'Cosby' subject matter is a sign of the times


November 01, 1990|By Steve McKerrow

On The Weekend Watch:

THE BIG QUESTION -- It doesn't seem that long ago when television could not even suggest that married people had sex, as shown by the scrupulously separate marriage beds on "I Love Lucy" and even "The Dick Van Dyke Show" of the mid-'60s. Boy, have things changed. A special hourlong episode of the "The Cosby Show" tonight (at 8, Channel 2), is merely the latest to deal with what has become a cliche of sitcoms with teen-agers: When will they go all the way? In this case it is Pam (Erika Alexander) who is contemplating the act.

THE LITTLE QUESTION -- What does Burt Reynolds look like without his trademark mustache? We haven't seen him that way since he was the blacksmith Quint on "Gunsmoke." But the possibility he will do away with the lip bristle is the allure of "Evening Shade," his new CBS sitcom, on Friday (at 8, Channel 11).

THE DANE'S QUESTION -- To watch or not to watch? That is one way to note Friday's edition of the PBS series "Great Performances" (at 9 p.m., channels 22 and 67). The noble effort is a three-hour production of "Hamlet" by the New York Shakespeare Festival, with Kevin Kline ("A Fish Called Wanda") in the title role.

THE J.R. QUESTION -- It's been a while, but do you remember that last season's ritual cliffhanger on "Dallas" left J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) locked up in a sanitarium? He's still there as the series premieres for a new season at 10 p.m. Friday (Channel 11). And new to the show's 14th year of prime-time melodrama is the longtime queen meanie of the daytime soaps, Susan Lucci ("All My Children"), as a widow with eyes for Bobby (Patrick Duffy).

THE LINGERING QUESTION -- What did President Reagan know about the Iran-contra affair? The former chief executive reportedly acknowledges to Barbara Walters that he wishes he'd asked some more questions himself, in Friday's edition of "20/20" (at 10 p.m., Channel 13). Walters interviewed Reagan on a variety of topics recently at his California office.

ROLE REVERSALS -- Some behind-the-camera gimmickry comes to a pair of ABC series Saturday. On "China Beach" (9 p.m., Channel 13), it is an episode directed by actress Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall," etc.). And on "Twin Peaks" (at 10), director/creator David Lynch can be seen as the FBI bureau chief.

THE SPORTS SCENE -- A new season of National Basketball Association action makes its debut Saturday on NBC (Channel 2). Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley hosts a pre-game show at 3 p.m., followed at 3:30 by Marv Albert and Mike Fratello calling the action from San Antonio as the Lakers meet the Spurs, whose star is former Naval Academy standout David Robinson.

THE CABLE CONNECTION -- Former "Saturday Nigh Live" skit star now beer huckster Joe Piscopo gets a cable special, at 10 p.m. Saturday on the HBO premium service.

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