Thu, May 24, 2018 02:48 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-08-01 life & times
NBC has solid Tuesday with Dog, Comic and SVU
Cletus Turner

"Dog Eat Dog"
Normally, with all the reality shows on Tuesday night, I try to avoid watching television on that night. But NBC drew me in when they decided to air an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit fronted by Dog Eat Dog and Last Comic Standing. The network actually had a rather solid night that kept me interested.

Dog Eat Dog saw three men and three women struggling to win $25,000. I have talked about this show before, but for those who don't remember, here goes. Contestants are given an idea of what they are facing and also give each other an idea of strengths and weaknesses before the show by going through an obstacle course. On the show, the group picks one of their members to perform a task. If that member fails, they are sent to the dog pound. This continues till one person is left and that person then chooses each person in the dog pound to answer one question. If the dog pound is able to answer three questions correctly, they steal the $25,000 prize from the person who is left. Otherwise, the person left gets the prize. On Tuesday, a wimp named Will was able to beat out the competition and win the prize. Why is this surprising? Because the others were so intent on getting rid of all the muscle, they missed the little conniver. I must admit, it was a strike for all the people who aren't physically able, but it was also a strategically perfect game. Go Will.

On the Last Comic Standing, host Jay Mohr introduced the contestants and the two hour finale will be next week. My favorite was Tess. Although she was a little colorful, she was more down-to-earth than most of the other comics. Her jokes centered around being a "robust" woman and sex. Her only flaw was trying to keep the joke running after it had run its course. Dat Phan, yes that is his name, was also very good. He made a lot of jokes about his Vietnamese heritage. In some ways, that was very good, although, when he pulled out the Oriental accent, it was hard to understand him and some of his jokes lost their effectiveness because of that. There are five people in the finals and Tess and Dat are my favorites. They were able to keep me laughing without too many interruptions. When a comic changes directions, it is hard to follow them and keep laughing. Tess and Dat were able to keep us with them and that is a major feat.

Law and Order: SVU was perhaps the best show for the night. I love this series. Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay play Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. Each has their own demons and these demons are front and center on each episode. They are backed by their captain, Donald Cragen, played by Dann Florek; detectives John Munch, played by Richard Belzer and Odafin Tutuola, played by Ice-T; assistant district attorney Alexandra Cabot, played by Stephanie March; and forensic psychiatrist George Huang, played by B.D. Wong.

The great thing about Law and Order: SVU is that each of the episodes deals with a very sensitive subject. Whether it be rape, incest or some other taboo subject, SVU takes us through it. Sometimes, the show is hard-hitting and sometimes it pulls back at the wrong time, but Meloni and Hargitay's intensity make the show very serious and always entertaining. It is nice to see a show that takes on the hard subjects and lets us see the raw, intense and yes, ugly side of some of the most vicious of subjects.

In this episode, the group is hunting for a killer and the only link is each of the women killed has a toddler. At first, there are only a few murders, but Stabler, who isn't able to be out on the street due to a suspension, finally realizes that the murderer might be killing more than just in their precinct. Telephone calls to other precincts showed that the perpetrator had killed several women in other precincts as well. The group was able to find out that the man involved was killing the women to keep them from talking about how they had gotten their children, which was through him.

Comic Tess Drake (click for larger version)
Overall, with the addition of SVU, NBC's Tuesday night could mean better ratings for the night. The sad fact is NBC doesn't plan to keep the show on that night. Instead, they are planning to keep SVU at its usual time on Friday nights at 10 p.m. With that show as the Friday night cornerstone, NBC consistently won that night during the regular season.

Notes from the couch:

Last week I mentioned a possible spinoff for the character of Joey on Friends. Well, NBC made it official by signing Matt LeBlanc and the new series executive-producers. The show will air at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, which is the same time that Friends airs. Now, let's see if it can succeed.

Freddie Prinz is set to develop shows for MTV. What more can we expect from a man who acted in such "wonderful" films as She's All That and Scooby Doo?

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