Originally created 10/14/02

TV Lookout: highlights (and lowlights) for the week ahead

Only on that kookie Comedy Central could the ritual consumption of fried chicken and porn films be considered a meaningful act of rebellion.

Well, only on Comedy Central and at Yale University, where a few years ago students formed the Porn 'n Chicken secret society for just such rites. After that, thanks to indulgent press accounts, it took on mythic status far beyond New Haven.

Since any self-respecting rebellion must be exploited for its full commercial value, "Porn 'n Chicken" is now a TV film. Billed as "a coming of age story" and Comedy Central's "first original movie," it premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. EDT.

But what are we to make of a comedy that says "cut loose, dude" yet, airing as it does on basic cable, bleeps its four-letter words and shows no skin?

"Porn 'n Chicken-hearted" would be a better title. Preaching a neo-1960s line - that college students should liberate themselves from the uptight older generation - this film is too timid to put across its argument. And not funny enough to obscure its timidity.

"Porn 'n Chicken" is only hardcore hokum.

Other shows to look out for:

- "Who Counts? Election Reform in America" pairs former CNN political correspondent Frank Sesno with "Saturday Night Live" player Darrell Hammond for an unlikely blend of comedy and reporting to look at election reform today. As Sesno explains at the top of the hour, the special looks back at the 2000 election "to ask, what have we learned? How do we fix the things that went so terribly wrong?" Along with interviews with real-life political figures, the show features Hammond portraying Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton in all-new comic material. "Who Counts?" airs on PBS Thursday at 10 p.m.

- The popular "Live by Request" specials on A&E continue Friday with rock legend Carlos Santana, who performs viewer requests (submitted by phone and Internet) in a two-hour program beginning at 9 p.m.

- Feel a cool snap in the air? Smell the candy corn? Halloween must be just around the corner. And for the fifth consecutive year, cable's ABC Family presents "13 Nights of Halloween" - more than 90 hours of scary Halloween-themed programming - through October 31. It starts Saturday with four installments of the network's reality series "Scariest Places on Earth," airing from 4 to 8 p.m. (More than 90 hours! Can you boo-lieve it?)

- "Wisegirls" stars Mira Sorvino, Mariah Carey and Melora Waters as three waitresses working at a Staten Island restaurant regularly patronized by the Mob. Will the orders they take turn dangerous? This original crime drama premieres on Cinemax Saturday at 10 p.m.


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