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13 Segments




Season Two Brings Changes For 'Girls.'

The second season of the HBO series premieres this month, and Fresh Air critic David Bianculli says "these young women — these girls — really are changing and growing and adapting to tough life in the big city."


Summer Shows: Women in Charge, Under Stress

Fresh Air's TV critic reviews two new cable shows featuring strong female leads: TNT's Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter as a troubled detective, and the FX channel's Damages, starring Glenn Close as a powerful and ruthless attorney.


A Very Expensive Acting Class.

TV critic David Bianculli reviews "Chantilly Lace," on the Showtime cable network. The telemovie stars JoBeth Williams, Lindsay Crouse, Helen Slater, Jill Eikenberry, Martha Plimpton, Ally Sheedy, and Talia Shire. The plot revolves around a reunion of old friends, but the lines and action are mostly improvised by the actresses.


Allan Burns' New Program About A Public Radio Station.

Television producer and screenwriter Allan Burns. He co-created "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda," "He and She," "Lou Grant" and "The Munsters," a body of work that has earned him 8 Emmys. Burns has a new series this fall on NBC titled "FM." It's about the on-the-job and at home travails of a public radio program director. (Interview by Sedge Thomson)


A TV Critic's "Comic Visions"

David Marc considers his new book about classic sitcoms as a kind of autobiography: each show he reviews reminds him of the time in his life when he first watched it. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the history and politics of television comedy, especially in how it restricted the roles of women and people of color.


Women Become Gals in a New Batch of TV Ads

Guest critic Leslie Savan says the portrayal of women in recent television commercials reflects what she calls the "gal" archetype -- clumsy but charming, and always insecure, they never have the upper hand at home or work.


Actress Jane Curtin

Curtin is an alumnus of Saturday Night Live, and now stars in the sitcom Kate & Allie. She joins Fresh Air to talk about the direction of her new show and some of her favorite SNL sketches. Curtin also reflects on how actresses and women writers on SNL always had to fight for airtime.


"China Beach" is More Than a Retread of "M*A*S*H."

Television Critic David Bianculli reviews the new ABC series "China Beach." Like "M*A*S*H," "China Beach" features the medical corps that tend to the wounded. But unlike "M*A*S*H," most all the main characters in "China Beach" are women - the nurses who work in the operating rooms and run the USO clubs - and the setting is Vietnam.


Violence in Television.

Larry Gross is an academic and professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The focus of his research is largely television. He delivers a talk on violence in the medium.

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