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On the Tube: Failed comedy pilots make offbeat fun

Friday, August 01, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette Tv Editor

The Other Network," that traveling festival of failed TV pilots, returns to The Andy Warhol Museum tonight with three new flops.

 
 
'THE OTHER NETWORK'

WHERE: The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Side

WHEN: 7 tonight

TICKETS: $5

   
 

That these three test episodes were rejected by broadcast networks comes as little surprise -- none of them would have been an easy sell -- but I sure wish there had been more installments of "Becoming Glen," a single-camera comedy starring Johnny Galecki ("Roseanne") as a 32-year-old agoraphobic man-child who's also a compulsive liar.

Galecki's Glen narrates the tale as a wise and wealthy 39-year-old looking back on 1994, the year he finally left his parents' house and dared to use a bathroom other than his own. He's motivated by the return of his childhood crush (Samantha Mathis), a single mother whose son, Josh, Glen identifies with.

When Josh falls for a beautiful classmate, Glen advises him to hide in the bushes outside the girl's house and take pictures to learn what she likes.

"Isn't that creepy?" Josh asks.

"Not if you don't kill her pets," Glen replies.

An edgy, devastatingly funny script by creator Ricky Blitt ("Family Guy") shows the cloistered life Glen has led with his parents (Sally Struthers, Gerald McRaney), and Galecki effectively winces his way through the part.

Another "Other Network" entry doesn't reach such comedic heights. Bob Odenkirk ("Mr. Show") created the sketch comedy show "Next!" for Fox, and like most sketch shows, it's hit and miss with barely more hits than a recent episode of "Saturday Night Live."

The third show, "Lookwell," is a long-fabled failed pilot written by Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien in the early '90s. It stars Adam West ("Batman") as an over-the-hill actor who played a detective on TV in the '70s and cluelessly attempts to fight crime.

It's a funny half-hour, and the comedic rhythms will be identifiable to anyone who watches O'Brien on "Late Night."


Rob Owen can be reached at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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