance by the late Chris Penn.

¢ Homicide hits the hardwood on "Close to Home" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Silver medalist Sasha Cohen guest stars on "Las Vegas" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ A celebrity lawyer (Reiko Aylesworth) accused of murder represents herself in court on "Conviction" (9 p.m., NBC).


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