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Primal Screen

'Frasier' gets creepy

Photo: , License: N/A


I’ll bet Grammer will now be able to land any dramatic part he wants when this series concludes its run. The only thing he won’t be able to do is pursue political office. After watching Boss, no voters in their right mind would support him — and I mean that as high praise.

We Have Your Husband (7pm Sat, Lifetime)
Jayne (Teri Polo), Eduardo (Esai Morales), and their kids live an impossibly happy life on their Mexican ranch. “I am feeling very lucky,” Jayne says, obviously unaware that Lifetime TV-movie heroines have only about 10 minutes of bliss until everything falls apart. Right on cue, Eduardo is taken hostage by revolutionaries who demand an outrageously high ransom. Jayne has no idea where she can get the money, and her wealthy friends offer no help.

Thus begins an hour and 45 minutes of distress, as Jayne goes through the usual path from helplessness to defiance. But, hey, I’m not complaining. Lifetime knows just how to get you involved in these kinds of melodramas, and Polo makes the emotions feel real. If I didn’t have a pretty good idea of what would happen in the movie’s last five minutes, I might've dipped into my own bank account to help Jayne achieve a happy ending.

Masterpiece Theatre (8pm Sun, PBS)
When was the last time you watched a TV show based on a poem? Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch takes place mostly in the head of a disillusioned London writer (Alan Rickman) who struggles through a lunch date with an old flame (Emma Thompson). The writer’s poetic internal narration is attuned to minute details of his feelings and his environment, and he is acutely aware of why this fateful lunch is going south.

The Song of Lunch is the rare TV movie for adults. It doesn’t bother with sexy young actors or a conclusion that ties up every loose end. Instead, it looks deep into an aging man’s troubled soul. The writer is sensitive on the inside but hopelessly crusty on the outside. As unpleasant as he acts toward his confused ex-lover, we pull for him most of the time, knowing that a sympathetic human being lurks in there somewhere. Rickman renders the nuances of this antihero’s psychology, and Thompson establishes a substantial character with minimal dialogue.

We’re used to TV movies that are sweet or, at worst, bittersweet. The Song of Lunch, by contrast, is bracingly bitter. I repeat: for adults only.

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