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1995 The Year That Was/Excesses

Enough Already

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How many times can you listen to ”Scream” on the radio? How many times must we read about the ”next” Pulp Fiction? Another year has come to pass, and with it, we hope, will go the following much-imitated, formerly innovative, and just plain overheated phenomena.

Antonio and Melanie’s Public Puckering It was disgustingly appropriate: The lovebirds met while shooting Two Much, a romantic comedy. Ever since, they’ve been locking lips and joining hips before paparazzi from Madrid to Hollywood. Surely Don Johnson gets the point by now.

Crossover Madness At first all these twentysomething shows just seemed interchangeable. Then the networks went and proved it. On Fox, Ned and Stacey’s stars showed up in character on an episode of Partners. On NBC, Friends‘ Ross (David Schwimmer) appeared on The Single Guy, Chandler (Matthew Perry) turned out for Caroline in the City, and Caroline (Lea Thompson) paid a return visit to Friends. Hey, stop messing with our TV reality!

Larry ”Bud” Melman, Goofy Shill As endearingly silly as he has been on Letterman, Calvert Deforest’s Melman has developed — through remarkable consistency of tone and…tone — into quite an annoying huckster for MCI and Frosted Cheerios. At the very least, he needs an infomercial so we can see Bud’s talents stretch.

Comics With Book Deals Comedians used to make do with a three-week stand at Laffin’ Larry’s Chuckle Bin. Then came television. Today, stand-up lives are incomplete until they put shtick to print. And so, beyond Cosby and Roseanne we go, beyond Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser and Tim Allen. The latest to tie in: Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Foxworthy; Brett Butler’s book is on the way. Read our lip: Put a sock in it.

The Are-They-Gay? Episode If there’s nothing wrong with gay characters in the ’90s, it’s time to empty the closet of this prime-time plotline, in which series regulars have doubts about someone’s sexual orientation. In earlier years, Seinfeld and Frasier gave us classic comic riffs on the dilemma; 1995 saw The Larry Sanders Show, NYPD Blue, Caroline in the City, The Single Guy, and Can’t Hurry Love chase after the bandwagon.

Unplugged Now that every artist from Tony Bennett to Poison has gone acoustic on MTV — this year’s batch of unelectrified performances includes Bob Dylan, Kiss, Hole, Sheryl Crow, Live, and the Cranberries — can we please, uh, pull the unplug?

Band Reunions It was cool to hear a new tune from the Beatles. It was something less than cool to experience the patched-together second comings of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Doors, Foreigner, and Jefferson Starship. Sometimes, it’s better to live and let die.

Christopher Walken, Evil Mastermind Certainly no stranger to bad-guy roles and admittedly an unequaled creep on film, the former Max Shreck of Batman Returns took to his nasty niche and iron-plated it in 1995, putting together an ominous streak of lordly heavies in Search and Destroy, The Prophecy, The Addiction, Nick of Time, and Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead. Sir, with all due respect, maybe it’s time to get back to your first love, the musical.