Television: The Fernwood and the Gall

For a minute or so it might almost be Merv Griffin or the Tonight show. The host is professionally affable, the guests are the usuals: a loathsome child star and a piano player, a pompous research scientist, a frizzy-haired health-food nut. Then comes the perception that something is terribly awry—the piano player is in an iron lung; Fernwood 2 Night, the talk show to end all talk shows, is on and running muck. Something like a televised cross between radio's Bob and Ray and print's Mad Magazine, it is Norman Lear's newest and, so...

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