- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Lange’s new ‘Game’

Comedian Artie Lange didn’t grow up on “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.” The New Jersey native came of age with his ear glued to Howard Stern’s radio show.

Now he’s part of a groundbreaking sitcom for those who spent their childhoods pumping quarters into “Donkey Kong” and “Q-bert” video games.

“Game Over,” debuting at 8 tonight on UPN (Channel 20), follows a family of video-game characters in an alternate world where computer chips and reality are one and the same. Joining Mr. Lange are Lucy Liu ( of “Ally McBeal” and “Charlie’s Angels” fame), Rachel Dratch and Patrick Warburton as the Smashenburn family.

The show breaks new ground as a computer-animated prime-time affair. The images aren’t as user-friendly as, say, those in “Shrek” or “Finding Nemo,” but the slick visuals surely will connect with the Nintendo generation.

Mr. Lange provides the gruff voice of Turbo, the cigar-chomping family pet whose adoption process takes up the bulk of tonight’s episode.

Mr. Lange recorded a few voice-over segments during his “MADTV” days, but “Game Over” marks his first official foray into the field.

“Once you see the character drawn out, it makes it a little easier,” Mr. Lange says of Turbo, a purple monstrosity that looks like Jabba the Hut’s long-lost cousin. Mr. Lange has never met his co-stars because he records the show in New York apart from them. Such is life as a voice-over artist.

The setup lets him continue his duties as the right-hand man for the “King of All Media.”

The prototypical “average Joe” parlayed his journeyman appeal more than two years ago into a full-time gig on his beloved radio show.

He says he woke up at 3 a.m. the first day on the job and paced around New York City amid the snoring homeless people.

These days, he’s an integral part of the irregular radio family.

“It was and is my favorite show of all time,” he says.

It’s also a show that could be headed for extinction, should the Federal Communications Commission have its way.

“I think it’s scary what’s going on,” Mr. Lange says of reactions to Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl flash. “As an average, intelligent adult male, it just doesn’t offend me.”

Ride with Ewan

Actor Ewan McGregor is a chameleon onscreen, starring as “Star Wars’” Obi-Wan Kenobi one minute, then morphing into “Down With Love’s” dashing lead the next.

Now he’s hitting the road for a new Bravo series chronicling a transcontinental journey with his chum, actor Charley Boorman.

“Long Way Round,” six hourlong episodes slated to air later this year, will follow the pair’s upcoming motorcycle trip.

“We live in such a comfortable and easy time that it doesn’t do yourself any harm to go and test yourselves and survive with just the bare essentials,” Mr. McGregor said in a statement.

The two will start their trip late next month in London, en route, eventually, to New York City by July’s end. They’ll ride motorcycles most of the way, with a few train, plane and boat rides to help them country-hop. Their journey will take them through Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Siberia, Alaska and Canada before they hit the Big Apple.

Mr. Boorman is the son of director John Boorman (“Deliverance”).

The two actors met eight years ago on the set of the film “Serpent’s Kiss.”

G-rated ‘Sex’

The writers of HBO’s “Sex and the City” joke that their sexually adventurous foursome might be whittled down to three when the show hits syndication.

“We joke there will be no Samantha” after the censors have their way, writer Cindy Chupak told Associated Press of Kim Cattrall’s sexually voracious character.

The looming TBS syndication of the ribald show pleases star Sarah Jessica Parker even if the episodes will lose a bit in the mainstream translation.

“Part of me is happy that people who could not afford HBO will now have the opportunity to meet these four women,” Miss Parker told AP Friday at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Just don’t expect a movie version of the show anytime soon. Early reports indicated a big-screen “City” could be on the horizon, but those plans have now been scrapped.

Perhaps all the gossip of on-the-set tension between Miss Parker and Miss Cattrall sank the film.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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