- The Washington Times - Friday, December 17, 1999

Moesha’ gets heavy

“The hit sitcom Moesha’ on UPN is headed in new creative directions,’ according to a network executive. The show, about a middle-class family and their teen-age daughter played by the singer Brandy, is about to go from lighthearted family entertainment to serious and reality-based very special’ episodes.
“The creator of the show was recently fired for her stance against these changes… . Possible new plot lines will involve heavy topics ranging from gangs, guns and accidental shootings to surprise illegitimate siblings and sexual exposure to HIV… .
“Part of Moesha’s success over the past five seasons has to be its squeaky clean vibe, the beautiful, wholesome and talented Brandy and family-friendly humor… .
“Occasionally, a sitcom can successfully deal with important issues and still be funny… .
“It’s when a show drastically switches gears well after it’s established that problems begin. Ellen DeGeneres did it by relentlessly beating up on her audience with a big lesbian shtick and killing the laughs… .
“Not every show has to be light and fluffy. But when a light and fluffy show turns heavy and gritty, it’s unnerving. It’s not why we’re there. It happened with Ellen… . Will it happen with Moesha’?”
Susan Brady Konig, writing on “Why must TV go from light to dark?” in Wednesday’s New York Post

Internet pioneer

“Fifty years from now, when scholars examine the communications business of the late 1990s, the name Matt Drudge will be indexed heavily in books about the subject. As the most famous Internet pioneer, Drudge will be remembered, positively, for blowtorching a smug and lazy conventional media ….
“Nobody, save his family, will remember Frank Rich, a callow man who once reviewed theater for the New York Times and now writes naive and bitter op-ed pieces every other Saturday for the sickly daily.
“On Dec. 4, Rich had great sport with the recent cancellation of Drudge’s Fox News Channel television show, exulting in how little attention it received… .
“Drudge was a flash in the pan, Rich asserts, because the consolidation of media has nullified the upstart’s proclamation that because of the Internet every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be.’ …
“It’s precisely because of pompous, egotistical and atrociously uninformed professionals’ like Frank Rich that a door was opened for an entrepreneur like Matt Drudge. If the Timesman really thinks Drudge’s impact has been stilled, he might ask his colleagues how many times they click on the Drudge Report each day.”
from “Still Scared Silly,” an editorial in the Dec. 15 issue of New York Press

Troublesome tags

“The controversy over Florida’s Choose Life’ license plate shows how radical the fringe element of the pro-choice movement has become. Earlier this year, state lawmakers voted to offer motorists the choice to buy a school bus-yellow tag with childlike sketches of a smiling boy and girl and the words Choose Life.’
“The tags are to cost $22 extra, and those proceeds will go to groups that help pregnant women find adoptive parents for their babies. This is not a new concept. The state offers 45 other specialty plates supporting everything from sports teams and the space program to manatees and wildflowers. The National Organization for Women, however, asked a judge to ban the tags. NOW’s lawyer insists the tags violate the establishment clause because the words choose life’ are found in the biblical book of Deuteronomy …
“It isn’t exactly clear why that is divisive, although anyone can be offended by anything if that person is truly determined to be offended. Nothing could be more divisive in this football-happy state than the popular Gator and Seminole specialty plates. There have been no reports of UF or FSU plates inciting road rage.”
from “The Radical Left,” an editorial in the Dec. 3 Florida Times-Union

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