MANY FANS of "Seinfeld" can sympathize with the frustration of Jerry Seinfeld in tonight's episode (9 o'clock, Channel 2).
Jerry is desperate to get his visiting parents out of the house so he can have some private moments -- for the first time in three weeks -- with his newest girlfriend.
We, too, have waited a long time for something pleasurable. We've waited more than three weeks for an original "Seinfeld." And most "Seinfeld" fanatics would give up private moments for an original episode. Tonight's should be twice as satisfying because it is an hour. And it doesn't disappoint. Called "The Raincoat," the episode is full of plenty of nothing.
George (Jason Alexander) sells his father's moth-eaten clothes and is insulted that Jerry's parents treat his annoying parents as if they were moths.
Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) can't figure out why her newest boyfriend, Aaron (Judge Reinhold), wants to get so close to the Seinfelds. And I mean close. One of the show's highlights is a very close encounter between Aaron and Kramer (Michael Richards).
And Kramer and Papa Seinfeld (Barney Martin) go into the used raincoat business with each other -- briefly.
The show gets some of its biggest laughs from its sacrilegious treatment of the movie "Schindler's List," the Big Brother program and the impressionist painter Monet.
"Seinfeld" may be getting a bit too predictable -- and less relatable -- this season. But tonight's episode takes some chances and is one of the season's best.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
While we've been waiting impatiently for an original "Seinfeld," dread is the word that one associates with the NBC movie "Tonya and Nancy: The Inside Story" (8 p.m. Saturday, Channel 2). Written by Philip Penningroth ("Amy Fisher: My Story"), it lives down to expectations.
It took me about 10 minutes before I asked the same question that Nancy Kerrigan asked the night she was attacked: "Why? Why?"
As in: Why watch something that has been analyzed to death?
The best reason may be the musical score. The preview tape had some decent tunes, but NBC says they might change.
The film is presented as a pseudo-documentary. Dennis Boutsikaris plays the pseudo-
intellectual screenwriter -- he even invokes the name of Tolstoy -- who talks directly to the audience about the dark fairy tale he sold to NBC.
Several other actors also talk to the camera to offer cynical explanations of how the skating, media, television and business worlds operate. There is even one late scene in which NBC executives explain why they want to do the film. Surprise, ratings. That scene apparently is inserted to exonerate the network from any guilt over the exploitation of this overdone story. Penningroth also has one member of the media say, "We're all whores."
This movie not only puts Tonya Harding on trial, it also puts on trial the American sporting way of life that spawns Tonyas. It really is more of the inside story of Tonya. Nancy hardly gets equal time, probably because there isn't as much public record of her story and it isn't all that interesting.
Nancy should be more upset at the casting. Heather Langenkamp, who plays Kerrigan, has Kerrigan's mouth but not her Katharine Hepburn-like grace.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Powers, the religious beauty whom Arnie Becker sought on this season's "L.A. Law," has to try to look less pretty than she is playing Harding. She doesn't have Tonya's, eh, physique. The casting ruins the whole idea that Harding's looks made her less popular with judges.
Harding also is portrayed sympathetically as a victim of her crazed mother (overplayed by Susan Clark) and her possessive, manipulative and abusive husband, Jeff Gillooly (James Wilder), only to have that portrayal contradicted in statements made by the film's pseudo-media.
Gillooly's insecurity is most obvious when he forces Tonya to spell the name she refuses to take after their marriage. Her worst crime appears to be that she doesn't practice enough.
To no one's surprise, "Tonya and Nancy" is a L-O-S-E-R.
Rating: 1 star.
In case you are looking for "Prime Suspect 3," the newest edition of the PBS series starring Helen Mirren as Detective Jane Tennison won't air on Channel 17 until 9 p.m. Sunday, May 15 and May 22. Channel 17 is holding the new four-hour series -- which airs nationally this week -- until its May pledge drive. It will air two hours in a three-hour window each Sunday to give more time for pledge pitches.
Channel 17 carries Part 2 of "Prime Suspect 2" this Sunday and Parts 3 and 4 on May 8.