Show Business: Fernwood Follies

"I want to be a plant," drones a glassy-eyed Mary Hartman from the Fernwood Receiving Hospital's mental ward. Who could blame her? As a pig-tailed Fernwood housewife on television's most talked-about series last season, Mary's doorstep had been darkened by adultery, impotence, venereal disease and an ax murderer, not to mention waxy buildup on her kitchen floor. No wonder Mary went bonkers on the show's closing episode. So what is next for poor Mary and her loopy friends in the new season that premiered last week?* It does not sound therapeutic.

As the world turns on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman this season,...