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Take In The ‘Senior Prom’ On Abc

By John Martin New York Times Syndicate

“Senior Prom” (ABC at 8) is a snapshot of the annual high school rite of spring. Teens and parents will find this special filled with shared and contrasting experiences.

Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Party of Five”) hosts this look at, as she puts it, “the one night when you are no longer a kid. Officially.”

The story originates from two high schools: an inner-city school in Cambridge, Mass., and a school in the upper-class town of Sugar Land, Texas.

The differences are pointed.

In Cambridge, kids make sacrifices to make their night special.

In Texas, no expense is spared. We see one teen picking out a $1,500 gown and, later, paying to fly in her date, a college student.

One of the most interesting things about this show is how much easier it is to like the Cambridge kids.

I don’t think this was supposed to be a morality tale. But it does leave you with the feeling that for many of the better-off Texas teens the prom is just another night in their spoiled little lives.

The other thing that’s good is that while Hewitt makes it seem as though she’s addressing a teen audience, the “Senior Prom” experience is one that most adults have in common with their kids. Savor that.

Highlights

“Great Performances,” KSPS at 7: Ying Huang, a 23-year-old Chinese soprano, stars in the television premiere of Frederic Mitterand’s film version of “Madame Butterfly.”

Richard Troxell and Richard Cowan co-star in the powerful, tragic story of a 15-year-old geisha who weds an American naval officer at the end of the 19th century. Opera fans especially should not miss this acclaimed film, which had only limited theatrical release in the United States.

“The Odd Couple: Together Again” (1993), CBS at 9: Tony Randall and Jack Klugman reprise their roles as Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in a movie rich with nostalgia but often thin on laughs.

Penny Marshall makes a special appearance as Oscar’s pal, Myrna Turner. And it’s touching to know that Oscar’s battle with throat cancer mirrors Klugman’s own off-screen ordeal.

The story never quite takes off, but it’s plenty of fun to just see Felix and Oscar together again, and as odd a couple as ever.

“The Drew Carey Show,” ABC at 9: Drew runs into trouble organizing the department store’s first Thanksgiving Day parade. Only Mimi (Kathy Kinney) can bail him out, but at a considerable price.

Double mascara alert: Tammy Faye Messner guest-stars as Mimi’s mother. Repeat.

“Law & Order,” NBC at 10: A co-op apartment treasurer is murdered in what appears to have been a case of mistaken identity. When the real target is killed, the detectives suspect that her husband, who stands to profit, is responsible for both deaths. Repeat.

Cable Calls

“The Truth About Cats & Dogs” (1996), HBO at 8: Janeane Garofalo plays a veterinarian/radio talkshow host in this clever, warmhearted comedy that revisits the “Cyrano de Bergerac” tale. She describes herself to a caller (Ben Chaplin) as tall and blond and ends up talking her beautiful neighbor (Uma Thurman) into going out with him. Garofalo makes it work.

“Faces of Addiction: Flashback,” HBO at 10: The dangers of drugs are illustrated in this well-acted story of a high school valedictorian who nearly loses it all. Based on a true story.

“Business for Pleasure” (1997), TMC at 10:40: Zalman King (“The Red Shoe Diaries”) co-wrote and co-produced this erotic thriller about two business executives who explore the outer limits of sex.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:50: Actor Dana Carvey, model Amber Valletta and magicians The Pendragons. Repeat.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Director Barry Sonnenfeld and music group Blur.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:35 a.m.: Jane Seymour, Michael McKeon, talk-show host Holly McClure and director-writer Kevin Smith.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:50 a.m.: Rob Schneider (“Men Behaving Badly”), Steven Weber (“Wings”) and musical guest Radish. Repeat.

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